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  1. Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus get their first big Emmy nominations Netflix dominates overall as Quibi makes its Emmy debut The nominations for the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards are in, and once again, streaming services dominated the nominees. Netflix led the pack with 160 nominations, with Amazon and Hulu making waves, too. But there are also some big new names on the list this year, with Apple TV Plus, Disney Plus, and even Quibi picking up their first nominations for the coveted TV awards. Apple TV Plus picked up a total of 18 nominations across various categories, including two major nominations for prestige series The Morning Show: Steve Carell was nominated for Best Actor in a Drama Series, and Jennifer Aniston was nominated for Best Actress in a Drama Series. Billy Crudup and Mark Duplass were also nominated for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for their roles in the series. The Emmy nominations mark the second major shot at awards for Apple’s flagship series after The Morning Show also got three nominations at the Golden Globes earlier this year for Best Drama and a pair of Best Actress nominations for Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon (although the show was completely shut out at the event). Apple’s made no secret about its goal to create award-winning television with its streaming service, which is still looking for a breakout hit months after its debut last fall. And a big win at the Emmys this year could help give the service that kind of success. More unexpected is The Mandalorian — the breakout hit from Disney Plus — which also received an Emmy nomination for Best Drama Series, the first for the fledgling streaming service. It’s pretty unlikely that The Mandalorian will be taking home the award — it’s up against Better Call Saul, The Crown, The Handmaid’s Tale, Killing Eve, Ozark, Stranger Things, and Succession in that category — but it’s still a big win for Disney (which reportedly didn’t even mount a serious campaign for the show). The Mandalorian also accounted for most of Disney Plus’ 18 other nominations across the various categories, including Taika Waititi (looking to follow up his recent Oscar win) for his voiceover performance as IG-11, and Giancarlo Esposito for his guest appearance as Moff Gideon. Finally, there’s Quibi. Its focus on short-form content seems almost guaranteed to pay off with an Emmy win. The fledgling streaming platform got 10 nominations this year, all in shortform-specific categories: eight nominations for the Best Actor and Best Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series categories and two for Best Short Form Series (for Reno 911! and Most Dangerous Game). The 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards are currently set to take place on September 20th, with Jimmy Kimmel returning to host. It’s not clear whether this year’s event will feature an in-person ceremony due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus get their first big Emmy nominations
  2. Disney Plus price: bundle costs and sign up deals compared to Netflix, Amazon Prime and more Don't miss out on the best price for you on Disney's greatest hits (Image credit: Shutterstock) Is the Disney Plus price worth it? Well the service is certainly a serious contender in the multiverse of streaming services, with a subscriber tally reported at 54.5 million in May, only six months after its US launch. The Herculean task of keeping young ones entertained during lockdown couldn’t have harmed its popularity, but nor could its enticing roster of content – every episode of The Simpsons, the Star Wars franchise, Marvel’s blockbusting output, as well as Disney classics and a plethora of original content. And now the world's biggest musical Hamilton has even turned up on the service. But is the Disney Plus price really worth a trip to the House of Mouse? As Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and other services duke it out for streaming supremacy, we compare each against the Disney Plus price and platform, its bundle costs and sign up deals, so you can choose which one most deserves your hard-earned cash. Disney Plus - or Disney+ as it's officially styled - initially launched in the US, Canada, and the Netherlands in November last year and has since become available across Australia, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Europe, India, the UK, and most recently Japan. The Disney Plus juggernaut will continue to rollout over 2020, with the Nordic countries, Brazil, and Latin America among those able to subscribe before the end of the year. Not only does Disney Plus have a lot more exclusive content planned, but it also hosts Pixar’s animated output and National Geographic documentaries, as well as access to Disney movies old and new and exclusive Star Wars and Marvel Cinematic Universe spin-offs (The Mandalorian season 2 is coming in late 2020). If this sounds like something you need in your life, you can sign-up to it in certain territories now. Read on as we explain how much you can expect to pay for the new service and its bundles. We'll tell you about the Disney Plus price, and how its bundles compare to other TV streaming services. Disney Plus price at a glance Compared to the competition... Netflix: From $8.99 per month ($12.99 for HD) Amazon Prime: $12.99 per month HBO Max: $14.99 per month (Image credit: Disney / Becca Caddy) What price does Disney Plus cost? In the US, a month-by-month flat subscription to sign up for Disney Plus costs $6.99 per month. Nice and straightforward. But there’s a saving to be had if you go for Disney’s 12-month option, with a year’s subscription costing $69.99 for the year (so $5.83/month). In Canada, a Disney Plus subscription is $8.99 per month (or $89.99 per year), it's £5.99 (or £59.99 for the year) in the UK and the Disney Plus price is €6.99 per month (or €69.99 per year) in Europe. Australians pay $8.99 per month (or $89.99 per year), and the subscription cost in New Zealand is $9.99 per month (or $99.99 per year). Supported devices for the service include iPhone, iPad, PS4, Xbox One, Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, Chromebooks, Amazon Fire TV and Android. You’ll be able to make multiple profiles and the apps will stream 4K Ultra HD video at no extra charge. Below, we take a look at how Disney Plus prices and sign up deals compare to other major streaming services in the US. Disney Plus bundles: consider your options There's no doubt about it: the entry-level Disney Plus price is exceptionally good value and compares nicely with the competition (more on that below). But before you go and pledge your $6.99 a month, it's worth taking a moment to see if you can get more bang for your buck. In the US, Disney is also offering a bundle package of Disney Plus along with its two other streaming services - Hulu and ESPN+ - for the knockout price of $12.99 a month – that’s $5 cheaper than subscribing to all three separately. That's a ridiculously low price for such a wide range of prime content. On the Hulu side, that means access to a library of something like 1,500+ shows and 2,500+ films (on top of the thousands of titles you’re going to get on Disney Plus). This includes all of Hulu's original programming and co-productions like The Handmaid’s Tale and Catch-22, in addition to old and new episodes of TV staple Saturday Night Live. And the ESPN+ bolt-on will please the sports fan in the family. The streaming service's reputation has grown exponentially since launch and has won the rights to some of the biggest events on the globe. From exclusive UFC and boxing events, to daily MLB and NHL games and golf and tennis majors too. That’s all in addition to a whole host of original ESPN programmes. Head here to sign up for the great value Disney Plus bundle. (Image credit: Disney Plus) How to get a year of Disney Plus for free The good news for Verizon customers in the States is that subscribers to its 4G LTE, 5G unlimited wireless, or Fios home internet services will get a free year’s subscription to Disney Plus. That's a great little perk, and we'll soon see if other major retailers come up with their own promotions. And for those in the UK, if you're on an existing plan from O2 you can add Disney Plus as an extra and get £2 off your monthly airtime. Those new to O2 or upgrading, however, can enjoy this family-friendly streaming service absolutely free for six months. How does the Disney Plus price compare to Netflix? With a comparatively slender library, but packed full of commercially lucrative franchises and content from major film studios, Disney Plus looks poised to rival Netflix as the world’s most popular streaming service. However, Netflix - the omnipresent streaming giant - has over three times as many subscribers and almost five times as much content, with a wide array of exclusive hits like Sex Education, Russian Doll and The Crown. It also includes Oscar-nominated original movies like The Irishman, plus a huge library of family-friendly fare and curated kids section. A Netflix Basic plan costs $8.99 a month, but that only lets you stream one movie at a time and only in SD resolution. A Standard subscription costs $12.99 and includes two simultaneous streams and HD resolution, while a four-screen Ultra HD Premium plan will set you back $15.99. What does this mean? In the price wars at least, Disney Plus comes out on top with its affordable $6.99, single tier subscription plan. Want to know more about the current battle between these two services? We've considered Disney Plus vs Netflix: who will win? (Image credit: Disney Plus / Netflix / TechRadar) How does Disney Plus price compare to Amazon Prime? Online behemoth Amazon’s online video service may not have produced quite as many big hits as Netflix when it comes to its own original content, but it can boast a much deeper library than its rival, with four times as many movies and access to top-notch classic TV such as Lost, Parks and Recreation and The X-Files. It’ll also be the home of a massive new TV adaptation of The Lord of the Rings and Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten in 2021. A single Amazon Prime membership is $12.99 per month or $119 per year if you choose to pay annually, which allows you to stream content to two devices at once. While this might seem dear compared with the Disney Plus price, it also includes Amazon Prime membership, giving you access to same-day or one-day shipping on Amazon.com purchases, plus photo storage and access to exclusive deals at times like on Amazon Prime Day. How does Disney Plus price compare to Hulu? Despite being a majority Disney-owned service, Hulu is, in some ways, a competitor to Disney Plus. Boasting award winning Hulu Originals like Normal People, Castle Rock and Future Man, the on-demand service is also bolstered by its new IPTV offering which adds over 50 live TV channels, including live sports broadcasts. The service has three main pricing tiers; a basic $5.99-a-month ad-supported option, a $11.99 ad-free monthly tier, and the aforementioned Hulu with Live TV which comes in at $54.99-per-month, with HBO, Showtime, Cinemax and Starz all also available as add-ons. It’s worth noting that while you can bundle in Hulu with Disney Plus as mentioned above, this only includes its On Demand offering and not its live TV service. How does Disney Plus price compare to YouTube TV? Aimed squarely at cord-cutters, YouTube TV is Google’s attempt at a service similar to Sling TV, offering live TV to your phone, tablet and streaming device without a costly cable subscription and contract. Currently exclusive to the US, YouTube TV allows six people in the family to access the service and will allow up to three of them tune in simultaneously and also offers unlimited storage to record shows for up to nine months. A recent price hike has seen the flat fee for YouTube TV go up to $49.99 per month, which is nevertheless much cheaper than a regular cable contract. Users can also add additional channels to their line-up, including AMC Premiere ($5 per month,) Fox Soccer Plus ($15 per month) and Showtime ($7 per month). How does Disney Plus price compare to HBO Max? HBO Max is the latest offering from revered TV network HBO. Launched in the US in May 27, it’s a joint venture with parent company WarnerMedia, differentiating itself from HBO Now and HBO Go mainly through the sheer breadth of its content. Like HBO Now, there’s a single subscription plan available at $14.99 per month. This gifts you access to the service’s impressive 10,000 hours of film and TV content: iconic HBO shows like Game of Thrones, The Sopranos and Watchmen, recent blockbusters like Crazy Rich Asians and Aquaman, as well as being the exclusive home of TV favorite Friends and Studio Ghibli’s back catalogue, It can be viewed on - among other devices: apps on iOS and Android, Apple and Android TVs, PCs and Macs via the HBO Max website, as well as consoles such as Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Disney Plus price: bundle costs and sign up deals compared to Netflix, Amazon Prime and more
  3. You can now sync Amazon Prime movies with your friends – with Hulu and Disney Plus to follow Rave the roof Rave (Image credit: Rave) You'll have probably heard of Netflix Party – a Google Chrome browser add-on that lets you sync up playback of Netflix shows while chatting in a side-pane with your friends and family. If you're looking for similar features in other TV streaming services, though, the social streaming app Rave may have the solution. We first reported on Rave back in 2019, as a smartphone app able to sync Netflix watching over mobile with in-app chat functions – but it's now got Amazon Prime Video integration, meaning you can sync up Good Omens, Parks and Rec, or whatever Amazon Prime shows you're keen on watching too. What's more, Rave is also set to get Disney Plus and Hulu – according to a press release we received from the company – though there's currently no date given for those respective launches. We're told, though, that usage of Rave has jumped up tenfold since March – hardly surprising, given it's around the time many Western countries entered lockdown – and it's clear many viewers will be looking for solutions for staying in touch with their friends in more fun and dynamic ways than the the occasional Zoom meeting. Platform problems The major downside to Rave in the past has been its platform limitations, as the app is only available on iOS and Android smartphones. Obviously, many phones and tablets actually offer a decent display for watching TV these days, but it's not quite the same as kicking back in front of a TV, or even a laptop screen. That is set to change, though, with Rave "coming soon to Mac and PC" – which should help it compete with the likes of the Netflix Party browser add-on, or the Mac-enabled Houseparty app. If you're keen to make use of Rave's new Amazon Prime Video functions, too, here are the best Amazon Prime shows and Amazon Prime movies to start with. You can now sync Amazon Prime movies with your friends – with Hulu and Disney Plus to follow
  4. These new Star Wars Disney Plus rumors sound too good to be true Grand Admiral Thrawn getting his own series, anyone? (Image credit: Penguin Random House/Lucasfilm) The success of The Mandalorian on Disney Plus, coupled to rumors that season 2 of the show will reintroduce key characters from the Star Wars universe, has seemingly sent the rumor mill into overdrive on what's coming next. Two reports from the past few days have focused on possible live-action debuts of other notable Star Wars icons, and they both raise an eyebrow. The first is Grand Admiral Thrawn, a character with a long history in the Star Wars universe. Originally introduced in the Thrawn trilogy of books by Timothy Zahn starting in 1991, the character was then reintroduced into Disney's Star Wars continuity via the animated series Rebels. Zahn has since written more books featuring the character, who's a Star Wars fan favorite villain. According to The DIS Insider (via writer Daniel Richtman), Disney is looking to cast a live-action Thrawn for use in future Star Wars projects, with the report mentioning a rumor that it could be for his own series. And, that's all there is to it. The other recent story comes from The Illuminerdi, which claims Disney is looking to cast a live-action version of Ezra Bridger from the animated series Star Wars: Rebels, played by an actor in their 30s-40s. While the report doesn't cite which project the casting is for, it does suggest the project will be on Disney Plus. Nothing has been said on either matter by Lucasfilm, of course, so treat both as wild rumors and nothing more for now. Why we're not convinced There's a whole industry of Star Wars rumors on the internet. Previous reports about Boba Fett and Ahsoka Tano turning up in The Mandalorian season 2 felt more convincing because they came from the Hollywood Reporter, a long-established film industry publication with demonstrably spot-on sources. Indeed, the outlet has a recent confirmed scoop, in that it revealed Russian Doll creator Leslye Headland is making a series for Disney Plus. Lucasfilm then formally announced that series on May the 4th 2020, also known as Star Wars Day. That suggests what we've learned about the cool cameos in The Mandalorian's next set of episodes is pretty airtight. In the case of these newer rumors, we're reticent to believe them. It's not impossible Lucasfilm wants to bring more elements of the wider Star Wars universe to its Disney Plus shows, given that the universe is managed through one unified Lucasfilm Story Group. There are just a lot of stories like this on the internet. Disney Plus already has four confirmed Star Wars series in the works: The Mandalorian, Headland's untitled series and the two spin-off shows focused on Obi-Wan Kenobi and Rogue One's Cassian Andor. These new Star Wars Disney Plus rumors sound too good to be true
  5. Another new Star Wars Disney Plus series is reportedly in the works A report says a Star Wars TV show from the creator of Russian Doll is in the works (Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm) A new Star Wars TV series is coming to Disney Plus from Russian Doll creator Leslye Headland, it's been reported. Variety says that Headland will write and direct the series, which is described as 'female-centric' and takes place in a different part of the Star Wars timeline than the other projects Disney has planned right now. Russian Doll is one of our best Netflix shows, and assuming the report is true, anything that's based further away from the Skywalker Saga time period suits us. The Mandalorian doesn't feature particularly close ties to the main movies (yet, anyway), but the upcoming Obi-Wan and Rogue One spin-off series on Disney Plus are basically extensions of stories we've already seen in the movies. After The Rise of Skywalker made the Star Wars universe feel way too small, we're definitely keen to see what else creators can come up with. The Groundhog Day-esque Russian Doll, starring Natasha Lyonne, was an immediate critical success on Netflix. It's no surprise that Disney would look to a show like that to infuse the Star Wars universe with more interesting voices. The Mandalorian season 2 is set to debut in October 2020. The other Star Wars projects in the works at Disney Plus, including this new one, don't have release dates yet. Work has apparently begun on The Mandalorian season 3, too. Star Wars' future really is on the small screen "The priority in the next few years is television," is what Disney's Bob Iger said in February about the future of Star Wars. While three new Star Wars movies are on the schedule for 2022 onwards, it's clear that The Mandalorian has fueled Disney Plus' near-instant climb to 50 million customers. Given how long these series seem to take to make, more is better to us. The Mandalorian was a good example of how you can tell different kinds of stories in the Star Wars universe Source: Another new Star Wars Disney Plus series is reportedly in the works (TechRadar)
  6. Disney’s CGI-remake-mania continues with a live-action fox as Robin Hood No cast or release date yet, but Disney+ exclusive will combine live action and CGI. Enlarge / Disney has yet to formally announce a remake of 1973's Robin Hood, but THR has confirmed it's being made. In the meantime, we've come up with our own guess of how the reported film, a "hybrid" of live-action footage and CGI characters, will look in action. Getty / Aurich Lawson 120 with 85 posters participating, including story author The Walt Disney Company has now remade nearly a dozen animated classics as feature-length, live-action films—and that's not counting spinoffs (Maleficent), semi-sequels (102 Dalmations), or completed films yet to reach theaters (Mulan). Unsurprisingly, Disney isn't stopping there, and its next expected remake will be part of another new trend for the company: a straight-to-Disney+ launch plan. The Hollywood Reporter had Friday's scoop: Disney has begun pre-production on a live-action, CGI-filled remake of 1973's Robin Hood. Since the film's planning was reportedly finalized before a wave of set shutdowns across Hollywood, major details such as casting decisions and timeline estimates are not yet available. So far, only a director (Blindspotting's Carlos Lopez Estrada) and a writer (Kari Granlund, from last year's Lady and the Tramp remake) are attached. THR believes this remake will play out as a musical, much like the first Disney version, and will star "anthropomorphic" animals "in a live-action/CGI hybrid format." It has not confirmed whether fans should expect the same casting of animal species to key roles, including Robin Hood and Maid Marian as foxes, Friar Tuck as a badger, and Little John as a shameless repeat of the popular Baloo from 1967's Jungle Book. (THR also didn't have any comment on whether to expect these remade CGI animals to wear tights or otherwise become enduring sex symbols for a generation.) The new film's mix of live-action and CGI footage won't be the first of its kind for a Disney remake launching on Disney+; that honor goes to 2019's Lady and the Tramp remake. However, that remake leaned on its source material's inclusion of human characters to balance out its issues with the uncanny valley. Should Robin Hood try to do the same, it will require some heavy lifting in the rewrite department. Otherwise, a fully CGI cast will put this straight-to-streaming film's effects pipeline through serious scrutiny, especially if it doesn't receive the same holy-cow effects budget that was given to 2019's gorgeous-but-uneven Lion King remake. But the 2016 Jungle Book CGI remake is an example of how a live-action Robin Hood could very well succeed—especially if it nails its casting for key, humorous characters. Christopher Walken and Bill Murray did well to recapture their source cartoon's levity, and Robin Hood's enduring popularity—especially during the VHS era, which put the film into countless families' VCRs—would be paid forward handsomely by a cast that understands the fun of song-and-dance sequences like "Oo De Lally." Source: Disney’s CGI-remake-mania continues with a live-action fox as Robin Hood (Ars Technica)
  7. Disney Plus surpasses 50 million subscribers Thanks to an international rollout in a number of countries Disney Plus has surpassed 50 million subscribers — up more than 22 million since the last time Disney disclosed numbers two months ago. Disney’s new subscriber numbers follow a series of rollouts in international territories, including the UK, India, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, and Switzerland. Although Disney Plus did delay the launch of its service in France due to government concern that it would put too much strain on bandwidth, the app is now available there, too. Disney previously reported that it had 28 million subscribers during an earnings call with investors in February. To compare, Netflix has 167 million subscribers around the world, or just under one-third of Netflix’s total subscriber base. Hulu, Disney’s other streaming service, has 30 million subscribers. Hulu only operates in the United States, however, and Disney is looking at an international rollout beginning in 2021. “We’re truly humbled that Disney Plus is resonating with millions around the globe, and believe this bodes well for our continued expansion throughout Western Europe and into Japan and all of Latin America later this year,” Kevin Mayer, Disney’s head of direct-to-consumer, said in a press release. “Great storytelling inspires and uplifts, and we are in the fortunate position of being able to deliver a vast array of great entertainment rooted in joy and optimism on Disney Plus.” Disney chief financial officer Christine McCarthy noted during the February investors call that Disney expects the majority of its growth going forward to come from international subscribers. The company is also expecting a bump in domestic subscribers around the premiere of highly anticipated series from Marvel and Lucasfilm. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is set to premiere in August, with WandaVision in December, and The Mandalorian returning for a second season in October. Disney Plus has also seen a swath of activity in the last few weeks. Frozen 2 and Onward were brought to the streamer early. Artemis Fowl, originally set to have a theatrical release, will now debut on Disney Plus as a streaming exclusive. Disney, like other studios, is looking at ways to pipeline certain releases as streaming exclusives now that people are social distancing at home and theaters remain closed due to the pandemic. Executive chairman and former CEO Bob Iger told Barron’s it’s likely other titles will go to Disney Plus early. Source: Disney Plus surpasses 50 million subscribers (The Verge)
  8. Disney Plus commits to reducing streaming quality in Europe, delays launch in France Following others like Netflix and Amazon in bitrate reduction Disney will delay the release of its Disney Plus streaming service in France in accordance with government requests, Reuters is reporting. The streaming service, which was supposed to launch on March 24th, will instead reportedly launch the week of April 7th, according to Disney. That’s two weeks after it was initially set, and two weeks after other European markets will get the streaming service. Disney has not said if people in other countries set to receive Disney Plus, including the UK, will face delays. New subscribers in those regions will see a reduced quality in streaming, however, when the service launches. Disney will “lower our overall bandwidth utilization by at least 25 percent in all of the markets launching Disney Plus on March 24th,” according to Kevin Mayer, head of Disney’s direct-to-consumer division. Other streaming platforms, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV Plus, and YouTube have also committed to reducing video playback streams in order to lessen broadband strain. Broadband strain continues to be a concern globally as more people stay indoors in an attempt to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. Nielsen is estimating that people staying home “can lead to almost a 60 percent increase in the amount of content we watch in some cases and potentially more depending on the reasons.” Source: Disney Plus commits to reducing streaming quality in Europe, delays launch in France (The Verge)
  9. Disney Plus grabs 28.6 million paying subscribers since launch Nice work, Baby Yoda (Image credit: Lucasfilm/Disney) Disney has revealed its first major set of results for the Disney Plus streaming service since it launched, and it's good news: the service has reached 28.6 million paying subscribers. For context, Disney's goal over five years is to achieve 60 to 90 million subscribers, and considering the service still hasn't rolled out to many major territories, this is a strong start. It's also well up from the 10 million that were announced just after launch. This figure is pretty close to Hulu's current subscriber number of 30.7 million, although that's a US-only service, while Disney Plus is available in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands. The Disney Plus UK launch is just over a month away on March 24. "The launch of Disney Plus has been enormously successful, exceeding even our greatest expectations," said Disney's Bob Iger (via THR). Disney is running a promotion with Verizon during the launch period, which means subscribers get a year of the service. Verizon is responsible for 20% of the initial sign-ups to the service, Iger said, while 50% were direct to Disney. Disney Plus has a big year ahead. The first two Marvel Cinematic Universe TV shows, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and WandaVision, arrive in August and December respectively. The Mandalorian season 2 is coming in October, to give us our second helping of Baby Yoda. It's no surprise Disney Plus has had such a strong start: The Mandalorian brought us Baby Yoda overload, and managed to distract disappointed Star Wars fans who didn't like The Rise of Skywalker. It'd be interesting to know what percentage of that 28.6 million signed up just to watch it. The best is yet to come, though. The three big series coming later this year threaten to overshadow all other pop culture in the way that Marvel's movies do – but the novelty of seeing TV that looks this expensive, that fits into the continuity of these different movies series that people love, is compelling. Source: Disney Plus grabs 28.6 million paying subscribers since launch (TechRadar)
  10. Marvel gives first looks at Falcon and Winter Soldier, Loki, and WandaVision Disney+ series during Super Bowl A big time for Marvel on Disney+ Marvel Studios used its big Super Bowl advertising spot to quickly tease three upcoming Disney+ series: Falcon and Winter Soldier, Loki, and WandaVision. There wasn’t much footage from any of the series, but there was enough glimpses to tease fans. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier saw Anthony Mackie’s Sam “Falcon” Wilson pick up Captain America’s shield and maneuver around with it. The series picks up where that arc ended, as Steve Rogers’ best friends try to navigate a world he’s no longer in. The show brings back Mackie’s Wilson and Sebastian Stan’s Bucky “Winter Soldier” Barnes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Avengers: Endgame ended with Steve Rogers handing over his Captain America shield to Sam. The teaser also showed a glimpse of Zemo’s return, the villain made famous in Captain America: Civil War. WandaVision’s footage showed off scenes of Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff and Paul Bettany’s Vision interacting with each other in a house. The show was previously teased at Disney’s biennial D23 convention as a surreal sitcom-like take on their relationship. Loki had the least amount of footage, but showed actor Tom Hiddleston back in the role. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is one of two big Marvel series hitting Disney+ this year. The company previously announced that WandaVision would receive a 2020 release date, moving up from its original 2021 window. Both WandaVision and Falcon and the Winter Soldier will tie into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Much like what The Mandalorian was to Lucasfilm, all eyes will be on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier as Marvel’s first big Disney+ series. Since Disney has launched Disney+, big changes behind-the-scenes have shed light on how important the integration between the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the TV shows will be going forward. Kevin Feige, the visionary behind the MCU, now oversees all of Marvel Entertainment. Prior to the Disney+ launch, Jeph Loeb oversaw the various Marvel shows on various Disney networks, and streaming services like Hulu and Netflix. That changed late last year. Now, Feige oversees everything Marvel, both cinematically and on the TV side. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will be joined by the aforementioned WandaVision this year, followed by Loki, Hawkeye, She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel, and Moonknight in the coming years. Source: Marvel gives first looks at Falcon and Winter Soldier, Loki, and WandaVision Disney+ series during Super Bowl (The Verge)
  11. While there's little doubt that cheaper, more flexible streaming TV options are a definite step up from overpriced cable TV channel bundles, we've noted for a while how there's a problem in the sector it hasn't spent much time thinking about. As companies rush to lock down your favorite content via exclusives, users are increasingly being forced to hunt and peck among rotating catalogs to find the content they're looking for. Want to watch Star Trek? You'll need to subscribe to CBS All Access. Want to watch The Office? You'll need to subscribe to Comcast's streaming service. Friends? You'll need AT&T. The one two punch of ever shifting licensing deals and exclusives, shared among more than a dozen different services, risks over-complicating finding the content users are looking for. Push this particular idea too far in that direction, and consumers are going to simply pirate -- an ironic outcome to a decade spent trying to migrate pirates to legit streaming alternatives. Case in point: Disney has done amazing work driving new users to its Disney+ streaming service with low(ish) price point and exclusive programs like The Mandalorian. But users this week began noticing that movies that were on the service just last month are already falling out of rotation, without users being notified that they were disappearing: "...as 2020 began, some Disney Plus users noticed that a few films had gone missing from the streaming library. Dr. Dolittle, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Home Alone and Home Alone 2, and The Sandlot are no longer streamable on Disney Plus. All these titles disappeared without warning, and so far, Disney has not commented on the titles. Many fans are surprised by films dropping off the service, particularly since Disney hasn’t issued press releases about the changes. Where companies like HBO and Netflix put out monthly bulletins of everything coming to and leaving their streaming services each month, so viewers can plan their last-minute binges, Disney has only emphasized new arrivals, not departures. To be clear this isn't the end of the world, but it does create a level of consumer annoyance that, if driven at too large of a scale, could drive users back to pirating content. Eventually the industry needs to work in collaboration to make it easier to subscribe and unsubscribe from numerous services, track which services you're subscribed to, clearly notify users when content licenses expire, and make it easier to search across multiple platforms to find particularly content. Ignore the lessons of the past (that piracy is a competitor and a meaningful metric of potential customer dissatisfaction), and the sector is going to relive it. At which point you can easily see the industry blaming everything but its itself ("we gave you everything and you still pirated you ungrateful wretch") for customers who drift back to piracy. Source
  12. Movies are already disappearing from Disney+ And it’s all thanks to licensing Disney+ just launched in November, but some movies are already disappearing from the service, as reported by Polygon. For example, the three Home Alone movies were available when Disney+ launched, but the first Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York were removed from Disney+ yesterday, the first day of the new year. Movies going away from Disney+ kind of goes against the idea you might’ve had that it would be the place you could find everything Disney-related forevermore. (And you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that — in November, Disney did tell Comicbook that it, unlike some other services, wouldn’t have a “rotating slate” of licensed movies each month.) But that doesn’t exactly appear to be true, given that some movies have already been removed from the service, less than two months after launch. Why? My colleague Julia Alexander confirmed with Disney that these removals are due to issues with legacy licensing deals: The removals also came as something of a surprise, since Disney didn’t say that they would be leaving the service before pulling them. Content coming and going from streaming services is a reality most consumers are used to at this point, but other streaming services like Netflix and Hulu will at least announce what content is coming and going from their services on a monthly basis. It’s unclear when Home Alone, Home Alone 2, or any of the movies that have already been removed may return to the service, although Disney says it’ll happen at some point. And other movies may also disappear from Disney+ in the future, as Bloomberg reported there’s a chance that huge Disney movies like Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Coco, among other late-decade titles, will return to Netflix starting “around 2026.” That suggests they wouldn’t be available on Disney+ that year — if Disney and Netflix’s current deal stands. But there’s always a chance the company could make a new deal with Netflix — like when it cut a new deal with Starz to get Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Disney+ at launch. What this all means for the future is that Disney+ probably won’t ever have every Disney-owned movie at any one given time, and you can’t necessarily expect anything added to the service to stay forever. Until new and different deals are inked (if they ever are), if you see a movie you want to watch on Disney+, you might want to watch it as soon as you can. Source: Movies are already disappearing from Disney+ (The Verge)
  13. Disney+ is now getting two big Marvel series in 2020 WandaVision moved up to pad out Disney+’s year WandaVision was one of the biggest Disney+ shows planned for 2021, but the company announced today that the Marvel series’ release date is moving up to 2020. Disney revealed the news in a sizzle reel teasing what’s set to hit the streaming service this year. There’s no specific release date for WandaVision yet, making it unclear if it will premiere before or after Marvel’s other highly anticipated Disney+ show, Falcon and the Winter Solider. Adding the series helps Disney pad out 2020 with high-profile shows that can boost subscriber numbers. Marvel previously teased that the events of WandaVision will be referenced in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, which is still slated for May 7th, 2021. The show follows Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch and Paul Bettany’s Vision from the Avengers films. Pushing up the release date is a smart move on Disney’s part. A couple of big Disney+ shows are planned for 2020, including Monsters at Work, a spinoff of Pixar’s popular Monsters Inc. series, and the anticipated return of Lizzie McGuire, but those aren’t exactly Star Wars or Marvel. Moving WandaVision up can help entice subscribers to keep paying. Like HBO Now after Game of Thrones, Disney will have to contend with people canceling their subscriptions as big shows disappear. When the streaming service launched in November, there were a few breakout shows, most notably The Mandalorian. The Star Wars series (with the help of Baby Yoda) helped give Disney+ a successful start. But both The Mandalorian and High School Musical: The Musical: The Series recently completed their first seasons, and Disney was heading into 2020 without any significant blockbuster series. Disney+ started off spectacularly, boasting 10 million subscribers within the first 24 hours of launch and millions of people watching The Mandalorian. Disney wouldn’t share those numbers unless the company was certain there would be just as many by the end of its first year; having blockbuster shows helps maintain and grow those subscriber figures. Now that The Mandalorian is done, some customers are wondering when the next big Disney+ series will arrive. Just this week, Netflix’s The Witcher surpassed The Mandalorian as the most in-demand show, bringing an end to Baby Yoda’s reign. We’re still waiting on many details about WandaVision, including where it picks up in the Infinity Saga arc, but more information is expected to be released in the coming weeks. Source: Disney+ is now getting two big Marvel series in 2020 (The Verge)
  14. High demand causes login problems on Disney+ launch day Demand "has exceeded our high expectations," Disney says. Enlarge Disney's new streaming service is straining under the load as users rush to log in to the highly anticipated service on its US launch day. Frustrated users took to social media to complain about seeing "unable to connect" error screens instead of the Star Wars, Marvel, and Pixar movies they were hoping for. "The consumer demand for Disney+ has exceeded our high expectations," Disney tweeted on Tuesday morning. "We are working to quickly resolve the current user issue." Disney is aiming to reshape the paid video streaming landscape with its Disney+ offering. Until now, a lot of online streaming has been done on independent services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. With Disney+, Disney is seeking to cut out the middleman and stream its content directly to customers. The company's vast library of movies and television shows, bolstered by last year's acquisition of 21st Century Fox, will make the service immediately attractive to millions of potential customers. But of course the product will only be attractive if it works reliably. Disney is building its streaming service using technology developed by BAMTech, a company formed by Major League Baseball teams to stream baseball games. In recent years, the company has expanded to support everything from professional wrestling to HBO Now (though HBO recently cut BAMTech loose). Disney acquired a majority stake in the company in 2016 and started to use it for the streaming service of Disney-owned ESPN. Now it serves as the foundation for Disney+. The outages come despite extensive preparations by the BAMTech team—now known as Disney Streaming Services. "We’re thinking very much about" overloaded servers, said Michael Paull, the head of Disney's streaming efforts, in an August interview with the Verge. Paull has been the head of BAMTech since 2017 and before that was a vice president at Amazon's digital video team. "Fortunately, we’ve had the experience with Game of Thrones, we’ve had the experience of ESPN+ with the big pay-per-view events that we’re doing with UFC exclusively on our platform," Paull told the Verge in August. “We are ready. We’re spending a lot of time planning for this launch.” Source: High demand causes login problems on Disney+ launch day (Ars Technica)
  15. SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Wall Street’s reaction so far to Walt Disney Co’s long-awaited streaming service suggests investors believe the competition may not be as crushing as expected for entertainment rival Netflix Inc . Shares of Disney have surged 8% since the launch of Disney+ a week ago, helped along by 10 million sign-ups for the service in its first day. But during the same period, Netflix’s stock recovered from an initial slump and is now up nearly 3%, with some investors betting the two companies’ streaming offerings may be able to coexist. On Monday, Disney rose 2.1% to $147.65, just shy of its record high close on Nov. 13, while Netflix climbed 2.6% to its highest close since August. “I’m a consumer of both services and I can tell you that what my kids watch on Netflix is not what they watch on Disney+. Now I get it, and the market is reacting to that, appreciating the shares of both companies,” said King Lip, chief investment strategist at Baker Avenue Asset Management in San Francisco. Baker Avenue owns shares of Disney and recently began buying Netflix shares. Investors for months have viewed the looming launch of Disney+ as the most dangerous challenge yet to Netflix’s dominance of an increasingly crowded video streaming market. Disney’s stock has risen 27% since April when Disney+ was unveiled, while Netflix remains down 18%. Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings warned in September that competition arising from the entrance of Apple, Disney and NBC to the global streaming market would spark a surge in content costs, adding to worries about Netflix’s already slowing subscriber growth. Apple earlier this month launched its streaming video service, with a slim offering of original shows, for $5 per month, compared to Netflix’s $13 per month standard price. AT&T’s HBO Max is set to launch in early in 2020. Disney’s $7 per month service includes family-friendly new and classic TV shows and movies from some of the world’s most popular entertainment franchises. But Disney+ steers clear of content aimed at more mature audiences, often popular on Netflix, giving consumers reasons to pay for both, Lip said. Following its recent surge, Disney’s stock is trading at 23 times expected earnings, its highest forward earnings valuation since 2004, according to Refinitiv data. As investors reconsider the value of Netflix, its forward earnings multiple has been trading at under 60 since September, far below its average of 148 over the past five years. Chuck Carlson, chief executive of Horizon Investment Services in Hammond, Indiana, has been advising clients to avoid Netflix due to its valuation, rising production costs and concerns about weak subscriber growth. “Because Netflix is the leader, it has the most to lose, and now we are going to start seeing pretty steady data points coming out from all of the other streaming services,” Carlson said. “It still seems to be a tough story for Netflix.” Source
  16. The weirdest movies on Disney Plus Remember when Disney started getting 'Nam flashbacks...? (Image credit: Disney) Disney’s long-awaited entry into the streaming space is here, with Disney Plus racking up more than 10 million subscribers to its service in just a matter of days. It’s a promising start for Disney’s battle against Netflix, with its focus on its own in-house content paying dividends thanks to the likes of its animation classics, Star Wars franchise and library of Marvel films. But wow-eee, Disney really has had to plumb the depths of its archive in order to fill the gaps between those tentpole titles. Yes, the masses will be lapping up The Mandalorian, but the true Disney connoisseur should be turning to these insane flicks for their next Disney Plus marathon. (Image credit: Disney) Darby O’Gill and the Little People Let’s start off with some mildly inappropriate cultural cliches, as Disney takes a trip to the Emerald Isle. Very much tapping into the stereotypes of the Irish being superstitious drunks, Darby O’Gill and the Little People is full of leprechauns and banshees. It has its charm – not least a rare performance from Sean Connery in which he abandons his native Scottish accent for an Irish one. And beats up a leprechaun. (Image credit: Disney) Fuzzbucket Picture the scene: it’s the late 1980s and TV execs the world over are riding high on the inexplicable success of ALF, a TV show about a puppet alien. Thinking it can bag itself a bit of the ‘next E.T’ pie, Disney lands on… Fuzzbucket. If you were one of the many kids who shudder at the thought of actually being visited by E.T, wait till you get a load of Fuzzbucket. Part mole, part troll, maybe part man? It’s a fine line between someone dressed in a furry suit being cute (see: Ewoks) and someone being… not cute. Fuzzbucket falls very much into the latter category – even the kid who stars opposite Fuzzbucket looks like he doesn’t want to be there. (Image credit: Disney) The Ugly Dachshund Just, the absolute NERVE to call any dog ugly. Unlike Fuzzbucket above, they’re wonderful little balls of fluff, in whatever shape or size. This one’s a retelling of the ‘ugly duckling’ story, swapping ducks for dachshunds and swans for great danes. Controversial opinion: dachshunds are overrated, and great danes rock. Take THAT, Disney. (Image credit: Disney) Return to Oz The Wizard of Oz: a fantastical coming of age story full of talking lions, loveable scarecrows and (admittedly creepy) flying monkeys. Return to Oz is the sequel you’d get if you only ever showed the director that flying monkeys scene. It is unwittingly terrifying, opening with Dorothy in electrotherapy after her first trip to Oz, before heading off to thwart another evil force. An anti-kids film to ruin the sleeping habits of a whole new generation, thanks to Disney Plus. (Image credit: Disney) The Shaggy D.A. Unbelievably, this is a sequel. As a boy, Wilby Daniels was once turned into a dog by a magic ring, in a prior misadventure that saw him returned to his human form by its conclusion. Now he’s comfortably in his middle age, and is a lawyer. Depending on your stance on lawyers, you may feel what happens next is perfectly deserved as, when Daniels looks to run for District Attorney, a rival stumbles into the ring, turning him back into a dog. Freaky Friday with a canine twist, essentially, which is far better than what this actually turns out to be. Great tagline, though: “It's Laughter By The Pound! You'll Roll Over, Sit Up, And Beg For More!” (Image credit: Disney) Mr Boogedy A practical jokes salesman takes his family to live in an apparently haunted house. Are the crazy poltergeist-like shenanigans the work of real spirits, or just dad mucking around again? Surprise! It’s Mr Boogedy. Except, Boogedy isn’t some cute Casper-alike. He’s like a sentient booger, and his grotesque face will be seared permanently onto the retinas of any who dare watch this made for TV effort. (Image credit: Disney) Operation Dumbo Drop Remember when Disney made a Vietnam war film? A Vietnam comedy, no less? Sure, it’s a kid-friendly ‘parental guidance’ flick, but the synopsis sounds far more sinister, with an army officer and his unit working to prevent a warlord from dropping an elephant out of the sky and to its doom. Starring Danny Glover (Predator 2), Ray Liotta (Goodfellas) Dennis Leary (the Holsten Pils lager adverts). Good family fun... Source: The weirdest movies on Disney Plus (TechRadar)
  17. The version of Star Wars on Disney+ changes the canon once again Han Solo vs. Greedo might look different than it did in 1977. And 2004. And 2011. Enlarge / Who shot first? Lucasfilm Ltd. | Disney 113 with 88 posters participating Drew Stewart got the call at around 2am: They broke the universe again, you should check it out. So Stewart did something he's done countless times before; he has no idea how many. He turned on Star Wars. But this time was different—literally. The galaxy had changed, like a glitch in the Matrix (if you'll allow a mixed cinematic metaphor). And it wasn't the first time. As the person behind a Twitter account called Star Wars Visual Comparison, Stewart is a kind of unofficial keeper of apocrypha, of the sometimes subtle, sometimes extraordinary changes wrought by their makers upon three Star Wars movies: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and The Return of the Jedi. These alterations to the canon are the stuff of many nerd debates, and Stewart has followed them closely. That's why, at 2:50am on the day Disney+ launched with the whole Star Wars catalog in 4K resolution (pretty!), he found himself watching A New Hope yet again. What he found was yet another wrinkle: an all-new, all-different shoot-out between Han Solo and the lizardish bounty hunter Greedo. Having just spent a week on the changes made to this scene since 1977—when, originally, Han kills Greedo in cold blood in the Mos Eisley cantina—Stewart knew he was seeing something extraordinary. He took to Twitter with word of his findings, and you can hear the existential despair in his voice: "Oh my god. This is not a joke." So what's going on here? Well, the first Star Wars movie came out in 1977. And then things went kind of joojoofloopy. In 1981, Lucasfilm added the title "A New Hope" to the opening crawl, signaling that Star Wars is a genus, not a species. Recreating that crawl necessitated a new starfield behind it, so the giant spacecraft you see in the opening scene had to be recomposited. OK. Then, in 1997, the "special editions" came out with all sorts of new visual effects—new X-wings and a digital Jabba the Hutt in A New Hope, expanding shock wave rings around explosions, stuff like that. And, maybe most controversially, Greedo gets a shot off before Han. "It lasts like 20 frames or something. Greedo shoots, and Han just kind of sits there and then fires back eventually. Twice? He shoots twice. I don't know how they animated that and got it through quality control," Stewart says. "Then we have the DVD version, which came out in 2004, and it had a myriad of changes," Stewart says—including retiming the shoot-out. "And then the Blu-rays came out in 2011, and there were more things." Like, for example, they cut the pause altogether. And the version that's on Disney+ now? "It's a whole new thing. I just don't understand," Stewart says. "The insert shot of Greedo? That's just the shot of Greedo from a few seconds before, but zoomed in poorly. Then he says a nonsense word, and then they shoot at the same time. And he explodes." That nonsense word doesn't even get translated in the subtitles. It's something like "maclunkey," and it launched memes, as things do now. As a nerd, even I'll allow this seems like small beer, in a way. Star Wars creator George Lucas tinkered on his stuff for decades before Disney bought his company, nominally locking the prints. One more change shouldn't come as a huge surprise, especially since, as a Lucasfilm spokesperson confirmed, Lucas himself made the changes to the Han/Greedo scene after the Blu-ray release in 2011 and before the Disney acquisition in 2012. For fans, though, it's something that makes the movie one more step removed from what hit theaters 42 years ago. From a certain point of view Put another way, the Disney+ version of Star Wars means the canon now includes 1977's A New Hope and its 1981 revise, 1980's Empire, and 1983's Jedi. The 1997 special editions, on film and in 2K resolution. The 2004 special editions on DVD, from a 1080p master. The 2011 special editions, again in 1080p, for Blu-ray. And now … this. Which is what, exactly? Stewart went back to his computer and his TV screen and did a rewatch, and he has some concerns. After we spoke, he DM'd me to say that he thought the Disney+ versions had too many color corrections to merely be a Greedo-tweaked, uprezzed 2011 Blu-ray version. "According to anonymous sources, this is what Lucas worked on after the Blu-ray, a 4K cut with all these changes," Stewart says—an all-new edition made from the original negatives of the 1997 special edition. "It's not a revision," he wrote. "It's a whole new fork." A Lucasfilm representative sort of denied this. "The 4K are from the Blu-ray releases," the person said. So I asked: Just to make sure, then, Stewart's guess is wrong? It's not a new fork, the Disney+ movies are revisions of the 2011 releases and not entirely new versions made from the 1997 special edition negatives, with redone visual effects? No response. This isn't the only weird choice Disney+ made. At the same time as the Greedo thing was unfolding, Simpsons fans were gnashing their terrible teeth and roaring their terrible roars about the decision to show early-days episodes cropped to fit new, hi-def screens instead of presenting them in their original 4:3 standard-def aspect ratio. You lose a lot of visual jokes that way, like (perhaps most famously) learning on a widening shot that the three kinds of Duff beer (Duff, Duff Lite, and Duff Dry) all come from the same pipe. The originals are readily available, unlike the earlier rounds of Star Wars revs; FXX showed them. The 4:3 eps just … aren't there. Why? But why? Why not just load everything onto the servers and let subscribers choose, as a reward for paying to be part of the broader Disney ecosystem? Matthew Ball, a media analyst who has written a lot about Disney+, tells me he suspects it was probably a technical issue more than a content choice. For Star Wars, though, it's a significant one. Star Wars has a rigidly enforced canon; the movies are its backbone. So having different versions of the movies on people's shelves presents a problem for the hegemony. Like the various translations and apocrypha that Christianity has had to declare, at various moments across millennia, in or out, differing movie versions offer different gospel truths. If Han Solo murdered Greedo, then his decision to return at the climactic moment of A New Hope to help the Rebellion represents an epiphanic change in character. If Han killed Greedo in self-defense, he was always a good person hiding his emotions. (Han manifestly shoots first in the prequel Solo.) Having multiple iterations of that gunfight—it's like having multiple stories about what happened to Paul on the road to Damascus. Someday, a long time from now, in a castle far, far away, someone is going to have to excavate Drew Stewart's Twitter feed and make some hard decisions about canon and what's apocrypha now. This story originally appeared on wired.com. Source: The version of Star Wars on Disney+ changes the canon once again (Ars Technica)
  18. The Mandalorian’s first episode is a no-brainer reason to pay for Disney+ A bounty hunter’s surprising journey in a post-Empire world: Giddyap, space cowboy. First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all images. While Disney+ debuts today with a healthy slew of classic films and new series, its biggest day-one draw has to be Star Wars' first live-action TV series, The Mandalorian. Ahead of its launch, we wondered how well the show, about a bounty hunter living in the era between Episodes VI and VIII, might lean into the archetype of space westerns. Today, we now know that this is a full yee-haw and yippy-ki-yay of a gunslinging time with a new, faceless, grizzled anti-hero. Even better, by the first episode's end, the reveal of his surprising journey had me shouting a hearty "whaaaaat?!" It's been a while since a TV series pilot has had me this excited. This review of the series' pilot episode contains mild plot spoilers—and errs on the side of vague descriptions. "Pre-Empire?" The titular star of The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) first appears in this series in traditional western fashion: in the middle of an average day's work. For this renowned bounty hunter, that means kicking butts and picking up wanted goons. We meet the Mandalorian, who isn't referred to by any other name, in mostly silent fashion. He has little to say to drunken bullies at a bar, nor to the patron he's there to meet (and escort far, far away). This opening sequence comes with a nearly pitch-perfect comedic touch, thanks both to a blue-collar, blue-skinned criminal (played by SNL's Horatio Sanz) and a confused ferry handler (played by comedian and famed Star Wars super-geek Brian Posehn). That comedic touch is crucial, because the Mandalorian opts for the silent-and-stoic approach when peppered with questions. "She's classic!" Sanz's alien character says about the Mandalorian's crusty spaceship. "Pre-Empire?" The bounty hunter stares forward in response, his helmet shining with the slight glow of whatever nearby star is visible through the cockpit. That's the point. We as viewers sit uncomfortably with this silence, taking in the fact that this series takes place after the events of Return of the Jedi. What life is there for a bounty hunter in such an era? Sure enough, when the Mandalorian cashes in his latest bounties, he's nearly paid by his handler (Greef Carga, played by Carl Weathers) in worthless Empire currency. The pesky roster of newly available jobs aren't even worth the cost of gas, Mandalorian complains, to which Greef replies: Well, there is one job... After an awkward meeting with a mysterious handler (Werner Herzog), who hides in a basement bunker with an army of Stormtroopers, the Mandalorian finds himself set up with a new gig, complete with unclear coordinates and a ludicrously high payment. This new "client' doesn't have much in the way of demands beyond one request: that his bounty be brought in "alive," If possible. "I've only heard the stories" First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all images. This 40-minute pilot episode is careful to surround the Mandalorian with chatty characters, though the opening emphasis on humor is notably dialed back after the first 10 minutes. This tactic pays off pretty handsomely, in part because we see the show's "what's going on" explanations come organically from characters like Greef and "the client." After this, we get a pretty nifty point of contrast. The Mandalorian's eventual landing on a new planet—massive, mostly deserted, covered in sand dunes, yep, it's a Star Wars character origin story—begins with a crisis. The Mandalorian gets into some heat, and the person who saves him (a pig-nosed humanoid alien, played by Nick freakin' Nolte) winds up being even more stoic and reserved. Thus, we get to see our anti-hero poke out of his guarded shell, however briefly, in search of knowledge and context for why he's being helped. Not only do we get a brief hint of his character's humanity, we also see Nolte earn his paycheck as a ridiculous curmudgeon of a character—and one who drops some massive wisdom about our story's hero, and his foretold reputation, in a powerful, blink-and-you'll-miss-it dollop. At this point, we see the Mandalorian overcome some odds, curry Nolte's favor, and make his way to a heavily guarded compound. Pardon the mini-spoiler here, but Taika Waititi shows up as the voice of a surprise-appearance droid who ruins the Mandalorian's stakeout, and he has to contend with the fallout. This is the pilot episode's purest western moment: a laser saloon shoutout, by golly, and it shines thanks to silly Mandalorian-and-droid chatter and a ramp-up of heavy-duty weaponry. After that, well... I'm not saying a single specific thing, except that my Star Wars-loving self was caught off guard by the episode-clinching twist, which had me foaming at the mouth for what's to come next. Careful costumes, comedic CGI Yet even if you take the moment in question and drop it into our comment section (please don't, at least not without spoiler tags), that single statement wouldn't do enough to sum up what makes me eager for next week's episode to drop. (If you're wondering: Disney+ is opting for a one-episode-per-week launch schedule at this point, with no confirmed episode schedule available just yet; sorry if you thought you had a full Mandalorian binge ahead of you.) Rather, the production crew, led by Iron Man and Swingers Director Jon Favreau, seems to really understand what makes a seedy Star Wars story worth following. I loved the balance of practical effects, carefully molded alien costumes, and intentionally cheeseball CGI. You'll see our hero ride a digital alien as a mount at one point, and the low-budget bounce of this creature over hills and valleys feels delightfully animated, not obnoxiously cheap. Those brief CGI moments are forgivable in light of gorgeous set design, a John Williams-caliber score of brand-new compositions, and a cast of actors who savor their pauses, beats, and moments to simmer in tension (both for action and comedy's sake). Not only did I have fun, I was shocked to see the episode's 40 minutes practically melt in a snap. If the pilot is any indication, The Mandalorian is Star Wars for a generation of fans who remember the film series as an aesthetic, an ethos, and a promise of morally mixed discovery. And I'm already ready to hitch my space western wagon to this wild ride. Listing image by Disney+ / Lucasfilm Source: The Mandalorian’s first episode is a no-brainer reason to pay for Disney+ (Ars Technica) (To view the article's image galleries, please visit the above link)
  19. Surprise! Disney Plus has doubled the number of Marvel movies at launch to 16 The list of eight has grown to 16 (Image credit: Marvel) We previously knew of eight movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe launching on Disney Plus when the service arrives very soon on November 12. Now, that number has doubled to 16, with the late announcement rolling out in another outrageously long Twitter thread. Also announced was a special called Expanding the Universe, offering a first look at coming Disney Plus MCU projects. The list of movies launching on the service now goes like this. In bold, you'll find the movies that are freshly announced, alongside those we already knew were coming: Iron Man Thor Iron Man 2 Captain America: The First Avenger The Avengers Iron Man 3 Captain America: The Winter Soldier Thor: The Dark World Guardians of the Galaxy Avengers: Age of Ultron Ant-Man Captain America: Civil War Doctor Strange Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Captain Marvel Avengers: Endgame That's a big upgrade from the previous line-up, which felt like a good start, but was well under half of the total movies based in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As the official Disney tweet says, expect announcements for other movies soon, presumably as the US and Canadian rights go back into Disney's hands. The hope is that one day Disney Plus will become the comprehensive home for the MCU, but a few factors stand in the way, like the Spider-Man film rights belonging to Sony. That means the library won't be complete unless Disney strikes a deal to bring them over, which is entirely possible, but so far hasn't been discussed in the announcement plans for Disney Plus. These series will eventually be joined by a suite of new live-action Marvel series, like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, WandaVision, Loki and Hawkeye to start, with more based on Moon Knight, Ms Marvel and She-Hulk coming down the line. Disney Plus launches on November 12. Source: Surprise! Disney Plus has doubled the number of Marvel movies at launch to 16 (TechRadar)
  20. Disney Plus Marvel TV shows and movies: every superhero coming to the service Saving you from boredom (Image credit: Walt Disney) When Disney acquired Marvel in 2009, we were only at the very beginning of the Marvel Cinematic Universe phenomenon. Since then, the MCU has blown up on a massive scale, with three phases of films and a handful of TV shows already behind us. Some releases have been more successful than others, but all play a part in the big picture of the Marvel universe. Now, as Marvel's game-changing Phase 3 comes to an end, and we move into Phase 4 of the studio's grand plan, Disney is launching its Disney Plus streaming service. Marvel will be a core pillar of what the service has to offer, and now the studio's original TV shows will be closely linked to its movies – unlike the previous Marvel TV offerings on Netflix that were largely of inconsistent quality and lifespan. It’s pretty clear that Disney has big plans for its Marvel TV shows as well as its movies in the coming years, and Disney Plus will allow you to catch up, and keep up, with the Marvel universe in 4K/HDR. With Marvel assembling alongside heavy-hitters like Star Wars, Pixar and Disney itself on the streaming service, fans are naturally wondering just how much it will cost them to keep up with the exploits of their favorite heroes. If that’s the case just head to our Disney Plus price guide which has all the information you’ll need. So, curious about what Marvel treats are actually coming to Disney Plus? Here’s everything that’s been announced so far. Disney Plus Marvel Movies: what's available at launch? There are 23 movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but unfortunately they won’t all be available on Disney Plus at launch. The reason for this is kind of convoluted – some of the existing Marvel movies are tied up in existing licensing deals and are, therefore, not able to be streamed consistently around the world. The rights of other titles, like the 2008 Hulk movie and the Tom Holland Spider-Man films, are also owned and distributed by other studios and can’t, therefore, appear on Disney’s streaming service. Outside of these legal constraints, it’s possible that Disney doesn’t want to make its entire Marvel movie catalogue available right away – there are DVD and Blu-ray sales to maintain after all. The seven MCU titles confirmed as being available at launch in Disney’s mammoth Twitter thread are as follows: As for the rest? Well, we at least know that Avengers: Endgame will be coming to the service on December 11 2019, but dates for others remain unconfirmed. It’s likely that most of the MCU movies will appear on Disney Plus eventually, it just won’t be straight away so you’ll have to hold off on that binge session you have planned. Disney Plus Marvel TV Shows: what and when? One of the most exciting things about Disney Plus is the prospect of a deluge of new and exclusive Marvel TV shows that might actually hold up against their cinematic counterparts – and make up for previous misadventures. Given the big names attached to the shows, and reports that each episode of each show could have a budget of as much as $25 million, expectations of quality are high. Disney has already confirmed a handful of shows that will be coming to the service over the next couple of years and we know that there’ll be a mix of live-action, animation and documentary on offer. But it’ll be a while until the new offerings start, with the first big series starting in 2020. The first new and exclusive show out the gate will be The Falcon and the Winter Soldier with Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan reprising their respective roles for the small screen. After that we know Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany will be reunited as Scarlett Witch and Vision in WandaVision; Tom Hiddleston will also be causing havoc as Loki in his very own branch of reality, courtesy of the Tesseract. Like Loki, Hawkeye will be getting his own show, starring Jeremy Renner, although we’re not expecting to see it premiere until 2021. On the animated side of things, What If…? will explore a whole range of alternative storylines within the Marvel universe, including what might have happened had Peggy Carter taken the soldier serum instead of Steve Rogers. And just because it’s animated doesn’t mean the stars are stepping back – 25 of the biggest Marvel stars have been confirmed to be returning to voice their characters, including Hayley Atwell and Samuel L. Jackson. Disney will be using its TV shows to introduce new heroes as well as delving deeper into the stories of its existing stars. It was confirmed during D23 that Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk and Moon Knight will be making their debuts on Disney Plus with their own dedicated shows. When those debuts will be, however, is still unknown. (Image credit: Walt Disney/Marvel Studios) Disney Plus Marvel TV shows: release schedule Marvel's Hero Project documentary (November 12, 2019) The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (Late 2020) WandaVision (Early 2021) Loki (Early 2021) What If? (Mid-2021) Hawkeye (Late 2021) Marvel's 6161 (2020) Ms. Marvel (no release date) Moon Knight (no release date) She-Hulk (no release date) Disney Plus and Marvel: the next phase So, the future looks busy and bright for the Marvel universe on Disney Plus. While things on the TV front won’t be getting properly started until 2020, we know at the very least that the shows will be going strong through 2021 and beyond. Between the introduction of new characters and expansions on the stories of those we already know, there's plenty coming – and if you’re invested in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Disney Plus is likely the best place to be between the big movie releases. Source: Disney Plus Marvel TV shows and movies: every superhero coming to the service (TechRadar)
  21. It certainly seems like the world of streaming video entered a new epoch recently. Last week, Comcast finally handed the reigns of Hulu over to Disney, which means the company will have not only the impending Disney+ streaming service but also a live TV service that competes with the big cable companies. Then, the very same day, we saw a genuinely awful outcome of AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner, when CEO Randall Stephenson announced that Friends and other WarnerMedia-owned shows would be pulled from Netflix to run exclusively on the company’s forthcoming streaming platform. Apple reminded us of its foray into streaming with the release of the new Apple TV app, which will support TV+ later this year, and cable channel IFC announced it’s own streaming service for a monthly fee of $6. Look at all those content fiefdoms. As these companies snatch hold of rights and create their new exclusive content, they’re cordoning off their empires and demanding you to either ignore some of the most talked about TV shows and films available or pay your way into their services. Either way, it’s a dark future for the streamer. Now you might think “well I can just not subscribe!” or maybe “I don’t need to revisit Friends or the enormous catalog of classic films Warner now owns.” And that’s very true. But for many, that’s not realistic. People naturally want to be included in conversations. The internet has only bolstered the water cooler imperative of keeping up with mass culture events like Avengers: Endgame and Game of Thrones. Disney recognizes this. The company now owns the rights to some of the largest franchises in the business and is slowly pulling them form all other competing streaming platforms to force people to watch them on Disney+. Want to watch a Marvel movie or Star Wars? What about X-Men? Got a hankering for those blue Avatar people? Need to check out Frozen, Moana, The Incredibles, or Aladdin? You’ll have to cough up cash for Disney+. And you’ll be paying Disney for the privilege of watching ESPN too. It owns that, not to mention A&E, ABC, History Channel, a big chunk of Vice, FX, and even Lifetime. As we said before, Disney now owns Hulu outright, too—AT&T sold its share last month, and Comcast agreed to relinquish its share last week. Whenever a company consolidates large portions of a commodity that everyone wants, the first concern that comes to mind is cost. Streaming could get a whole lot more expensive. Remember how cheap Netflix was when it was just a dinky little add-on to the disc subscription service? But over the years it’s crept up. It’s now double the price it was five years ago. Disney, with its now enormous catalog of content (a catalog far more extensive and potentially more lucrative than Netflix’s), has already spread subscriptions across three different services, Hulu, ESPN, and soon Disney+. After it hooks you on Disney+ for $7 a month later this year, it could very easily start increasing the price. (No one at Disney has said as much to date.) It’s a tactic that has served TV providers well for some time. Lure them in with introductory prices, get them addicted to the service provided, and then raise the price. Sure you could shut off the never-ending stream of Moana, but will you? As irritating and expensive as Disney’s streaming monopoly will be, it’s the company’s dominance over culture that feels the most terrifying. So far this year, Disney has dominated roughly 35-percent of the American box office sales, according to Box Office Mojo. Combined with Warner Bros., that number jumps to about half of the U.S. box office. Very few companies are producing a large percentage of what we watch, and as they consolidate the means of distribution via the internet, it’s beginning to feel like they’ve got too much power—it ends badly. And we know that because this isn’t the first time a few companies have controlled both the production and distribution of huge amounts of entertainment. Back in the 1940s, you had a similar system, in some respects. “Basically the studios financed the movies, produced them themselves at their own companies and then they also owned some movie theaters,” Karina Longworth, a Hollywood historian and host of You Must Remember This, told me. This meant they could give sweetheart distribution deals to their own theaters while gouging competitors, and it meant if you wanted to be in the business of making movies, you also probably had to be in the business of building theaters all across the United States. According to Longworth, the U.S. government perceived that vertical integration of the entertainment business as a monopoly. Following a series of anti-trust actions and negotiations in the 1930s and 1940s, the studios ended up divesting themselves of their control over theaters. According to Longworth, the effect wasn’t immediately felt by consumers in any kind of financial way, but it had huge ramifications for the film industry, and for the kind of voices that were prioritized in movies. “There was, for all intents and purposes, no such thing as independent film that got any kind of distribution until the 1950s.” No indie film meant every single movie being made was dictated, to some degree, by a very small group of people at the very top of these studios. And while the people running studios can lift up and amplify a wide variety of voices and experiences, that’s not always practically the case. Black cinema wasn’t embraced by the big studios, nor was queer cinema. Films featuring people from other countries weren’t common. And thanks to the draconian nature of the Hays code and its enforcers (collectively working as the precursor to the frequently as awful MPAA) there was a broad swath of subject matter the big studios wouldn’t touch. You couldn’t even make a film decrying Nazism until right before the U.S. entered World War II. Source
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