Kevin Feige Announcess Disney-Fox Deal Won’t Affect MCU Films Already in Progress

When the Disney-Fox merger was announced a few weeks ago many fans of the movies produced for the Marvel Cinematic Universe wondered if and more importantly when characters from the X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises would work their way into the MCU.

The media website Vulture spoke to MCU head Kevin Feige during the press junket for Black Panther and asked him about the looming deal and the impact it will have on the MCU. Feige said that he had no prior knowledge of the deal taking place, stating that he “found out about it in the press like everybody else.”  He also confirmed that they won’t be changing their next six films.

“The truth of the matter as I understand it is the deal has to be figured out. There’s been no communication. We’re not thinking about it. We’re focusing on everything we’ve already announced. If and when the deal actually happens, we’ll start to think more about it. Until then, we have a lot to do. … It would be years away. We’ve announced everything through 2019, so none of those would be adjusted.”

This isn’t a huge surprise considering the complexity of the merger and what people associated with the MCU have been saying recently.  It’s likely that the Disney-Fox merger will take up to a year to finalize.  So we’re looking at late 2018 or early 2019 for that to happen.

James Gunn recently confirmed that the deal won’t change his plans for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.  It also echoes what one of Marvel’s artists said earlier this month.

The delay in integrating the Fox Marvel characters also makes sense when you look at Marvel Studios’ production slate. Infinity War is coming out in just a few months, and while reshoots are still coming, the introduction of mutants or Marvel’s first family would involve more than minor rewrites. Ant-Man and The Wasp is in a similar boat and may even take place chronologically before Infinity War.  That leaves Captain Marvel and the culmination of the entire MCU in Avengers 4, as well as Spidey’s sequel, to bring in these new toys.  With Avengers 4 already done filming and the other two in deep pre-production, it would be nearly impossible to implement major changes that would be needed to integrate the new characters at this point.

Let the speculation begin about what will happen after 2019 or 2020.

Personally, I’ve never been a huge fan of the X-Men either in the movies or the comic books, so I can go either way on this.  If Feige decides that they need to be integrated into the MCU, I’m sure it would be done well.  But on the other hand, if he decides that they should remain in their own universe I’d be okay with that too.

Do you want to see an integration of the newly acquired characters with the MCU characters or would you prefer that that Marvel keep these characters in their own cinematic universe?

 

 

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‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Reigns Supreme with Massive $121 Million Opening

Nothing makes money like Disney. As Beauty and the Beast continues to reign supreme at the 2017 domestic box office, Thor: Ragnarok now has the fourth biggest domestic opening of 2017 with a whopping $121 million, outpacing most estimates by a solid $5 million or so. That places it right below Andy Muschietti‘s It, which brought in some $123 million in its opening weekend, on the list of 2017 opening and sticks Taika Waititi‘s film right between Spider-Man: Homecoming($117 million) and Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 ($146 million) on the Marvel 2017 opening charts.

It feels genuinely unfair to compare the rest of the top five to this kind of predictable blow-out. A Bad Moms Christmas, the only other new release that played wide this weekend, came in at second with a total of $21 million after debuting on Wednesday. That still leaves a gap of some $99.4 million between the amiable, forgettable sequel and Ragnarok, one of the best movies that the MCU has produced thus far. In its second frame, Jigsaw came in at third with $6.7, up against Tyler Perry‘s Boo 2! at fourth with $4.6 million and Geostorm at fifth with $3 million. Combined, those three films made two-thirds of what A Bad Moms Christmas made.

In total, Ragnarok is now sitting on an international gross of $427 million, which would cover the production budget of $180 million twice over as well as any and all marketing costs. The $4 billion or so that Disney paid to buy Marvel is paying off big time, as the House of Mouse and its subsidiaries now lay claim to the first and third most profitable domestic films of 2017. Depending on how Thor: Ragnarokcompetes against next weekend’s Murder on the Orient Express and then Justice League the weekend after, it may very well have three of the highest domestic grossing movies of 2017 before November closes. By the time Star Wars: The Last Jedi does its business, Disney will have   anywhere from 3-5 of the highest grossing movies of 2017, as compared to the five films that Disney had in the top ten highest grossing movies of 2016 domestically. So, even if Ragnarok doesn’t quite make it into the top ten by 2017’s close, Disney’s grasp on the movie business will continue on to my simultaneous horror and wonder.

Here’s the top five for the weekend:

Title Weekend Domestic BO Total Domestic BO
1. ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ $121,005,000 $121,005,000
2. ‘A Bad Moms Christmas’ $17,030,000 $21,556,106
3. ‘Jigsaw’ $6,700,000 $28,836,471
4. ‘Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween’ $4,650,000 $42,958,423
5. ‘Geostorm’ $3,035,000 $28,770,341

From Collider

‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Scales $117M in Heroic U.S. Bow

Spidey has returned home in style.

Over the weekend, Spider-Man: Homecoming opened to $117 million from 4,348 theaters at the North American box office in a major victory for Sony Pictures, which made the unorthodox decision to partner with Disney’s Marvel Studios in rebooting the marquee superhero franchise.

The critically acclaimed tentpole exceeded expectations, passing up Wonder Woman ($103.3 million) to boast the third-best North American opening of the year so far behind Beauty and the Beast ($174.8 million) and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ($146.5 million). It becomes only the eleventh superhero pic to open to $100 million or more, and narrowly marks the second-biggest three-day launch of the franchise behind Spider-Man 3, not adjusting for inflation.

In a summer season when many tentpoles have been clobbered by critics, Homecoming boasts a 94 percent certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, as well as nabbing a franchise-best A CinemaScore from audiences. (Wonder Woman and Guardians Vol. 2 were likewise embraced by reviewers and ticket buyers.) The Spider-Man pic skewed male (60 percent), while 50 percent of the audience was under the age of 25, an impressive stat.

Starring Tom Holland as the whimsical teenage web slinger, Homecoming, costing $175 million to produce, launches a new series of Spider-Man films and spinoffs that will be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Historically, Hollywood studios holding the film rights to Marvel comic book characters — such as Sony with Spider-Man, or 20th Century Fox with its X-Men franchise — have maintained creative ownership of their superhero properties. Sony made the unorthodox decision to team with Kevin Feige’s Marvel Studios after the two Amazing Spider-Man pics lagged well behind the original Spider-Man film trilogy. (Ergo, that’s why Iron Man, played by Robert Downey Jr., and other members of the Avengers crew show up in Spider-Man: Homecoming, and why Holland first appeared as Spider-Man in Disney/Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War.)

“This is a great result, and a gigantic win for Sony and for Marvel,” says Sony president of worldwide marketing and distribution Josh Greenstein. “Spider-Man is one of the most beloved characters in the Marvel Universe, and Homecoming is a fresh take.”

Former Sony Pictures vice chairman Amy Pascal, who helped orchestrate the unique partnership with Marvel before exiting the studio, is a lead producer on Homecoming. The pic, directed by Jon Watts, also stars Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Marisa Tomei, Donald Glover and Tyne Daly also star.

Homecoming‘s ranking in the Spider-Man pantheon changes when adjusting for inflation. In May 2002, Spider-Man made history when opening to a then-record $114.8 million — or $174 million by today’s terms — becoming the poster child for the modern-day superhero pic.

Comparisons to Spider-Man 2 (2004) are complicated by the fact that the sequel debuted over the long July Fourth corridor in 2004, amassing $180.1 million in its first five days, or $256.3 million when adjusted for inflation. That included an official four-day weekend of $115.8 million, or $165 million when adjusted. (Spider-Man 3‘s adjusted opening is $174.7 million.)

The Amazing Spider-Man likewise opened over the July Fourth holiday, opening on July 3, 2012 (a Tuesday) and earning $137 million in its first six days, or $155.7 million when adjusted for inflation. The three-day weekend portion was $62 million, or $70.5 million when adjusted. Amazing Spider-Man opened to $91.6 million in early May 2014, or $97.2 million when adjusted.

From The Hollywood Reporter

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

‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Trailer Is Marvel and Disney’s Most Watched Ever in 24 Hours

Marvel’s promise of a Thor vs. Hulk battle seems to have re-energized the Thor movie franchise.

The trailer for Thor: Ragnarok, which was unleashed Monday by Disney, the parent company of Marvel, has garnered more than 136 million views in only 24 hours.

Thor: Ragnarok Trailer

It becomes the not only the most viewed Marvel trailer ever, but also the studio’s most viewed trailer ever across all its brands, which includes Disney’s live-action and animation divisions, Pixar, Star Wars, as well as Marvel.

The Beauty and the Beast trailer was the previous 24-hour record-holder for Disney with 127.6 million views. Star Wars: The Force Awakens was viewed 112 million times in that time frame. Captain America: Civil War held the previous Marvel record with 94 million views.

The trailer was met with tremendous enthusiasm, with it channeling a Guardians of the Galaxy vibe with both music and sci-fi fantasy worlds as it set up a scenario where Thor, played by a returning Chris Hemsworth, is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer. It offered glimpses of Hela, the movie’s powerful new villain played by Cate Blanchett. And it closed with a killer line as Thor, forced to fight in a gladiatorial arena, sees his Avengers comrade Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and bellows, “He’s a friend from work.” It’s a line he quickly rues saying.

The Ragnarok trailer doesn’t hold the most viewed overall record. The trailer for New Line’s adaptation of Stephen King’s It was viewed 197 million times in the 24 hours after its March 29 release, while Fate of the Furious was eyeballed 139 million times.

Taika Waititi, the New Zealand filmmaker behind the acclaimed indies Hunt for the Wilderpeople and What We Do in the Shadows, is in the director’s seat for Ragnarok.

The movie will be released in the U.S. on Nov. 3.

From The Hollywood Reporter

‘Doctor Strange’ Tops Box Office

Walt Disney Co. topped the weekend box office with “Doctor Strange,” the newest comic-book-to-film character from its Marvel superhero hit factory.

Featuring Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role, “Doctor Strange” collected an estimated $85 million in its debut in the U.S and Canada, ComScore Inc. said Sunday in an e-mailed statement. It beat two other new releases, 20th Century Fox’s “Trolls,” which placed second, and Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.’s “Hacksaw Ridge,” which garnered a third-place finish for Mel Gibson’s first directorial feature in a decade.

“Doctor Strange” scored the biggest debut among Marvel movies that introduce a single character since Robert Downey Jr.’s 2008 blockbuster “Iron Man,” which generated $98 million. It gives Burbank, California-based Disney its fifth No. 1 movie this year, extending an industry lead after becoming only the second studio in history to cross $6 billion in annual sales worldwide. Disney’s $6.07 billion in sales this year trails only the $6.89 billion that Universal Pictures tallied in 2015.

Disney is “on a trajectory to be the No. 1 studio, if not for the next five years, then for the next decade,” said Jeff Bock, senior box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations. “We are living in a superhero world right now and it’s showing no signs of slowing down.”

The studio plans to bring more superheros to audiences in coming years, such as “Black Panther” and “Captain Marvel.”

Before reaching screens in North America, “Doctor Strange” had already garnered $122 million in foreign ticket sales, researcher Box Office Mojo said on Thursday. Cumberbatch portrays a talented neurosurgeon whose hands are mangled in a car accident. In his search to find a way to repair them, he is led to the Ancient One, played by Tilda Swinton, who teaches him the ability to harness mystic powers.

The film earned top scores from critics, with 90 percent giving positive reviews, according to aggregator Rottentomatoes.com. It cost $165 million to produce, excluding marketing expenses, and was set to generate $85 million on its first weekend, according to analysts at Box Office Mojo.

From Bloomberg

 

Marvel’s ‘Avengers 3’ Gets Official Title With Temp Name Hung On ‘Avengers 4’

Marvel Studios has decided on a title for the in-development Avengers 3, making official that the film will be called Avengers: Infinity WarAvengers 4, meanwhile, has been given the placeholder name Untitled Avengers.

Infinity War

Infinity War is the first installment of a two-part story that concludes with Untitled Avengers; the two films were announced together at an event in October 2014 as Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 and Avengers: Infinity War Part 2. Their respective release dates of 5/4/18 and 5/3/19 have not been changed.

Both films are being helmed by Anthony & Joe Russo, who directed Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War and were handed the reins of Marvel’s flagship franchise following the departure of Joss Whedon, who directed 2012’s The Avengers and last year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, both of which are among the seven top-grossing films of all time worldwide. The Russos confirmed in May that Avengers 3 and 4 were being retitled in part to put to rest speculation that the two films were merely one large film split in half.

Widely believed to be inspired by the 1991 Marvel Comics miniseries Infinity GauntletAvengers: Infinity War and Untitled Avengers has been described by Joe Russo as an event in which the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe up to that point will unite “to battle the greatest threat to the world and universe that you’ve ever seen.” The miniseries saw the Marvel Comics universe faced with doom when archvillain Thanos the Mad Titan, in love with/obsessed with the (female) physical incarnation of Death, assembles all six “Infinity Gems,” granting him godlike power over the universe. (For those keeping score, the gems control Time, Space, Mind, Soul, Reality and Power.) Believing she’ll reciprocate his feelings if he delivers enough souls to her, his plan is to kill half of all living things.

Thanos, played by Josh Brolin, has been established as a major behind-the-scenes player in the events of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. First seen in a voiceless cameo in the stinger to Avengers, where the obsession with Death was teased, he showed up again as a major supporting character in Guardians of the Galaxy and later in the stinger for Age of Ultron. As with the comics, the Infinity Gems — called stones in the MCU — have played a major role, factoring into the plots of Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers, Thor: The Dark World, Guardians of the Galaxy and Age of Ultron.

While the plot and casting have been kept largely under wraps, Robert Downey Jr (Iron Man), Chris Pratt (Star-Lord), Chris Evans (Captain America), Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch) have been confirmed to appear in the films, with the assumption being that Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johannson, Samuel L. Jackson, and other longstanding Marvel cast members also will appear. The Russos also have teased appearances by Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange as well as Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel, though Marvel Studios has clarified that Captain Marvel will debut first in a stand-alone film to be released between Infinity War and Untitled Avengers.

From Deadline.com

‘Captain America: Civil War’ Blasts Off to $180 Million Weekend

“Captain America: Civil War” is making U.S. box office history, blasting to the fifth-best opening weekend ever with an estimated $180 million.

Marvel-Disney’s tentpole launched the summer moviegoing season on Friday with a spectacular $75.3 million at 4,226 locations — the eighth-highest opening day of all time. That figure includes $25 million from Thursday night preview showings.

“Captain America: Civil War” should finish the weekend in elite company behind only four other films: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” at $248 million, “Jurassic World” at $208.8 million, “Marvel’s The Avengers” at $207.4 million and “Avengers: Age of Ultron” at $191.3 million.

Projections on Saturday showed the third “Captain America” will replace “Iron Man 3,” which opened with $174.1 million on the same weekend in 2013, as the fifth-highest launch at the U.S. box office. Its per-location average is about $42,000 for the weekend.

The $75 opening day total for “Civil War” trails only seven titles, led by “The Force Awakens” at $119.1 million, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2” at $91.1 million, “Ultron” at $84.4 million, “Jurassic World” at $82 million, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” at $81.6 million, “Marvel’s the Avengers” at $80.8 million and “The Dark Knight Rises” at $75.8 million.

“Captain America: Civil War,” the 13th film in the Marvel Universe, has already shown plenty of power outside the U.S. with $291.2 million as of Thursday after nine days. That number should jump this weekend, thanks in part to the opening in China.

Disney’s marketing hooks for the movie include a duel between Chris Evans’ Captain America and Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, plus the introduction of  Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther and Tom Holland’s Spider-Man. The “Captain America: Winter Soldier” directorial team of Joe and Anthony Russo helmed the sequel.

Online ticketing service Fandango reported on Wednesday that “Civil War” had generated a record in advance sales for a superhero title, surpassing “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “The Avengers.”

From Variety

Disney Removes Marvel’s ‘Inhumans’ From Release Schedule

Disney has confirmed what most fanboys have known for the past 11 days: The studio is pulling Marvel’s Inhumans off its July 12, 2019 release date for the time being, and leaving it as unset. Marvel has made a lot of additions to its release calendar, i.e. Spider-Man: Homecoming on July 7, 2017 and Ant-Man And The Wasp on July 6, 2018, which has pushed Inhumans to the back burner. In an interview with Collider, Marvel honcho Kevin Feige pointed to the fact that Disney/Lucasfilm’s next Indiana Jones film is scheduled for the weekend following Inhumans, July 19.

Inhumans isn’t dead, it’s just a matter of when Marvel will fire it up. Currently, there’s a script by Joe Robert Cole (Black Panther, American Crime Story). Originally, Inhumans was part of Marvel’s 3.0 phase where they were delving even deeper into their vaults to launch more of their niche superheros on the big screen.

Who are the Inhumans? They’re a race of super people, who were first introduced in a December 1965 issues of The Fantastic Four. They also appeared during the second season of Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.

From Deadline