Did disney buy dragon ball ? On March 20, 2019, Disney announced the acquisition of the 21st Century Fox Company. It was the largest and possibly most challenging merger of two media companies in history. Disney has purchased the assets of Fox’s film and TV divisions, with likes of X-Men, Deadpool, and Fantastic Four now coming under Disney Banner, but there’s more.
Disney acquired the rights to Dragon Ball Z and did this deal under the cloak of secrecy. After Star Wars, Dragon Ball is one of the longest-running and most-loved series, with a built-in fanbase of over thirty years, and Disney’s knew that. Marvel is proof of Disney’s reputation for seizing business opportunities and turning them into multi-billion-dollar enterprises.
If you don’t know, “the Dragon Ball-Z” is the property of 20th Century Fox, and in the past, it has produced the live-action movie called Dragonball Evolution (2009) which is now available on Disney Plus. The movie was so horrible that writer Toriyama felt that the fanbase deserved an apology. Therefore, he decided to revive the series with Dragon Ball Z’s animated film
What’s the Catch?
Disney has acquired the rights to Dragon Ball Z but not the whole franchise. In reality, Disney has only bought the rights to make a live-action Dragon Ball movie and film distribution rights.
While the animated series is still owned by Akira Toriyama, TOEI Animation and Shueisha, all of them are based in Japan. The English dub is still under the control of Funimation Entertainment, a Sony Pictures Entertainment subsidiary. Here Shueisha is the ultimate rights-holder.
Who owns Dragon Ball Super?
For those unaware, “Dragon Ball Super” is a 131-episode anime television series adaption made by Toei Animation that aired in Japan from July 2015 to March 2018. Shueisha owns all of the rights to Dragon Ball Super.
However, the situation is different when it comes to Dragon Ball Super: Broly. Since it is an anime film, Disney will own the distribution and theatrical rights under the contract, and the same will be true for the sequel
Japanese anime is becoming a big hit at Disney
Disney has shown a lot of interest in Japanese Anime in recent times. Therefore, it has been reported that Disney secretly acquired several Japanese Anime, including the popular Bleach anime series. However, Disney has yet to release all of them on their platform.
Instead of producing its own anime series, Disney+ has been quietly acquiring more anime content from Japan. Both Summer Time Rendering and Yojohan Time Machine Blues are already accessible on Disney+.
Tokyo Revengers: Christmas Showdown Arc, which will debut exclusively on Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar in January 2023, is one of the exclusive anime titles that Disney has recently revealed it has licensed as part of its 70-year partnership with the Japanese publishing firm Kodansha.
Has Disney bought the rights to Dragon Ball?
In December 2017, The Walt Disney Company announced its intention to purchase a majority of the assets of 21st Century Fox. The transaction was completed on March 20, 2019 with the dissolution of 21st Century Fox, the acquisition of several assets by Disney and the creation of a new company, Fox Corporation as well as several sales to other companies to obtain the agreement of the various international anticompetitive commissions.
The amount of the transaction is 71.3 billion USD for Disney from which must be deducted the sums recovered from the constrained sales. The main assets purchased by Disney are 20th Century Fox, FX, Fox Networks Group, the 73% stake in National Geographic Partners, Star India and 30% of Hulu.
Fox Corporation includes Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox Television Stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox Deportes, and Big Ten Network. The main assets sold are Sky to Comcast, Fox Sports Net to Sinclair Broadcast Group.
If you remember, this was one of the biggest industry things several years ago. We all know that Disney finally obtained the rights to the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, which was a potentially amazing thing for the MCU, as well as some other major projects like The Simpsons. But, there was also something for anime fans in this merger, something that most people missed but could be potentially important.
Where to Watch Dragon Ball Dubbed in 2023?
Namely, at the time of the merger, Fox owned the rights to the original live-action Dragon Ball movie, as well as the rights to produce and distribute live-action Dragon Ball movies. The anime was, of course, off limits even to Fox. With Disney buying off all of Fox’s assets, the Mouse’s company also obtained the rights to the live-action production and distribution of live-action Dragon Ball movies.
Now, this could, potentially, be a big thing for the future of the franchise, as Disney might decide to focus on Toriyama’s series, but there’s a catch. Namely, when the original live-action Dragon Ball movie was released, it became such a big failure that even Akira Toriyama thought that the fans needed an apology. This is when he decided to revive the series with a feature-length anime movie.
Will Disney make new Dragon Ball movies?
As of June 2022, Disney hasn’t really released any information on the future of the Dragon Ball franchise in the scope of its ownership rights. Namely, as we have explained, Disney has access to a very limited portion of Toriyama’s franchise, so they cannot do much at this moment save produce live-action movies. But, are they going to?
This actual rumor first appeared on the Instagram profile of a user named ultraraw26. If his insights are correct, Disney is planning to launch a live-action Dragon Ball cinematic universe which would, as it seems, be following Goku from his childhood to his adulthood. People speculate that Toriyama would agree to this, but after the failure of the first Dragon Ball live-action film, we’re not sure (he probably will, but not easily). There’s also the fact that anime series are rarely good in live-action formats, and Dragon Ball is one of those majestic franchises that need either a proper treatment, or no treatment at all.
This is why we are not really certain that Disney will be as successful as it has been with the MCU. Dragon Ball is a very specific world of its own, much like Tolkien’s Middle Earth, but in a different format. It is much more rigid than Marvel’s comics and there is little to no space for experiments and novelties, which is something Disney likes to do (and not always in the best way imaginable). Plus, there’s also the censorship, which will certainly cripple a lot of ideas.
The future of Disney’s Dragon Ball franchise is unknown. Whether they are going to revive the live-action franchise – as that is the only thing they can actually do – is not known at this moment but if they do, they’re going to have a tough job. This is why, in all honesty, we’re not sure that a live-action Disney Dragon Ball movie would be something that the franchise needs at this, or any other point in time.
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