20th Century Studios, Inc. (formerly Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation) is a major film studio that distributes the Avatar movies.
Founded in 1935, Fox grew to become one of the "Big Six" studios that dominated Hollywood between 1986 and 2019. Located in the Century City area of Los Angeles, just west of Beverly Hills, the studio was a subsidiary of News Corporation, the media conglomerate owned by Rupert Murdoch, before being merged into the The Walt Disney Company by a purchase in 2019, subsequently changing its name to 20th Century Studios in 2020.
The company was founded on December 28, 1934, as the result of a merger of two entities, Fox Film Corporation founded by William Fox in 1915, and Twentieth Century Pictures, begun in 1933 by Darryl F. Zanuck and company.
The collaboration between Lightstorm Entertainment and 20th Century Fox can indirectly be traced back to a $500 million deal in 1992, which contracted James Cameron to develop twelve more movies with the company. The move followed the success of Terminator 2, which had recently been released. All of James Cameron's theatrical features from that point forwards, such as Titanic and Avatar, have been with the company.
Purchase by Disney
On December 14, 2017, The Walt Disney Company announced that it was acquiring most of Fox's parent company, 21st Century Fox, including the film studio. This bid was cast into doubt in May 2018 when it was reported that Comcast was in talks for an all-cash bid, reportedly worth $60 billion, that threatened the Disney-Fox deal. This resulted in a several counter-bids as the companies competed- with a $65 billion bid from Comcast, and then a $71.3 billion offer from Disney in June.
On June 27, the United States Department of Justice gave antitrust approval to Disney under the condition of selling Fox's 22 regional sports channels, to which the company has agreed. That July, Disney received the support of the Institutional Shareholder Services and Glass Lewis, the two most prominent proxy adviser firms in the world. Fox shareholders were recommended by the advisers as means to provide for Disney's future. Comcast subsequently announced that they were dropping their bid on the Fox assets in order to focus on their bid for Sky. The CEO of Comcast, Brian L. Roberts, said "I'd like to congratulate Bob Iger and the team at Disney and commend the Murdoch family and Fox for creating such a desirable and respected company." The move was then approved by both sets of shareholders. Over the following year, the deal received regulatory approval from the Competition Commission of India, the European Commission,, China,, Mexico's Federal Commission of Economic Competition (COFECE),and finally Brazil.
On March 19, Fox Corporation officially became a standalone, publicly traded company, separate from 21st Century Fox, making Fox Corp the owner of the assets that were not acquired by Disney. The announcement also included appointment of the board of directors. Also on March 19, 21st Century Fox officially completed distribution of shares ahead of the completion of the Disney deal on March 20. The deal was officially completed the following day.
On March 21, it was reported that Disney would shut down the Fox 2000 Pictures studio on October 4, 2019, following the release of The Woman in the Window. On the same day it was reported that up to 4,000 people could lose their jobs as Disney commenced layoffs following the merger.
Because of the acquisition many films originally planned for release in 2019 and 2020, were moved to other release dates. The films affected were Artemis Fowl, Ad Astra, Spies in Disguise, The New Mutants, and Call of the Wild.
Notable past films and film franchises
Note: Some films listed here were only founded and/or distrubuted by 20th Century Fox, not necessarily produced directly by the studio.
- The King and I (1956)
- Cleopatra (1963)
- The Sound of Music (1965)
- Planet of the Apes (1968-73, 2001, 2011- present)
- The French Connection (1971)
- Star Wars (1977-83, 1999-2005)
- Alien (1979-97, 2012-17)
- Predator (1987-90, 2010, 2018- present)
- Die Hard (1988-2013)
- Titanic (1997)
- X-Men (2000-)
- Ice Age (2002- present)
- Alien vs. Predator (2004-07)
- Avatar (2009- present )
- Despite showing rather poor sales from movies like Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief and The Tooth Fairy, 20th Century Fox managed to dominate Q1 sales of 2010 solely from year-over holdovers as a result of Avatar, which accounted for more than half of the company's sales.
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- Littleton, Cynthia (March 18, 2019). "Fox Corporation Emerges as Standalone Entity, Paul Ryan Joins Board". Variety. Retrieved on March 19, 2019.
- "21st Century Fox Announces Completion of Distribution in Connection with Disney Acquisition". 21st Century Fox (March 19, 2019). Retrieved on March 19, 2019.
- Szalai, Georg (March 20, 2019). "Disney Closes $71.3 Billion Fox Deal, Creating Global Content Powerhouse". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved on March 20, 2019.
- Fleming, Mike (March 21, 2019). "Elizabeth Gabler’s Fox 2000 To Shutter As Disney Takes Over". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved on March 21, 2019.
- Griffin, David (March 21, 2019). "Fox Layoffs Begin Following Disney Merger, 4,000 Jobs Expected to Be Cut". IGN. Retrieved on March 26, 2019.
- McClintock, Pamela (March 21, 2019). "Layoffs Begin at 20th Century Fox After Disney Deal Closes". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved on March 26, 2019.
- Lang, Brent (May 7, 2019). "Disney Announces New 'Star Wars' Films, Moves 'Avatar' Sequels". Variety. Retrieved on May 7, 2019.