Netflix Discussing Keeping Disney’s Marvel, ‘Star Wars’ Films

Netflix Inc is in “active discussions” with Walt Disney Co about keeping Marvel and “Star Wars” films after 2019, when new Disney and Pixar movies will stop appearing on the streaming service, a senior executive said late on Thursday.

Disney announced on Tuesday that it was pulling new Disney and Pixar films from Netflix, starting with new releases in 2019. It will start putting the movies on a new Disney-branded online service that year.

Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger told analysts the company had not yet decided where it would distribute superhero films from Marvel Studios and movies from “Star Wars” producer Lucasfilm, which the company owns, at that time.

Netflix is still in discussions with Disney about retaining rights to stream Marvel and Lucasfilm releases after 2019, Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos told Reuters.

A Disney spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Iger said on Tuesday that the Marvel and Lucasfilm movies could go to Netflix or another streaming service after 2019, or Disney might retain the rights for itself.

Sarandos said he expected Disney’s service to be “complementary” to Netflix, which carries other family-friendly programing such as animated movies from “Despicable Me” creator Illumination Entertainment and “Shrek” producer Dreamworks Animation.

Disney’s plan to stream its content directly to consumers is “a natural evolution” for traditional media companies that Netflix expected, Sarandos said in an interview at an event to celebrate Emmy nominations for his company’s drama, “The Crown.”

“That’s why we got into the originals business five years ago, anticipating it may be not as easy a conversation with studios and networks” to license their content, he added.

Disney’s break from Netflix applies only to its film deal in the United States, where the streaming service runs new Disney movies shortly after they leave theaters.

Disney to Pull its Movies from Netflix and Start its Own Streaming Services

Disney wants to own a bigger piece of the streaming pie.

The company announced during its latest earnings report on Tuesday it intends to remove its movies from Netflix.

Instead, Disney plans to launch a branded direct-to-consumer streaming service in 2019 starting in the U.S. and expanding globally.

CEO Bob Iger told CNBC’s Julia Boorstin Disney had a “good relationship” with Netflix, but decided to exercise an option to move its content off the platform. Movies to be removed include Disney as well as Pixar’s titles, according to Iger. Netflix said Disney movies will be available through the end of 2018 on its platform. Marvel TV shows will remain.

The new platform will be the home for all Disney movies going forward, starting with the 2019 theatrical slate which includes “Toy Story 4,” “Frozen 2,” and the upcoming live-action “The Lion King.” It will also be making a “significant investment” in exclusive movies and television series for the new platform.

The company will also launch its own ESPN video streaming service in early 2018. The platform, which will feature about 10,000 sporting events each year, will have content from the MLB, NHL, MLS, collegiate sports and tennis’ Grand Slam events.

To power the services, Disney is buying a majority ownership of BAM Tech for $1.58 billion. Disney bought a 33 percent stake in the company, which was spun off from digital media company MLB Advanced Media, in August 2016.

“This represents a big strategic shift for the company,” Iger said to CNBC. “We felt that having control of a platform we’ve been very impressed with after buying 33 percent of it a year ago would give us control of our destiny.”

From CNBC

ABC Cancels Fall Plans for Disney’s The Little Mermaid Live

ABC will not move forward with its planned October 3 live television musical event The Wonderful World of Disney: Little Mermaid Live, according to USA Today. Sources close to the project said budget constraints prompted the network to “quietly postpone,” or most likely cancel the two-hour special that would have combined the 1989 animated film with live musical performances from celebrity artists performing songs from the Alan Menken-Howard Ashman score.

Casting had not been announced, but sources told USA Today that sets for the special were already being built and rehearsals were slated to begin shortly.

ABC released a statement in response to the story, saying, “We are postponing the Little Mermaid Live special. We love the idea of doing a live musical and want to make it wonderful. The project is so unique that we are making best efforts to do it next year and want to give it all the attention it deserves.”

In its May 16 announcement of The Little Mermaid Live, the network said the special would use cutting edge technology to deliver a “never-before-seen live action/animation hybrid television experience.”

Disney is still moving forward with its major motion picture live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, which will feature additional material from Hamilton‘s Lin-Manuel Miranda and Menken.

The October 3 television special was inspired by the celebrity-studded concerts that took place at the Hollywood Bowl last year. The cast included Sara Bareilles as Ariel, Tituss Burgess as Sebastian the Crab, Darren Criss as Prince Eric, Rebel Wilson as Ursula the Sea Witch, Norm Lewis repeating his Broadway role as King Triton, Joshua Colley as Flounder, and John Stamos as Chef Louis.

From Playbill

Star Wars: Secrets of The Empire Hyper-Reality Experience Coming Disney Springs and Disneyland’s Downtown Disney

Lucasfilm, ILMxLAB, and THE VOID today announced a new hyper-reality experience called Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, which promises to plunge fans into the Star Wars universe. Created by ILMxLAB, Lucasfilm’s immersive entertainment division, in collaboration with THE VOID, it will open to the public at two new VOID Experience Centers at Downtown Disney at Disneyland Resort and Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort beginning this holiday season. Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire will allow fans to move freely in an untethered, social, and multi-sensory experience, including interaction with friends, fans, and Star Wars characters.

“At THE VOID, we combine the magic of illusions, advanced technology and virtual reality to create fully immersive social experiences that take guests to new worlds,” said Curtis Hickman, co-founder and chief creative officer at THE VOID. “A truly transformative experience is so much more than what you see with your eyes; it’s what you hear, feel, touch, and even smell. Through the power of THE VOID, guests who step into Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire won’t just see this world, they’ll know that they are part of this amazing story.

“At ILMxLAB, we want people to step inside the worlds of our stories,” explained Vicki Dobbs Beck, executive in charge of ILMxLAB. “Through our collaboration with THE VOID, we can make this happen as guests become active participants in an unfolding Star Wars adventure. By combining Lucasfilm’s storytelling expertise with cutting-edge imagery, and immersive sound from the team at Skywalker Sound, while invoking all the senses, we hope to truly transport all those who experience Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire to a galaxy far, far away.”

From StarWars.com

Minnie Vans to Shuttle Visitors Around Walt Disney World from Lyft App

Guests can now order one of Disney’s Minnie Vans using the popular Lyft app.

“Playing a part in a family’s experience at the most magical place on earth is a dream come true,” Lyft President John Zimmer said.

The Minnie Van service will see specially decorated vehicles pick up visitors at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort and Yacht & Beach Club Resorts in Orlando Florida.

The drivers will be Disney cast members and carry the visitors to any destination within the park. The cars will be capable of carrying six passengers, and sport two seats that can accommodate children.

Minnie Van Service will be priced at $20 per trip per vehicle, with testing currently underway at Disney’s BoardWalk and Yacht Club Resorts between 6:30am and 12:30am. Guests staying at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort and Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts can learn more by visiting the Bell Services desk.

The service will expand to more locations throughout Walt Disney World soon.

Legendary Disney Imagineer Marty Sklar Dies at Age 83

Legendary Disney Imagineer Martin A. “Marty” Sklar passed away in his Hollywood Hills home on Thursday. He was 83. During an illustrious career spanning 54 years, Marty worked closely with Walt Disney and was instrumental in creating, enhancing and expanding Disney’s creative vision. Named a Disney Legend in 2001, he is best remembered and revered by fans around the world for his work bringing Disney’s theme parks to life.

“Everything about Marty was legendary – his achievements, his spirit, his career,” said Bob Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company. “He embodied the very best of Disney, from his bold originality to his joyful optimism and relentless drive for excellence. He was also a powerful connection to Walt himself. No one was more passionate about Disney than Marty and we’ll miss his enthusiasm, his grace, and his indomitable spirit.”

Born in New Brunswick, N.J., on February 6, 1934, Marty was a student at UCLA and editor of its Daily Bruin newspaper when he was recruited to create The Disneyland News for Walt’s new theme park in 1955. After graduating in 1956, he joined Disney full-time, and would go on to serve as Walt’s right-hand man—scripting speeches, marketing materials, and a film showcasing Walt’s vision for Walt Disney World and Epcot. During this period, he also joined WED Enterprises, the forerunner of Walt Disney Imagineering, and he would later become the creative leader of Imagineering, leading the development of Disney theme parks and attractions for the next three decades. He retired as Executive Vice President and Imagineering Ambassador on July 17, 2009, Disneyland’s 54th birthday. Disney marked the occasion by paying tribute to Marty with the highest Parks and Resorts recognition, dedicating a window in his name on Disneyland’s City Hall.

“Marty was the ultimate Disney Imagineer and Cast Member. From his days working as an intern with Walt to just two weeks ago engaging with fans at D23 Expo, Marty left an indelible mark on Disney Parks around the globe and on all of the guests who make memories every day with us,” said Bob Chapek, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “He was one of the few people that was fortunate to attend the opening of every single Disney park in the world, from Anaheim in 1955 to Shanghai just last year. We will dearly miss Marty’s passion, skill and imaginative spark that inspired generations of Cast, Crew and Imagineers.”

Bob Weis was one of those Imagineers. “Marty was one of Walt’s most trusted advisors and helped turn his most ambitious dreams into reality. For us, it’s hard to imagine a world without Marty, because Marty is synonymous with Imagineering,” said Weis, President, Walt Disney Imagineering. “His influence can be seen around the world, in every Disney park, and in the creative and imaginative work of almost every professional in the themed entertainment industry.”

Marty’s impact and achievements were recognized with a number of prestigious awards and accolades, including the Lifetime Achievement award from TEA (Themed Entertainment Association), induction into the Hall of Fame of IAAPA (International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions), and the prestigious Professional Achievement Award from UCLA.

He also authored several books about his experiences and adventures at Disney: Dream It! Do It!: My Half-Century Creating Disney’s Magic Kingdoms (2013), and One Little Spark!: Mickey’s Ten Commandments and The Road to Imagineering (2015).

Marty is survived by his wife of 60 years, Leah; son Howard and his wife, Katriina Koski-Sklar; grandchildren Gabriel and Hannah; daughter Leslie; and grandchildren Rachel and Jacob.

Marty and Leah were two of the founders of the Ryman Program for Young Artists, a project of Ryman Arts, a nonprofit foundation whose purpose is to teach and mentor “traditional” drawing and painting skills to talented young artists in Southern California. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Marty’s name to Ryman Arts at www.rymanarts.org.

Disney Parks Unveils the Star Wars Land Model

As we know two Star Wars-inspired lands are currently under construction at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

Tonight, Disney Parks showed off the first detailed look at the model of this new land, which will be on display this weekend at the 2017 D23 Expo.

Star Wars Land Model Video

Both Star Wars-inspired lands will transport guests to a never-before-seen planet, a remote trading port and one of the last stops before Wild Space, where Star Wars characters and their stories come to life.

Here, guests will find themselves in the middle of the action at two signature attractions: one that lets guests take the controls of Millennium Falcon on a customized secret mission, and an epic Star Wars adventure that puts guests in the middle of a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance.

 

Disney Making Changes to Pirates of the Caribbean in Disneyland Paris, Changes to Follow at Disneyland and Magic Kingdom

When Pirates of the Caribbean re-opens at Disneyland Paris on July 24, guests will discover new surprises as well as a band of new buccaneers. The blockbuster “Pirates of the Caribbean” films provided the inspiration for Disney’s Imagineering team to come up with new twists and turns in our story, and a chance to introduce new characters and magic to this classic attraction.

Captain Barbossa, from the blockbuster films, will appear in the attraction for the first time, joining a skeletal crew in a scene unique to Disneyland Paris. Also, ghostly visages of Davy Jones and Blackbeard will warn that “dead men DO tell tales!”

Throughout the attraction, Disney has enhanced the show with new Audio-Animatronics figures, costumes, special effects, lighting and sound, including some of the now-classic musical themes from the films. Of course, the classic “A Pirates Life for Me!” song will continue to underscore the attraction.

Guest will even discover that a familiar character is playing a new role joining the pirates ranks and helping the local townspeople “unload” their valuables at the Mercado auction.

On this side of the pond, at Magic Kingdom park and Disneyland park, it’s a pirate’s life for a favorite redhead—beginning in 2018, after an already-planned refurbishment, the redhead is trading her fashionable bonnet for a pirate’s hat. Guests will now see her joining the pirates’ ranks and helping the locals “unload” their valuables at the Mercado auction.

Here is a view an artist’s rendering of the new Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort scenes:


Kathy Mangum, senior vice president, Atlantic Region Executive for Walt Disney Imagineering, said, “Our team thought long and hard about how best to update this scene. Given the redhead has long been a fan favorite, we wanted to keep her as a pivotal part of the story, so we made her a plundering pirate! We think this keeps to the original vision of the attraction as envisioned by Marc Davis, X Atencio, and the other Disney Legends who first brought this classic to life.”

Walt Disney Imagineering Ambassador Marty Sklar said of this new story twist, “Pirates of the Caribbean has always represented great Disney Park storytelling; it has set the standard for the theme park industry for half a century! But it’s a story you can continue to add fun to, with great characters in new ‘performances.’ That’s what the Imagineers have done with this new auction scene—it’s like a theatre show with a new act.”

The Disney Legend continued, “To me, the Imagineers are simply reflecting what Walt started the day Disneyland opened—making changes that create exciting new experiences for our guests. I can’t think of a single attraction that has not been enhanced and improved, some over and over again. Change is a ‘tradition’ at Disneyland that today’s Imagineers practice—they learned it from their mentors, many of them Walt’s original team of storytellers and designers—the Disney Legends.”

Disneyland Paris guests will also discover some changes to the Blue Lagoon Restaurant, re-opening as Captain Jack’s. It seems that Captain Jack won the restaurant in a wager and is now welcoming pirates of all ages to relax over a drink and hot meal. The interior of the restaurant has been re-themed and the establishment has been staffed with a fun-loving band of pirates.

The adventures set sail on July 24 in Adventureland at Disneyland Paris.

Disney Becomes First Jersey Sponsor for Orlando Magic

Over the years, the relationship between Walt Disney World Resort and the Orlando Magic basketball team has been, well, magical. Now it’s about to get even more magical as we expand our relationship as the team’s uniform sponsor.

As part of the NBA’s three-year trial period in which the league welcomes uniform sponsorship partners, Disney will have its logo on the Magic players’ jerseys for all games starting next season.

Disney Making Even More ‘Magic’

Disney became one of the team’s Champion of the Community partners in 2010, and this expanded partnership is another way we are working with the Magic to solidify Central Florida’s presence as a global sports destination. And it’s just cool.

Disney Making Even More ‘Magic’

Disney is also adding a special seating and hospitality area at the Amway Center for annual passholder upgrades during select Orlando Magic games. As part of our expanded partnership, Magic fans can purchase or renew their Walt Disney World Annual Passes at the Amway Center, including the Orlando Magic Team Shop. And doing it there comes with some perks. Throughout the multi-year agreement, fans who renew or purchase their annual pass at the Amway Center will receive one of the new Orlando Magic jerseys with the Disney logo.

“At Walt Disney World Resort, we naturally believe in all things magic and are happy to support our hometown team,” said George A. Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World Resort. “This long-term relationship symbolizes our shared focus of solidifying Orlando as a world class city for sports.”

When you think about it, this agreement really is a slam-dunk. But don’t take my word for it. Check out this video of Mickey Mouse and Magic star Aaron Gordon playing ball. Now this is “Pure Magic.”

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