The Walt Disney Co. will acquire most of 21st Century Fox in a historic $52.4 billion deal
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The Walt Disney Co. will acquire most of 21st Century Fox in a historic $52.4 billion deal

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Disney acquiring 21st Century Fox

It’s official: The Walt Disney Company and 21st Century Fox announced this morning that they have entered into a definitive agreement for Disney to acquire the vast majority of Fox, including the 20th Century Fox film and television studios, for a whopping $52.4 billion in stock.

“The acquisition of this stellar collection of businesses from 21st Century Fox reflects the increasing consumer demand for a rich diversity of entertainment experiences that are more compelling, accessible and convenient than ever before,” Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger said in a statement on Thursday. Iger has also extended his contract with the company through the end of 2021 to help oversee the acquisition process.

“When considering this strategic acquisition, it was important to the Board that Bob remain as Chairman and CEO through 2021 to provide the vision and proven leadership required to successfully complete and integrate such a massive, complex undertaking,” said Orin C. Smith, lead independent director of the Disney board.

Iger says Disney is “honored and grateful that Rupert Murdoch has entrusted us with the future of businesses he spent a lifetime building, and we’re excited about this extraordinary opportunity to significantly increase our portfolio of well-loved franchises and branded content to greatly enhance our growing direct-to-consumer offerings.”

The newly announced deal will place the X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Deadpool under Marvel control, meaning that they are bound to show up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in one way or another over the course of the next few Marvel films. Disney claims the control of these properties will allow them to “create richer, more complex worlds of inter-related characters and stories that audiences have shown they love.”

In addition, Disney will also now have control over Fox Searchlight, 20th Century Fox’s sister company specializing in the financing and distribution of independent, art-house, and foreign films. The studio has introduced audiences to films such as Little Miss Sunshine and 12 Years a Slave over the years and is already having an exceptional awards season with The Shape of Water and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Though, as Disney continues to integrate the assets it has acquired into its company, the future of Fox Searchlight will remain uncertain.

“We are extremely proud of all that we have built at 21st Century Fox, and I firmly believe that this combination with Disney will unlock even more value for shareholders as the new Disney continues to set the pace in what is an exciting and dynamic industry,” Murdoch said.

He continued, “I’m convinced that this combination, under Bob Iger’s leadership, will be one of the greatest companies in the world. I’m grateful and encouraged that Bob has agreed to stay on, and is committed to succeeding with a combined team that is second to none.”

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Matt Damon is reteaming with his ‘Ford v Ferrari’ director James Mangold for ‘The Force’

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Matt Damon The Force
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Nearly 14 years after starring in Martin Scorsese‘s brilliant Infernal Affairs remake The Departed, Matt Damon is set to head back into crooked cop movie territory with his Ford v Ferrari director James Mangold.

According to Deadline, Damon is attached to play the lead role of Denny Malone in Mangold’s adaptation of Don Winslow’s 2017 best-selling novel The Force, which is a pretty damn good read if you haven’t gotten around to it yet.

In the book, Malone — a highly decorated NYPD detective sergeant — is the dirtiest of dirty cops, having stolen millions of dollars worth of cash and narcotics in the wake of one of the biggest heroin busts in the history of New York City.

Little does Malone know, though, that the feds are hot on his tail “and he must walk the thin line between betraying his brothers and partners, the job, his family and the woman he loves, trying to survive, body and soul, while the city teeters on the brink of a racial conflagration that could destroy them all,” as the book’s official synopsis puts it.

David Mamet wrote and turned in the first draft of the script for The Force in 2017, but Mangold is currently in the middle of a rewrite with his Logan collaborator Scott Frank, so I suppose we’ll see how that turns out.

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Production begins on Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Nightmare Alley’ starring Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett

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Guillermo del Toro Nightmare Alley Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES

Production is officially underway on Guillermo del Toro’s star-studded new project Nightmare Alley, which features one hell of an ensemble cast that includes the likes of Bradley Cooper and Cate Blanchett in the leading roles.

An adaptation of William Lindsay Gresham’s novel of the same name, Nightmare Alley follows Stanton “Stan” Carlisle (Cooper), a young and ambitious con man who teams up with a female psychiatrist (Blanchett) for a mentalist act, only to realize that she’s even more corrupt than he is.

Rooney Mara, Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, David Strathairn, Jim Beaver, and Mark Povinelli round out the film’s cast, with del Toro alumni such as Ron Perlman and Richard Jenkins also said to be in talks to join.

Leonardo DiCaprio was initially supposed to play Cooper’s role but was forced to bow out earlier this year as production on Nightmare Alley would’ve conflicted with that of Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon, which stars DiCaprio alongside Robert De Niro and is expected to begin shooting in the spring.

No word yet on when Searchlight Pictures plans on releasing Nightmare Alley, but stay tuned for more info on that.

Excited to start shooting today on our new adventure NIGHTMARE ALLEY with @RealGDT and many of our regular gang. pic.twitter.com/lzPHhXpppI

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Phoenix: Warner Bros. invites you to an advance screening of Cathy Yan’s ‘Birds of Prey’

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Birds of Prey screening
WARNER BROS.

Warner Bros. will release Birds of Prey on February 7 and it’s giving Silver Screen Beat readers in Phoenix a chance to attend an advance screening of the film before it officially opens in theaters.

Our readers in Phoenix can click on this link right now to enter to free passes — good for you and one guest — to attend an advance screening of Birds of Prey happening at Harkins Arizona Mills IMAX on Wednesday, February 5 at 7:00 p.m.

Winners for this contest will be selected and notified on Monday, February 3 via email. Good luck! Below is the official trailer for Birds of Prey as well as some additional details about the film.

Directed by: Cathy Yan

Cast: Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez, and Ewan McGregor

Opens: Friday, February 7

Rating: R for strong violence and language throughout, and some sexual and drug material

Synopsis: Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is a twisted tale told by Harley herself, as only Harley can tell it. When Gotham’s most nefariously narcissistic villain, Roman Sionis, and his zealous right-hand, Zsasz, put a target on a young girl named Cass, the city is turned upside down looking for her. Harley, Huntress, Black Canary, and Renee Montoya’s paths collide, and the unlikely foursome have no choice but to team up to take Roman down.

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