Percy, Disney and Fox: Some Thoughts

Hey, guys! I’m already getting a lot questions about the Disney-Fox merger and what it might mean for Percy Jackson. I have NO inside information of any kind, but here are my thoughts.

First, some background. Disney has always been my children’s book publisher, ever since The Lightning Thief novel came out in 2005. The books were first published under the imprints “Miramax-Hyperion” or “Disney-Hyperion,” but those were just different brands within the Disney empire.

Disney was NEVER involved in the Percy Jackson movies. In early 2004, before the first book was published, Disney movie studios passed on the movie rights, which is how Percy Jackson ended up at Fox. Fox was responsible for both Percy Jackson movies.

Now it appears that many assets from the Fox movie studio will be bought by Disney, assuming regulators let the deal go through. I imagine that includes Percy, which means Percy Jackson, in a way, is “coming home” to Disney. I’m very happy about that. Disney (the publishing side) has been very good to me and a wonderful partner for many years, which is why I keep publishing with them!

Realize, though, that Disney studios are a completely different branch of the corporation from Disney publishing. I don’t know anyone at the studios. I have no relationship with the film side. The merger does not mean that I, personally, am getting back the movie rights. It means they will be owned by a different media conglomeration. The merger also does not mean that I will have any more control or influence over what Disney decides to do or not do with those rights than I did with Fox. That’s simply the nature of how it works when an author sells their movie rights, no matter which author, no matter which studio. (One more time for the folks in the back: THE AUTHOR OF THE BOOK DOES NOT CONTROL THE MOVIE. EVER.)

This merger would certainly give Disney a lot of new material and resources, which is exciting, but Percy Jackson is a tiny, tiny grain of sand in a mountain of larger franchises.

Would it be cool if Disney decided to do a Percy reboot of some sort, and if they did a good job, and if it did well? Absolutely! Is that going to happen? I have no earthly idea, nor am I going to assume that the odds are better at Disney than they were at Fox simply because Disney publishes my books. We’ll just have to see.

So what has changed?

Yesterday, Fox owned the movie rights and I had no information, influence or control over what Fox might do with them.

Today, it appears Disney might be acquiring the rights, and I have no information, influence or control over what Disney might do with them.

But hey, it’s Disney. I will be rooting for the merger to go through, because I think it’ll be awesome for generating cool new content, whether or not that includes Percy.

For more details comments about the movies, check my FAQ.




Rick Riordan