This is it, this is us.
This is it, this is us.
I remember the day we learned Disney wanted to buy certain assets of 21CF. « Anything I should worry about, Dad ? » asked our daughter. « Nope« , I answered.
Yet this pre-acquisition period has been a true 15-month journey for both Disney and Fox employees. Discussions, questions, memories, last LA Screenings, last Fox party on the lot, team prepping and introvertions, this journey has been a mix of nostalgia, angst and hope.
As in many other parts of our industry, each individual questionned herself/himself on his/her role.
But differently from any other place in our entertainment industry, we were thousands and thousands to fear, hope and think at the exact same things during this exact same moment.
And now, this is it.
Let’s move to this new chapter.
Like a band, one of the greatest ever.
I remember DEADPOOL. Although I was already a Marvel fan, I discovered that our son was more expert than me. A year before the movie was released and became a phenomenon, he was already fully aware of everything about this film, his hero and its universe (Joining Fox that same year, I was at last able to work at the Nakatomi Plaza).
I remember THIS IS US, an authentic family drama which have you cry at every episode. I remember POSE, a creative and emotive shock, a series that was as difficult to pitch as it was touching and fascinating.
I remember HOMELAND. An Israeli format, an American drama. Carrie Mathison and Sergeant Brody became our heros with all their personal complexities.
I remember THE AMERICANS. This drama of espionage, with its nostalgic historical context, is first and foremost a story of love and family life. And the series helped to launch CANAL+ Series in 2013.
I remember TITANIC. As some other millions of viewers, I cried each time I saw it, and I saw it several times. I remember AVATAR, and how Mark was so happy to tell us at Canal+ that there was this « wonderful movie with some blue heroes » soon to be released.
Later that same year, I remember THE SIMPSONS‘ twentieth anniversary during Mipcom in Cannes. Nobody recalled that SIMPSON episode, 9 years earlier, where they envisionned that Fox would become part of Disney.
I remember SPEED with Keanu Reeves, one of the first Fox films I saw on CANAL+ in France. Long before John Wick, Reeves was wearing a bullet-proof jacket as he tried to save a bus while Sandra Bullock was driving. SPEED was all about adrenaline. That same year, I joined Canal+ when Mark Kaner, who will become my mentor and friend many years later at Fox, left it.
I remember GRAPES OF WRATH (1940) MY DARLING CLEMENTINE (1946), KISS OF DEATH (1947) and many others, and how Gina Brogi at Fox (who will also become my boss and friend some years later), was happily surprised that we knew, liked and licensed the black & white features of the Fox catalogue for our French movie channels at CANAL+.
I remember DIE HARD. No need to stress how new and fresh it was – the hero is fun, brave, and he suffers. As I finally went to Los Angeles years later, how many times did I check if the Nakatomi Plaza, aka Fox Plaza, was still up at Century City ? Later, I remember and enjoyed DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE, a Touchstone picture (Disney). On the Fox lot, there is this huge DIE HARD poster. And you can hear John McClane whispering « Yippee Ki Yay ».
I remember 24, the real-time intrigue, the split-screen design and the music (still my ringtone 2 decades later). I had to buy DVDs in the UK to binge the full series. I remember that short video of Kiefer Sutherland that Mark Kaner managed to have produced and sent for Canal+ 15th anniversary. That same year, I remember the first Ice Age, with Rudy and Manny.
For any Fox or Disney employee, D-Day refers to this coming March 20, 2019 when Disney becomes the owner of some 21CF’s assets. As a new era will soon begins, there is obviously a mix of sadness, nostalgia, hope and enthousiasm. The exact balance between these feelings may vary from one person to another, but we’ll all remember Fox legacy.
I personally remember hundreds of moments, first as a Fox fan, then a Fox partner, and finally a Fox employee. Here is a sequence of souvenirs, one souvenir per day, 7 days until D-Day.
*** 7 days before D-Day ***
I don’t remember when I saw STAR WARS for the first time. But I recall my emotions. The STAR WARS franchise became a universe with whom I grew and that still lives my adult life. I remember this young kid sitting next to me at the premiere of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. While the end credits scrolled on the screen, he exclaimed whispering, « Luke and Leia are brother and sister ! » How lucky was he ! He had 3 more films from the franchise to discover.