With the announcement that the Walt Disney Company intends to buy 20th Century Fox for $52 billion, the world of our corporate media conglomerates just got smaller and more tightly controlled. Is the deal bad for consumers and creators? Only if you think too much of the entertainment we inhale on a daily basis is founded on market-ready fantasy franchise properties and not enough on, you know, stories. About people.
But, oh, the cross-promotional possibilities! Who cares if there’s one less content creator in Hollywood and the town’s that much more monolithic when the superheroes owned by Disney (the Avengers) and by Fox (the X-Men) can finally have lunch in the same studio commissary?
Sadly, the deal doesn’t include Fox News, which means that film critic Jordan Hoffman was incorrect when he tweeted “I like the Disney purchase because it means Sean Hannity can finally show SONG OF THE SOUTH.” That said, here are some Disney/Fox mash-ups that will soon be legally permissible and that you can bet the mega-studio bean counters are already considering.
Note to Disney legal: You may own the intellectual properties, but I own the concepts. See you in court.
“Avatar 2: The Muppets Take Pandora” — When it’s revealed that the Na’vi are only pretending to be a peaceful race and are actually contemplating the conquest of Earth, Jake (Sam Worthington) and Grace (Sigourney Weaver) fight back by inserting themselves into battle-ready avatar-projections of Kermit and Miss Piggy. With Seth Rogen as Fozzie Bear and Ian McKellen and Christopher Plummer as Statler and Waldorf.
“Home Alone on the Millennium Falcon” — Oh no! Han Solo and Leia Organa have gone on vacation to a ski lodge on Hoth, accidentally leaving 8-year-old Kylo Ren (Jacob Tremblay) behind! Watch what happens when a couple of stray rejects from the Stormtrooper Academy (Steve Buscemi and Christoph Waltz) raid the ship to their eternal horror and regret. Don’t touch that hyperspace switch, Kylo!
“Alien v Duck Dynasty” — Out on the swamp during a hunting expedition, the Robertson clan confronts a wily, multi-jawed extraterrestrial trophy collector who lures them in with its uncanny re-creations of a ZZ Top playlist. Featuring Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley, who arrives to help the heroes and ends up siding with the alien.
“What Ever Happened to Baby Anna?” — This franchise extension to the “Frozen” universe would require buying rights to the 1962 Bette Davis/Joan Crawford horror film from Warner Bros., but it’s a ready-made Lifetime Movie! The film finds Anna (Sigourney Weaver) and Elsa (Meryl Streep) in their elder years, living alone in an unheated mansion filled with hoarded snow globes and attended by their half-melted retainer Olaf (Andy Serkis). The sibling rivalry ramps up when the resentful Anna serves ice princess Elsa a dish of venison. Uh-oh, where’s Sven?
“The X-Files: The Toys Are Out There” — Mulder and Scully stumble upon a chilling little-known paranormal truth: When people aren’t looking, children’s toys come alive. You’ll thrill to the action-packed climax when the duo confront a shambling, possessed cowboy doll and his rocket-man partner and ship them off to Goodwill.
“A&E Biography: Groot” — Follow the popular “Guardians of the Galaxy” character from his early years as a sprout to when he branches out into acting and finally takes root in Hollywood, finding his moment in the sun before fame leads to addiction and he has to turn over a new leaf. OK, I’ll stop now.
“#MeToo: The Movie” — The women of the Marvel Extended Universe and the X-Men franchise have had enough and go public with years of harassment and assault allegations against their male superhero peers. Hell hath no fury like Jean Grey, Mystique, Black Widow, and Aunt May attesting to the fact that with great power comes great misogyny. Featuring Sigourney Weaver as Gloria Allred.
“Wall-E on the Planet of the Apes” — Our plucky trash-compactor bot boards an interstellar spaceship and is whisked away to an Earth now overrun by simians, where he is promptly sat on and crushed by a distracted orangutan.
“Die Hard Inside Out” — You think what happens inside an 11-year-old girl’s head is pretty? John McClane (Bruce Willis) knows otherwise, as he has to scale the Tower of Adolescent Insecurities, pass through the Mountains of Acne, use his flamethrower on an army of Mean Girls, and confront the resurrected Bing Bong, who’s been surfing too many Emo sites on Tumblr.
“Beauty & the Wolverine” — Or: what happens when a Disney princess meets and tries to tame the slob of the X-Men movies. Will Belle finally trim Logan’s nails? Or will Wolverine take Beauty for a long, ecstatic lope on the wild side? Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine does get to tap into his tap-dancing talents, but let’s just say that things don’t end well for Lumiere and the gang. With Michael Fassbender as Gaston.
“Thor: Rodent-rok” — The Thunder God (Chris Hemsworth) sets out on a dangerous mission to rid Asgard of an infestation of evil singing chipmunks, led by Alvin (Justin Timberlake), Simon (Zac Efron), and Theodore (Sigourney Weaver). Cheer as Thor’s mighty hammer finally rids the known universe of the need to hear “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late”) ever again.Ty Burr can be reached at email@example.com.