Fox Announces Another X-Men Movie. Here's What It Means for Disney.

Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) owns Marvel, but 21st Century Fox (NASDAQ: FOXA  ) won't stop reminding moviegoers that it has control over a large and important swath of the Marvel Universe.  

On Thursday, X-Men: Days of Future Past director Bryan Singer took to Twitter to hint at a potential X-Men movie announcement. Fox confirmed the news Friday morning.

X-Men: Apocalypse is due on May 27, 2016, and presumably will feature the Marvel villain Apocalypse, who first appeared in the X-Men comics in the 1980s, when I was still a young collector. Those stories centered on an ancient Egyptian mutant -- i.e., Apocalypse -- who'd been stirred to life by a series of time-shifting events introduced in the X-Men spinoff book, X-Factor.

Whether Singer will choose to explore that plotline is unknown at this point. All we can say for sure is that he'll build on whatever is revealed in the next X-Men movie, Days of Future Past, which hits theaters next year on May 23. Here's what I think the announcement means for Disney:

1. Marvel's profit profile is growing more impressive by the day. We spend a lot of time talking about the numbers Marvel Studios puts up for self-produced films, and for good reason. Both The Avengers and Iron Man 3 earned more than $1 billion at the worldwide box office, resulting in what I suspect was at least $1.8 billion in gross profit. Yet Fox's six-movie X-Men franchise has earned $1.07 billion in U.S. grosses and $2.3 billion worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo. We also know from filings in years past that Marvel's licensing deals typically called for a producer fee of between 8% and 10% of the gross. Fox's future X-Men movies could bring Disney hundreds of millions in profits.

2. Disney is never getting the X-Men rights back. On the downside, Fox's ever-expanding X-Men movie slate means Disney and Marvel are unlikely to ever reclaim this franchise. So long as Fox continues to make movies based on the characters, it keeps the license barring some sort of buyout. Investors shouldn't expect (or want) Disney to overbid when the current deal pays so well.

3. Demand for multi-universe crossovers may be coming. Fans, on the other hand, have plenty to groan about. Avengers vs. X-Men as a movie? It won't happen, unless studio executives come to a landmark cross-licensing arrangement that allows for co-producer credits and equitable sharing of movie costs and profits. Sadly, Hollywood doesn't have a great reputation when it comes to striking such fan-friendly deals.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. What do you expect from X-Men: Apocalypse? Do you like Fox's approach with the various X-Men movies? Leave a comment below to let us know what you think.

James McAvoy plays a younger Charles Xavier in Fox's newest X-Men films. Source: 21st Century Fox.

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  • Report this Comment On December 08, 2013, at 9:18 PM, ryanayers wrote:

    It -does- bother me a little that Marvel doesn't have the franchise rights to X-Men; but I actually do not care about any X-Men vs. Avengers business.

    It would be cool and/or cute to see some cameos; Ms. Marvel owes quite a bit of her history to X-Men characters, particularly Rogue; and Wolverine and Hulk are just too awesome of a duo to keep apart forever (Captain America, Wolverine, and Black Widow is another classic team-up).

    Maybe a X-Men/Fantastic Four thing would be a thing...

  • Report this Comment On December 08, 2013, at 9:57 PM, SuntanIronMan wrote:

    I don't know. I'm hopeful for cross-licensing deal.

    Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch (Magneto's children) are going to be in the next Avengers movie. And Quicksilver will also be in the next X-men movie. Now the Maximoff siblings are likely just a special case since they are both closely associated with both the X-Men and the Avengers. But at the very least it makes me hopeful that Disney and Fox can maybe realize that a little sharing can help both studios out.

    I'm no dummy though. I know that's not how it typically works with big Hollywood movie. But if DC Comics and Marvel can make numerous cross-over comics (with Superman vs. the Hulk and whatnot), surely somebody can figure out how to get a Avengers Marvel character and a X-Men Marvel character in the same movie.

  • Report this Comment On December 08, 2013, at 10:19 PM, SuntanIronMan wrote:

    I don't know. I'm hopeful for cross-licensing deal.

    Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch (Magneto's children) are going to be in the next Avengers movie. And Quicksilver will also be in the next X-men movie. Now the Maximoff siblings are likely just a special case since they are both closely associated with both the X-Men and the Avengers. But at the very least it makes me hopeful that Disney and Fox can maybe realize that a little sharing can help both studios out.

    I'm no dummy though. I know that's not how it typically works with big Hollywood movie. But if DC Comics and Marvel can make numerous cross-over comics (with Superman vs. the Hulk and whatnot), surely somebody can figure out how to get a Avengers Marvel character and a X-Men Marvel character in the same movie.

    They can still keep their universes seperate, but maybe trade characters every now an then.

    "Hey, Fox. I'll lend you Ms. Marvel for your next X-Men movie if you let us borrow Mister Fantastic for our next Avengers movie."

    "Throw in She-Hulk for our next Fantastic Four movie and you got yourself a deal, Disney!"

    Too easy though. Too reasonable and amiable also. Too unlike Hollywood. *audible sigh*

  • Report this Comment On December 08, 2013, at 11:45 PM, Mentallect wrote:

    Crossovers like a Wolverine/Batman team-up would be ideal for the studios to work out. To me, the metahuman type characters lend to better stories than the over the top Superman/Thor ones, but I do enjoy those too.

  • Report this Comment On December 09, 2013, at 12:00 AM, retro wrote:

    As a long time collector of comics and a lifelong hardcore x-men fan, I think the movies will get better as they learn from the mistakes of the previous movies, i.e. as they more fluidly and believably present mutant powers and their use and as the characters develop depth and history. Personally, I think X-men comics have a wealth of potential story lines to glean from especially form the era of issues #190 to #243 (roughly). These issues had some of the best storylines and character development ever. I think so far, fans are being real forgiving with the movies only because we want to see more of them. The X-men movies they have made so far have been.. well... uhm.. ok but I will keep buying movie tickets if it will help them get better! I'm hopeful for the next movies coming out in this franchise.

  • Report this Comment On December 09, 2013, at 12:40 AM, AcuraT wrote:

    Marvel sold these rights to Fox when it was hard up for cash and needed the income to survive. It was not the best deal in the world because they were fighting for their survial at that point. Still, as the article points out, it does pay out 8% to 10% of the revenue with each movie releassed - and Marvel (Disney) does little to nothing to get it. They would love to have the franchise, but love having litterally no risk for someone else to do a movie for them - and getting paid for it.

    In the end, it is a a sweet deal for Disney that owns the lion share of Marvel properties (I believe this includes movies like Daredevil and Electra that failed elsewhere - and the rights have been reclaimed by Marvel/Disney).

  • Report this Comment On December 09, 2013, at 3:44 AM, moosepie wrote:

    I am 52, so of course, I didn't grow up reading the X Men comics; in fact, until the first movie came out, I had never heard of them.

    Not sure how much further they can go story wise. I just watched The Wolverine and it already seems a bit peaked out now.

    I mean, three movies ago they destroyed the Golden Gate Bridge, Capt. Nemo with the helmet lost his magnet finger, and several of the mutants died. Kind of hard to go forward when you send a wrecking ball through such a big cast of characters.

    And please don't let that black chica come back making a whirlwind or whatever. Can't keep up with her fro'do's.

    Yeah, it's a bit out of control story wise. So, why is it that the studio heads think it's OK to completely start over, like they did with both Spiderman and Superman? I didn't get that at all, I mean AT ALL! That one Superman, who pretty much tossed a giant cryptonite Island out into space, what was wrong with him or that story line?

    And the "new Spidy"??? Why? No clue.

  • Report this Comment On December 09, 2013, at 3:48 AM, comicfan wrote:

    Would someone please get Bryan Singer away from the X-men. He's done enough damage. The movies should at least almost resemble something from the comics.

  • Report this Comment On December 09, 2013, at 4:30 AM, Burstedbladder wrote:

    I stopped watching after part three of the installment. The film totally sucks, and they never followed the story from the comic book line.

    All they are now is just FX and action of people blowing up and killing one another. no real story line or substance to this franchise of a film.

  • Report this Comment On December 09, 2013, at 9:46 AM, Sidcor wrote:

    I am still waiting for an Xmen movie.

    All they make is "the Xmen wouldn't survive without Wolverine so he saves the day yet again" movies.

    While Hugh Jackman does play a good Wolvie, he should not be the main character/savior in every film. Xmen is supposedly a group that works together, I haven't seen that yet.

  • Report this Comment On December 09, 2013, at 10:05 AM, masmith1985 wrote:

    To tell you the truth I rather Marvel(Disney) do the X-men because Fox never gets the X-men movies right the best ones theyve made so far were the first wolverine, X2 (maybe)

  • Report this Comment On December 09, 2013, at 10:57 AM, jormunguard wrote:

    I agree with Sidcor.

    While Hugh Jackman does a great job of playing Wolverine, I am seriously tired of nearly every movie revolving around the character. I mean when they completely change a character from the comics just to make it relate to Wolverine its a little extreme.

    Out of the 7 X-men movies, including Days of Future Past, only 1 hasn't revolved around Wolverine in some way.

    The X-men are supposed to be a team, not Wolverine and his sidekicks.

  • Report this Comment On December 09, 2013, at 6:47 PM, SuntanIronMan wrote:

    @Burstedbladder

    You should give The Wolverine a shot then. Out of all of the recent superhero movies, it is probably the most (relatively) low-key, down to Earth, not reliant on special effects movie of the bunch. Well... minus the big, dumb action ending. That's to be expected though. I think there is a law that all superhero movies need a big, dumb action ending, lol.

    At least it isn't building after building being destroyed (and thousands of people dying horribly!) like in Man of Steal or a giant flying snake monsters coming out of a wormhole like in The Avengers. At far as big, dumb action endings go, The Wolverine's was the smallest and and most intelligent (relatively speaking course, haha). It was a much slower and more deliberate story/character-based movie than more the more action-heavy superhero movies recently. I really liked it (and I was not a fan of X-Men Origins: Wolverine or X-Men: The Last Stand).

    @jormunguard

    Make that two movies. X-Men (1) also didn't revolve around Wolverine. I'd say it was shared about equally between Wolverine and Rogue.

    And I wouldn't automatically assume that Days of Future Past will revolve around Wolverine the same way X2, The Last Stand, Origins Wolverine, and The Wolverine have. Will it involve Wolverine? Sure. But it seems like we'll get a ton from Xavier (both young and old). If you look at the teaser poster for the movie, it is 100% Xavier on it (half young/half old Xavier). Not one other person on it. This one definitely seems like a Xavier-centric movie (with an extremely large cast of other characters). Or at the very least it will be a Xavier AND Wolverine movie with an extremely large cast of other characters.

  • Report this Comment On December 09, 2013, at 7:00 PM, SuntanIronMan wrote:

    (Please ignore the typos. Hard to type all of that twice after it didn't post the first time, lol.)

  • Report this Comment On December 10, 2013, at 11:03 AM, BriGeek wrote:

    My problem with the X-men is lack of consistency. There was no planning with the first 2, and no looking back with the rest. Too many little gotcha's that don't slide together.

  • Report this Comment On December 10, 2013, at 6:30 PM, SuntanIronMan wrote:

    @BriGeek

    That's more of a comic book in general issue. That's why DC Comics seems to reset its universe every other year. (Exaggerating a bit, but not by much, haha.)

    With any ongoing story that spans multiple years (huh... just about 14 years now for X-Men movies, wow) and was written by multiple people, you are going to have inconsistencies. It happens. And not just with comics or comic book movies. Can happen with pretty much anything.

  • Report this Comment On March 28, 2014, at 1:54 PM, IamtheMightyThor wrote:

    I enjoyed the x-men movies thus far and wolverine. I did not like some of the special effects because they seemed hokie... For example when sabretooth and wolverine are fighting on top of the Statue of Liberty and sabretooth throws wolverine and he catches his claw on the Liberty's crown then swings back on top that was hokie. The x-men that I grew up with beast was a man not a blue animal type being. Then in the 80's when they came out with the animated series that was cool. If they are having a cameo of Rogue in Days of Futures Past she needs to be able to have the super human strength and ability to fly. I other words she acquire Ms. Mavels powers. Maybe they might get this next movie right. We'll see...

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