Does Disney own Alvin and the Chipmunks (Movies & Franchise)?

Does Disney own Alvin and the Chipmunks

If you spent any time on the internet around 2012 one of your memories most likely includes listening to the Alvin and the Chipmunks remix of every song that was released at the time. Aside from the movies, we actually haven’t heard from the singing chipmunks in a while. The only thing we know about the franchise is that it changed the owners after the acquisition of Fox. However, you may wonder if Disney actually owns the movies and the franchise?

Disney owns all of the movies, however, the company did not get the rights to the rest of the franchise and intellectual properties such as the video games. 

If you want to learn more about this quite complicated situation and the fate of this extremely popular franchise keep reading since the article offers a short breakdown of what happened to everyone’s favorite singing animals as well as some information about where you can watch the movies as of right now.

Does Disney own Alvin and the Chipmunks movies? 

Originally the movie was the property of once a giant among the television networks, 20th Century Fox. Although the movie wasn’t praised by the critics at the time of its release in 2007, it was extremely well received by audiences all around the world. 

The DVD release of the movie became the seventh bestselling DVD of the year and the box office sales made almost three hundred million dollars of profit for the company.

With such success, it’s easy to understand why the company decided to keep releasing the sequels. With the reception of it, the movie became the highest grossing movie released by the studio that year. 

The franchise quickly grew and became one of the studio’s best assets. The massively successful story of the three singing chipmunks was soon followed by a sequel centered around three Chipettes possessing the same talent and then two extra movies following the newly formed gang on their unusual adventures.

Aside from the movies and standard movie merch the franchise also has a video game centered around the movie’s protagonists. 

Despite the fact that both of the Fox studios are home to some of the most popular and beloved movies of all time, a few years ago it became popular for a completely different reason. 

The thing is now the infamous acquisition of the studios by Disney. On March 20, 2019, Disney announced the acquisition of the 21st Century Fox Company. This was the first and perhaps most complex merger between two media companies in history. 

Fox was a dominant force in the film business until Disney bought it. One of the six global studios and the world’s fourth-biggest media conglomerate.

Disney was the world’s biggest television corporation at the time, and under CEO Bob Iger’s leadership, has recently purchased other media assets and intellectual properties such as Pixar in 2006 for more than $7 billion, Marvel in 2009 for more than $4 billion, and Lucasfilm in 2012 for more than $4 billion. 

They were steadily making a profit for shareholders by delivering success after hit at the box office. But, in the middle of Disney’s popularity, a revolutionary will emerge on the horizon, revolutionizing the film world, now the most popular streaming service by far, Netflix.

Although some of the reasons for this merger were discussed more often and more in-depth in the public eye there was one central reason as to why Disney was acquiring the right to so much content.

The media would have you think the reason was tied with Disney then recent purchasing of Marvel Studios and bringing one of the most beloved Marvel characters to the MCU for good, the real reason actually had more to do with the new streaming service Disney was launching in order to compete with Netflix.

 Among the plethora of content, Disney was buying from the studio were also the movies following the singing chipmunks. The original plan was for Disney to acquire the right to all of the movies from the franchise, however, things did not go as planned in regards to this particular franchise.

Does Disney own Alvin and the Chipmunks franchise?

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So, since Disney now owns all Alvin and the Chipmunks movies they also own the entire franchise right? Well if you assumed this you wouldn’t be correct. 

When the acquisition between the two studios happened Disney only got the ownership of the movies, however, the rights to the characters and the rest of the franchise were not part of the deal.

Bagdasarian Productions or as they are better known Bagdasarian Company actually owns the rights to the franchise and related intellectual properties. 

The rights were not transferred to Fox due to the fact that the company was involved in few different lawsuits, two against Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation and Universal Studios Home Entertainment.

Twentieth Century Fox was actually sued twice, in 2010 and then again in 2012. 

Bagdasarian Productions has filed a lawsuit seeking remuneration for Janice Karman’s contributions to the script of Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, the second CGI/live-action film in the Alvin and the Chipmunks franchise. 


All 8 ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks’ Movies in Order (Including TV Series)

After being dissatisfied with their writer’s first draft, Fox asked Karman to rewrite the screenplay for the picture. She claimed she was entitled to more money than Fox granted her because she contributed so much to the final draft. She demanded half of the movie’s proceeds. 

Bagdasarian Productions also alleged a violation of contract since Fox licensed the picture to HBO, reducing potential earnings, and unpaid royalties on the film’s music, the Alvin, and the Chipmunks’ album. The case was ultimately ruled in favor of Twentieth Century Fox.

The second one was a case against Universal Studios Home Entertainment in 2000. As a result of a violation of the contract, Bagdasarian Productions sued for a payment of $100 million. 

Universal allegedly failed to “fulfill its promise to put The Chipmunks in motion films, videos, theme parks, and on television,” according to the lawsuit. 

Bagdasarian Productions further alleged that the entertainment business never meant to respect the commitment to vigorously market the characters since it was quietly dismantling its family entertainment and animation divisions. In 2002, Bagdasarian Productions won their lawsuit and reclaimed the Alvin and the Chipmunks characters.

Are Alvin and the Chipmunks movies on Disney Plus?

The Walt Disney Company’s Media and Entertainment Distribution business own and operates Disney+, an American subscription video-on-demand over-the-top streaming service. 

1st The service primarily distributes films and television programs made by The Walt Disney Studios and Walt Disney Television, with specialized content hubs for Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and the Star brand for select international countries outside of the US. 

Disney+ also features original films and television shows. Disney+ is one of Disney’s three principal streaming platforms in the United States, alongside Hulu and ESPN+.

Seeing as Disney owns Alvin and the Chipmunks movies it would be only reasonable to assume you could stream the movies on the platform. However, since the situation with the franchise is so complicate and the ownership of the movies is split between different entities the issue of streaming is also quite complicated.

Unfortunately, the movies are not available on Disney+ yet. Due to the preexisting contract between Twentieth Century Studios and HBO, the movies are currently only available on their own streaming platform HBO Max. 

This will most likely change in the future since the contract was signed for a limited amount of time. It’s most likely that after the contract expires the movies will be available for streaming on Disney’s own streaming platform, Disney +.

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