Disney drops Fox name from its movie assets which will now be known as 20th Century Studios and Searchlight Pictures as it distances itself further away from the Murdoch empire

  • Disney acquired 21st Century Fox and its entertainment subsidiaries last year
  • On Friday, it was announced it had dropped the name from 20th Century Fox which will now be known as 20th Century Studios
  • It has also taken the name away from Searchlight Pictures, which used to be known as Fox Searchlight Pictures
  • One insider told Variety the decision was to do with moving Disney further away from the ‘toxic’ Fox brand
  • It is now solely focused on its news divisions which are known for their provocative, conservative views 

Disney has dropped the Fox name from its movie assets which will now be known as 20th Century Studios and Searchlight Pictures. 

Disney acquired 21st Century Fox and its various entertainment subsidiaries last year in a historic deal with the Murdoch family. 

As part of it, Rupert Murdoch and his sons retained Fox News under Fox Corp., and the entertainment division was sold off. 

Since then, Fox News’ position as a conservative media giant has been bolstered by its mutually beneficial coverage of the Trump presidency and 2020 re-election campaign

The new Searchlight Pictures logo was unveiled on Friday after Disney dropped the Fox name from its film entities 

An older version of the logo bearing the Fox name. The new logo for 20th Century Studios has not yet been released

Disney, in the meantime, has launched Disney+, its online streaming service which now hosts a full catalog of 20th Century Fox family movies. 

The name-change on Friday takes the movie division one step further away from its previous owners amid growing public criticism of its coverage of a variety of topics. 

‘I think the Fox name means Murdoch, and that is toxic,’ one insider told Variety of the decision on Friday.  

Staffers’s email addresses changed this week from ending in fox.com to searchlightpictures.com.

The Fox name will be dropped from the 20th Century and Searchlight logos but not its 21st Century Fox TV subsidiary just yet. 

Rupert Murdoch and Lachlan Murdoch at Allen & Co last July. They are now committed to bolstering Fox Corp as a news-oriented company

Along with the name changes, new logos for Searchlight Pictures and 20th Century Studios have been released. 

The only difference between them and the old logos is that the Fox name has gone. 

The first film to be released under the new studio name will be Call of the Wild starring Harrison Ford. It is due to be released in February.

Lachlan Murdoch is now the CEO of Fox Corp. and his father remains the chairman. 

James Murdoch, who had been rumored for a position at Disney but who now runs an investment firm, retains a board seat. 

Earlier this week he broke ranks to criticize his family’s coverage of the Australian bushfire crisis by claiming Fox News and various News Corp. publications are promoting climate change denials.  


Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. bought 20th Century Fox, an established movie studio known for producing Hollywood hits, in the 1980s to add to his fast-growing media empire. 

At the time, he owned newspapers in the UK and Australia and buying Fox put him in the foray of American film and television.

As part of the deal, he obtained a string of American TV stations.  

Under his ownership, the movie studios continued to churn our blockbuster movies and the TV channels aired provocative entertainment shows.

The entire empire however took on a new form when Murdoch launched Fox News in 1996, favoring Republican politician candidates and pushing the boundaries of what had been responsibly reported on television in America.

Rupert Murdoch announced Fox News with Roger Ailes in 1996

Over the next several decades, as Fox News’ reputation for controversial, conservative news coverage spread, Murdoch became synonymous with it.  

In a wider sense, News Corp. weathered scandals including the phone hacking fiasco in the UK which shuttered News of the World. 

Ailes died in 2017 after being fired from Fox amid a string of sexual misconduct scandals dating back decades

Fox News soon became universally known as just Fox and the separation between the Murdoch’s entertainment and news divisions became less clear. 

As he eyed a deal with Sky in Europe to bolster the news division, Disney – keen to broaden its entertainment footing with the growing success of streaming services – set its sights on the Fox brand’s entertainment divisions. 

Around the time of negotiations, Fox News faced its biggest scandal to date; a series of high profile anchors and lower-level employees accusing Chairman Roger Ailes of sexual harassment and, in some cases, assault. 

It emerged afterwards that Fox had not only paid settlements to some of his accusers, but that it had also done so for other distinguished male hosts like Bill O’Reilly. 

The scandal erupted at the dawn of the #MeToo movement and made Fox one of the many corporate poster children for male misogyny. 

It has since implemented a drastic overhaul and says it encourages safe and fair practices in the workplace.  

The Fox News sexual harassment scandal is now being portrayed in films and TV shows including Bombshell which stars Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie 

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