According to The Wall Street Journal, Walt Disney Co. is working to get Twentieth Century Fox on track three months after acquiring the company. Disney and Fox hosted a red-carpet premiere for the movie “Dark Phoenix,” the first major Fox movie since the acquisition.
Before the event, Disney sent Fox employees a memo detailing how the event should proceed. Women needed to “wear light makeup” while men were asked to shave. Everyone was asked to wear a wristwatch, because using phones to check the time was not allowed.
Disney bought the entertainment assets of 21st Century Fox, which includes Twentieth Century Fox, for $71.3 billion. Yet, Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger said that Fox films have dampened an otherwise record year for Disney.
Iger said Fox’s performance “was well below where it had been, and well below where we hoped it would be when we made the acquisition.” He put the blame mostly on the 17-month long acquisition process. Long delays such as that one often lead to talented employees leaving the company.
“That’s a long period of time for a business that relies on constant decision-making and constant attention to detail,” Iger said. “Often, decision-making can grind to a halt or certainly slow down.”
When the deal finally closed, Disney had to deal with the poor performance of Fox. “Dark Phoenix” did very poorly, along with “Stuber,” “The Kid who Would Be King,” and “The Art of Racing in the Rain.”
Fox employees admit that the studio lagged, but many said a lack of communication with Disney was a huge factor. Disney was unclear with Fox employees about the future of the company.
Iger, though, is remaining positive.
“As I said a few times,” he said, “we analyzed the 21st Century Fox opportunity entirely through the lens of our future business.”
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