Tag Archives: Disney

‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Awakens Social Media Buzz Again

Disney-Lucasfilm’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and Disney-Pixar’s “The Incredibles 2” dominated social media again last week, according to media-measurement firm comScore and its PreAct service.

The ninth “Star Wars” movie generated 121,000 new conversations last week after airing a TV spot on Nov. 20 and releasing several new images throughout the week. “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” has pulled in more than 4.12 million new conversations three weeks before its Dec. 15 launch. Early tracking released on Nov. 21 showed the tentpole could open in the $200 million range at the domestic box office.

Directed by Rian Johnson, the movie picks up where 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” left off. It stars returning cast members Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, and Andy Serkis. The new cast members include Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, and Benicio del Toro. It’s the final film role for Fisher, who died last December.

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“The Incredibles 2” earned 117,000 new conversations last week following the Nov. 18 release of its first teaser trailer. The animated comedy is the sequel to the 2004 original with Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson, Sarah Vowell, and Samuel L. Jackson reprising their roles. The film is scheduled to be released on June 15.

Fox’s “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” produced 30,000 new conversations last week, two months before the Jan. 26 opening of the film — the finale of the “Maze Runner” sci-fi trilogy. The movie’s original release date has been delayed for nearly a year in order to allow star Dylan O’Brien to recover from injuries sustained during shooting.

Disney-Marvel’s “Avengers: Infinity War” drew 19,000 new conversations last week as anticipation begins to build for the May release of the tentpole, in which the Avengers team up with the “Guardians of the Galaxy” superheroes. The film, directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, was featured in four Vanity Fair covers on Nov. 26.


‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Awakens Social Media Buzz Again

New Stars Wars and Marvel TV shows planned for Disney’s streaming service

During today’s quarterly financial call for the Walt Disney Company, CEO Bob Iger announced that The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson will be helming his own Star Warstrilogy. But that isn’t all: Disney also plans to create a live-action Star Wars television show for its upcoming online streaming service.

There are no details on what this show might be about. But according to Variety, Iger also revealed that Disney is currently working on shows based on Monsters Inc., High School Musical, as well as a new series from Marvel. The streaming service is expected to launch in 2019.

Historically, Lucasfilm has used television as a way to expand the Star Wars universe with animated shows. The Clone Wars, which was set between Episode II: Attack of the Clonesand Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, ran from 2008 through 2015, while the currently-running Star Wars Rebels first debuted in 2014 on Disney XD. There have also been consistent rumors that a third animated show was also in the works.

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As streaming services like Netflix have taken off, various entertainment conglomerates have branched off to form their own independent online channels. Disney announced in August that it was cutting ties with Netflix to create its own service. While Disney has its own massive catalog of content to use for such a site, numerous streaming services have begun to create their own original content to help entice new subscribers to their platforms. CBS launched Star Trek: Discovery on its All Access platform this fall, while MGM is filming its own Stargate prequel show, Origins, for its Stargate Command platform. Disney creating its own ongoing content makes sense considering that it will be fighting for attention in an already-crowded field of streaming sources. New Star Wars content will almost certainly get that attention.

If Disney can pull off this project, it’ll accomplish something that has long eluded the franchise: a live-action show. Lucasfilm has developed various concepts for a standalone show in the Star Wars universe for years. In 2005, George Lucas announced a show at the Celebration III convention, saying it would be set in the underworld of the city planet Coruscant. Various writers and artists were brought on to flesh out the idea, but it was ultimately abandoned in 2010 due to concerns about the show’s budget.



The X-Men And Fantastic Four Could Join The MCU As Disney Looks To Buy Fox

As far as big screen crossovers go, there are two that will probably never happen. The first is between Marvel and DC, for obvious reasons, and the other is one between the X-Men and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Despite the fact that the mutants did originate at the House of Ideas, Marvel Studios owns all the characters within the MCU, while Fox holds the cinematic rights to Wolvie and the gang. As such, a crossover just isn’t possible, as the two studios don’t seem to be very keen on working together.

However, it looks as if we may not have to wait for Fox and Marvel to hop into the same bed in order to see all these characters cross paths on the silver screen, as CNBC is reporting that Disney, who owns Marvel, is now looking to buy Fox. If they end up doing so, they’ll then own the rights to the X-Men and presumably, can easily include them in the MCU without any sort of issues rising up due to rights.

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Of course, it wouldn’t only be the aforementioned mutants who get a chance to interact with Iron Man, Hulk and the rest of the gang, as the Fantastic Four, Deadpool and many others would be included here, too, and would also be able to find a spot within the Marvel Cinematic Universe without any issue. In short, Disney would own all of Fox’s characters and could use them as they see fit.

Nothing has been finalized as of yet, but from what we understand, Fox isn’t able to compete anymore due to the rise of streaming companies like Netflix and Amazon. As such, they’re now looking to sell, and Disney might just be the one to purchase them.

Granted, the Mouse House wouldn’t take hold of everything, as CNBC says:

Disney could not own two broadcast networks and would therefore not buy the Fox broadcast network. It would not buy Fox’s sports programming assets in the belief that combining them with ESPN could be seen as anti-competitive from an antitrust standpoint and it would not buy the Fox News or Business channel. Disney would also not purchase Fox’s local broadcasting affiliates, according to people familiar with the negotiations.

Still, none of this is relevant to characters like the X-Men and Fantastic Four and should a deal place here, we might just see that one, big cohesive Marvel Cinematic Universe that we’ve always dreamed of.



Beyonce to Star in Disney’s Live-Action ‘Lion King’

Disney his officially introducing the full cast for its upcoming Lion King.

Beyonce, who was previously reported to be eyed for the film, has been confirmed as Nala, Simba’s (Donald Glover) childhood friend and later love interest. Jon Favreau is directing the film as his follow-up to his successful Jungle Book remake.

“It is a director’s dream to assemble a talented team like this to bring this classic story to life,” Favreau said Wednesday in a statement.

Here’s the full list, with some new names as well as others that have been reported over the last few months:

James Earl Jones reprises his role from the 1994 original as Simba’s father Mufasa, while Chiwetel Ejiofor is stepping into the villain role as Simba’s uncle Scar. Alfre Woodard is voicing Simba’s mother Sarabi, with child actor JD McCrary playing the young version of Simba (stepping into the shoes of Jonathan Taylor Thomas from the original film). Shahadi Wright Joseph is voicing the young Nala. Other actors playing the good guys include John Kani as the baboon Rafiki and John Oliver voicing Mufasa’s confidant, the hornbill Zazu.


Simba will along the way meet two new pals, warthog Pumbaa (Seth Rogen) and meerkat Timon (Billy Eichner). The three menacing hyenas will be voiced by Black Panther actress Florence Kasumba, Eric Andre and Keegan-Michael Key.

Favreau showed off the jaw-dropping first footage for the film over the summer at D23. The footage included photo-real African landscapes and animals, ending with the iconic moment in which Rafiki introduces an adorable young Simba on Pride Rock as “Circle of Life” plays.

The original Lion King grossed more than $968 million worldwide and featured memorable songs from Elton John and Tim Rice.

The new Lion King is set to open July 19, 2019.



Disney’s Mulan Remake Begins Shooting This January

Disney’s live-action remake of Mulan is reportedly set to begin production early next year and filming locations have been revealed. The news comes after it was announced that the live-action remake was getting pushed back to a 2019 release date as opposed to the original November 2018 release date. Many have attributed the delay to a lack of casting announcements, but that is unverified at the moment. The Disney D23 Expo announced casting for the live-action Aladdin and many assumed that some information would have been announced for Mulan at D23, but the only thing that was confirmed was that the movie had been pushed back.


While Mulan seems to have taken a backseat lately, a new report suggests that production is due to start soon. Omega Underground reports that production is set to start in late January of 2018 and that shooting will take place in China, New Zealand, and Australia. The news will surely be comforting to Mulan fans as this means that the movie is in full swing. A new release date is expected to be announced soon along with a cast announcement.

Now that the production is scheduled to start, a casting announcement should come down very soon. The live-action remake came under fire last fall when rumors suggested Disney was seeking a white male for the lead character instead of using a Chinese actor. But Disney soon debunked the rumor and revealed that the cast, or at least the main roles, will be filled by Chinese actors. Director Niko Caro revealed that the story will be a “muscular piece of girly martial arts extravaganza in China,” which definitely sounds promising, but that bit of information was announced back in March of this year. In addition, Caro also mentioned that she and her 9-year old daughter will take martial arts lessons together to prepare for the project.

Omega Underground also reports that production has put out a casting call looking for a Chinese actress who can speak both Mandarin and English in late 2016, which echoes the idea that Caro put out about the Mulan cast being culturally authentic by having Chinese actors in the movie. Original Mulanvoice actress, Ming-Na Wen, has expressed interest in acting in the movie, but nothing has been officially confirmed by Disney or Wen at this point in time.



It’s Official: ‘Star Wars,’ Marvel Movies Leaving Netflix for Disney Streaming Service

The announcement that Disney is launching its own streaming service sent shockwaves through the entertainment industry, as that new venture came with the caveat that Disney was pulling its content from Netflix in 2019. What was uncertain, was whether that mandate included content from Disney’s Marvel and Lucasfilm brands – but now we have the official answer on that front.

Deadline reports that Disney has decided to pull both Marvel and Star Wars content from Netflix in 2019, as was revealed by Disney CEO Bob Iger in a recent investor meeting.


According Iger, the plan for Disney’s streaming service is “We’re going to launch big, and we’re going to launch hot.” He added that the app, “will have the entire output of the studio — animation, live action and Disney including Pixar, Star Wars and all of the Marvel films.

That library includes exclusively offering the full lineup of Disney properties on the service (500 films and 7,000 TV episodes), in addition to four or five original TV series and three or four original movies. An expansive lineup of short form content is also expected, and the digital service will be used as the exclusive distribution platform for lower-budgeted films (no more risky theatrical premieres).

While Disney’s service sounds impressive, it does leave us with one big question:

Marvel Star Wars Movies Leaving Netflix 2019

What Does This Mean for Netflix?

How Disney’s launch will impact other major streaming services is a big, looming question – especially for Netflx. Netflix has clearly benefited from having big Marvel and Star Wars movies offered on the service, but since the companies ratings and returns are largely unknown to the public, we have no real measurement for just how much Marvel and Star Wars features pull in, in terms of viewers, and what that loss will mean for Netflix’s bottom line. 

This question gets even more expansive when you factor in all the Disney movies and TV content that is offered through the services. Families with children aged toddler to teen would arguably have much more incentive to pay for a Disney streaming service that could offer animated fare and TV content for kids, and fantastical superhero and sci-fi content for teens, than the more adult offerings of Netflix. Indeed: the “Kids” section of Netflix’s service is probably in the biggest danger from this new Disney venture. 

For now, you can still catch all your Marvel and Stars Wars movies on Netflix. The Marvel Cinematic Universe continues with Thor: Ragnarok on November 3rd; the Star Wars saga continues with The Last Jedi on December 15, 2017.



Disney just added a new character to ‘Aladdin,’ and not everyone is pleased

Disney has been busy making live-action versions of beloved animated classics, and perhaps none has been as closely watched — and criticized — as “Aladdin.”

The latest blowback started after the Hollywood Reporter reported Tuesday that Billy Magnussen is joining the cast to play a new character that wasn’t in the 1992 animated version.

Much of the scrutiny over how Disney would handle remaking “Aladdin” has centered around casting choices, fueled by increased attention on whitewashing in Hollywood and the representation of racial minorities and women on screen. First came reports that director Guy Ritchie was hoping to snag Tom Hardy to play Jafar. Stories emerged that Ritchie and the studio were having trouble finding leads of Middle Eastern or Indian descent during a worldwide casting search — sparking skepticism among fans and critics who took such claims as preemptive excuse-making for casting white actors.


Disney avoided the likely firestorm when it cast Mena Massoud for the title role. The Egyptian-born Canadian actor, a relative newcomer, is joined by Marwan Kenzari as Jafar and Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine. The biggest star, Will Smith, will play Genie.

Filmmakers previously added another new character to their live-action remake — Mara, a handmaiden and friend to Jasmine — but that didn’t draw much negative attention, probably because the original “Aladdin” only had one notable female character, so adding another would help lessen that disparity. Plus, Mara is played by “Saturday Night Live” alum Nasim Pedrad, an Iranian-American actress.

But the news of Magnussen’s addition was met by critics on social media and some sites, who viewed the move as Disney going out of its way to find a way to add a white actor to the cast.



Netflix in Talks With Disney on Marvel, ‘Star Wars’ Movies for 2019 and Beyond

Netflix isn’t going to get Disney’s “Frozen 2,” but it’s not yet frozen out of potentially getting streaming rights to Lucasfilm’s “Star Wars” franchise and Marvel Entertainment movies.

Netflix remains in “active discussions” with Disney about a deal for Lucasfilm and Marvel titles after the companies’ current movie-output deal expires in 2019, chief content officer Ted Sarandos said in an interview with Reuters.

On Tuesday, Disney said it plans to introduce its own direct-to-consumer Disney-branded subscription VOD service in 2019; it’s also looking to roll out an ESPN over-the-top streaming service in early 2018.

The Disney OTT service will exclusively offer movies from Pixar and Disney studios starting with 2019 releases — so Netflix won’t have those. But Disney has yet to decide whether it will re-up with Netflix for the Marvel and Lucasfilm lines. Those could be bundled into in the Disney-branded service, broken into their own subscription VOD services, or licensed to a third party — whether that’s Netflix, HBO, or another partner.

Sarandos told Reuters that Disney’s streaming service was a “natural evolution” for media companies and opined that the Mouse House’s OTT offerings will be “complementary” to Netflix. The exec added, “That’s why we got into the originals business five years ago, anticipating [negotiations to license content] may be not as easy a conversation with studios and networks.”

Netflix and Disney inked the licensing pact for the U.S. pay-TV window in 2012, under which Netflix secured streaming rights to the Mouse House’s films starting with 2016 releases. Netflix has had a similar “pay one” agreement for Disney titles in Canada starting with 2015 releases.

Disney’s 2019 theatrical slate includes the second “Frozen” movie, “Toy Story 4” and a live-action version of “The Lion King” from the Disney and Pixar lines.

Shares of Netflix dropped after Disney announced the plans for its direct-to-consumer streaming services and ending the deal with Netflix for Disney and Pixar films. After hitting record highs last month, Netflix’s stock has dropped 7% since Monday.

Separately from the Disney movie pact, Netflix has an extensive, multiyear deal with Marvel for original series based on Marvel’s street-hero characters, including “Daredevil,” “Jessica Jones,” “Luke Cage” and “Iron Fist.”


Netflix in Talks With Disney on Marvel, ‘Star Wars’ Movies for 2019 and Beyond

Robots to replace Disneyland Actors

What kids love the most at Disneyland?

Probably it is meeting, greeting and snapping a photo with Mickey himself!

Over 1200 character actors portray Mickey, Goofy and other characters at Disneyland and they might lose their jobs soon.

A patent application reveals Disney’s plans to create children-friendly “Soft” Robots. The soft-bodied robots are adapted for physical interaction with humans, particularly children. The robots also incorporate sensors and control software intended to reduce impacts on collision during human interaction.


Disney may sell toy sized soft robots. Large sized soft robots can interact with visitors at Disneyland.

Moreover, the robots will be able to mimic movements of an animated character. So the robots would act as the character they are playing

Disney has always discouraged actors from revealing who is behind the costume in order to preserve the fantasy peddled in its theme parks. The actors believe this is in violation of their constitutional rights. Disney might be able to preserve the fantasy with these soft robots.

Patent Number : US20170095925 A1



Disney sued for allegedly spying on children through 42 gaming apps

A federal class action lawsuit filed last week in California alleges that the Walt Disney Company is violating privacy protection laws by collecting children’s personal information from 42 of its apps and sharing the data with advertisers without parental consent.

The lawsuit targets Disney and three software companies — Upsight, Unity, and Kochava — alleging that the companies created mobile apps aimed at children that contained embedded software to track, collect, and then export their personal information along with information about their online behavior. The plaintiff, a San Francisco woman named Amanda Rushing, says she was unaware that information about her child, “L.L.,” was collected while playing mobile game Disney Princess Palace Pets, and that data was then sold to third parties for ad targeting.

The class action suit says this violates the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which was enacted by Congress in 1999 and designed to protect the privacy of children online. COPPA requires that companies designing apps for children under the age of 13 obtain consent from parents before collecting personal information. In 2013, the FTC revised COPPA, expanding what counts as personal information to include things like geolocation markers and IP addresses. The update also requires third-party advertisers to comply with the rules.

Disney has responded to the lawsuit, saying:

“Disney has a robust COPPA compliance program, and we maintain strict data collection and use policies for Disney apps created for children and families. The complaint is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of COPPA principles, and we look forward to defending this action in court.”
This is not the first time Disney has faced COPPA violations. In 2011, the FTC levied a $3 million civil penalty against subsidiary Playdom after it illegally collected and disclosed personal information from “hundreds of thousands of children under age 13 without their parents’ prior consent.”



‘Aladdin’: Disney Casts Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott

Working the internet like it was something Uncle Walt had sketched out at his trademark drawing table, Disney Studios unveiled its big live-action Aladdin casting announcement at the company’s biennial D23 Expo this weekend.

Canadian actor Mena Massoud, who has a few TV credits, will play the title character, Disney said July 15 in Anaheim, California. As had been rumored, the more widely known English actress Naomi Scott will portray his love Princess Jasmine. It was already pretty much out that American action star Will Smith will be the Genie, a role voiced brilliantly by the late Robin Williams in the 1992 animated blockbuster.

Still, nothing is simple when it comes to Aladdin. The casting of Scott especially made some fans upset on the racial and ethnic grounds that have featured within a long-simmering debate. A magic lantern to wish away all the resultant noise might come in handy for the studio—if Disney really minded it at all.


The big “Aladdin” casting reveal doesn’t get Disney off the hook on race

Disney’s Live-Action ‘Aladdin’ Reboot Casts ‘Mummy’ Actor as Jafar

Marwan Kenzari is in negotiations to play Jafar in Disney’s live-action “Aladdin” reboot from director Guy Ritchie, sources confirmed to Variety.

He joins Naomi Scott, who will play Jasmine, Mena Massoud, who will portray the title character, and Will Smith, who will voice Genie (a role made famous by Robin Williams in the animated classic). Nasim Pedrad has also joined the cast as a handmaid and friend to Jasmine.

John August, whose credits include “Big Fish,” wrote the new “Aladdin” script. Dan Lin, who produced Ritchie’s two “Sherlock Holmes” movies for Warner Bros., is also producing “Aladdin” through his Lin Pictures company. Jonathan Eirich is exec producing.


The original animated movie was a comic take on the Arabic folk tale about a young man granted three wishes by a genie trapped in a lamp.

“Aladdin” was the highest-grossing film of the year in 1992, and won Oscars for best score and best song for “A Whole New World.”

Kenzari can be seen next in Fox’s “Murder on the Orient Express” where he plays the conductor. He also recently appeared in “The Mummy” opposite Tom Cruise, “Ben-Hur,” and “The Promise.”

He is repped by ICM Partners and Janey van Ierland at Nummer19 Films in Holland.


Disney’s Live-Action ‘Aladdin’ Reboot Casts ‘Mummy’ Actor as Jafar

Disney will show the sights, sounds and smells of ‘Star Wars’ in VR

Disney is teaming up with virtual reality gaming centre The Void to launch an immersive Star Wars experience at two of its sites. Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire lets you step inside the intergalactic world of the hit films through a VR headset. You’ll also be able to touch, feel, and even smell your surroundings (which may not bode well if you end up chilling with Yoda on Dagobah). Built in collaboration with Lucasfilm, the new experience hits Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort this holiday season.


For those not familiar with The Void, its gaming centres offer “hyper-reality” attractions. Essentially, you enter real rooms in groups, wearing the company’s headsets and haptic feedback vests that allow you to interact with the VR environments. Some of these are based on movies, like its Ghostbusters: Dimensions experience that lets you use virtual plasma packs to zap green ghouls.


Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire is The Void’s first partnership with the House of Mouse, since it joined its accelerator program in July. It will see the company open its gaming centres on the Disney sites — through which guests will jump into the virtual adventure.


The social VR experience could be the first of many immersive Star Wars-themed attractions at the parks, courtesy of the folks at Lucasfilm’s ILMxLab division. Just last month Disney revealed ambitious plans of building an entire hotel based on the franchise. And then there’s its upcoming Star Wars theme park, due to open in 2019 at both Disneyland in California and Disney World in Florida.





Disney Is Using VR To Help Film The Lion King Remake

The live-action remake of the Lion King isn’t expected to hit theaters until 2019, but Disney got the anticipation started early with a preview of what fans can expect from the Jon Favreau-directed project. A peek of the film’s “Circle of Life” opening sequence debuted to a room of thousands during the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California on Saturday (July 15).

Though Disney also screened previews of upcoming releases like The Nutcracker and the Four Realms and the live-action adaptation of Dumbo, it’s obvious that the Lion Kingstole the show.

According to the Hollywood Reporter:

Exclusively screened for attendees and not simultaneously released online, the footage featured jaw-dropping photoreal shots of African landscapes, many types of animals (including elephants and, of course, lions), and ended with the iconic moment in which Rafiki introduces an adorable young Simba on Pride Rock, as Circle of Life played.

“We love this movie and we are working hard,” said director Jon Favreau, fresh off directing The Jungle Book. He’s making Lion King (scheduled for a July 19, 2019 release) in Los Angeles, again using virtual production techniques by reteaming with Jungle Book’s Oscar winning VFX supervisor Rob Legato and lead VFX house MPC.

This time, however, they are incorporating virtual reality tools and techniques. “We are going to use a lot of virtual reality tools so it feels akin to what you are looking at [if you were on a real set],” explained Legato during a keynote that he gave at NAB in April. “You can walk around the set like a cameraman. You can make a ton of mistakes and no one has to see them. [Wearing VR headsets] the actors can now walk into a scene and see the other actors and trees … and because you are in 3D, you get a realistic sense [of the environment].”

It’s unclear when Disney plans to release a trailer to the ‘net, but the teaser got overwhelmingly positive reviews on Twitter.


The upcoming Lion King reboot stars Donald Glover as Simba, with Hugh Jackman will voice Scar, and James Earl Jones returns to the franchise as Mufasa.

Check below for more reactions to the teaser.



Star Wars: The Last Jedi; Disney might bring back Yoda

Rumors regarding the new Star Wars: The Last Jedi are running rampant online and some of these theories seem accurate if you put the pieces together. Toys have been known to give spoiler-like giveaways to movies prior to their releases, but there came a theory via Mike Zeroh’s YouTube channel. Take it with a grain of salt, but since the Disney theme parks will be adding Star Wars expansions to their property, Mike said that there will be a force tree on display there.

Rumor has it that theme park attendees can enter into the tree and hear Yoda’s voice within. Disney Imagineers and Lucasfilm intend on making the park as immersive as possible for the patrons, so you really couldn’t exclude this rumor as a possibility.

There had already been rumors of Force ghosts making an appearance in the past, but the idea of a Star Wars expansion borrowing elements from The Last Jedi does make sense because we are in an era of using cinematic projects with connective tissue that bring it all together.

Back in April Mike had said he believed that a reporter had seen a sizzle reel and within it was Rey and some circling orbs or wisp-like apparitions appearing around her. Just think Groot’s spores in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1.


Speaking of “connective tissue” and to further support this theory, Editor-In-Chief Jason Ward of Making Star Wars brought out his own theory about Yoda being in the new Last Jedi flick. He discussed that Variety had done an interview with Frank Oz and asked him whether or not he would be reprising the Yoda role “in the new Star Wars.”

Of course, being how secretive this entire franchise is, Oz gave his deflective but suitable enough answer to keep things fair as he considers a certain loyalty to his family that he’s worked with all these years.

There were also reports of Frank Oz on set of The Last Jedi and then the aforementioned “orbs of light,” according to the Making Star Wars EIC. He even made the connection of the orbs found in Rebels and further back into The Clone Wars. Mike Zeroh just took his theory up a notch thinking this immersive experience for Disney theme park patrons would likely be utilized from Star Wars: The Last Jedi.



Minnesota Woman Sues Disney-Pixar for Using Her Ideas in Film ‘Inside Out’

A Minnesota woman has filed suit against The Walt Disney Company and Pixar for breach of implied-in-fact-contract, claiming the companies took her idea of emotion and color-based characters and used it in their blockbuster hit “Inside Out.”
Denise Daniels is a nationally recognized for her work to “help children better manage and deal with their emotions,” according to the lawsuit.  
In doing so, Daniels and a team of four, developed “The Moodsters,” which is a cast of five characters who live “deep down inside every child.”
The lawsuit states that every year between 2005 to 2009, Daniels and her team pitched their characters and curriculum to people to Disney-Pixar. 
One of those points of contact was Pete Docter, the Minnesota-native who directed “Inside Out.” 
The ideas were disclosed, “with the understanding, as is custom in the entertainment and motion picture industry, that Daniels would be compensated if Disney-Pixar used the idea. Disney-Pixar accepted these disclosures under these circumstances.”
Her characters were “anthropromorphus figures with human characteristics, including body, language, voice, and facial expressions,” representing the following emotions: happiness (yellow), sadness (blue), anger (red), love (pink) and fear (green).
The plot and color coordination of the characters in “The Moodsters” is closely followed with the film “Inside Out,” but Daniels did not receive credit for her idea or compensation, the lawsuit alleges.
The characters in “Inside Out” are named: Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling).
“Inside Out” was released in June 2015 and goes inside the brain of an 11-year-old who moves from Minnesota to California.

The production budget for the film was $170 million, and Disney-Pixar generated a gross revenue of $1.2 billion for the film, the lawsuit states. The film has also raked in more than $100 million in DVD, Blu-Ray, streaming and downloads.  
The lawsuit states: “One reason Inside Out is considered so novel, creative, and inventive is because Disney-Pixar had never before released a movie that anthropromophized emotions,” and it notes one reviewer called the film “inventive.” 
Yet, Daniels maintains that she is the “exclusive owner” of the original ideas, and Disney-Pixar continues to profit from those ideas through merchandising and other means.  




Walt Disney World honors Lane Graves, boy killed by alligator

Wednesday will mark one year since an alligator at the Grand Floridian, at Walt Disney World, snatched a boy playing along the shore of the lake and killed him.

Disney will soon have a way to honor Lane Graves.

A sculpture of a lighthouse will soon stand on Disney property to remember the 2-year-old. The lighthouse is a symbol used by the Lane Thomas Foundation, which was set up by the Graves family following his death.

Graves and his family were vacationing from Nebraska in June 2016 when he was killed. He was scooping sand on the beach area when the alligator appeared out of Seven Seas Lagoon.

Lane’s father tried to grab his son and fight off the alligator, but it was too late.


The Lane Thomas organization supports families of children in need of life saving organ transplants.

The lighthouse will be installed sometime this summer, in an undisclosed location.

Read Disney’s full statement below:

The Lane Thomas Foundation was created to give honor and light to Lane’s life. The foundation is dedicated to supporting families of children needing life-saving organ transplants. To provide continued awareness of the foundation and its mission, we’ve commissioned an original sculpture of the lighthouse the foundation uses as a symbol of love and hope, to be installed on our property this summer.” – George A. Kalogridis, President, Walt Disney World Resort



‘Saber trees’ light up Gardens by the Bay on Star Wars Day Read

Star Wars fans were treated to a spectacular light show at the start of a three-day celebration marking Star Wars Day on Thursday (May 4) – the date being a play on the phrase “May the Force be with you” made popular by Star Wars character Obi-Wan Kenobi. 

As part of the inaugural Star Wars Day: May the 4th Be with You Festival, the Supertrees at Gardens by the Bay were transformed into “SaberTrees”, illuminated to look like giant lightsabers, the weapon of choice of the Jedi and Sith warriors, casting light beams up to 200m high. 


There was also a 15-minute light performance called Garden Rhapsody: Star Wars Edition, set against the Star Wars soundtrack.

The SaberTrees will light up from 8pm to midnight, and the light show will run at 7.45pm, 8.45pm and 9.45pm, every night until the festival ends on Saturday. It will also continue to run twice a night at 7.45pm and 8.45pm until Jun 2.



A replica of the iconic All-Terrain Scout Transport, which was first introduced in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, is on display for the duration of the festival, and well-loved characters Chewbacca and Kylo Ren will make appearances. 

Other attractions include a Star Wars-themed “silent disco” on Friday and Saturday, from 9pm to 11pm, and a screening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Saturday at 9pm. 

The festival kicks off a three-year collaboration between the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Walt Disney Company Southeast Asia for Singapore to host entertainment activities themed around Disney’s biggest brands.
Read more at http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/saber-trees-light-up-gardens-by-the-bay-on-star-wars-day-8819328

Disney wants to launch a ‘Star Wars’ starship luxury resort, and it looks like a fan’s dream

Disney is surveying guests about a possible Star Wars resort hotel experience at Walt Disney World, which would take place on an “actual” Star Wars Starship.

The survey is not being conducted by Disney, but rather by a contracted third party. The survey includes concept art and many details of what the experience would be like…

This all-inclusive, 2-night immersive resort experience at Walt Disney World would include:

  • The opportunity to experience a 2-day story set in the the Star Wars universe
  • Be surrounded in a continuous, story-driven entertainment experience as it unfolds over the course of the 2-night stay
  • Have personal interactions with Star Wars characters, live performers throughout the starship (experience the story or simply observe the action according to personal preference)
  • Engage in the story with programs such as flight training, ship exploration, lightsaber training, and personalized secret missions (both on the starship and throughout the Star Wars themed planet)


While staying aboard an all-inclusive luxury “starship” at Walt Disney World, guests will stay in luxury accommodations offering:

  • All meals during your stay: buffet breakfasts, lunches, & signature evening dining
  • Featured entertainment & dinner shows
  • Exclusive park admission to the Star Wars themed land at the Walt Disney World Resort (a new land opening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2019)
  • Star Wars starship amenities including pool area & water garden, fitness area, on-board cantina, and robotic droid Butlers

As of right now, the experience would be priced at roughly $900 to $1000 per guest.

So basically, in summary, the experience would include…

  • 2 nights in an immersive luxury resort that looks and feels like a starwars space craft (set check-in and check-out dates so everyone is immersed on the same “story” timeline)
  • Room(s) that accommodate(s) up to 4 people, with an interactive “view” (galaxy or pool/atrium)
  • Every meal from checking-in on day 1 to check-out on day 3 (5 meals total, including 2 buffet breakfasts, 1 lunch, and 2 signature dinners with evening entertainment)
  • 1 day of Walt Disney World theme park admission to Disney’s Hollywood Studios to visit Star Wars-themed land on day 2
  • Story-driven entertainment that unfolds over the course of your stay (including live character chance encounters, and the opportunity to watch or enage in the story through things like personalized secret missions, flight training, starship exploration, and lightsaber training)

While this is just a survey at this time, it is worth noting that the presence of concept art and the inclusion of the Star Wars themed land in these plans likely means that this is a pretty serious project at this point. Many of the experiences above also sound very similar to aspects of the the Star Wars land discussed in the panel at Star Wars Celebration Orlando.


Walt Disney World News Today

Here’s What Tron 3 Was Going To Be (and May Still Be) About


You may think a third Tron movie isn’t going to happen, but all hope is not completely lost. The potential director, Joseph Kosinski, spoke at a Tron: Legacyscreening this week and explained that the film is currently in “cryogenic freeze,” but it was going to be a real world invasion movie.


Kosinski, who directed Tron: Legacy, spoke with Collider about the sequel. He said the film, called Tron: Ascension, was about eight months away from production with a script that was 80 percent ready to go. But then Disney took over Marvel. Then it bought Lucasfilm. And suddenly, the company had way more genre films than it could handle. So Tron took a back seat.

“It’s not dead,” Kosinski said. “It’s alive, but it’s sitting there, waiting for the right time to move forward.”


Whether or not it happens, this marks the first time Kosinski has explained the plot of the potential film:

What I’m excited about is the concept, which is an invasion movie from inside the machine coming out as opposed to one we’ve usually seen. So we hinted at that at the end of Legacy with Quorra coming out, but the idea for Ascension was a movie that was, the first act was in the real world, the second act was in the world of TRON, or multiple worlds of TRON, and the third act was totally in the real world. And I think that really opens up, blows open the concept of TRON in a way that would be thrilling to see on screen. But there’s also a really interesting character study in Quorra and a “Stranger in a Strange Land,” trying to figure out where she belongs having lived in the real world for a few years, and where does she fit in.

Without a doubt, that sounds cool. And a blend of the real world and the Grid feels like a fertile place to explore. However, with no end to the Marvel or Star Wars train in sight, it feels like Disney isn’t really too worried about making this likely expensive and risky sequel. I don’t think it’s going to happen—but you never know.

Kosinksi went on to talk about the potential for the story to be on TV (unlikely, but never say never) and also how characters from the Grid would act in the real world (not as superheroes). Head to the below link to read all that. It may be as close as you ever get to a Tron 3.



Disney’s The Lion King Announces First International Tour

Disney Theatrical Productions, in association with Michael Cassel Group, announced March 7 that the Tony-winning The Lion King will launch its first international tour in March 2018 in Manila.

The tour, which will be performed in English, will celebrate The Lion King’s 20th anniversary onstage and the title’s 25th global production. The production will subsequently open in Singapore in June 2018, in South Korea in October 2018, in Taiwan in 2019, and in South Africa in 2020.

“We’re proud to partner with our long-time friend Michael Cassel to bring the world renowned stage production of The Lion King to these vibrant cities,” said Thomas Schumacher, president and producer of Disney Theatrical Productions, in a statement. “Julie Taymor and her extraordinary creative team have realized a production of enormous scale, beauty and heart. I cannot wait for new audiences to join us in the Philippines, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan and South Africa, the show’s creative birthplace.”

“It is wonderful that these countries in Asia will be able to experience this largely South African cast of The Lion King. They’re in for a tremendous treat as the soul of this music will come through these extraordinary performers,” added Tony-winning director, costume designer, and mask co-designer Julie Taymor. “Asia is a big part of my life, having spent four years in Indonesia and travelled throughout many countries in the region. It is thrilling to bring this production back to a part of the world that has been a major inspiration in my life.”

Lebo M, who provided additional music, lyrics, vocal score, and arrangements to The Lion King, stated, “This international tour will provide the opportunity for audiences around the world to witness this incredible production, featuring South Africa’s greatest talents.”

Auditions will commence in South Africa in March. Tickets for the Philippines premiere will go on sale in October.

The Broadway score features Elton John and Tim Rice’s music from The Lion King animated film along with three new songs by John and Rice; additional musical material by South African Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, Taymor, and Hans Zimmer; and music from Rhythm of the Pride Lands, an album inspired by the original music in the film, written by Lebo M, Mancina, and Zimmer.

The book was adapted by Roger Allers, who co-directed The Lion King animated feature, and Irene Mecchi, who co-wrote the film’s screenplay. Directed by Taymor—who became the first woman to ever receive a Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical—The Lion King has won over 30 major awards. Those include six Tony Awards—including one for Best Musical, eight Drama Desk Awards, six Outer Critics Circle Awards, two Sir Laurence Oliviers, the Evening Standard Award for Best Theatrical Event, and three Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards.



Disney and Google both just fired YouTube’s biggest star over anti-Semitic videos

Let this be a lesson for anyone out there aspiring to become a huge YouTube star: just because you can amass a huge following, doesn’t mean that anything goes when it comes to content. Disney and YouTube have independently taken action against Felix Kjellberg, better known as “PewDiePie” and the biggest star on YouTube, after he posted various videos that contained anti-Semitic jokes.

Disney fired Kjellberg after an inquiry from The Wall Street Journal concerning some of his videos. Apparently, millions of people watched a video posted on January 11th on Kjellberg’s channel that included two men laughing while holding a banner that read “Death to all Jews.”

The Journal further said that since August, Kjellberg posted no less than nine separate videos that include anti-Semitic jokes and Nazi imagery.

“Although Felix has created a following by being provocative and irreverent, he clearly went too far in this case, and the resulting videos are inappropriate,” a Maker Studios spokesperson told the news site. Maker Division is owned by Disney.

PewDiePie saw a meteoric rise on YouTube by posting videos of himself playing video games and making jokes. He currently has more than 53 million subscribers who keep returning to see his clips. The Journal says that Kjellberg took down the January 11th video and two others, but not before they had racked up around 23 million views between them.

His YouTube popularity helped him score multimillion-dollar deals with Disney and YouTube.

Google wasn’t happy with Kjellberg act either. The company canceled the second season of PewDiePie’s reality show and pulled his channel from its premium advertising program, Varietyreports. “We’ve decided to cancel the release of ‘Scare PewDiePie’ season 2, and we’re removing the PewDiePie channel from Google Preferred,” a spokesperson said.

Google previously pulled ads from the offending videos, and Kjellberg apparently removed some of them himself.

The YouTube star, meanwhile, defended himself and said that he was only critiquing the absurdity of an internet service — in this case, Fiverr, which lets people advertise jobs that only costs $5. That, however, was not a good enough excuse for either Disney or Google.


Disney and Google both just fired YouTube’s biggest star over anti-Semitic videos

Marvel has given us our first look at Avengers: Infinity War

Cameras began rolling for Marvel’s upcoming ensemble film Avengers: Infinity War back in January. To commemorate the occasion, the company has released a production trailerfeaturing interviews with some of the crew and cast of the ensemble flick.

The trailer gives us our first glimpse of what to expect from the film, and opens with a brief explanation of the Infinity Stones, which have been featured in a number of the preceding Marvel Cinematic Universe films. The clip also gives us a taste for the film’s characters by showing off Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Tom Holland (Spider-Man), and Chris Pratt (Star Lord) on the same stage together, bringing together the cinematic universe’s larger ensemble of characters into the same film.



‘Last Jedi’ title reveal sends ‘Star Wars’ fans into fizzy

Movie studio Disney on Monday revealed that the next “Star Wars” movie will be called “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” setting off rampant speculation from fans about what the title implied for the plot.

The movie, the second of the sequels set 30 years after the original movie trilogy, will follow the adventures of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher). It had previously been known only as “Episode VIII.”

“We have the greatest fans in this or any other galaxy. In appreciation of the fans, we wanted them to be the first to know the title of the next chapter in the Skywalker saga: ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’,” movie studio Disney said in a statement.

Rian Johnson is directing the movie, which will be released Dec. 15.

Fisher shot all of her scenes for the movie before her sudden death in December of a heart attack, Disney said at the time of her passing.

Disney has not released plot details for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” but Johnson has said it will immediately follow the events of 2015 release “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” in which Skywalker was revealed to be the last remaining Jedi and had gone into hiding.

“Force Awakens” ended with scavenger Rey (Daisy Ridley) discovering her hidden powers, finding Skywalker and ready to start her Jedi training.

Theories about the plot made the #TheLastJedi hashtag the top trending item on Twitter on Monday, with some 152,000 tweets in just one hour. Disney has yet to release any trailers.

Fans noted that Jedi – those belonging to the force for good – can be singular or plural in the “Star Wars” universe.

“If it’s called #TheLastJedi, my honest and bold prediction is that Luke Skywalker has to die,” said Twitter user Nikolas Oliverio.

“hold up if rey is the last jedi… what happens to luke.. OR if luke is the last jedi… what happens to rey…” asked a bewildered fan, Ana with 1 n, on Twitter.

The cast for the movie will also include “Force Awakens” members John Boyega, Adam Driver and Lupita Nyong’o.

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” became the third-highest grossing movie of all time, taking some $2 billion at the global box office, after its release in December 2015.

The standalone movie “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” released in December 2016, has made $1 billion at the worldwide box office.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Nick Zieminski)



Book Review: The Disney Story: Chronicling The Man, The Mouse & The Park

There are many books written about Walt and Roy Disney, as well as The Walt Disney Company. Some of them give top-line information and some of them are extremely detailed. Some of them are perfect for those who are new to Disney history and some of them are for those already steeped in its history. However, Aaron Goldberg has written a book not only for those that are well-versed in Disney history, but also those who are not.


Goldberg’s book, The Disney Story: Chronicling The Man, The Mouse & The Parkspresents Walt Disney, The Walt Disney Company and the Parks decade-by-decade. It’s a well-written book that starts in the 1930’s with Steamboat Willie and concludes in 2016 with the opening of Shanghai Disney.


What makes this book unique is that Goldberg supports the topics he covers with actual stories from newspaper and magazine articles told word-for-word exactly as these outlets reported. “Instead of my words telling the story,” says Goldberg. “You’ll get a chance to read the hundreds of other voices that told the Disney story over the decades, along with the most important voice of all, Walt’s.” The other thing that makes this book unique is that every quote and story that Goldberg features in the book can be found, in its entirety, online at www.thedisneystory.com.


Although he doesn’t, nor could he cover everything that happened every year, Goldberg does an excellent job of including the major events in each decade.

In the 1930’s, Goldberg talks about the birth of Diane Disney and how on December 18, 1933, Walt had to leave in the middle of an award ceremony for him to rush to the hospital for Diane’s birth. He also discusses the Silly Symphonies, the creation of Donald Duck, the introduction of Technicolor to Disney animation and the premiere of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Two of the many interesting tidbits about the Snow White were that during the premiere, the biggest names in Hollywood – Myrna Loy, Spencer Tracy, Mary Pickford and 1,500 other attendees paid $5.50 each to attend and see the film. In addition to being the first major feature length animation film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first sound motion picture to be transferred to long playing disks for the visually impaired. Read the story here.


In the 1940’s, he discusses when the Walt Disney Company went public, as well as the salaries of Walt and Roy Disney. The 40’s also saw Walt’s trip to South America, the release of Song of the South and Bambi, among other milestones.



Disney/ABC to Donate One Million Books; Hold 2nd Disney Reads Day

Today, Disney and ABC announced that it will once again donate up to one million books to First Book, a nonprofit that provides new books to educators and organizations serving children from low-income families, during its fifth annual Magic of Storytelling campaign from now through March 31.

The Magic of Storytelling campaign aims to inspire families’ imaginations, cultivate a lifelong love of reading in kids, and bring books to underserved communities across the country. Over the past 16 years, Disney has donated 57 million books to First Book. Together with First Book, Disney Publishing Worldwide and Disney|ABC Television Group are committed to placing up to one million more books in the hands of children in need across the country.


“We are so proud to have donated more than 57 million books through our long-standing collaboration with Disney,” said Kyle Zimmer, president and CEO of First Book. “Each year, the excitement around the Magic of Storytelling campaign grows, inspiring millions of individuals to help us bring much-needed new books to children in need.”

As part of the Magic of Storytelling campaign, families are encouraged to put everything else down, pick up a book, and read independently or together during the second annual nationwide Disney Reads Day on February 4. Families can do this at home by taking time to read their favorite books together, or visit a participating Disney Store, Barnes & Noble, or other retail location for story-time, themed activities, and giveaways.

From now through March 31, Disney book donations (up to a total of one million donations) can be activated through various ways:

  • One for One Book Donation: Disney will donate one book to First Book for every eligible Disney book purchased at a Disney Store or participating retailer during that store’s participation window. (A list of eligible Disney books and participating retailers are available at magicofstorytelling.com.)
  • Share a Shelfie: Disney will also give one book for every “shelfie” — a selfie photo with a favorite book or in front of a bookshelf — shared on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #MagicOfStorytelling.
  • Disney Story Central: Users of Disney’s digital reading platform can download digital books designed for parents and children to read together. Disney will donate one book to First Book for every book read in the app.
  • Magic of Storytelling Sweepstakes: Consumers can enter to win a library of 400 Disney books for their school and a personal library for their home in the Magic of Storytelling Sweepstakes. For every sweepstakes entry, Disney will donate one book to First Book. To enter the sweepstakes and for more rules and information, visit magicofstorytelling.com.
  • In-Store Events: Celebrate Disney Reads Day on February 4 at Disney Store, Barnes & Noble, and participating retailer locations nationwide. Families and fans can enjoy free family-friendly events like story time, coloring and activity sheets, and themed “shelfie” stations. A full list of participating Disney Store and retailer locations is available at magicofstorytelling.com.

“For more than 80 years, Disney books have brought children and parents together, sparking imaginations and inspiring dreams,” said Andrew Sugerman, executive vice president, content and media, Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media. “We are thrilled to be part of a program that encourages a love of reading and makes these stories available to as many people as possible. We’re honored to continue our work with First Book to bring the Magic of Storytelling to kids in need around the country.”

Kevin Brockman, Executive Vice President, Global Communications, Disney|ABC Television Group added, “Storytelling and imagination are central to the entertainment we deliver to our viewers every day. We’re thrilled to celebrate our 16 year association with First Book through this campaign and excited to mobilize our multiple platforms to inspire kids and families to expand their imaginations and celebrate the importance of reading and storytelling.”

The Magic of Storytelling campaign comes to life across Disney|ABC’s extensive network of broadcast and digital platforms including MagicOfStorytelling.com, a website with activities and resources to encourage reading and shared reading experiences. Fans can also engage with Magic of Storytelling content on Disney’s network of social medial channels and digital publishing brands like Oh My Disney, Disney Style, Disney Family and Babble.

The campaign launches with a PSA voiced by Emma Watson, star of The Walt Disney Studios upcoming film “Beauty and the Beast,” coming to theaters on March 17. In the PSA, Watson highlights the impact of books on children.



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