Disney went ahead and bought 20th Century Fox this morning for a whopping $52.4 billion dollars in a move that will significantly alter the filmmaking industry as we know it. While there’s certainly reason to be excited by the prospect of beloved Marvel and Star Wars properties reuniting under the same banner, there’s much more reason to be skeptical or outright concerned about the seismic corporate consolidation.
The Writers Guild of America West, which represents more than 10,000 writers in the industry, has issued a blistering statement opposing the deal as a step in the wrong direction that will only further exacerbate existing struggles for creatives. The guild cites antitrust worries, noting that six major studios have controlled the entertainment industry for decades, “often at the expense of the creators who power their television and film operations.” And the Fox-Disney deal is only going to “make matters even worse” according to the WGA.
Here’s the guild’s statement in full.
“In the relentless drive to eliminate competition, big business has an insatiable appetite for consolidation. Disney and Fox have spent decades profiting from the oligopolistic control that the six major media conglomerates have exercised over the entertainment industry, often at the expense of the creators who power their television and film operations. Now, this proposed merger of direct competitors will make matters even worse by substantially increasing the market power of a combined Disney-Fox corporation. The antitrust concerns raised by this deal are obvious and significant. The Writers Guild of America West strongly opposes this merger and will work to ensure our nation’s antitrust laws are enforced.”
Disney chairman-CEO Bob Iger has extended his contract to the end of 2021 to oversee the transition of assets from Rupert Murdoch‘s media empire, and Disney expects regulatory review of acquisition to take about 18 months so it’s going to take some time before we start to get a sense of how this acquisition is going to restructure the entertainment landscape. It’s certainly a cause for concern and careful consideration and I imagine this won’t be the last powerful group in Hollywood we hear speaking out.
For more on the Disney-Fox deal, check out the links below: