Disney will stop making films under the Fox 2000 label, a move that could mean that its head Elizabeth Gabler will not be making the move to the Magic Kingdom, Variety has learned. The decision is surprising because Disney had previously stated that Gabler would stay on board at the studio even after it was acquired. That announcement seemed to augur good things for Fox 2000.
Disney is committed to completing the Fox 2000 films currently in production. It is unclear what this means for Gabler and her team going forward. No one in the Fox 2000 staff was laid off on Thursday but they were informed of Disney’s decision.
Disney’s $71.3 billion acquisition of much of 21st Century Fox’s film and television assets essentially doubled the number of film banners Disney manages, and, insiders say, with 20th Century Fox, the main studio, and Fox Searchlight, the company’s indie label, there was not a clear lane for the Fox 2000 brand.
Fox 2000 releases remain part of the Fox film library and catalog, meaning they could appear on the streaming services that Disney is launching. Fox 2000 has produced such box office hits as “The Fault in Our Stars,” “Life of Pi,” and “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.” Gabler is widely admired for her talent in picking literary properties to turn into films.
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Gabler put numerous high-profile feature projects into development as Disney putting the finishing touched on its purchase of Fox. Those titles include “League of Wives” with Reese Witherspoon and her label Hello Sunshine; an adaptation of a new novel from Angie Thomas (“The Hate U Give”); Rick Famuyiwa’s “Children of Blood and Bone”; and a Civil War period piece “News of the World” with Paul Greengrass and Tom Hanks.
Disney began laying off senior staff at Fox Thursday. Domestic distribution chief Chris Aronson, international distribution chief Andrew Cripps, chief content officer Tony Sella, and Twentieth Television president Greg Meidel were among those pink slipped.