Twentieth Century Fox Film Chairman and CEO Stacey Snider said she had “no more insight” into the studio’s pending sale to Walt Disney Company during remarks at CinemaCon on Thursday. In what may be the studio’s final presentation at the exhibition industry trade who,w Snider saluted her company’s artistic legacy and urged a crowd of theater owners to think about ways to preserve the future of film.
“We’ve been making movie memories for nearly 85 years,” Snider said in remarks that were both elegiac and deeply personal. “We took chances, pushed boundaries, and forged the future of the film business.”
The veteran executive, who has also had stints at DreamWorks and Universal, noted that the film business faces threats from streaming upstarts and new forms of distribution. She also said that she, like millions of people, enjoys watching movies from the comfort of her home. Yet, Snider said, there’s something that continues to draw her back to darkened theaters.
Consuming entertainment in the home “tends to be as fleeting as it is easy” and Snider argued that the “greatest memories that make up my life are the moments shared with other people.” Many of those took place at the movies, she said.
“Let’s stay dedicated to the future of cinema and passionate about the future to come,” Snider urged exhibitors, while calling on them to “take meaningful steps to ensure people still come together.”
Snider’s remarks were followed by a montage of Fox’s classic films — a collection of popular hits and movie masterpieces that ranged from “The Grapes of Wrath” to “Star Wars.”
“We put our chips on vision,” said Snider.
Fox’s future is very much in doubt. It is unclear whether or not much of the studio’s executive team — a group that includes Snider and her fellow CinemaCon presenter, distribution chief Chris Aronson — will be making the move to Disney. Nor is it certain what Disney will do with Fox’s film properties. The studio produces the X-Men movies, which can easily be integrated into Disney’s Marvel films. However, it also makes smaller indie fare through Fox Searchlight and more modestly budgeted adult dramas and R-rated comedies such as “The Post,” “The Revenant,” and “The Heat” — those are the types of films that Disney abandoned years ago in favor of a tentpole-focused strategy.
The Fox presentation to theater owners included footage from “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Alita: Battle Angel,” and “The Predator.”