Disney Drops 'Fox' From Twentieth Century Movie Studio Name

Date : 01/17/2020 @ 8:16PM
Source : Dow Jones News
Stock : Walt Disney Co (DIS)
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Disney Drops 'Fox' From Twentieth Century Movie Studio Name

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By R.T. Watson 

Walt Disney Co. renamed the Twentieth Century Fox movie studio, which it acquired last year, dropping the "Fox" to make it Twentieth Century Studios, according to a Disney spokesman.

Disney also changed the name of Fox Searchlight Pictures, a sister studio traditionally known for lower-budget, artier films -- to simply Searchlight Pictures.

The change is already apparent in marketing materials for at least two coming films: Twentieth Century Studios' "Call of the Wild," starring Harrison Ford, and Searchlight Pictures' "Downhill," with Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

Television ads for both movies include Fox-free studio logos.

When Disney completed its $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox's major entertainment assets last March, it added the two companies to its empire, making it the world's largest movie studio. For decades, both Twentieth Century Fox and Fox Searchlight ranked among Hollywood's premiere destinations for filmmakers.

One impetus for the change, according to a person familiar with the matter, was potential confusion that could arise over the word " Fox," since the 21st Century Fox assets Disney didn't acquire -- including the Fox broadcast network and Fox News -- are now part of a company called Fox Corp.

Disney didn't alter the names of Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Entertainment or Lucasfilm Ltd. after it acquired them.

The past year was a troubled period at the box office for Twentieth Century Fox, hampered in par t by layoffs and attrition in the company's marketing and publicity departments. The X-Men movie "Dark Phoenix" flopped while the well-reviewed science-fiction film "Ad Astra," starring Brad Pitt, failed to connect with audiences and delivered lackluster results.

Searchlight's "Jojo Rabbit" has garnered seven Oscar nominations, including one for best picture. Another best-picture nominee, "Ford v Ferrari," originally developed by Twentieth Century Fox, is nominated for four Academy Awards after grossing a robust $111.7 million domestically.

The Twentieth Century Fox name had been in use since 1935, after a merger between the Fox Film Corporation and Twentieth Century Pictures. Fox Searchlight was created in 1994.

The Disney-Fox deal also included television assets such as the FX cable network and National Geographic properties.

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 17, 2020 15:01 ET (20:01 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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