Tom Holland Introduces Spoilery “Spider-Man: Far from Home” Trailer, with Points of Discussion

When Marvel Studios released their first trailer for “Spider-Man: Far from Home,” fans tended to assume it was a prequel. Their opinion was that it took place before 2018’s “Avengers: Infinity War” where Peter Parker ultimately got “Thanos-snapped.” Such speculation died down with the release of this new movie trailer.

This fact was pretty much reinforced by current Spider-Man actor Tom Holland, who introduced the second “Far from Home” trailer. In his signature “bad secret-keeper” style, he confirms that the film happens after “Avengers: Endgame,” which premiered last month. With that, let’s do a list of major plot points revealed:

  1. Peter Parker (Holland) is mourning the death of his mentor figure, Tony Stark/Iron Man as depicted in “Endgame.”
  2. Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) notes to Peter that if Tony hadn’t known that Peter would return after the Thanos snap was undone, he might not have done his heroic sacrifice.
  3. Even NYPD cops see Spidey as possibly trying to fill the void by becoming the “new” Iron Man. Peter denies this (“I’m too busy doing your work.”)
  4. Apparently Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) has been trying to contact Peter. He just puts the director of SHIELD on voicemail.
  5. Peter’s high-school class goes on a summer vacation field trip to Europe. Cue Flash Thompson (Tony Revolori) posing with historical re-enactors at the San Marco in Venice (and getting a groin attack from a passerby).
  6. Peter seems to be getting closer with Michelle “MJ” Jones (Zendaya), with his best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) as the snarky side witness.
  7. We get to see a follow-up on Fury recruiting Peter/Spider-Man for a mission. Here he meets Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal), a costumed figure from Earth, “but not ours” according to Fury.
  8. Apparently the various uses of the Infinity Stones on Earth tore a hole between dimensions, dumping Beck and several dangerous elemental-based beings on their doorstep.
  9. Peter learns the other Avengers are busy elsewhere, and all SHIELD has left to turn to is the “Friendly Neighborhood” Spider-Man. Fury lampshades his “veteran hero” reputation by reminding Pete he’s gone to space already.
  10. Apparently Michelle has already figured out that Peter is Spider-Man.
  11. Peter discusses the points of heroism with Beck. The latter says that while he understands Pete wanting to keep a normal life outside of costume, “saving the world requires sacrifice” and that “sometimes people die.”
  12. Seeing the damage the Elementals do spurs Peter to embrace his possible legacy as the next Iron Man. Cue him taking on the Elementals in his new black covert-ups suit.
  13. The classic 1966 “Spider-Man” animated intro (rescored by Mark Giacchino) returns from “Homecoming” as possibly the default theme for for MCU Spidey.
  14. Happy tries to evacuate Peter’s friends in a Stark jet during an Elemental attack. He gets distracted when his explanation of “working with Spider-Man” is misheard as “working for Spider-Man.” Cue exploding jet.

“Spider-Man: Far from Home” also stars Cobie Smoulders, JB Smoove, Martin Starr, Marisa Tomei, Angourie Rice and Hemky Madera. The film premieres on July 2.

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“Avengers: Endgame” Surpasses $2-Billion Mark; Now 2nd-Highest All-Time Box-Office After Passing “Titanic”

It took only its own opening weekend for “Avengers: Endgame” to pass the $1-billion box office milestone. Since it’s been hyped as the definitive conclusion for a decade’s worth of MCU storytelling, that earning is expected. And with the rate it’s going, to double that take is apparently no sweat.

As of its second weekend in cinemas around the world, “Avengers: Endgame” has exceeded $2 billion in global box office. To summarize, the blockbuster superhero film’s combined domestic and overseas earnings are $2.188 billion. That achievement puts it past James Cameron’s “Titanic” (1997) as the new 2nd-highest all-time top grossers.

What really helped Marvel Studios’ big 3-plus-hour superhero bonanza earn that much was its very early release in China. That massive cinematic market contributed $575 million to the 1.56 billion that “Endgame” made outside North America. And in there, it’s now counted as the 9th highest all-time domestic film release.

By now, the only obstacle to the fourth “Avengers” film in become the all-time box office king is 2009’s “Avatar,” also by James Cameron. Its $2.787 billion mark will not be easily reached, especially this summer movie season. Other studios, even Disney itself, have major movie releases that might cut into further earnings for “Endgame.”

This is the 22nd installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the penultimate chapter of its massive “Phase 3” film classification. The final movie of that phase will be “Spider-Man: Far from Home,” which will follow up in July 2.

New “Star Wars” Books Tying to “The Rise of Skywalker” Announced for Late/Year-End 2019

As everyone already knows, the final segment of the “Star Wars” sequel trilogy, “The Rise of Skywalker,” premieres this December. Said to take place a year after “The Last Jedi,” it’ll see the last battle between the Resistance and the First Order, as well as between Rey and Kylo Ren.

The movie has been hyped by Lucasfilm to be the definitive end to the generation-spanning saga of the Skywalker Family. But before the conclusion of that tale is told, some side-stories are waiting to be read. By this we mean a number of spinoff books detailing adventures between the films.

Chief among these related print media for the “new” “Star Wars” is the “Journey to” books. Published by Disney-Lucasfilm and various other publishers, they tell of events happening to the sequel trilogy characters before the events of each movie. Just as “The Force Awakens” and “The Last Jedi” had them, “The Rise of Skywalker” will have its own books too:

Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

  1. A Little Golden Book’s Star Wars: We Are the Resistance – October 4; retells scenes from all three “Star Wars” sequel trilogy films for young listeners
  2. Spark of the Resistance (Justina Ireland) – October 4; in which Rey, Poe and Rose answer a distress call from a planet under First Order occupation, wild flying beasts and a secret weapon
  3. Star Wars: The Ultimate Pop-up Galaxy (Matthew Reinhart) – October 8; revisit the whole saga, from prequel to original to sequel trilogies, all presented in interactive pop-ups
  4. Resistance Reborn (Rebecca Roanhorse) – November 12; about the rebuilding of the Resistance following their near-annihilation in “The Last Jedi”
  5. Force Collector (Kevin Shinick) – November 19; about a teenager with awakened Force abilities looking for answers about his past

Other Books

  1. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – The Galaxy Needs You (Caitlin Kennedy) – December 17
  2. The Art of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Phil Szostak) – December 20
  3. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – The Visual Dictionary (Pablo Hidalgo) – December 20

Disney Gets Broadcast Company to Buy Sports Networks Left Over from Fox Deal; Might Get $10 Billion Out of Them

By now, the acquisition and merger by Disney of media assets from the former 21st Century Fox is old news. But even though said assets led by the 20th Century Fox film studios are now under the Disney umbrella, the whole process hasn’t finished yet due to some loose ends.

By that we mean Disney is still on a timetable to divest itself of several regional sports networks from Fox. That’s to pass antitrust regulations. Just over a month after the acquisition was finalized, Disney has somebody to buy those sports networks. It’s the largest broadcast owner in the US.

The Maryland-based Sinclair Broadcast Group has inked a deal with Disney to take on the 21 sports networks from Fox. Their negotiations, made public this Friday, May 3, had the deal price pegged at about $10.6 billion. While the Department of Justice must yet approve, it should solve the potential antitrust problems Disney would have had if it retained the regional sports channels alongside ESPN.

Adjusted for minority equity interests, Sinclair only has to pay Disney $9.6 billion. The acquired sports networks will be packed under a new Sinclair subsidiary, Diamond Sports Group. Disney already sold another sports-regional, YES Network, this March to the NY Yankees whose games it broadcasts. That amounted to $3.5 billion.

With that proviso soon to be done, Disney can now return to integrating the former Fox media companies to its organization, and streamlining Fox productions to synergize with its own.

A Few More “Aladdin” TV Spots to Look Over

Guess what, it’s May! And three weeks from now Disney’s second live-action adaptation of their Renaissance-phase classic will hit cinemas worldwide. The “Aladdin” remake’s promised us a whole new world for its storyline. We can believe that with the plot tweaks we’ve seen so far in the trailer and TV-spots.

Speaking of which, two more TV spots for “Aladdin” have come out since our last update. They’re remarkably short compared to what’s already come before. Still, they pack some more new scenes, new dialogue, and new fragments of the song number that would establish the Genie’s character for the audience.

These will be short lists, but vital for those who want to dissect every preview before the actual movie premieres:

  • Basics
  1. New scene of Genie (Will Smith) teaching Aladdin how to use his lamp to make wishes on: there are three wishes, and they must each begin with Al rubbing the lamp and starting his request with “I wish”
  2. We got snippets of “A Friend Like Me” from two previous TV spots; now we hear Smith singing the refrain portion (“Mister Aladdin sir, one wish or two or three”)
  3. I supposed it’s obvious now that rather than the straight Broadway-esque treatment by Robin Williams, Smith will be rap-singing his way through “A Friend Like Me”
  4. Genie’s instructions on the limits of his power, though we only catch the second and third; rather than channeling Peter Lorre like Williams!Genie did, Smith!Genie does something else to illustrate “Can’t bring back the dead”
  5. Mena Massoud’s Aladdin apparently has a short attention span; apparently after the song number he again asks how wish-making works; an exasperated Genie exclaims “The whole song was the instructions!”
  • Confident
  1. Remix of earlier scenes that we’ve already experienced in the trailer and other TV spots; some diamonds in the rough/unseen footage is there however
  2. More shots of Aladdin’s entrance into Agrabah as Prince Ali
  3. On what appears to be the welcome banquet for Prince Ali at the palace (we saw him briefly dancing with Jasmine in the trailer), Aladdin impresses the assembly with his parkour-influenced dancing style: even Jasmine can’t help herself but smile
  4. Another snippet from the Cave of Wonders has Abu with a drum rig on his back, cymbals and a kazoo in his mouth; apparently the “A Friend Like Me” sequence just finished and he retains his instruments; interestingly, he somewhat resembles his form as a toy after Jafar zapped him in the original animated film
  5. Genie: We’re gonna need to talk about that monkey later

“Aladdin” premieres on May 24.

Disney Screening “Avengers: Endgame” before AMPAS Hints at Possible Oscar Drive

If you recall, films under the Disney umbrella got a respectable number of nominations in this year’s Oscars last February. True, only a lesser number became wins, but that’s beside the point. One of the Disney-affiliated nominees was Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther,” the first superhero film to get an actual Best Picture nomination (of a total 7, with 3 wins).

So, barring extreme circumstances, you’d all know that “Avengers: Endgame” premiered late last month and is now an unstoppable force in critics and box office. That it’s got strong reviews might factor into a recent action by Disney that might be the prelude to a major “Endgame” Academy Awards push.

Fandango managing editor Erik Davis noted on his Twitter page that Disney just held a screening of “Avengers: Endgame.” Why does this matter? It’s because the audience were members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science. Yes, it’s the Oscars’ award-giving body themselves.

Is the House of Mouse getting an early start towards pushing their 2019 films for nominations at the 92nd Oscars? The company might be encouraged by the Best Picture inclusion of “Black Panther” in 2018. But is “Avengers: Endgame” worthy of that beyond being making oodles of box-office money worldwide?

“Endgame” is the culmination of directors Joe and Anthony Russo’s work in the MCU franchise. This is indicated by a total lack of mid and post-credits teasers for the movie. The Russo brothers also noted that they’re steeping back from the MCU for a time, but haven’t ruled out a return someday. “Avengers: Endgame” is currently still running in cinemas.

More Episodes of “Star Wars: Galaxy of Adventures” Web-Series

The Galaxy Far, Far Away that is the setting for the “Star Wars” franchise has always been full of adventures. That’s pretty much been the selling point of “Galaxy of Adventures,” an online micro-series on the Star Wars Kids YouTube channel. The show renders iconic scenes from the films in an intensely vibrant anime-like style.

When the micro-series launched on December last year, there were a good number of episodes. Since then, more vignettes in “Star Wars: Galaxy of Adventures” have been added. Now we will list these new additions for the fans’ quick reference:

  1. Princess Leia vs. Darth Vader – A Fearless Leader
  2. Luke vs. the Death Star – X-Wing Assault
  3. Han Solo – Galaxy’s Best Smuggler
  4. Chewie vs. Holochess – Let the Wookiee Win
  5. Luke vs. Emperor Palpatine – Rise to Evil
  6. Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader – Join Me
  7. Yoda vs. Count Dooku – Size Matters Not
  8. Princess Leia – The Rescue
  9. Stormtroopers vs. Rebels – Soldiers of the Galactic Empire
  10. Luke Skywalker – Lightsaber Training
  11. Han Solo – Captain of the Millennium Falcon
  12. Han Solo – Taking Flight for His Friends
  13. R2-D2 and C-3PO – Trash Compactor Rescue
  14. Yoda – The Jedi Master
  15. Luke vs. Imperial Walkers – Commander on Hoth
  16. Darth Vader vs. The Rebel Fleet – Fearsome Fighter Pilot
  17. Han Solo vs. The Space Slug – The Escape Artist
  18. R2-D2 – A Pilot’s Best Friend
  19. Princess Leia – An Unexpected Friend
  20. Leia and Han – The Han Rescue

New episodes come roughly weekly on Star Wars Kids YouTube channel.

“Avengers: Endgame” Breaks 1 Billion Worldwide – on Opening Weekend

When Marvel Studios unleashed “Avengers: Infinity” war to the global movie-going audience last year, the film’s conclusion shocked everyone mightily. It also ensured that the fans will wait for the concluding “Avengers” installment, subtitled “Endgame,” with a fevered dedication. When it did premiere last week, it did not fail, both to impress and make bank.

To put it bluntly, it took only opening weekend for “Avengers: Endgame” to break the $1 billion global box-office milestone. Domestically it has grossed $350 million, while overseas it got $640.5 million for a total of $1.2 billion. It took “Endgame” half the time “Infinity War” needed to achieve this.

One helpful factor towards the superhero blockbuster’s early $1B record was the fact that “Endgame” opened early in the global box-office kingmaker, China. From there alone did the film earn $330.5 million, or nearly half the rest of the countries around the world where it has premiered, outside the US.

This momentous occasion was credited by Disney chairman Alan horn to Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige. The highly successful producer had, in Horn’s words, “challenged the notions for what is possible at the movie theater.” The result was a Marvel superhero film that fans everywhere just ate up with gusto.

“Avengers: Endgame” is the penultimate chapter of Phase 3 for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The franchise has released 22 movies over a 10-year period connected by a shared universe and a sweeping mythic storyline, nearly all of which has been resolved in the movie itself.

Thanks to the positive reception, “Endgame” is now the highest-grossing film of 2019, as well as the 18th highest-grossing movie of all time, though this position might change as the film goes into its cinematic run over the following weeks.

Our Two Cents on the Disney “Aladdin” Remake TV Spots

A month ago we finally got a good-length trailer for the newest live-action adaptation of a Disney Renaissance animated classic. Said trailer for “Aladdin” did a lot to restore some confidence in this remake by showing a better CGI rendition of Genie, plus live-action performance by Will Smith. The snippets of “A Whole New World” didn’t hurt the presentation either.

Since then, a number of short TV spots have been released to continue hyping Disney’s “Aladdin” for its premier next month. Here’s an outline list of the storyline-relevant ones, with points of discussion for each:

  • Within
  1. As the original 1992 animated film had a narrator (Robin Williams doubling as Genie and the peddler), so it seems this remake does too (Will Smith?)
  2. New sequences involving the “A Friend Like Me” segment…
  3. The parade from the “Prince Ali” segment (flower camel statue)
  4. Rajah attacking Iago (Alan Tudyk)
  • Connection
  1. Aladdin (Mena Massoud) talks to Genie (Will Smith) about his love, a Princess (“Aren’t they all?”)
  2. Genie tells our hero, “Prince Ali got you through the door. But Aladdin has to open it.”
  3. Will Smith makes the Genie role his own by channeling his character in “Hitch.”
  4. More details from “A Whole New World”
  5. Aladdin and Jasmine on the carpet are being pursued by (a giant?) Iago
  6. Aladdin tells Jasmine (Naomi Scott), “Sometime Princess, you just have to take a risk.”

Rags to Wishes

  1. Original scene of Aladdin sneaking into the palace of Agrabah and into Jasmine’s room, pretending to be a servant
  2. Jasmine: “You cannot just break into a palace like you own the place.”
  3. Aladdin: “If you don’t have anything, you have to act like you own everything.”
  4. Possible “A Friend Like Me” segment where Genie beats up the Forty Thieves (lyrics “A brand of magic never fails…”)
  5. Genie showing off his human form; Aladdin asks, “Do we need the topknot?” to which Genie replies, “That’s my little cherry on top!”

Aladdin premieres on May 24.

Disney Still Not Making “Song of the South” Available on Disney+ Streaming

When Disney formally introduced their exclusive streaming service Disney+ to the world, they promised to fill it with Disney content. Earlier statements from the company hinted that the platform will render unnecessary the practice of putting movies and series in a Disney vault. If it’s made by Disney or any production company under their umbrella, it will eventually be found in Disney+. That’s the ideal.

But even such grand dreams have limitations. And that limitation applies to decades-old Disney productions that the company deems racially insensitive. That means, again in this newest distribution medium, the 1946 musical “Song of the South” still won’t see re-release.

We already know the story, about how the depiction of Uncle Remus and life in a Southern plantation has since been derided as a false picture hiding the actual inhuman conditions of workers back then. For this reason Disney and its CEOs have held off on “Song of the South” ever seeing a home video release, from VHS to DVDs.

That movie’s not the only one affected. The original 1941 animated film “Dumbo” will have a key scene cut from it before hitting Disney+. Said scene involves the talking anthropomorphic crows led by the (offensively-named) Jim Crow who helps Dumbo learn how to fly. The recent live-action adaptation directed by Tim Burton lacks the crows.

Disney+ is expected to launch on November 12. Those looking for a “Song of the South” fix will have to look for the old “Disney Sing-Along Songs” videos (featuring the immortal “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah”), or ride on Splash Mountain in Disneyland Resort, Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland.