Update: April Fools!
Struggling film studio The Walt Disney Company announced plans to be acquired by media juggernaut VidAngel Inc. after weeks of closed-door negotiations. Disney, whose quirky indie properties “Star Wars” and “Marvel Cinematic Universe” failed to expand beyond their cult followings, threw in the towel after years of poor financial performance.
“Sometimes you have to know when to quit,” said Disney CEO Bob Iger in a prepared statement, noting that the company’s recent expansion into theme parks had proved even more calamitous than its work in film.
The deal comes as no surprise to analysts, who long anticipated Disney’s inability to compete with streaming behemoth VidAngel.
Indeed, Disney filed suit last year, claiming that its financial prospects would be “irreparably harmed” by the much-larger VidAngel. Similar arguments were made by Disney’s co-plaintiffs, the struggling family-run studio Warner Bros., and low-budget independent studio Twentieth Century Fox, whose financial woes have prevented it from updating its name for the 21st century.
The lawsuit proved to be too little, too late for the cash-strapped Disney, thanks in large part to its bungling of the fast-growing online filtering market.
“We thought we understood filtering customers,” Iger told reporters Saturday. “We argued in court that they wanted a filtering option that can’t add new movies, doesn’t offer HD or 4K, and can’t work on Apple TV, FireTV, Roku, Chromecast, Playstation, Xbox, smart TVs, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, HBO, Showtime, or iTunes.”
“It turns out they wanted to filter movies,” added Iger. “You live and you learn.”
Prior to accepting VidAngel’s acquisition offer, Disney’s dire financial straits had forced the studio to begin making movies using only a computer, resulting in such box office duds as Zootopia, Inside Out, and Frozen, Disney’s greatest failure to date.
A Disney representative declined to comment on the selling price of the company, though sources close to the deal report a price tag easily north of $1,000.
In retrospect, Iger conceded that building a full-scale castle had been “wildly impractical.”