Disney wasn't happy with the performance of 20th Century Fox's film arm in their first quarter as part of the movie-making giant. CEO Bob Iger made that clear on an earnings call last week, noting that the film division performed well below expectations. However, a new report from Variety seems to suggest that some of that blame falls at the feet of the House of Mouse.
The trade publication said that Disney hamstrung the marketing of Fox's biggest flop of the quarter in X-Men: Dark Phoenix. The report says that the marketing team tasked with telling the world about the underperforming X-Men sequel were all laid off and money was not put behind the eventual push. The film flopped hard, making less than $60 million domestically with a $200 million budget.
"Disney largely ignored ‘Dark Phoenix’ after it acquired 20th Century in March, according to sources. The marketing team familiar with the film was laid off, and Disney did not spend as aggressively to promote the release. One insider says that the film’s lone premiere in Los Angeles was done with an eye to controlling costs — a bit of economizing that annoyed the film’s creative team.”
In spite of that, Iger still singled Fox in what one anonymous producer called a "public hanging."
“The Fox studio performance was well below where it had been and well below where we’d hoped it would be when we made the acquisition,” Iger said, before explaining that he's put trusted lieutenants Alan Horn and Alan Bergman on the case of turning Fox around.
“It will probably take a solid year, maybe two years, before we can have an impact on the films in production. We’re all confident we’re going to turn around the results of Fox live action,” he said.