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Disney To “Scale Back” on Movies “That Don’t Fit Its Family-Friendly” Formula

For nearly 8 months the prospect of Alien and Predator’s future under the House That Mickey Built has been an uncertainty and a worry. While Disney may be well known for family orientated films, they’ve never been shy about releasing more mature films under the banner of other companies they owned, such as Mirimax and Touchstone.

Disney previously commented that they would be retaining Fox Searchlight and Fox 2000 leading to hope that perhaps Alien and Predator would continue under a different banner too. To quote Prometheus’ Elizabeth Shaw, “we were wrong, we were so wrong.

According to the Wall Street Journal not only is it likely that 20th Century Fox will be massively downsized and perhaps completely dissolved and its own executives forced to act as if nothing is wrong until then, but what Alien and Predator fans have also been fearing may come to pass – Disney may be dropping support for any franchises that don’t fit the family-friendly image they’ve cultivated for themselves.

Unlike its sibling television studio, Fox’s movie studio is expected to be significantly downsized once the deal is complete. Disney will likely take over Fox’s two biggest film franchises, Avatar and the X-Men, and scale back production of costly movies that don’t fit its family-friendly, franchise-focused formula, people close to both companies have said.

Until the deal is done, however, Fox is obligated to keep acting as if it will survive, people who work at the studio say, which means making movies and developing new ideas with no certainty as to what Disney will end up doing with them.

The Predator is perfectly safe but not so for any of those potential sequels that John Davis previously spoke about and that prospective Alien: Covenant sequel. This news makes it seems unlikely that we’ll be seeing any future big screen releases for either series and if we do, they’ll be scaled back severely. Which may not actually be a bad prospect.

 Disney To

With Comcast having been a serious contender to purchase 20th Century Fox, perhaps there’s hope that Disney may just sell those franchises it doesn’t deem suitable to its brand to another company. The Comcast owned Universal Studios seems like it’d be a much better home for Alien and Predator in Fox-less world than Disney ever would.

How Disney’s lack of interest in more mature franchises will effect tie-in materials still remains to be seen. Hopefully we’ll continue to see Alien and Predator live on in the pages of Titan’s novels and Dark Horse’s comics.

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  1. CainsSon
    I would take this latest information with a grain of salt. Nothing worth the money the Alien and Predator franchises are will be dissolved the way this information suggests. If DISNEY is that set on doing away with it - and I still think they will sooner consider finding a more PG-13/Stranger Things-like approach to it - they will simply sell the rights to someone else.

    Why on earth would they just do away with an entire profitable franchise or something that makes that kind of money? They will simply sell the rights to it.

    Also Im not sure the reporting is clear. DISNEY PARKS have considered ALIEN family-friendly enough to include in their parks for decades. Lets not get carried away. They arent gonna throw out the baby with the bathwater.

    Consider this: ALIENS w/o the cursing, is likely a PG-13 film by today's standards.

  2. Huggs
    I've mentioned Murphy before, especially during the release of Cold forge. He's played the role of "bad guy" (in my head) for most of the Alien novels and unused scripts I've ever read. But Sudler was the best character I could ever hope to see him play in the franchise. If we never get to see him as the dirty "suit" in an alien movie, it will be a tragedy. But no matter what Alien literature I read, he'll always be the bad guy. And, as far as I'm concerned, he always has.
  3. Nazrel
    I hope this doesnt stop games or books too. While i have always been an advocate for fresh new characters and story this is just depressing.

    I would hate any possibility of future games to be ruined becuase of disney
  4. dinosauriac
    Well, they absolutely gutted Lucasfilm and its entire production slate when they bought it, seems like their style. Gotta say it seems like yet another really bad move for Disney, who're reliant pretty much entirely on Marvel and their back catalogue. Why buy Fox if you're not going to do anything with it? To add more nebulous "value" for the shareholders?

    Regardless, I've been saying for years the franchise needs to die. Maybe it actually will now. Let's all buy the latest collector's sets and have a wake, been a long, LONG downhill slide but we're finally about to hit the bottom.
  5. Corporal Hicks
    #ItsStarted

    Well, it's not attributed to Disney but it's attributed to Fox. I don't know if it's related or not.

    Joss Whedon Says Fox is Pulling the Buffy the Vampire Slayer License from Dark Horse

    Of note at the bottom -

    Quote
    A potentially interesting point to note is that the Firefly license Whedon also mentions has already been taken away and given to BOOM! Studios, the publisher in which Fox owns a significant minority stake. Perhaps the writing has been on the wall the entire time? Asked for comment, Bleeding Cool Rumourmonger-in-Chief Rich Johnston responded, “pip pip.”

    Perhaps a move to save the license when the buy-out takes place, leaving it under a now Disney owned company?
  6. Mr.Turok
    Alien is fine, Scott always delivers on time and under budget.

    Predator on the other hand, actually these movies are cheap but the draw I think barely covers then.

    If Disney is going to try I would actually think that they would go for the pg 13 route with AVP.
    Big companies these days will want to play it safe. While Alien is well known for its R rated universe, its still something Disney hasn't full on has dipped toes in unlike Universal or Fox. It might be a branch sure, but I don't trust it still as I can easily see Disney neglecting the Alien franchise for other properties that are making sure money.
  7. DaddyYautja
    Alien is fine, Scott always delivers on time and under budget.

    Predator on the other hand, actually these movies are cheap but the draw I think barely covers then.

    If Disney is going to try I would actually think that they would go for the pg 13 route with AVP.
  8. Magegg
    If you notice, I actually never said I wanted Ridley Scott to return but that's neither here nor there.
    & He did contribute new ideas in his prequels, because you didn't like them doesn't make them any less new.
    They were new but bad. I want new and good.

    But bringing back old characters and retconning to do "Aliens but bigger" is a vapid idea
    Well, Ridley did "Alien but without aliens" with Prometheus, and "Alien but bigger" with Covenant.
    OK, there was an attempt to touching new themes with Prometheus, but it was only a tease, they didn't actually fulfill anything but raising a couple questions (Lindelof as a writer? REALLY??) and then throwing all that away with Covenant.
    Ridley needed guts, he ended up just rehashing his first movie; that tells me he didn't have any trust on his idea, or had nothing of substance actually planned. I liked the idea of Prometheus becoming a new thing, spinning off from Alien, but in the end, Ridley didn't know how to do anything. He didn't have the brains, only a vague intention... a whim, perhaps.

    and I'll take Ridley Scott's attempts at articulating a new idea over that.
    I don't. It was a mess. A disaster. A waste. And it sort of ruined the old continuity (or I would think that, if I were able to take the prequels seriously... thank God I can't, and probably no one with a brain can). No, I don't take that over an Aliens sort of follow-up.

    He just needs a better script to mold his work around.
    I'm not giving him another chance.

    No, having to include sexual subtext and fears of the foreign makes it an Alien film.
    Sadly, the formula is commercially dead. Scott himself killed it.

    Otherwise as others have said, you might as well make a new Science-Fiction franchise.
    Well, I want it to be Alien/s. I want it to be xenos. I want it to be engineers. Only with a better story that what we've had so far, after the first two movies. There was just so much unfulfilled potential.
  9. The Old One

    At least you should not contradict yourself with the "creative freedom" and "uncompromised innovation" thing and don't insist hiring Scott again. Having him back after TWO movie prequels, which both made the same mistakes, and asking for a third one we all know how's going to and... that's NOT innovation; it's the opposite to innovation.
    Give the franchise to someone else with new ideas.


    Attempting to popularize the series by removing elements that have been present from 1979 is creatively bankrupt, the worst thing they could do.
    Isn't an Alien PG-13 movie an "uncompromised" vision? Having to include gore, sex allegories and swearing in the Alien movies is kind of a pretty "established, standard" idea... wouldn't the idea of an Alien PG-13 movie be "innovative", then? ;)

    If you notice, I actually never said I wanted Ridley Scott to return but that's neither here nor there.
    & He did contribute new ideas in his prequels, because you didn't like them doesn't make them any less new.

    I'm all for giving the franchise to new filmmakers, Tongal is doing it at the very least.
    But bringing back old characters and retconning to do "Aliens but bigger" is a vapid idea, and I'll take Ridley Scott's
    attempts at articulating a new idea over that. He just needs a better script to mold his work around.

    No, having to include sexual subtext and fears of the foreign makes it an Alien film.
    Otherwise as others have said, you might as well make a new Science-Fiction franchise.


  10. Magegg
    Time and time again, Disney has shown reluctance to allow that.
    And has 20th Century Fox tried to do something "artistic" and "innovative" with the Alien franchise that's been?
    Covenant was nothing but a braindead rehash of the first Alien movies, trying to pander to the gore-hungry audience, IMO. And everything else about that movie were awful ideas.
    It might be Scott's product, but it was bad. Bad as a movie, bad for the business and bad for the franchise.

    For me, quality is more important that "vision" or "innovation", and the last Alien entries haven't been actually good. There are a couple salvagable things here and there, but overall they were a mess. Movies shouldn't be a mess.
    That's why they need supervision, of someone that knows better than Scott. It just looks like they gave all the money to Scott and then disappeared, they closed their eyes and just expected him to do masterpieces or something. They weren't.

    If you're going to produce "creative freedom" movies, at least the producers should be people who recognize when a product is a good idea or a bad idea. The prequels were bad ideas and bad movies.

    Disney usually produces quality movies. That's already something better than going out there like a blind man trying to hit something with a stick, which is what Fox seems to do. Sometimes they hit gold (Matt Reeve's Planet of the Apes trilogy), but twice the times, they not only hit crap but they keep hitting it (Simon Kinberg, with many bad X-Men movies; and they would be crazy if they give more money and power to Scott after Covenant), unapologeticly, and keep throwing money at it.

    To be fair, some of the stuff Kinberg and Scott have done are pretty good, but some others are simply awful, sometimes again and again, and they keep giving them all the chances. That just creates inconsistent movie franchises that can end up dead at any point, and that makes hard to invest on that.

    At least you should not contradict yourself with the "creative freedom" and "uncompromised innovation" thing and don't insist hiring Scott again. Having him back after TWO movie prequels, which both made the same mistakes, and asking for a third one we all know how's going to and... that's NOT innovation; it's the opposite to innovation. Give the franchise to someone else with new ideas.

    Maybe Scott shouldn't have come back after the original Alien with his rancid ideas for the Jockeys and the xenos; I think everything would have been better that way.

    Attempting to popularize the series by removing elements that have been present from 1979 is creatively bankrupt, the worst thing they could do.
    Isn't an Alien PG-13 movie an "uncompromised" vision? Having to include gore, sex allegories and swearing in the Alien movies is kind of a pretty "established, standard" idea... wouldn't the idea of an Alien PG-13 movie be "innovative", then? ;)
    This new approach could actually revitalize the franchise. Sadly, Covenant was all the opposite to that; it felt only like the hundredth rehash of the Alien franchise, hitting all the clichés and made worse by the braindead characters from Prometheus. It's clear the franchise needs something NEW, not more Ridley Scott.
  11. The Old One

    There's a lot of 'boundaries' you can break without recurring to gore.

    I'm not referring to the rating but the creative freedom those creating the film have to go off the beaten path.

    To do something unpopular, to be a David Lynch, James Mangold or Jonathan Glazer.
    Someone with a vision they're unwilling to compromise on.

    Time and time again, Disney has shown reluctance to allow that.
    Attempting to popularize the series by removing elements that have been present from 1979 is creatively bankrupt, the worst thing they could do.
  12. 426Buddy
    We just fundementally disagree then.

    Also Ive seen satisfying pg13 films too. Im saying this series specifically wouldnt be satisfying if was produced with pg13 in mind.

    And gore had nothing to do with the issues present in previous films.
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