‘Black Panther’: Should Chadwick Boseman’s King T’Challa Be Recast?

The #RecastTChalla movement argues that many white superheroes have been recast again and again — and that the King of Wakanda’s adventures shouldn’t end.

#actors-and-actresses, #black-panther-movie, #black-panther-wakanda-forever-movie, #black-people, #boseman-chadwick, #change-org, #comic-books-and-strips, #dc-comics, #disney-plus, #fans-persons, #marvel-comics, #marvel-entertainment, #marvel-studios, #movies

Official Andor trailer shows us what the birth of a revolution looks like

Diego Luna reprises his role as Cassian Andor in the new Disney+ prequel series Andor.

Disney+ has released an action-packed trailer for Andor, the forthcoming 12-episode prequel series set five years before the events of Rogue One, starring Diego Luna as Cassian Andor.

As we’ve reported previously, our first look at the series came from a behind-the-scenes teaser in December 2020 during Disney’s Investors Day. We got a short teaser earlier this year at Star Wars Celebration. Andor has been described as a “tense, nail-biting spy thriller,” with Tony Gilroy, who co-wrote Rogue One, serving as showrunner.

The story begins with the Empire’s destruction of Cassian Andor’s homeworld and will depict his transformation from a “revolution-averse” cynic to a major player in the nascent rebellion who is willing to sacrifice himself to save the galaxy. According to Deadline Hollywood, Luna described Andor as “the journey of a migrant. That feeling of having to move is behind this story—that shapes you as a person. It defines you in many ways, and what you are willing to do.”

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The Former Electrical Engineer Leading Disney’s Streaming Strategy

Kareem Daniel has become one of the entertainment industry’s most powerful executives, exposing him to Hollywood’s slings and arrows.

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‘Ms. Marvel’ Introduces a New Hero (and a New Actress)

This Disney+ series, about a teenage Muslim superhero, represents the first screen role for its 19-year-old star, Iman Vellani.

#comic-books-and-strips, #content-type-personal-profile, #disney-plus, #marvel-entertainment, #ms-marvel-tv-program, #television, #vellani-iman

Disney+ drops teasers for Andor and Willow TV series at Star Wars Celebration

Disney+’s forthcoming Andor series will focus on Rogue One‘s Cassian Andor.

Disney+ unveiled two teaser trailers for upcoming series at the Lucasfilm studio showcase panel during Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, California, on Thursday. The first was for Andor, a 12-episode prequel series set five years before the events of Rogue One, starring Diego Luna as Cassian Andor. The other was for Willow, a new series intended as a sequel to the 1988 cult classic fantasy film of the same name, set decades after the events of the original film.

The streaming platform also confirmed that the much-anticipated Star Wars series Ahsoka will premiere in 2023, along with a new kid-centric series called Star Wars: Skeleton Crew, set during The Mandalorian‘s timeline and starring Jude Law. Also, the third season of The Mandalorian will premiere in February 2023, featuring the bounty hunter’s return to Mandalore with Grogu, as well as Katee Sackhoff reprising her S2 role as Bo-Katan Kryze. (Chances are she wants to retrieve the Darksaber that Mando won.)

Andor

We haven’t seen or heard much about Andor after the reveal of a behind-the-scenes teaser in December 2020 during Disney’s Investors Day. Andor has been described as a “tense nail-biting spy thriller,” with Tony Gilroy, who co-wrote Rogue One, serving as showrunner.  It begins with the Empire’s destruction of Cassian Andor’s homeworld and will depict the birth of the Rebellion. According to Deadline Hollywood, Luna described Andor as “the journey of a migrant. That feeling of having to move is behind this story—that shapes you as a person. It defines you in many ways, and what you are willing to do.”

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#andor, #disney-plus, #entertainment, #gaming-culture, #lucasfilm, #star-wars, #streaming-television, #trailers, #willow-series

What We Learned About TV During Its Biggest Week

This week’s upfronts, when the media industry sells its programming to advertisers, showed how much has changed in the past few years.

#advertising-and-marketing, #cbs-corporation, #cnn, #discovery-channel, #disney-plus, #fox-news-channel, #nbcuniversal, #netflix-inc, #news-and-news-media, #online-advertising, #upfronts-television, #web-original-programming

Review: New Chip ‘N Dale movie hilariously spoofs classic games, cartoons

When there's danger!

Enlarge / When there’s danger! (credit: Disney)

Traditionally, when Disney films skip theaters and go straight to video, it’s not a good sign. That’s changed somewhat now that the Disney+ content beast needs to be fed, yet the company still differentiates between “triple-A television” like The Mandalorian and “cheap, kid-friendly movies” like the Air Bud series.

Hence, today’s Disney+ premiere of Chip ‘N Dale: Rescue Rangersa PG-rated reboot with little in the way of advance press screenings—had us assuming the worst, despite of its comedy pedigree. The Lonely Island (“Lazy Sunday,” “Mother Lover”) is all over the film’s credits, but how much of the group’s boundary-pushing Saturday Night Live work could survive the family-friendly demands of a straight-to-Disney+ launch?

I’m here with surprisingly good news. Chip ‘N Dale is a self-aware comedy romp that families will appreciate. What’s more, it knows exactly when and how to toy with ’80s and ’90s gaming, cartoon, and pop-culture references without losing character development and physical comedy.

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Orphan Black’s Tatiana Maslany goes green in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law trailer

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, starring Tatiana Maslany, starts streaming on August 17 on Disney+.

Marvel has released the first trailer for its latest spinoff series, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, and it looks like it will be a lot of fun. Bonus: Mark Ruffalo reprises his role as Bruce Banner/Hulk and teams up with She-Hulk, played by Orphan Black star Tatiana Maslany. Marvel also announced that it has begun production in Atlanta on Echo, a nine-episode spinoff series centered on the deaf gang leader Maya Lopez (Alaqua Cox), who was introduced in last year’s Hawkeye.

Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has described the series as a “half-hour legal comedy” (with superheroes) and said it would hew closely to John Byrne’s take on the character in the comics. That would be The Sensational She-Hulk series, known for its metafictional approach, in which She-Hulk occasionally broke the fourth wall, walking through ads and even arguing with Byrne as the writer. The character has been a member of The Avengers, the Fantastic Force, and S.H.I.E.L.D., and it’s expected that She-Hulk will eventually appear in the MCU films.

Per the official premise: “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law follows Jennifer Walters as she navigates the complicated life of a single, 30-something attorney who also happens to be a green 6-foot-7-inch superpowered hulk.” In addition to Ruffalo’s “Smart Hulk,” Tim Roth will reprise his role as Emil Blonsky/the Abomination from 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, and Benedict Wong will be back as Wong, most recently seen in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Jameela Jamil plays Titania, a super-strong rival of SheHulk; Ginger Gonzaga plays Walters’ best friend; and Renee Elise Goldsberry plays Amelia.

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#disney-plus, #gaming-culture, #marvel-studios, #mcu-phase-four, #trailers

Review: Moon Knight is a darkly complex superhero origin story with a soul

Moon Knight in full costume

Enlarge / Oscar Isaac is a tormented man with multiple personalities who becomes the avatar of the Egyptian moon god Khonshu in Moon Knight. (credit: YouTube/Marvel Studios)

Can anything good ever come of gods interfering in the affairs of men? That’s the underlying conundrum posed in Moon Knight, the latest spinoff series in the MCU’s Phase Four, and in the case of the series, the answer is a resounding yes. Starring Oscar Isaac as a tormented man with dissociative identity disorder (DID), the series has more in common with the Netflix Defenders series than with recent Marvel fare like WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Loki. But instead of taking place in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen, it’s telling a unique superhero origin story rich in symbolism and Egyptian mythology.

(Some spoilers below for the comics and the TV series. Any major reveals are at the very end, and we’ll give you a heads-up when we get there.)

As I’ve written previously, in the comics, Marc Spector (aka Moon Knight) is the son of a rabbi, marked at a young age by the Egyptian moon-god Khonshu to be the god’s avatar on Earth. But Khonshu is a supernatural entity with many aspects to his nature—and also exists out of phase with normal time and space—so forging a psychic connection with the human Marc harms the man’s mental health.

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Oscar Isaac Learned to Love Blockbusters Again in ‘Moon Knight’

He wasn’t necessarily looking for another “Star Wars” or “X-Men” experience, but Isaac, the versatile screen heartthrob, has found satisfaction with this unconventional Marvel superhero.

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Biologist, elite climber team up to hunt for new species in The Last Tepui

Elite climber Alex Honnold teams up with NatGeo to bring biologist Bruce Means to the top of a massive “island in the sky” in The Last Tepui.

Deep in the Amazon jungle, magnificent rocky tabletop towers rise abruptly from the foliage, often cloaked in thick clouds. They’re called “tepuis” (“house of the gods”), and their plateaus, or mesas, are completely isolated from the forest below. That makes them a tantalizing potential source for exotic new species. National Geographic is marking Earth Day with the release of a new documentary, The Last Tepui, featuring renowned biologist Bruce Means teaming up with elite climber Alex Honnold and a veteran NatGeo team to become the first people to summit one of these remote structures.

(Some spoilers below.)

Anyone who has seen the Oscar-winning 2018 documentary Free Solo will be familiar with Honnold. He emerged seemingly out of nowhere in 2007 with a free solo climb of Astroman and the Rostrum in Yosemite National Park and soon became a dominant force in climbing. Free Solo documented Honnold’s quest to become the first to complete a free solo climb of El Capitan—not without controversy, given the very real risk of Honnold dying in the attempt. (Spoiler alert: He survived, completing the climb in 3 hours and 56 minutes.)

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#biology, #disney-plus, #documentaries, #ecology, #entertainment, #gaming-culture, #national-geographic-tv, #national-geographic, #rock-climbing, #science, #the-last-tepui

Netflix’s Stumble Could Be a Warning Sign for Streaming Industry

The company faces a number of challenges, but its problems may be an indication that its competitors are racing toward an unstable future.

#academy-awards-oscars, #disney-plus, #hastings-reed, #netflix-inc, #online-advertising, #television, #video-recordings-downloads-and-streaming, #walt-disney-company, #web-original-programming

Disney, Built on Fairy Tales and Fantasy, Confronts the Real World

The entertainment behemoth spent decades avoiding even the whiff of controversy. But it has increasingly been drawn into the partisan political fray.

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The Best Movies and TV Shows Coming to HBO, Hulu, Apple TV+ and More in April

Every month, streaming services add movies and TV shows to their libraries. Here are our picks for some of April’s most promising new titles.

#amazon-com-inc, #apple-tv-plus, #disney-plus, #hbo-max, #peacock-services, #television

What to Know About Marvel’s ‘Moon Knight’

Starring Oscar Isaac and Ethan Hawke, the new Marvel series follows a troubled, crime-fighting caped crusader. But don’t mistake him for Batman.

#comic-books-and-strips, #disney-plus, #hawke-ethan, #isaac-oscar, #marvel-comics, #marvel-studios, #moon-knight-tv-program, #television

‘Moon Knight’ Review: Marvel, Oscar Isaac and Identity Issues

Oscar Isaac multitasks in a Marvel series about a superhero who answers to an ancient Egyptian god and struggles with dissociative identity disorder.

#diab-mohamed, #disney-plus, #isaac-oscar, #marvel-entertainment, #moon-knight-tv-program, #slater-jeremy, #television

A misfit teen’s dream of being a superhero comes true in Ms. Marvel trailer

Iman Vellani stars as Kamala Khan in the upcoming new MCU miniseries, Ms. Marvel.

Marvel Studios has released the official trailer for its latest MCU spinoff series: Ms. Marvel, starring Iman Vellani as Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel. Created by Bisha K. Ali and consisting of six episodes, the miniseries will air on Disney+ and help set up the upcoming film, The Marvels, next year.

Ms. Marvel is a relatively recent addition to the world of Marvel Comics, with the distinction of being the first Muslim character to have her own comic book storyline. She appeared briefly in the background of Captain Marvel #14 (2013), and the solo series Ms. Marvel debuted in February 2014. That first volume won a Hugo Award for best graphic story in 2015, and the rapid success and high popularity of the character is what inspired Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige to introduce Ms. Marvel into the MCU Phase Four.

Kamala Khan, aka Ms. Marvel, is a teenage Pakistani American who lives in Jersey City. She’s a major comic books fan, worships Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel, and fantasizes about becoming a superhero herself one day. And then that day arrives. Her powers stem from the Terrigen Mists, released globally in a crossover storyline, the “Inhumanity.” The mists activated dormant Inhuman cells in several people, Kamala included.

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#disney-plus, #entertainment, #gaming-culture, #iman-vellani, #marvel-studios, #mcu-phase-four, #ms-marvel, #streaming-television, #trailers

Obi-Wan Kenobi’s first trailer: From sunny Tatooine to dark nights of Jedi hunts

Finally, we see Ewan McGregor return to the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi in... Disney+'s <em>Obi-Wan Kenobi</em>, debuting May 25.

Enlarge / Finally, we see Ewan McGregor return to the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi in… Disney+’s Obi-Wan Kenobi, debuting May 25. (credit: Disney / Lucasfilm)

Disney+ is about to fill its shortest-ever gap between live-action Star Wars TV series, thanks to a six-episode run of Obi-Wan Kenobi starting May 25. And with less than three months to go, Lucasfilm has finally dropped its first substantial look at what the return of Ewan McGregor to the Star Wars universe looks like.

Tuesday’s 90-second trailer is much beefier than the tease we saw a few months ago, and the new footage straddles a solid balance between a vast look at the TV series’ environments and a tantalizing tease of plot developments to come. In terms of callbacks to familiar content, we get a particularly intriguing look at Kenobi’s inevitable cave-exile future, which includes the character spying on what looks like a childhood version of Luke Skywalker, as flanked by Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru (played by the same actors from the series’ prequel film trilogy). “Stay hidden,” Kenobi suggests in the trailer’s narration.

Seconds later, a Palpatine-like voice makes clear that Jedi are to be hunted, as per the prequel-series mandate of Order 66, and in this Jedi’s case, certain events may compel Kenobi to leave his hiding place. “Their compassion leaves a trail,” the voice says. “The Jedi code is like an itch. They cannot help it.” And at least one familiar hunter, the Fifth Brother (a character who debuted in the CGI-animation series Star Wars Rebels), emerges in brand-new, live-action form with a wicked super-spinning red lightsaber to get on with such a hunt. (Though this character looks much like the Grand Inquisitor in the above saber-filled image, Disney’s notes to the press say this character is Fifth Brother, as portrayed by Sung Kang of The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift fame.)

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#disney, #disney-plus, #gaming-culture, #obi-wan-kenobi, #star-wars

The Best Movies and TV Shows Coming to HBO, Hulu, Apple TV+ and More in March

Every month, streaming services add movies and TV shows to its library. Here are our picks for some of March’s most promising new titles.

#amazon-com-inc, #apple-tv-plus, #disney-plus, #hbo-max, #hulu-com, #television

‘The Proud Family’ Returns, Now Even Louder and Prouder

“The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder,” on Disney+, revives a beloved animated series for a new generation.

#actors-and-actresses, #black-people, #cartoons-and-cartoonists, #davidson-tommy, #disney-plus, #dubose-artist-a-boogie-wit-da-hoodie-1995, #farquhar-ralph, #johnson-ej-1992, #palmer-keke, #porter-billy, #pratt-kyla, #proud-family-the-tv-program, #quinto-zachary, #smith-bruce-w, #television, #the-proud-family-louder-and-prouder-tv-program

Review: The Book of Boba Fett is lots of fun but it’s really The Mandalorian 2.5

Temuera Morrison and Ming-Na Wen (supposedly) star as Boba Fett and Fennec Shand, respectively, in <em>The Book of Boba Fett</em>.

Enlarge / Temuera Morrison and Ming-Na Wen (supposedly) star as Boba Fett and Fennec Shand, respectively, in The Book of Boba Fett. (credit: Disney+)

When The Book of Boba Fett was still in production, creator Jon Favreau jokingly dubbed the spinoff series “The Mandalorian season 2.5.” It turns out that wasn’t really a joke. I mean, we knew beforehand The Book of Boba Fett would take place in the same timeline. I just didn’t expect that four episodes into a seven-episode season, the focus would abruptly shift from Temuera Morrison’s iconic titular character—i.e., the supposed star of the series—and the next two episodes would be spent mostly catching up with our favorite characters from The Mandalorian.  

It was (ahem) an interesting creative choice that generated considerable Internet discussion (and more than a few mocking memes). The good news is that, on the whole, The Book of Boba Fett is still a hella entertaining Star Wars adventure. And it closed the season with an action-packed, crowd-pleasing hour-long action sequence in which Boba and his various allies took on the nefarious Pyke syndicate in a climactic battle—with a squee-worthy heartfelt reunion for good measure.

The bad news is that the series never really figured out whose story it wanted to tell, essentially squandering the promise of the first four episodes by failing to develop its supposedly main character in any meaningful way.

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May the 25th be with you: Obi-Wan Kenobi poster, premiere date revealed

Promotional image for upcoming Star Wars spinoff series.

Enlarge / Ewan MacGregor stars in the hotly anticipated spinoff series Obi-Wan Kenobi, debuting on Disney+ on May 25, 2022. (credit: Disney+)

Disney+ has dropped new poster art and announced a release date for its highly anticipated Star Wars spinoff series Obi-Wan Kenobi. The first episode will drop on the streaming platform on May 25, 2022. We can’t wait.

And yes, uber-fans, May 25 is the same date Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope was released in 1977 (back when it was known simply as Star Wars). That film celebrates its 45th anniversary this year, and Obi-Wan Kenobi will debut the night before Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, California.

As reported previously, we first learned in August 2019 that the rumors were true about a Star Wars spinoff series featuring Obi-Wan Kenobi. That’s also when we learned that Ewan McGregor, who played Obi-Wan in the Star Wars prequels, would reprise the part. The actor himself made a surprise appearance at the tail end of a showcase presentation at D23 Expo 2019, Disney’s annual fan extravaganza. Then came the big news that his co-star Hayden Christensen would reprise his role as Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy called it “the rematch of the century” at the December 2020 Disney Investors Day.

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#disney-plus, #entertainment, #ewan-mcgregor, #gaming-culture, #obi-wan-kenobi, #star-wars, #star-wars-expanded-universe, #streaming-television

Disney to Announce Earnings Amid Disney+ Concerns

Disney said its theme parks came roaring back in spite of the Omicron variant. But the company’s vast cable television business continued to shrink.

#chapek-robert-a, #company-reports, #disney-plus, #media, #the-beatles-get-back-tv-program, #walt-disney-company

‘Alice’s Wonderland Bakery’: Recipes for Real Life, if Not Real Kitchens

A new Disney show teaches children useful lessons in the guise of a cooking show. The recipes are less practical (unless you stock dancing dodo eggs).

#alices-wonderland-bakery-tv-program, #cooking-and-cookbooks, #disney-plus, #television

How I Cut My Family’s Cable and Streaming Bill by $170

After I realized we were paying more than $400 a month, I knew I had to do something. Here’s what I learned.

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Oscar Isaac finally enters the MCU with official Moon Knight trailer

Oscar Isaac plays Steven Grant/Marc Spector, who becomes the conduit for an Egyptian god in Moon Knight.

Fans finally get to welcome Oscar Isaac to the MCU. As promised, Marvel Studios dropped the official trailer for its forthcoming series, Moon Knight, during the NFL Super Wild Card matchup, along with a new poster. Isaac plays the title role: a former mercenary with multiple personalities who becomes the avatar of an Egyptian moon god.

Moon Knight is one of the lesser known characters in the Marvel Comics pantheon. The son of a rabbi, Marc Spector is marked at a young age by the Egyptian moon god Khonshu to be the god’s avatar on Earth. But Khonsu is a supernatural entity with many aspects to his nature—and also exists out of phase with normal time and space—so forging a psychic connection with the human Marc has a bad effect on the young man’s mental health.

Marc develops dissociative identity disorder (DID), eventually becoming a mercenary with his buddy, Jean-Paul “Frenchie” DuChamp. He is hired by the ruthlessly amoral Raoul Bushman for a job, in which the latter kills an archaeologist who has uncovered an Egyptian tomb. Marc saves the archaeologist’s daughter, Marlene, leading to a major fight with Bushman. Marc loses the fight and is left for dead, but the locals carry him into the tomb and leave him in front of a statue of Khonshu. Khonshu revives and heals the dying Marc.

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#disney-plus, #entertainment, #gaming-culture, #marvel-studios, #mcu, #mcu-phase-four, #moon-knight, #oscar-isaac, #streaming-television, #trailers

Netflix cites “more entertainment choices than ever,” raises prices again

Netflix cites “more entertainment choices than ever,” raises prices again

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson | Getty Images)

On Friday, Netflix confirmed plans to raise prices for its video-streaming services in North America for the seventh time in 11 years.

Unlike many previous Netflix price hikes, this year’s bump hits all three subscription options. In the United States, the “basic” tier, which is capped at 720p and includes other limits, receives its first increase in three years, jumping $1 to $9.99 per month. The 1080p “standard” tier goes up $1.50 to $15.49 per month. And the 4K “premium” tier jumps $2 to $19.99 per month. Canadian customers can expect similar jumps in prices for all three tiers as well.

Netflix says the price increases will roll out in phases to existing customers based on their billing cycles, and all customers will get no less than 30 days’ notice before the higher prices go into effect. Brand-new customers must begin paying the higher prices immediately.

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Review: ‘The Book of Boba Fett’ Gives a ‘Star Wars’ Icon His Own Chapter

Disney+ follows “The Mandalorian” with a series about the fan-favorite bounty hunter Boba Fett, long believed to have died in the Sarlacc’s belly.

#disney-plus, #favreau-jon-1966, #morrison-temuera, #star-wars-movie, #television, #the-book-of-boba-fett-tv-program, #the-mandalorian-tv-program, #wen-ming-na

Boba Fett, Intergalactic Man of Mystery

How did this fearsome “Star Wars” bounty hunter go from a peripheral player to the star of “The Book of Boba Fett”? He used the support of fans — and a little brute force.

#disney-plus, #johnston-joe, #kasdan-jonathan, #lucasfilm-ltd, #morrison-temuera, #television, #the-book-of-boba-fett-tv-program

The Best Movies and TV Shows Coming to Amazon, HBO, Hulu and More in December

Every month, streaming services add movies and TV shows to its library. Here are our picks for some of December’s most promising new titles.

#amazon-com-inc, #disney-plus, #hbo-max, #hulu-com, #paramount-plus, #peacock-services, #television

‘Simpsons’ Episode Mocking Chinese Censorship Vanishes in Hong Kong

The episode mocked both Mao Zedong and the government’s efforts to suppress memory of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.

#censorship, #demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #disney-plus, #freedom-of-speech-and-expression, #hong-kong, #the-simpsons-tv-program, #tiananmen-square-beijing, #video-recordings-downloads-and-streaming

A ‘Simpsons’ Episode Lampooned Chinese Censorship. In Hong Kong, It Vanished.

The episode mocked both Mao Zedong and the government’s efforts to suppress memory of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.

#censorship, #demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #disney-plus, #freedom-of-speech-and-expression, #hong-kong, #the-simpsons-tv-program, #tiananmen-square-beijing, #video-recordings-downloads-and-streaming

Family-Friendly TV Shows and Movies to Watch Thanksgiving Weekend

Hosting relatives for the holiday weekend? Here are some great films and series that will appeal to all ages.

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Review: A Tale of Two Hawkeyes

Disney+’s new Marvel series, “Hawkeye,” finally gives Jeremy Renner a headlining role — as mentor and straight man.

#disney-plus, #hawkeye-tv-program, #marvel-entertainment, #renner-jeremy, #steinfeld-hailee, #television

Jeremy Renner Takes Aim at TV in ‘Hawkeye’ and ‘Mayor of Kingstown’

The “Avengers” star has two new streaming series: one based on his Marvel superhero character and another that recalls his gritty roles in “The Hurt Locker” and “The Town.”

#actors-and-actresses, #content-type-personal-profile, #disney-plus, #hawkeye-tv-program, #mayor-of-kingstown-tv-program, #paramount-plus, #renner-jeremy, #television

Disney unveils first look at Obi-Wan Kenobi, featuring showdown with Vader

Concept art for <em>Obi-Wan Kenobi</em> shows the titular character locking light sabers with none other than Darth Vader.

Enlarge / Concept art for Obi-Wan Kenobi shows the titular character locking light sabers with none other than Darth Vader. (credit: Disney+)

We have our first glimpse of concept art for Obi-Wan Kenobi, the six-episode series coming to Disney+ next year, as well as a behind-the-scenes sizzle reel featuring star Ewan MacGregor and director Deborah Chow. There’s no actual footage, but fans are buzzing about the concept art showcasing Obi-Wan and none other than Darth Vader, lightsabers locked in battle. The sizzle reel briefly leaked online yesterday before being pulled. It was unveiled during the streaming platform’s Disney+ Day. (You can check it out on Twitter here.)

We first learned in August 2019 that the rumors were true about a Star Wars spinoff series featuring Obi-Wan Kenobi, with McGregor reprising his role as the iconic character. The actor himself made a surprise appearance at the tail end of a showcase presentation at D23 Expo 2019, Disney’s annual fan extravaganza. Then came the big news that Hayden Christensen was reprising his role as Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy called it “the rematch of the century” at the December 2020 Disney Investors Day.

“There’s hunger for this character to come back,” MacGregor said in the sizzle reel. “The fans have been waiting long enough, you know?”

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#disney-plus, #entertainment, #gaming-culture, #star-wars, #streaming-television, #teasers

Disney+ will slash your HDTV’s black bars via IMAX Digital update

Why limit yourself to a 21:9 ratio when select Marvel Studios films were framed (at least in part) in the taller IMAX Digital format? Get ready to see the difference thanks to this week's Disney+ update.

Enlarge / Why limit yourself to a 21:9 ratio when select Marvel Studios films were framed (at least in part) in the taller IMAX Digital format? Get ready to see the difference thanks to this week’s Disney+ update. (credit: Aurich Lawson | Getty Images | Disney)

Disney+’s next major app update, coming to all devices later this week, continues the service’s latest efforts to please nitpicky A/V obsessors: a new screen ratio format, meant to fill more of your HDTV screen in a way that filmmakers originally intended.

Specifically, “IMAX Digital” is coming to all devices that support Disney+ starting this Friday as part of the service’s “Disney+ Day” promotion. This “17.1:9” format will land exclusively on 13 Marvel Studios films to start, and it coincides with the streaming premiere of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings—a film that skipped Disney’s experiment with simultaneous launches in theaters and on Disney+ earlier this year.

The full list of IMAX Digital-compatible films coming to Disney+ later this week:

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#disney, #disney-plus, #gaming-culture, #imax, #lie-max

The Best Movies and TV Shows Coming to Amazon, HBO, Hulu and More in November

Every month, streaming services add movies and TV shows to its library. Here are our picks for some of November’s most promising new titles.

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Our fave bounty hunter takes on Tatooine’s underworld in Book of Boba Fett trailer

Temuera Morrison and Ming-Na Wen star in a new original Star Wars series, The Book of Boba Fett, coming next month to Disney+.

The S2 finale of The Mandalorian included a tantalizing post-credits scene that served as an announcement for a spinoff series, The Book of Boba Fett. The series stars Temuera Morrison (Attack of the Clones, Aquaman) as the titular bounty hunter, and Ming-Na Wen (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) as the mercenary and assassin who works for him. Disney just dropped the official trailer, giving us our first look at what we can expect from this latest project from showrunner Jon Favreau.

(Spoilers for the S2 finale of The Mandalorian below.)

A spinoff film featuring Boba Fett had been in development at Disney as far back as 2013, but then 2018’s Solo: A Star Wars Story proved to be a box office disappointment for the studio. Disney’s strategy shifted to spinoff series for its streaming platform, Disney+, beginning with The Mandalorian. That series was a commercial and critical success, winning over audiences with the relationship between Pedro Pascal’s Mandalorian and the Child (aka Grogu, although some still think of him as Baby Yoda).

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#book-of-boba-fett, #disney-plus, #gaming-culture, #star-wars, #streaming-television, #trailers

Pixar’s Lightyear turns Buzz into a non-toy astronaut—with new voice—in 2022

Promotional image for upcoming film Lightyear.

Enlarge / Coming in June 2022 to “theaters.” (credit: Disney Pixar)

While nobody was necessarily asking for an origin story film about Toy Story character Buzz Lightyear, the combined powers of Disney and Pixar sure seem intent on making such a concept look as appealing and epic as possible. Seriously: if you think the concept sounds like a straight-to-VHS cash-in on paper, we strongly encourage that you watch Wednesday’s dramatic reveal of Lightyear, coming “to theaters” (and no mention of Disney+ thus far) on June 17, 2022.

The film’s debut 90-second trailer, embedded below, skips over the important context found in its “read more” crawl on YouTube, which suggests that the toy version of Buzz Lightyear, who was embraced by Toy Story‘s Andy as a toy, an animated series character, a video game star, and more, was based on someone else entirely. As Disney Pixar explains:

The sci-fi action-adventure presents the definitive origin story of Buzz Lightyear—the hero who inspired the toy—introducing the legendary Space Ranger who would win generations of fans.

However, this description doesn’t clarify whether the more realistic-looking version of Lightyear in next year’s film is as real in the Toy Story version of Earth as characters like Andy (and that this version of our planet is patrolled by “Space Ranger” astronauts) or if this is another fictional story inside that world, from which more cartoonish Buzz Lightyear versions eventually followed. While waiting for Al “Chicken Man” McWhiggin to return our emails on the question, we instead found a definitive answer at Entertainment Weekly, whose reporter Nick Romano interviewed film director Angus MacLane on the matter.

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#disney-plus, #gaming-culture, #lightyear, #pixar, #toy-story

Among the Stars documents spacewalks to repair $2 billion particle detector

Experience the mission to repair the Advanced Mass Spectrometer (AMS) aboard the International Space Station in Among the Stars, an original documentary series now streaming on Disney+.

It’s problematic enough when something goes wrong with a complicated, $2 billion physics experiment on Earth. Those challenges are considerably greater when said physics experiment is on the International Space Station, orbiting 250 miles above the surface of the Earth. Thanks to the efforts of the intrepid ISS crew, who conducted a series of spacewalks to make repairs, a damaged particle detector has a new lease on life.

Among the Stars, a new six-part documentary series on Disney+, chronicles the challenges the crew faced on that mission over the course of two years. The series also chronicles the final spaceflight of veteran NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy, which occurred right as the COVID-19 pandemic put the world in lockdown. “I joke that, three years ago, I knew I was going into quarantine in March 2020, according to plan,” Cassidy told Ars. “I just didn’t know that the whole world would join me there.”

As we’ve previously reported, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) is a particle detector that launched to the International Space Station in 2011 on the penultimate flight of the space shuttle. The machine has steadily been collecting data during the last six years, looking at a variety of particles from many sources, among them dark matter collisions.

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#alpha-magnetic-spectrometer, #among-the-stars, #astronauts, #disney-plus, #documentaries, #gaming-culture, #international-space-station, #nasa, #physics, #science, #space, #spacewalks

The Best Movies and TV Shows Coming to Amazon, HBO, Hulu and More in October

Every month, streaming services add movies and TV shows to its library. Here are our picks for some of October’s most promising new titles.

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In ‘Star Wars: Visions,’ Lucasfilm and Anime Join Forces, and Go Rogue

The Disney+ collaboration between Lucasfilm and seven anime studios pays tribute to the Japanese influence on “Star Wars” — and throws out the canon.

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Review: What if ‘Star Wars’ Really Were Japanese?

“Star Wars: Visions,” a collection of short films on Disney+, lets Japanese animators play with a franchise that has deep roots in their country’s storytelling traditions.

#disney-plus, #star-wars-visions-tv-program, #television

Jeremy Renner passes down his bow in fun, holiday-themed trailer for Hawkeye

I’ll admit, I wasn’t exactly excited about Marvel’s upcoming Hawkeye spinoff series on Disney+. It seemed like an odd choice, given the character’s relatively minor role in the various Avengers films. But the studio dropped the official trailer this morning, and I might just change my mind. Hawkeye looks like a fun, comedy-action holiday romp and will debut on the streaming platform just in time for the Thanksgiving/Christmas season.

Per the official premise:

Former Avenger Clint Barton has a seemingly simple mission: get back to his family for Christmas. Possible? Maybe with the help of Kate Bishop, a 22-year-old archer with dreams of becoming a super hero. The two are forced to work together when a presence from Barton’s past threatens to derail far more than the festive spirit.

Obviously, Jeremy Renner is back as Clint Barton/Hawkeye, as are the actors who played his three children, Cooper (Ben Sakamoto), Lila (Ava Russo), and Nathaniel (Cade Woodward). And thanks to that Black Widow end-credits scene where Yelena (Florence Pugh) meets Valentina (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) at Natasha’s grave, we know that she’s been manipulated into blaming Clint for her foster sister’s death and may well be seeking revenge. Pugh’s inclusion in the cast list pretty much confirms that.

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#disney-plus, #entertainment, #gaming-culture, #hawkeye, #marvel-studios, #mcu-phase-four, #streaming-television, #tv-trailers

After ‘Game of Thrones,’ Can TV Get Big Again?

After “Game of Thrones,” many said the blockbuster series was dead. Maybe not — but the future of TV epics may look more like the movies’ recent past.

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Hulu is raising the price on its on-demand plans by $1 starting Oct. 8

Following last year’s price hike on its Live TV service, Hulu is now preparing to raise prices again. Starting on October 8, 2021, Hulu will raise the price for both its on-demand plans, Hulu and Hulu with No Ads. However, unlike the earlier price hike which had clocked in at $10 more per month for each of its two Live TV plans, the new price increase will be just $1.00.

That means the ad-supported version of Hulu will increase from $5.99 to $6.99 per month, while Hulu with No Ads will increase from $11.99 to $12.99 per month. This will apply to both existing and new subscribers. Hulu says none of the October increases will impact its Live TV service or any plan where Hulu is bundled with Disney+. (Disney took full control of Hulu after buying Comcast’s stake in 2019).

Today, Hulu is offered with Disney+ and ESPN+ for $13.99 per month. This subtle shift in pricing for Hulu’s standalone service may make that bundle look attractive to those not in the market for Hulu’s live TV.

Hulu’s on-demand service accounts for the majority of its subscriber base today. In Disney’s fiscal third quarter earnings, announced last month, Hulu’s subscription video on-demand business had grown 22% year-over-year to reach 39.1 million subscribers, while its Live TV service (which also include the on-demand offerings), had grown just 9% to reach 3.7 million subscribers. Combined, Hulu had 42.8 million total subscribers, up 21% compared to the same period from the prior year.

This is slower growth, however, than Disney+ — that service saw more than 100% year-over-year growth, jumping from 57.7 million subscribers as of Disney’s Q3 2020 to 116 million in Disney’s Q3 2021.

Including Disney’s EPSN+, the company’s direct-to-consumer business had a total of nearly 174 million subscribers by the end of the quarter, the company said.

However, although Hulu trails Disney+ in subscriber count, it’s ahead on average monthly revenue per user (ARPU).

In Q3, ARPU declined from $4.62 to $4.16 due to a higher mix of Disney+ Hotstar subscribers compared with the prior-year quarter, Disney said. Hulu’s on-demand service, meanwhile, saw ARPU climb from $11.39 to $13.15 year-over-year and its Live TV service (+SVOD) grew from $68.11 to $84.09.

Hulu’s on-demand business includes a combination of licensed content and original programming, like newer arrivals “Nine Perfect Strangers,” “Only Murders in the Building,” and “Vacation Friends.” The company also just added thousands of Hotstar Specials and Bollywood hits, as of September 1.

 

#companies, #disney, #disney-channel, #disney-plus, #espn, #hotstar, #hulu, #hulu-live-tv, #mass-media, #media, #streaming, #streaming-service, #svod, #tc, #television, #the-walt-disney-company, #tv, #video

Without Box Office or Streaming Numbers, Hollywood Finds It Tough to Plan

With box office numbers way down in the pandemic and streaming numbers hard to come by, the film industry is often unable to determine whether a movie is a hit or a miss.

#box-office-sales, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #disney-plus, #hbo-max, #marvel-entertainment, #movies, #netflix-inc, #paramount-pictures, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #theaters-buildings, #universal-pictures, #video-recordings-downloads-and-streaming

The Best Movies and TV Shows Coming to Amazon, HBO, Hulu and More in September

Every month, streaming services add movies and TV shows to its library. Here are our favorites for September.

#amazon-com-inc, #apple-tv-plus, #come-from-away-play, #dan-browns-the-lost-symbol-tv-program, #disney-plus, #doogie-kamealoha-md-tv-program, #foundation-tv-program, #goliath-tv-program, #hbo-max, #hulu-com, #movies, #peacock-services, #scenes-from-a-marriage-tv-program, #television, #what-we-do-in-the-shadows-tv-program, #y-the-last-man-tv-program

Disney+ beats expectations to reach 116 million subscribers in Q3

Disney’s streaming service is seeing improved growth, after initially seeing slower numbers of subscriber additions in Q2 as COVID lockdowns and mask mandates came to an end. Today, Disney+ beat analyst expectations for subscriber growth in Disney’s blowout third quarter, reaching 116 million paid subscribers — above the 114.5 million Wall Street had expected — and up over 100% year-over-year.

Disney also topped expectations across the board, with $17.02 billion in revenue versus the $16.76 billion expected, and earnings per share of 80 cents, above analysts’ expectations of 55 cents. Even Disney Parks were back in business. 

The pandemic had thrown a wrench in forecasting growth metrics across a number of industries, streaming included. Although Disney+ has well-established itself as one of the few competitors capable of challenging Netflix in an increasingly crowded market, it has seen some ups and downs due to COVID impacts. In the earlier days of the pandemic, streaming was on the rise. This March, Disney+ passed 100 million subscribers after just 16 months of operation. At the time, Disney execs said the service was on track to meet its projections of 260 million subscribers by 2024.

But in Disney’s second-quarter earnings, the economy’s re-opening impacted Disney+ numbers, as people finally had more to do than just sit at home, and vaccinations become more widely available. Then, Disney+ only reached 103.6 million subscribers, when analysts were expecting 109.3 million, and the stock slipped as a result.

Disney wasn’t alone in feeling the impacts of COVID-induced lumpiness in subscriber additions. Netflix had also seen slower subscriber growth earlier in the year due to COVID and its far-reaching effects on things like production delays and release schedules.

But Netflix’s most recent quarter, where it once again topped subscriber estimates, had hinted that Disney+ may see a similar boost. Aiding in that growth was Disney+’s recent market expansions in Asia. Disney+ Hotstar arrived in Malaysia and Thailand in June after prior launches in India and Indonesia last year.

The Hotstar version of Disney+, however, led to lowered average monthly revenue per user (ARPU) in the quarter due to its lower price points. In Q3, ARPU declined from $4.62 to $4.16 due to a higher mix of Disney+ Hotstar subscribers compared with the prior-year quarter, Disney said.

Disney’s other streaming services, Hulu and ESPN+, didn’t see the same trend.

Hulu’s subscription video service jumped from $11.39 to $13.15 year-over-year and its Live TV service (+SVOD) grew from $68.11 to $84.09. ESPN+ also grew from $4.18 to $4.47.

Subscriber growth also increased across the services, with ESPN+ growing 75% year-over-year to reach 14.9 million customers and total Hulu subscribers growing 21% to reach 42.8 million.

“…Our direct-to-consumer business is performing very well, with a total of nearly 174 million subscriptions across Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu at the end of the quarter, and a host of new content coming to the platform,” noted Disney CEO Bob Chapek in a press release.

Across Disney’s direct-to-consumer business, revenues grew 57% to $4.3 billion and its operating loss declined from $0.6 billion to $0.3 billion, thanks to improved results from Hulu, including subscription growth and higher ad revenues.

These gains were offset by a higher loss at Disney+ attributed to programming, production, marketing and technology costs that were somewhat mitigated by increases in subscription revenues and success of the Disney+ Premier Access release of “Cruella.” (Disney’s fiscal quarter ended July 3, so the impacts of the massive haul that “Black Widow” saw following its U.S. opening — nor the resulting lawsuit from star Scarlett Johansson, for that matter — have yet to be included in these figures.)

#asia, #bob-chapek, #disney, #disney-plus, #e-commerce, #espn, #hotstar, #hulu, #india, #indonesia, #malaysia, #mass-media, #media, #netflix, #scarlett-johansson, #streaming-services, #thailand, #the-walt-disney-company