Disney Sounds Like They’re Going to Axe Taika Waititi’s Anti-Nazi Comedy ‘Jojo Rabbit’, Anything Else Good or Interesting

Man, I wish someone had warned me that there might be negative consequences to Disney buying Fox and controlling like 50% of the American film industry. I just thought it would be really cool for Wolverine to be an Avenger.

Well, Marvel is making a Fantastic Four film and X-Men films, but it may have left fans feeling a bit like Thanos at the end of Infinity War.

Those chickens are coming home to roost as Disney has turned out to be much, much more risk-averse than Fox. Fox Searchlight has been distributing critically-acclaimed independent films for a long time, and many of them are the kind of thoughtful, small, emotional pictures Disney is smothering out with things like the “live-action” Lion King film that made a billion dollars in the widest opening for any film ever even though everyone agrees it’s visually terrible.

It could even impact Taika Waititi, who has been a studio guy for Disney and turned out a big hit tent pole film with Thor: Ragnarok and is giving them lady Thor in Thor: Love and Thunder because Disney doesn’t really understand what exactly it is that women like about the Thor movies.

It’s that.

But he’s at risk of having a film shelved as Variety reports Disney is looking to play it safe.

Disney is prioritizing making more broadly commercial projects, which includes ongoing work on sequels to James Cameron’s “Avatar” and starry safe bets like the on-screen reunion of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck in the drama “The Last Duel.”

Normally the reward for being a studio guy and making the big tentpole movies is you get to make your less-profitable passion projects that are, let’s be honest, probably better movies. But Disney sounds like they really want to dump Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit, in which the director plays Hitler.

The only bright spot for the film operation would seem to be Fox Searchlight, the long-operating darling of the indie film world, which will test Disney’s patience with the wacky Hitler drama “Jojo Rabbit,” from “Thor: Ragnarok” director Taika Waititi, this fall. The movie is expected to be a major awards contender.

The scathing takedown of Nazism may, however, prove a little too edgy for Disney brass accustomed to producing movies suitable for parents and kids. Searchlight has started to screen the film for its new parent company. Halfway through one recent viewing one executive grew audibly uncomfortable, worrying aloud that the material would alienate Disney fans. His unease may have been over the film’s cutting-edge satire, but it was also an expression of the culture clash taking place as the two studios embark on their new union.

Keep in mind Disney distributed Pulp Fiction and the world didn’t end. And don’t think that just because Deadpool has been consistently beloved by critics and audiences and has been the most profitable R-Rated film franchise ever that it’s safe.

The studio is also grappling with how to fit the very R-rated Deadpool into its PG-13-rated Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The goal is to find a way for the character to move seamlessly between “Avengers” spinoffs and bloody, profane stand-alone adventures.

Just do exactly that. Or don’t put Deadpool in the Avengers films because he’s a comedy character who constantly breaks the fourth wall and trying to play him straight never, ever works. He’s the Bugs Bunny of Marvel Comics.

It does make me think, though, that if any company other than Disney was as big as Disney, they’d be looking for a way to convince the public to take them seriously as a company that could produce memorable films with real artistry to them; instead, Disney is worried that the films it inherited from Fox that have artistry and nuance and appeal to adults who think and want to be challenged might hurt ticket sales for its baby films it’s convinced adults they can’t live without.

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