Now that Disney has officially announced (and closed) a deal to purchase 21st Century Fox, many fans are excited that the X-Men may now be a part of the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe. But what about the Fantastic Four?
While it is true that Fox has had control of the Fantastic Four since the first movie release in 2005, Fox doesn’t hold the film production rights to the first family of comics. Fox is/was only the distributor of the films, as the Fantastic Four rights are owned by Constantin Film out of Germany. The production company has owned the Fantastic Four rights since 1986 when Bernd Eichinger acquired the rights from Marvel Comics.
So what does this mean for the Disney/21st Century Fox deal?
It is unclear at the moment if Disney will get the distribution rights to the Fantastic Four in the deal, though all signs indicate it will. If Constantin Film wants to make a new Fantastic Four movie (it claims it is still working on a followup to the 2015 movie), it will need to work with Disney in order for them to distribute it. It basically boils down to the two companies working together to get any new Fantastic Four movies off the ground. And, since Disney is best positioned in this deal, Constantin Film will need to fall in line with what the House of Mouse wants.
Or, Disney could simply shell out several million dollars to buy the production rights back.
Still, with 18 months to go before a deal is officially done, anything could happen, but I wouldn’t expect any Fantastic Four action ahead of the fourth Avengers movie.
On the plus side, perhaps this deal will give Ike Perlmutter reason to allow the Fantastic Four to return to comic books again.