Disney Announces Release Dates for Frozen 2 and Live Action Lion King

The Walt Disney Studios has just updated its release schedule—which means it’s time for Disney fans to update their calendars!

Some release dates are simply worth melting for… Frozen 2 has been scheduled to open on November 27, 2019. Development of the sequel to the blockbuster film from Walt Disney Animation Studios was announced in March 2015, with the Oscar®-winning team of directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee and producer Peter Del Vecho returning to continue the adventures of the characters fans first fell in love with in 2012.

The Lion King, directed by Jon Favreau, will open in theaters on July 19, 2019. Actor James Earl Jones is reprising the role of Mufasa in the live-action reimagining of the Disney animated classic, and Donald Glover is voicing the adult Simba in the new film. The savanna and its amazing inhabitants will come to photorealistic life through technology that builds upon the innovative filmmaking audiences loved in Favreau’s adaptation of The Jungle Book.

Of course, those aren’t the only opening dates you’re going to want to circle in red. Take a look at this list for 2017 and 2018—and set those calendar alerts. There’s a lot of popcorn in your not-too-distant future, and there’s always room for surprises, too! Stay tuned to D23 for all of the updates about these films, and more to come in the future.

2017

May 5—Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

May 26—Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

June 16—Cars 3

November 3—Thor: Ragnarok

November 22—Coco

December 15—Star Wars: The Last Jedi

2018

February 16—Black Panther

March 9—A Wrinkle in Time

April 6—Magic Camp

May 4—Avengers: Infinity War

May 25—Untitled Han Solo Star Wars Anthology Film

June 15—The Incredibles 2

July 6—Ant-Man and The Wasp

November 2—Mulan (Live-Action)

November 21—Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2

December 25—Mary Poppins Returns

Disney Announces Release Dates for Star Wars: Episode IX and Next Indiana Jones Movies

The Walt Disney Company and Lucasfilm announced today two major upcoming release dates.

Star Wars: Episode IX is now set for release on May 24, 2019. Directed by Colin Trevorrow, the film will close out the third Star Wars trilogy.

In addition, the fifth chapter of the Indiana Jones series is now confirmed for a July 10, 2020 release. Both Steven Spielberg, director of every Indiana Jonesfilm, and star Harrison Ford will return.

From StarWars.com

Disney Plans Midnight ‘Star Wars’ Event to Unveil ‘Last Jedi’ Merchandise

Walt Disney Co and major retailers will release the galaxy’s newest “Star Wars” toys at a September 1st midnight event ahead of the holiday debut of the next film in the saga, “The Last Jedi,” company executives told Reuters.

The marketing push called “Force Friday II” is a sequel to an event Disney used to build buzz for merchandise tied to the 2015 movie “The Force Awakens.”

Star Wars products were a big contributor to the financial success of the series reboot. BB-8 droids, lightsabers and other playthings made “Star Wars” the U.S. toy industry’s top-selling property for 2015 and 2016, with $1.5 billion in sales over the two years, research firm NPD said.

Hasbro Inc cited “Star Wars” sales when it reported its biggest quarterly revenue rise in nearly five years for the December 2015 quarter. Mattel Inc also posted a surprise rise in sales for the same period with help from “Star Wars”-based Hot Wheels toys. And at Disney, licensing income from “Force Awakens” merchandise drove record quarterly operating income in the consumer products unit.

Force Friday II will begin just after midnight on September 1st. Lego, Hasbro and others will release the first toys, apparel, books and other products tied to “The Last Jedi,” both online and in stores at retailers including Wal-Mart Stores Inc, Target, Toys R Us, Kohl’s, Amazon.com Inc and Disney Stores.

Disney will incorporate new technology to its “Last Jedi” products like it did with the popular BB-8 droid, said James Pitaro, chairman of Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media. New products will feature returning characters such as Rey and Finn, plus new ones, and will span a broad range of categories for male and female fans, he said.

“One of our top priorities is to expand the audience,” Pitaro said.

“The Last Jedi,” the eighth installment in the “Star Wars” movie saga that began in 1977, debuts in theaters Dec. 15. Toys typically hit shelves closer to a movie’s release, around four to six weeks in advance.

At the 2015 Force Friday, fans dressed as Stormtroopers and Jedi waited in line for hours ahead of the midnight store openings.

“There was a certain mania that took over,” said Marty Brochstein, a senior vice president at the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association. The excitement around “Star Wars” in 2015 was unique because it had been so long since the last film, Brochstein said.

“It would be unfair to expect the same kind of volume generated this time around by consumer products,” he said, adding it was too early to assess demand.

Pitaro said Disney continues to see “very, very healthy sales” of “Star Wars” merchandise. “We have a lot of confidence we will continue in that direction,” he said.

Disney bought “Star Wars” producer Lucasfilm in 2012 for $4 billion and reintroduced the franchise with “Force Awakens.” That movie became the third-highest grossing ever, selling $2 billion worth of tickets worldwide. Disney also released “Star Wars” spinoff “Rogue One” in 2016.

The Official Title For STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII Revealed

The title for Episode VIII of the Skywalker Saga has been announced on StarWars.com.

The statement on the website says –

We have the greatest fans in this or any other galaxy. In appreciation of the fans, we wanted them to be the first to know the title of the next chapter in the Skywalker saga: STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI.

THE LAST JEDI is written and directed by Rian Johnson and produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman and executive produced by J.J. Abrams, Jason McGatlin, and Tom Karnowski.

star-wars-the-last-jedi

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI is scheduled for release December 15, 2017. 

‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ Hits $1 Billion in Worldwide Box Office

Disney-Lucasfilm’s “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” has surpassed the $1 billion milestone at the worldwide box office, becoming the 28th title and 13th Disney film to do so.

“Rogue One” needed 39 days to cross the mark with $512 million domestically and $499 million internationally. It’s the third “Star Wars” movie to gross more than $1 billion, joining “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” ($2.07 billion) and “Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace” ($1.03 billion).

“Rogue One” is also Disney’s fourth 2016 release to cross the $1 billion mark, joining “Captain America: Civil War,” “Finding Dory,” and “Zootopia.” It’s the top domestic grosser released in 2016 and ranks seventh on the all-time list.

The tentpole took in $7 million at 2,603 North American sites in its sixth frame and another $9 million internationally over weekend. The U.K. is the top market at $79.4 million, followed by China with $61.3 million, Germany with $44.8 million, Japan with $36.8 million, France with $35.8 million, and Australia with $35.6 million.

“Rogue One” is directed by Gareth Edwards and stars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Donnie Yen, Forest Whitaker, and Jiang Wen. The eighth “Star Wars” movie is set immediately before the events of the original “Star Wars” with rebels attempting to steal plans for the Death Star weapon.

Disney also announced that its animated “Moana” has crossed the $500 million mark worldwide, with an estimated $237 million domestically and $272 million  internationally.

From Variety

 

Disney Issues Statement about Carrie Fisher Appearing in Future “Star Wars” Movies

When Carrie Fisher passed away on December 27th, 2016 there was a major disturbance in the Force. Fisher wasn’t just Princess General Leia in Star Wars, but a force herself to be reckoned with in Hollywood. Her memory will certainly live on, especially when it comes to Star Wars — and in an unprecedented move, Star Wars has released a statement about the future of Carrie Fisher and the film franchise.

Shortly after her death, it was revealed that Carrie had completed all her scenes for Star Wars: Episode VIII. But what about Episode IX? That movie is still years away from hitting the big screen, and Disney and Lucasfilm met this week to figure out how to finish off the trilogy without Carrie. Knowing that we’ve all seen Rogue One by now (and spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen it) there were rumors that Disney and Lucasfilm might try to digitally recreate Carrie, like the did at the very end of Rogue One.

According to a statement released:

We don’t normally respond to fan or press speculation, but there is a rumor circulating that we would like to address,” the statement up on StarWars.com reads. “We want to assure our fans that Lucasfilm has no plans to digitally recreate Carrie Fisher’s performance as Princess or General Leia Organa. Carrie Fisher was, is, and always will be a part of the Lucasfilm family. She was our princess, our general, and more importantly, our friend. We are still hurting from her loss. We cherish her memory and legacy as Princess Leia, and will always strive to honor everything she gave to Star Wars.

Disney Could Receive $50 Million Insurance Payment Due to Carrie Fisher’s Death

In the aftermath of CarrieFisher’s untimely death due to a heart attack, Disney looks set to receive $50 million in compensation as a result.

Insurers at Lloyd’s of London look set to pay out a significant contingency claim following the tragic death of Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher, according to Insurance Insider.

Sources have said that Disney had taken out $50 million of so-called contract protection cover as insurance for the event that Fisher was unable to fulfil her obligations to act in the new Star Wars films, with the policy now likely to trigger.

The policy was underwritten by specialist New Jersey-based managing general agent Exceptional Risk Advisors, but if the policy triggers the loss will be entirely borne by capacity providers in Lloyd’s, with Enstar subsidiary Atrium the lead on the facility.

Sources said that the claim would be widely spread within the Lloyd’s contingency market, with more than 20 carriers on the binder.

However, the loss would cause substantial damage to the 2016 underwriting result for the segment, with some Lloyd’s insurers writing contingency books with $10 million or less of annual premiums.

Fisher died on December 27th, four days after she suffered a heart attack on a flight between London and Los Angeles.

The actress rose to prominence in the late 1970s, playing Princess Leia in the first Star Wars trilogy.

She reprised the role last year in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a runaway success which took $2.07 billion at the box office.

Filming for Star Wars Episode VIII, which will be released next year, was completed ahead of Fisher’s death.

Princess Leia was again slated to have a major role in Episode IX and it is not clear how Disney, which owns the Star Wars franchise, will choose to respond.

According to its website, Exceptional Risk Advisors is a specialist in high-limit specialty life, accident, and disability products, with underwriting authorities from Lloyd’s insurers that exceed $50 million per individual risk.

Fisher’s spokesperson could not be reached. Atrium declined to comment. Exceptional Risk Advisors and Disney did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

‘Rogue One’ Officially Makes Disney Hollywood’s First $7 Billion Studio

An impressive opening weekend for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was more than enough to help Walt Disney capture a new Hollywood record for yearly global box office gross.

The company said on Monday that Walt Disney Studios will set an industry record today by becoming the first Hollywood studio to top $7 billion in global movie ticket sales in a single calendar year. For Disney, which had already bested its own single-year record for box office revenue by November, Rogue One‘s $290.5 million global opening easily pushed the studio’s overall 2016 haul to record heights. The previous yearly box office record belonged to Comcast’s Universal Studios, which pulled in $6.9 billion worldwide just last year.

Disney ruled the movie market in 2016 with a series of blockbusters throughout the year that put the studio within close grasp of a new record heading into a weekend in which the latest Star Wars product from its Lucasfilm division was expected to dominate the global box office. And, Rogue One‘s strong showing is a fitting way for Disney to end its big year, considering that 2016 kicked off with Star Wars: The Force Awakens continuing its own dominant box-office run. (Released on Dec. 18 of last year, The Force Awakens ultimately grossed $2.07 billion worldwide for Disney, with a large chunk of that coming in 2016 and counting toward this year’s tally.)

Following up on The Force Awakens‘ record-setting success, Disney churned out no less than three movies that went on to gross more than $1 billion globally—the animated hit Zootopia, Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War, and Pixar’s Finding Dory. Meanwhile, Rogue One is forecasted to join that list with what should also end up being a worldwide haul north of $1 billion. Other big movies for Disney this year include The Jungle Book, Marvel’s Doctor Strange, and another animated hit in November’s Moana.

While not all of Disney’s 2016 releases struck box office gold—Alice Through the Looking Glass and The BFG led the list of disappointments—the studio managed to find success across all of its silos. Whether it was live-action and animated movies—or those produced by previously-acquired units Pixar, Lucasfilm, and Marvel Studios—Disney churned out a variety of mega-blockbusters throughout 2016.

“This historic achievement is possible because all of our film studios are bringing their absolute best to the table, telling great stories of all kinds that resonate with audiences across borders, gender, and generations,” Alan Horn, chairman of The Walt Disney Studios, said in a statement.

The film studio’s success has come at an opportune time for Disney, which needed a silver lining for a year in which subscriber losses at cash-cow cable network ESPN and declining advertising sales continued to weigh on the company’s revenue. Disney’s big year also comes amid what should be another record year for Hollywood in general. The industry is on pace to break the yearly box office record set in 2015, when Hollywood studios topped $11 billion in domestic ticket sales for the first time ever.

From Fortune.com

 

Disney Picks Alden Ehrenreich to Play Young Han Solo

One of the most coveted acting roles in the galaxy has finally been cast.

Disney said Sunday that Alden Ehrenreich, the break-out star of Coen Brothers movie “Hail Caesar!”, will be taking on the mantle of “Star Wars” rogue Han Solo in a new film about the character’s early life. The selection was announced at the Future Filmmaker panel at the Star Wars Celebration Europe that featured director Rian Johnson (Star Wars: Episode VIII) and surprise guests Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and John Boyega.

WESTWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 01:  Actor Alden Ehrenreich arrives at the premiere of Universal Pictures' 'Hail, Caesar!' at Regency Village Theatre on February 1, 2016 in Westwood, California.  (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Alongside the central Star Wars movies, Disney plans a number of spin-offs, set to focus on popular characters such as Solo and taciturn bounty hunter Boba Fett.

Other actors reportedly considered for the role included Jack Reynor from “Transformers: Age of Extinction” and “Macbeth,” “Fury” star Logan Lerman, “Brooklyn” actor Emory Cohen, and “Everybody Wants Some” actor Blake Jenner.

Netflix Exclusive Disney Movie Deal in U.S. Kicks In This Fall

Netflix’s exclusive deal with Disney for pay-TV window rights to the Mouse House’s movie titles in the U.S. will commence in September.

Under the pact — signed three and a half years ago — Netflix will become the exclusive U.S. pay-TV home of the latest films from Disney, Marvel, Lucasfilm and Pixar, chief content officer Ted Sarandos wrote in a blog post Monday. Currently, Starz has the “pay one” output rights to Disney titles in the States.

Netflix’s U.S. rights cover Disney movies starting with 2016 theatrical releases, which means American streaming subs will not have access to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Instead, Starz will have streaming rights to the blockbuster space epic in the U.S.

Zootopia

Disney’s 2016 movie slate includes “Zootopia” as well as “The Jungle Book,” “Captain America: Civil War,” “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” “Finding Dory,” Steven Spielberg’s “The BFG,” “Pete’s Dragon,” “Doctor Strange,” “Moana” and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”

“The 2016 (Disney) releases will start rolling on in September and we’ll share specific dates/titles closer to their premiere on the service,” a Netflix rep said.

Meanwhile, Netflix also disclosed that several older Disney titles will be leaving the service in June. Those include “Hercules” (June 1) as well as “Mulan” and “Hunchback of Notre Dame” (June 24); Disney movies that will remain include “Tarzan,” “Robin Hood,” “Lilo & Stitch” and “Emperor’s New Groove.”

Emperor's New Groove

In Canada, Netflix’s output deal with Disney began with 2015 releases after the previous agreements for the pay-TV window with Corus Entertainment and Bell Canada expired (which means subs in the Great White North will have access to “Force Awakens”).

Star Wars Force Awakens

From Variety