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.
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.
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.