20th Century Fox’s Vice Chair Emma Watts Takes New Role At Disney Overseeing Future Fox Releases
While it doesn’t look like 20th Century Fox’s chairman/CEO Stacey Snider will be sticking around (as Alan Horn would likely take her role) post-merger there is now word from THR that Vice Chair Emma Watts will have a new role at Disney.
Watts, a seasoned production executive with strong talent relationships, is in a different position. Her exact role at Disney is still being hammered out, although her duties are almost certain to involve guiding films now in the 20th Century Fox pipeline, including the marquee Avatar and Kingsman franchises (in recent days, Kingsman 3 was dated for release on Nov. 8, 2019).
Watts has strong ties to such filmmakers and talent as James Cameron, Ryan Reynolds, Matthew Vaughn, Ridley Scott and Matt Reeves.
She’s credited for restoring the patina to marquee franchises Planet of the Apes and X-Men, as well as guiding the birth of the Deadpool series and spearheading the Night at the Museum and Maze Runner franchises. (Once the merger closes, X-Men and Deadpool are expected to cede to Kevin Feige’s Marvel.) Other box-office successes include The Greatest Showman and The Martian.
Watts has been at Fox for more than two decades. After serving a long stint as president of production, she was elevated to vice chairman in February 2017. Her portfolio of responsibilities expanded to include physical production, postproduction, visual effects and music in addition to her ongoing leadership of the studio’s production, story, creative affairs and casting departments.
It’s interesting to see if Watts will become Fox’s version of Kevin Feige or Kathleen Kennedy as it does seem that she will be taking a key role with Fox’s blockbuster properties moving forward. However, it’s unknown if she’ll continue to work with Kevin Feige on the X-Men franchise.
There are also signs that 20th Century Fox (with Watts overseeing), Fox 2000, and Fox Searchlight (Bob Iger has suggested they won’t be touching it) could stay as in and just report directly to Alan Horn. Not unlike other studios like Marvel, Pixar, and Lucasfilm under the Disney umbrella.
Disney would ultimately handle the release scheduling to make sure.