After less than a year of ownership, the Mouse has put the Fox to rest… or, in a more accurate term, rebranded. It has been reported via Variety that The Walt Disney Company will officially be dropping the Fox aspect from 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight Pictures and renaming them as 20th Century Studios and Searchlight Pictures respectively.
Aside from the removal of the word “Fox”, there will be no drastic changes to the iconic logos and fanfare music (although I would assume that Blue Sky Studios, who created the current CGI 20th Century Fox logo, would have to re-render the whole sequence with the new brand name). Staff email addresses are also getting an overhaul with the rebranding, with the fox.com domain being phased out in favour of searchlightpictures.com.
One aspect not affected is the current schedule for 20th Century and Searchlight films, which remains unchanged for both studios.
With the new name changes, it isn’t clear how this is going to apply to 20th Century’s animation division, currently still called 20th Century Fox Animation. We would assume this would be likely to follow suit with something like “20th Century Animation”, although nothing is confirmed as of yet. 20th Century Fox Television and Fox 21 Television Studios are also yet to have a decisive rename.
The removal of the Fox name comes full circle, as it came into fruition back in 1935 with the merger between Twentieth Century Pictures and Fox Film Corporation, hence 20th Century Fox. Now with Disney’s historic $71.3. billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets, there is little reason for Disney to associate with Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Corporation, which was spun off from the buyout. Hence, it would make sense for Disney to abandon using the word “Fox” in branding.
At around the same time, it was also reported via Variety that 20th Century and their long-running collaborator Chernin Entertainment (run by film producer Peter Chernin) would be splitting ways. Chernin had notably produced the recent Planet of the Apes trilogy, and the latest animated feature from Blue Sky Studios, Spies in Disguise. Chernin said the following to Variety about his departure:
“I have nothing but praise for Disney They were gracious, classy and paved the way for me to continue to build the company however we want.”Peter Chernin, CEO, Chernin Entertainment
Underwater and A Hidden Life were the final movies to carry the 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight Pictures label respectively, with the last Fox-branded animated feature being Blue Sky’s Spies in Disguise. The new rebranding will take full effect in February with the releases of Searchlight’s Downhill, and 20th Century’s The Call of the Wild (directed by Chris Sanders of Lilo & Stitch and The Croods fame). Bob’s Burgers: The Movie will the first animated feature to carry the new 20th Century branding, releasing on July 17, 2020.
The Fox name in 20th Century will be fully phased out with the release of The Woman in the Window, which is to be the final movie from sister studio Fox 2000 Pictures. Disney will close down that studio when the film releases on May 15, 2020.
20th Century Studios’ upcoming animated feature slate is as follows:
- Bob’s Burgers: The Movie [Bento Box Entertainment] – July 17, 2020
- Ron’s Gone Wrong [Locksmith Animation] – February 26, 2021
- Nimona [Blue Sky Studios] – January 14, 2022