James Mangold thinks it would be ''sad'' if Disney buys the film side of 20th Century Fox.

The 53-year-old filmmaker helmed Fox's recent R-rated success 'Logan' but Disney - which now owns Marvel Studios - is currently closing in on a deal to try and get back the rights for the iconic comic book characters.

Fox owns the complete rights to both the 'X-Men' and 'Fantastic Four' franchises and any new character within its universe belongs solely to the studio - which led to the cancellation of the 'Fantastic Four' comic series.

However, Mangold told Deadline that if Disney buys out the studio it would mean ''less movies'' will be made.

He said: ''If they're actually changing their mandate, if what they're supposed to do alters, that would be sad to me because it just means less movies.

''The real thing that happens when you make a movie rated R, behind the scenes, is that the studio has to adjust to the reality that there will be no Happy Meals. There will be no action figures. The entire merchandising, cross-pollinating side of selling the movie to children is dead before you even start. And when that's dead, it means you're making a grown-up movie.''

The 'X-Men' franchise and spin-offs have been successful for Fox with both the Bryan Singer trilogy, the 'First Class' movies, the Wolverine standalone series and R-rated 'Deadpool' all doing very well at the box office.

However, Marvel still does retain some input into the franchises and Fox needs Marvel to sign off on all TV deals regarding the superheroes, however, since the Marvel owns 'The Avengers' there has been some overlap with characters such as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch - who have been members of both teams in the comics.

Unlike the popular 'X-Men' franchise, the 'Fantastic Four' films haven't been as popular at the box office.

In 2015, the franchise was rebooted starring Miles Teller, Jamie Bell, Kate Mara and Michael B. Jordan as the titular Four, however, the film was poorly received by fans and critics alike.

These two franchises are not the only Marvel comic book heroes that belong outside of the Marvel Studios, with 'Spider-Man' being owned by Sony Pictures.

However, 2017 saw the first time Marvel Studios and Sony have worked together on the fan favourite superhero after Marvel sold the rights in 1985 for $225,000, with 'Spider-Man: Homecoming'.

This collaboration meant that Tom Holland - who portrays the webslinger - is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe rather than Sony's.