Despite Impending Pullout of Marvel Studios Films from Netflix, Disney Can’t Remove Netflix Co-Produced Miniseries like “Defenders”

When Disney announced earlier this year that they were developing their own branded in-house on-demand media streaming service, it seemed to cause an avalanche with other major media producers to start building up their own platforms too. This signaled a shift from relying on services like Hulu or Amazon Prime or Netflix, to hosting their own films and TV programs.

This of course led to Disney making plans to pull out their media from platforms like Netflix: movies, animated films, series and so on. And that also includes stuff like Star Wars and Marvel superhero movies done by Marvel Studios.

Here is where a point of contention comes up. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is comprised of not just films but also TV series like Agents of SHIELD and Inhumans. On that vein, that also includes some original web programming co-produced by Netflix: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Defenders.

The fact that Netlfix had a hand in the creation of these mini-series, despite being packaged as part of the larger MCU, has raised questions on whether or not Disney could pull them from the host platform to their own service in the future.

The streaming giant’s content director Ted Sarandos notes however, that Netflix holds the rights to keep the Defenders stable of miniseries with the service that helped create them. In addition, those rights include being able to produce more shows starring these characters, who are mostly ground-level superheroes focused on “normal” street crime, not super-villains.

Sarandos’ argument points out that being Marvel’s parent company does not mean Disney completely owns the comic book publisher’s IPs. Furthermore, Disney might try to keep their media content on their future platform at a G-PG keel, and the Marvel-Netflix shows are unabashedly R-rated. This explanation should hold for now, keeping Daredevil and friends on the Netflix service even as Disney targets the launch of their streaming service by 2019.

Olaf’s Frozen Adventure Being Removed from Before Coco Screenings Starting This Friday

It finally happened. After the Disney-Pixar film Coco has dominated for almost two weeks in the box office stateside, the studio announced that its pre-feature short film, Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, will be pulled out of the program towards the end of this week.

Observers note that this might possibly tie into the very hostile reception the 22-minute animation had to audiences who dropped in just to watch Coco and had to wait almost a half-hour to actually see the move they paid tickets for. Add to that the running time of any movie trailers in between showings and there would be an average 40-minute gap before Coco actually started.

So it was that Disney laid down that Olaf’s Frozen Adventure will be pulled out of Coco’s running time beginning on Friday, December 8. The studio had explained that the short inter-quel, the second after 2015’s Frozen Fever that takes place between 2013’s Frozen and the planned 2019 sequel Frozen 2, had always been meant to run on a limited period in cinemas.

Reviews for Disney-Pixar’s Coco have remained especially strong and positive going into its second week. Much praised has been heaped on its accurate and lifelike depiction of Mexican culture, including the Dia de Muertos holiday that is the center of the movie’s narrative.

Olaf’s Frozen Adventure on the other hand, despite some supportive reviews of its returning voice talent and song numbers, has been stained in the general perception due to its unwieldy length being put in front of a long-enough film like Coco. It doesn’t help that Disney originally planned it to be a TV special to be aired on ABC. No explanation has ever been given on why it was tacked on to Coco instead.

There is no word on whether the removal of Olaf’s Frozen Adventure in the screening program for Coco will also apply to cinema releases outside the US,  Canada, Mexico (removed already) and the UK (where it was paired with a re-release of the first Frozen instead).

Talks Between Disney and Fox are Back On Regarding Asset Sales Worth $50B

It was a big but quick surprise last month when word came out that 21st Century Fox, the multimedia corporation founded by Rupert Murdoch which has film studio 20th Century Fox, Fox TV and Fox News under its umbrella, had opened discussions with Disney towards acquiring some of these same branches alongside several broadcasting assets.

The deal apparently went dead after a few days with even a quotation of a possible price, although the news made Fox and Disney shares jump up for a while. Now all of a sudden the talks between the two media giants have apparently resumed.

According to Financial Times, The Walt Disney Company and 21st Century Fox have returned to the table with regards to a possible sale of the Fox Entertainment Group and their stake in the Sky pan-European broadcaster to the House of Mouse.

Fox currently has a market value of roughly $60 billion, and Disney is apparently going to be coughing up around $50 billion to acquire the Fox entertainment assets, the Sky share and also India’s Star TV network. Insider information on the talks would have it that said acquisition will now not include the Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox News and its sports broadcast rights.

In addition to Disney, other major media names like Verizon and NBCUniversal’s Comcast have expressed interest in Fox’s entertainment group. The rationale behind the Murdoch-owned company’s talks with buyers has been their resignation at not being able to keep up with the rise of rival businesses with global digital streaming arms like Amazon or Netflix.

Disney is already making plans to launch its own streaming platforms, one for sports from its ESPN network, and the other for entertainment with its own film library and that of Pixar, LucasFilm and Marvel Studios. One major after-effect of the Fox-Disney deal being realized is that certain Fox film franchises such as Marvel’s X-Men and Fantastic Four will fall under Disney’s hands and that of their Marvel subsidiaries.

What remains now apparently is to make sure the acquisition does not ring too many alarm bells when it comes to government regulations. Already the Justice Department is clamping down on the planned $85 billion deal by AT&T to acquire Time Warner Inc., citing negative effects on the consumer base with the merger of a TV distributor and content producer.

‘Avengers: Infinity War’ First Trailer Now ‘Most-Watched in 24 Hours’ Video

If anybody thought that the latest trailer for the next Marvel Cinematic Universe film Black Panther, due to premiere in February of next year, had generated a significant amount of positive buzz, they probably didn’t pay attention to the movie release schedule. Next up for release is the third Avengers film subtitled Infinity War, set for May, just three months after Black Panther.

If there’s been any doubt about how intensely the Disney-Marvel crowd has been waiting for the big showdown promised since the first ever Avengers film back in 2012, then the reception for the first trailer for Avengers: Infinity War has cleared those away completely. Here’s the trailer in question.

In only 24 hours after it first appeared online, the trailer video has already racked up an astonishing 230 million views. To compare, within a similar 24-hour time-frame the first Black Panther trailer garnered just 89 million views online, plus 19 million more from when said trailer was aired during the NBA Finals 2017 Game 4.

Outside of the MCU, the top 24-hour trailer views before Avengers: Infinity War has been the IT trailer with 197 million views. Said trailer for the 2017 Stephen King horror film remake took the title from the Fate of the Furious trailer (139 million) which first came out in 2016.

Marvel Studios was of course very proud of how well the trailer for the upcoming epic MCU climax has been doing, taking to social media to thank the fans who watched.

Infinity War finally brings to the fore the universal and existential threat of the titan Thanos (Josh Brolin) who featured in the first Avengers mid-credits scene and in the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie.

Aside from the Avengers actors (Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson), the humongous cast includes solo heroes Paul Rudd (Ant-Man), Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange), Tom Holland (Spider-Man) and Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther). The other MCU team the Guardians of the Galaxy (Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel) will also figure.

Find out how the Cinematic Universe version of Marvel’s superhero community takes on one of the most powerful comic-book villains ever conceived when Avengers: Infinity War hits cinemas May 4, 2018.

The Last Jedi Might Get Post-Credits Teaser According to Cinema Advisory

If there’s one thing Marvel Studios (and their Disney higher-ups, sometimes) is fond of doing in many of their films, it’s their penchant for tacking on post-end credits scenes – and even mid-credit scenes on occasion – for their motion pictures. These segments range from world-building like Nick Fury appearing in the 2008 Iron Man film to talk about the “Avengers Initiative,” to some parting humor like seeing the still-upside-down Tamatoa at the end of Moana.

Now that practice has apparently spread to another present-day Disney subsidiary in Lucasfilm. Some leaks for Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi hint that moviegoers shouldn’t leave their seats until the credits are over. It seems for the first time in franchise history, Star Wars is getting a post-credits scene.

Word is that fans who have bought tickets in advance for the long-awaited December 15 premiere of The Last Jedi have been given advise tantamount to “staying to the end,” implying the credits sequence, in order to see a “special surprise exclusive.”

One of these ticket-holders broke the news to Mike Zeroh, who runs a Star Wars channel on YouTube. Regarding this, Zeroth says in his channel that the exclusive content that will be screened to opening-night moviegoers is going to be footage.

The ticket-holder had asked his cinema about the sort of special stuff to be given to attendees on premiere night for The Last Jedi. In addition to complimentary popcorn and goody-bag, the theater also mentioned the special scene that viewers shouldn’t leave their seats too early for.

The question now is: what footage will the end-credits sequence be about? There are only two significant possibilities here: a teaser for the last segment of the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy, or one for the Solo: A Star Wars Story spin-off. If this rumor is true, then it’s the first big change to the film format that Star Wars has laid out in its previous two trilogies. We’ll just have to confirm it for ourselves when Star Wars: The Last Jedi comes out this mid-December.

“Coco” Inspires Latino Viewers to Tell Real-Life Stories with Similarities

As “Coco,” Disney-Pixar’s feature-length masterpiece featuring Mexican culture and the Dia de Muertos holiday in particular, completes its first week in cinemas stateside, we are now aware of several things. First, it’s already considered the most successful film ever in box office history for Mexico, where it got an earlier premiere.

Second, it’s already handily beating Warner-DC’s big superhero team film “Justice League” so badly that it makes heads shake. Third, the placing of what should have been a “Frozen” TV special on ABC as the “short” feature ahead of “Coco” has been met with a lot of audience heat.

And the latest, which is tied to the first, Disney-Pixar’s “Coco,” which sees an aspiring young musician going to the Land of the Dead on Dia de Muertos where he investigates his family’s past history in hopes of realizing his dream, is inspiring Mexican-Americans to share their similar life stories.

The New York Times invited their readers to share their reactions to “Coco” on their official Facebook page, and the responses from the Latino community have been impressive, heartwarming, funny and also tear-jerking like the movie itself.

Many respondents pointed out how the eclectic characters were uncanny dead ringers for so many of their family members and relatives, both living and deceased. They also praised the complete lack of stereotyping in the telling of the central family’s life stories, their daily routines, habits and personalities. The common thread seemingly out of the keyboards of the respondents was that “Coco” was the story of their lives.

There’s no denying that “Coco” is a cinematic juggernaut on the rise. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes has its rating for the film pegged at 96%. On its first weekend the animated movie made $49 million from the box office compared to “Justice League” and its second weekend earning of $40.7 million. One of the featured songs, “Remember Me/Recuerdame,” is becoming an ear-worm song with award aspirations. In fact “Coco” itself looks set for the Oscars, as it has already won four accolades including the National Board of Review’s Best Animated Film.

Disney Shuts Down Disney Infinity 3.0, Will No Longer Publish Video Games

Disney Infinity

In a rather shocking move that sent shockwaves throughout the toys-to-life landscape, Disney execs have decided to shut down their Avalanche Software division – the company’s gaming and software publication arm for almost 20 years which employs 300 or so personnel. This means that the curtain has now been closed on Disney Infinity as well, just 3 years after its debut in 2013. This is quite unexpected for fans of the game considering the exciting plans that were announced by John Vignocchi, Vice President of Production, and John Blackburn, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Disney Infinity during their March 1 episode of Disney Infinity NEXT.

According to a letter that Blackburn released at Disney Interactive’s blog site, they have made “the difficult decision to discontinue production of Disney Infinity” without going into the details of explaining why. The LA Times reports that Disney CEO and Chairman Robert Iger said during a call with analysts that while Disney Infinity is hugely popular, the risk and costs of developing them in-house has caught up with the company. Iger said, “We thought we had a really good opportunity to launch our own product in that space. We did quite well with the first iteration of it, and we did OK with the second iteration, but that business is a changing business.” Revenues were on a downhill slide for Disney’s consumer products and interactive division which includes Disney Infinity. Disney reports lost revenue of as much as 2% to $1.2 billion. The popularity that came along with Disney Infinity also has a huge price tag amidst the tightening competition in the toys-to-life business.  When Disney Infinity was launched in 2013, it costs the company $100 million in production alone.

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Cinelinx also reports that Disney will be switching back to a pure licensing model and using partnerships with other gaming studios instead. The high cost of production vis-à-vis the poor revenue doesn’t add up for Disney to continue its in-house production of Disney Infinity. According to Blackburn, fans can still expect the last Disney Infinity figures of Alice Through the Looking Glass and a Finding Dory Playset to be out by June. This means that any speculations of adding more characters to its Marvel Battlegrounds roster, and a possibility of seeing a set from the upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story film has finally put to an end.

This is discouraging news to all fans of Disney Infinity, who have invested heavily on the game. Will keep you posted as more news comes in.