Tag Archives: Netflix

‘The Defenders’: Charlie Cox on What’s Next For Daredevil

The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen is dead — or so the world thinks.

In the final episode of Marvel’s The Defenders, the very first hero featured in Netflix’s corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe ended things in a dire situation: trapped beneath an exploding building, almost certainly consumed in the rubble. The people who know Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) best believe him dead, including Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) and Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson), as well as the hero’s three newest friends: Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and Danny Rand (Finn Jones). Indeed, in that last person’s case, Rand stands poised to honor his fallen friend by protecting Hell’s Kitchen in Daredevil’s absence.

But Daredevil will only be absent for so long. In the final scene of The Defenders, we see that Matt is very much still alive, albeit in rough physical condition, recovering in an unknown location where he’s being tended by nuns. It’s an image that’s familiar to fans of the Daredevil comics (as pointed out by Decider), and one that’s sure to fuel the character’s next steps forward in the Marvel-Netflix Universe.

For more on the matter, Charlie Cox spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about Daredevil’s fate, what’s coming next, Matt’s emotional journey via Elektra (Elodie Yung) this season, his view of The Defenders now that it’s out in the wild, and more.

What was your reaction when you learned that this series would end with Matt presumed dead, but secretly alive somewhere?

I was relieved! It was made easier to read that, knowing we have a season three of Daredevil to shoot. (Laughs.) If that hadn’t been the case, I would have been worried that it was all over for Matt Murdock. Being as it was, I thought it was very fun. It was a very interesting way to end it. It’s kind of a cliffhanger, and kind of not. I don’t know what it means for season three, going forward for Matt. It obviously presents him with some pretty interesting options when he reengages with life. Will he reconnect with people? Will he find Foggy and let him know he’s okay? Will he not? I’m very excited to find out what his game plan is going to be, once he gets his shit together.


What’s your feeling on how that will play out? Matt has been craving a fresh start for a while, and even begins The Defenders away from the role of Daredevil. What does a clean slate like this mean for a man like Matt Murdock?

I honestly have no idea. Whenever I think I know where something’s going or what something’s going to mean, I’m often completely wrong and surprised by the scripts when I read them. I almost prefer not to speculate. God knows. I could see it going many different ways for him. As you mentioned, he’s been struggling with who he is, or at least this aspect of himself, being Daredevil and engaging in vigilante justice on a regular basis. I can’t personally see a world where he’ll ever rid himself of that, despite the attempts to hang up the horns, as it were. At some point, one of two things is going to happen: either he’s going to embrace it in a way he never has before, or he’s going to continue to fight it. But at some point, “it” will probably win over.




Netflix’s ‘Marvel’s The Defenders’ Poised for Binge-Viewing

There are no standard “ratings” for Netflix. But “Marvel’s The Defenders,” the streamer’s newest original series in the street-hero franchise, could be one of its biggest hits ever, independent research indicates.

The four preceding Marvel series leading up to “Defenders” — “Daredevil” season 2, “Jessica Jones,” “Luke Cage” and “Iron Fist” — were among the top five most-viewed recently released Netflix originals in the first 30 days after their premieres, according to data from marketing-analytics firm Jumpshot, provided exclusively to Variety. Teen-suicide drama “13 Reasons Why” took the No. spot.

It seems safe to predict that “The Defenders,” as the culminating mashup with each of the four characters uniting against a common enemy, will turn in similar binge-heavy viewership as well. Netflix released all eight episodes of the limited series at 12:01 a.m. PT Friday. The show stars Charlie Cox (Daredevil), Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones), Mike Colter (Luke Cage) and Finn Jones (Iron Fist).

The analysis from Jumpshot shows the relative number of U.S. Netflix viewers who watched at least one episode of each series. The data is presented as a index, benchmarked against the most-viewed Netflix original in the comparison, “Daredevil” season 2. For example, “13 Reasons Why,” the second most-viewed premier in the first 30 days, garnering 48% of the viewers that “Daredevil 2” received.

Of the series studied, “13 Reasons Why” was the only Netflix original that showed any growth in week-over-week viewership in the first month of release, with an 18% increase from week one to week two. That reflects strong word-of-mouth buzz for the controversial show.

“Stranger Things” was the seventh most-viewed Netflix original premiere in its first 30 days, but it had the lowest week-over-week decline in viewership, per the Jumpshot data. It’s not a surprise that shows see a viewing drop-off after the first week, given Netflix’s binge-friendly release strategy.


Netflix’s ‘Marvel’s The Defenders’ Poised for Binge-Viewing Pop, Data Indicates

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

How Netflix can spawn a Marvel-style Millarworld superhero universe

Netflix has grand ambitions for Millarworld, the Scottish comic book company it acquired this week. The aim is to repeat Disney’s success with Marvel, where the creator of the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy has become a launchpad for multibillion-dollar film franchises.

Here are four ways in which Netflix can make a global success of Millarworld properties, a job made tougher as the deal does not include founder Mark Millar’s best-known properties: Kick-Ass and Kingsman.

1. Create a superhero universe

The latest trend in Hollywood is to create a “universe” from a group of characters. Disney has the Avengers ensemble, which includes characters such as Captain America, Thor and Iron Man – who also have their own standalone films. This is not about flogging a concept through a series of sequels but building up a series of characters that can flit across multiple films (and probably TV series in the case of Netflix). Warner Brothers is tapping into this approach by expanding its DC Comics heroes – Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman – into a universe under the Justice League banner. Universal is developing its so-called “dark universe” of monster films ranging from The Mummy, the Invisible Man, and Dracula to vampire hunter Van Helsing.

Millarworld has so far developed 18 character franchises. Three of these – Wanted, Kick-Ass and Kingsman – have so far made the successful jump to the big screen grossing about $1bn (£770m) at the box office. However, Kingsman and Kick-Ass are licensed to other producers. Netflix releases films in cinemas but its main business is streaming content to subscribers so it referred to TV series and kids’ shows as well as films.

Netflix is banking on Millarworld introducing viewers to a new universe of hitherto unknown worlds – with franchises including Jupiter’s Legacy about a dysfunctional superhero family, a gifted petrol station worker called Huck and Duke McQueen, “a space age hero who may be a little past his prime” – that will become household names.

Like Disney’s Avengers, Millar says the “vast tapestry of characters and superteams” all tie together, which Netflix will convert into a range of TV and film projects for its more than 100m global subscribers. 


2. Ensure Millarworld’s output has international appeal

Disney had the luxury of building the Marvel hit factory selectively from a world of 5,000 characters, many of whom were not seen worthy of development when the company was acquired for $4bn in 2009. Millarworld is a smaller canvas. 

Millarworld’s creations are not well known cinematically on the global stage and it is superbrands such as Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and the Avengers that have driven more than $12bn in box office takings alone for Disney.

Well-established brand characters are still no guarantee of success. Ryan Reynold’s Green Lantern, made by Warner Bros, and The Fantastic Four, made by 20th Century Fox, both flopped. 

Even Millar’s biggest hit has struggled to make it to maintain its momentum.Matthew Vaughan, director of the hit adaptation of Kick-Ass, said that the sequel “lost a few fans”.

3. Talent retention and character development

Mark Millar operates Millarworld as something of a collective of creators but the name above the door is his – he and his wife, Lucy, jointly own the Glasgow-based company. Netflix chiefs have heaped praise on Millar calling him “as close as you can get to a modern-day Stan Lee”, the Marvel executive and legendary creator of some of the biggest superheroes in print and film including Spiderman, Iron Man, X-Men, Hulk and Thor.


Millar has proven he has the Marvel midas touch, after an eight-year stint at the business. While there, he developed the comic books and story arcs that inspired the Avengers film, Captain America: Civil War and the recent Wolverine movie, Logan.



‘The Defenders’ is the Marvel team-up you hoped for — Iron Fist and all

“The Defenders” is the type of superhero streaming that we’ve come to expect from Netflix’s live-action Marvel productions. Well worth the wait, the new show is every bit the event that Marvel fans hoped it could be.  

The coming together of the streaming service’s four superhero shows — each with varying styles on how to be a hero — works in part because of how they focus on why such a get-together shouldn’t work at all.

But before Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and Iron Fist (Finn Jones) team up to defend New York City, the producers of the show divide the four into pairs.

Matt Murdock is still reeling from the pain of losing the woman he loved, Elektra (more on that later), and has left his Daredevil/vigilante days behind to focus on being the best lawyer possible. And who should end up needing a good, affordable attorney? Jessica Jones. (Jones is on the bad side of Misty Knight, played by Simone Missick. Could Misty have a future as a Defender, too?)


Murdock and Jones butt heads from the start as they realize they’re both investigating something that connects to an evil scheme too big for the both of them.

That something is Sigourney Weaver’s Alexandra, who may be the biggest surprise of “The Defenders.” She’s a compelling villain with a mysterious past that borders on the unbelievable — we can’t say more than that without giving too much away.



Will Smith on Jumping to Netflix: ‘You Almost Can’t Make New Movie Stars Anymore’

Comic-Con’s biggest stage used to be dominated by movie blockbusters, though lately, it’s been reserved far more often for high-profile TV titles. It’s fitting, then, that today in Hall H we got a project that controversially straddles the line between the two.

That would be Bright, which is rumored to be the most expensive film Netflix has ever commissioned. It walks and squawks like the sort of summer-movie tentpole that would play in 3,000 theaters: Directed by David Ayer, who is coming off the biggest hit of his career with Suicide Squad, it stars Will Smith as a human cop paired with an orc (Joel Edgerton) to solve crimes in an effects-laden, magic-infused version of Los Angeles. But despite costing upwards of $100 million to make, it will debut on the streaming service this December, foregoing any kind of exclusive theatrical window.

Will Netflix begin to cannibalize the theatrical experience if it can offer comparably big-budget films? For that matter, does it dent Will Smith’s big-screen career if his action movies, which once reliably set box-office records every Fourth of July weekend, now debut on a streaming service that doesn’t even offer viewership figures? The Netflix film Okja recently got this conversation rolling, but Bright will offer a far more mainstream test of whether a movie is still treated the same when it’s streaming. After Bright’s Hall H panel, Smith and Ayer gathered nearby to debate the matter with press.


“I have a 16-year-old, a 19-year-old, and a 25-year-old at home, and their viewing habits are almost anthropological,” said Smith, who proposed that Netflix and theaters can and should co-exist. “It’s a great study to see how they still go to the movies on Friday and Saturday night, and they watch Netflix all week. It’s two completely different experiences.”

“For me, it’s pretty simple,” said Ayer. “This movie, I got to make in a way and at a level that otherwise, I may not have been able to make.”

I pressed Ayer on that point. For as successful as Suicide Squad was, it was critically drubbed and subject to plenty of studio interference: Warner Bros. reportedly hired the company that cut the trailer to re-edit and re-score the director’s cut Ayer submitted, and the final version of the film leaves all sorts of intended story lines hanging in the wind. Had Ayer made Bright at a big movie studio, how much would he have had to compromise his vision for it?

Smith quickly covered Ayer’s microphone. “Objection, your honor,” he joked. “I’m not gonna have my client answer that.” After a huddle with Ayer, Smith relented: “I’ll allow it.”

“It’s hard to speak for what could have been,” said Ayer, delicately. “I can say that this is the movie that should have been. I got to shoot in Los Angeles, we weren’t chasing a rebate. We got the equipment we wanted, we were able to shoot practical stunts. As a filmmaker, to spend more time working on the creative [instead of] working on the spreadsheet that supports the film is a true pleasure. I think that changes how you come at the movie and it changes how the cast comes at the movie because you feel that freedom.”

“The rating would have been different,” added Bright producer Eric Newman. “This is a rated-R movie, but at a studio,” with the big budget it had, “it wouldn’t have been.”

“There’s a lot of orc nudity,” joked Edgerton.

“Once you go orc, you never go back,” said Smith.

At the Hall H panel before the press conference, Smith admitted that a theatrical release still has a certain magic to it. “There’s something about the big screen that does something to people’s minds,” said the 48-year-old star, recalling the “ecstasy” of seeing Star Wars in a movie theater as a kid. (“I had sex a few years later. It was close, but no Star Wars,” he said.) Though Smith had plenty of success as a rapper and TV star before transitioning to movies, his first big-screen success changed the way people treated him. “I was on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and people would see me on the street, like, ‘Will, Will, Will!’” said Smith. “And that Monday after Independence Day came out was the first time anybody referred to me as ‘Mr. Smith.’ [It] penetrates people in a very different kind of way.”

But Smith, who once studied Tom Cruise’s country-hopping promotional playbook in order to launch himself as a bona-fide global superstar, is paying just as much attention to the cultural shift that’s happening now. “It is such a new world,” he said. “I released my first record in ’86, so I’m over 30 years in the business. I’m seeing that transition of, essentially, the fans being more and more involved in the creative process. In terms of movie stardom, it’s a huge difference: You almost can’t make new movie stars anymore, right?”



Willow Grove author sues writers, Netflix for allegedly stealing his story for frat film

Is the Netflix original film Burning Sands, about the torturous travails of fraternity hazing, actually original?


Or was writer-director Gerard McMurray’s feature, which premiered on the streaming site in January, actually lifted from a novel of the same name by Al Quarles Jr., a Philadelphia School District administrator and author?

Both novel and film are set at predominantly black colleges and tell the story of straitlaced students who respond to the pressure to fit in by rushing a fraternity. Both stories focus on the sometimes inhuman treatment of pledges by older frat members.


Quarles’ attorney filed a lawsuit Monday in federal court in Pennsylvania charging that McMurray and co-screenwriter Christine T. Berg plagiarized Quarles’ two-volume novel Burning Sands, which he self-published through Amazon in 2014.  (The suit can be accessed online here.) The suit names Netflix and Mandalay Entertainment in addition to the screenwriters.

“Al is a great guy who put his heart and soul into these books,” Philadelphia attorney Brian Lentz said Tuesday. “We think that the evidence will show they took his creative work without his permission.”

A Netflix representative Tuesday said the subscription service would not comment on the suit. Calls for comment from McMurray’s and Berg’s lawyers were not immediately returned.


Quarles, 50, of Willow Grove, said he was shocked to find the film had “as many as 100 points of similarities” to his books. “There are some differences, but the heart of the movie was taken directly from my books,” he said.


Quarles said he was immediately struck by the film’s title, identical to his book.

“But that in itself isn’t a smoking gun,” he said. “Burning sands is an expression you would hear around fraternities. It’s a term to describe coming into a fraternity, crossing the sands, and making it in.”

At the heart of the dispute are two personal stories. McMurray has said that he based his film on his own experiences as an undergraduate at Howard University. Quarles, an administrator for the School District’s homeless and emergency services, also drew from his own life. The Abington High School alum attended Millersville University in Lancaster County, where in the late 1980s he pledged Kappa Alpha Psi, although his experience did not mirror those in his novel.

“I loved my fraternity,” he said Tuesday while en route to a vacation in Orlando with his wife and three children. “At Millersville I didn’t go through any sort of torture,” he said, referring to the horrors faced by the young men he depicts in his novel. “But I know some excesses were committed in the 1980s.”

Quarles said he began the novel nearly 18 years ago. “I started it on an old Mac word processor. It didn’t even have spell-check,” he said. “I wrote through to the end, then I took a year off and went back to it. I would do that, work on it for a while, then wait a year. So it was a real process.”

He published the first volume, Burning Sands: My Brother’s Keeper Volume 1, in 2014. “We’re pretty sure that the [Netflix film] wasn’t written until 2016,” he said.



Netflix is rapidly taking over the Emmys

This year’s Emmy nominations are out, and one thing is abundantly clear: Netflix is now an entertainment powerhouse, close on the heels of HBO. The company nabbed a record 93 nominations for its original streaming content, nearly double what it earned last year, and just 17 shy of HBO’s eye-popping 110. While House of Cards has arguably overstayed its welcome on the awards show circuit, Netflix has nonetheless used that program and many others — including The Crown, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Master of None — to climb the nomination ranks.


Back in 2016, Netflix came in third in overall nominations behind FX, which earned its recognition largely on the strength of Fargo. The year before, Netflix hung out at the bottom of the nominee list, behind Fox, FX, NBC, CBS, and ABC.


It’s worth noting that HBO’s The Leftovers received only one nomination this year, for Ann Dowd’s guest appearance on The Leftovers as cult leader Patti Levine. Meanwhile, Game of Thrones, because of its delayed season 7 premiere, was completely off this year’s ticket. Still, Netflix’s ability to so consistently churn out quality television across a vast number of categories suggests the company’s experimental approach is paying off, along with its track record of bringing in creators with strong individual visions. (The company notably moves promptly to shutter shows that don’t perform well with viewers.)

Netflix’s gradual gain in industry awards has been a steady trend, as the company has aggressively amped up its original production output and gunned for more traditional recognition at annual awards shows. It’s also a telling data point for the rise of streaming services. This is the first year Netflix and Hulu outnumber cable broadcasters in the coveted Outstanding Drama Series. Although HBO’s Westworld and NBC’s Saturday Night Live, which tied for 22 total nominations, cemented traditional TV’s dominance at the top of the chart, it’s becoming increasingly likely streaming services will start to lead the pack.



Marvel’s Luke Cage adds two new cast members for season 2

Two new faces will be coming to Harlem in season two of Luke Cage, with Marvel and Netflix announcing that Mustafa Sahkir (The Night Of) and Gabrielle Dennis (Rosewood) have been cast in the upcoming season.

Shakir will portray John McIver (a.k.a. Bushmaster), who is described as “a natural leader, brimming with charisma, whose mission is focused on Harlem and vengeance.”

Dennis, meanwhile, will portray Tilda Johnson (a.k.a. Nightshade/Nighthawk), “a brilliant, holistic doctor with a complicated history in Harlem where, as much as she tries to stay far from trouble, it seems to always find her.”

Interestingly, just last month, actress and singer Nabiyah Be revealed that she is also playing the character of Tilda Johnson in next year’s Black Panther.

“Mustafa’s incredible presence and power ignited us from our first meeting, and Gabrielle brings the charm and smarts to a very complicated role,” remarked executive producer Jeph Loeb. “Both will be wonderful additions to our already magnificent cast.”

“I can’t wait for audiences to see the compelling paces we put both Mustafa and Gabrielle through,” said Marvel’s Luke Cage executive producer and showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker. “From the moment you see each of them on screen, I feel they will be powerful additions to the world of Marvel and Harlem’s Luke Cage.”

Luke Cage season two will star Mike Colter as the titular Luke Cage, with Simone Missick as Misty Knight, Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple, Alfre Woodard as Mariah Dillard and Theo Rossi as Shades. Colter will be seen next as the character in Marvel’s The Defenders in August.



Netflix Castlevania series reveals voice cast

The cast of Netflix’s animated Castlevania series has been officially revealed by producer Adi Shankar and actor Graham McTavish, who will play Dracula in the upcoming show.


The cast of Netflix’s Castlevania appears to draw heavily from characters introduced in Castlevania 3: Dracula’s Curse. Richard Armitage, who played Thorin in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit film trilogy, will voice vampire hunter Trevor Belmont. Joining him in the fight against Dracula will be James Callis, best known for playing Dr. Gaius Baltar in Battlestar Galactica, as Alucard.

Alejandra Reynoso will voice Sypha Belnades and Emily Swallow will voice Lisa Tepes, the wife of Dracula and mother to Alucard.

Matt Frewer, perhaps best known for his roles as Max Headroom and Dr. Aldous Leekie on Orphan Black, will play a character known as The Bishop. Veteran character actor Tony Amendola will voice a character called The Elder.



Castlevania will begin streaming on Netflix on July 7. Check out the first teaser trailer for the animated series for a taste of what’s to come.