‘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

Kevin Feige Wants a Marvel Convention Separate from Comic-Con

If you enjoy attending cons like NYCC and SDCC to get a first glimpse of the latest Marvel news, you might want to start planning different travel arrangements. MCU head honcho Kevin Feige recently said he’s keen to see a Marvel-specific convention, similar to Disney’s Star Wars Celebration event. Good news for Marvel fans, not such good news for regular Comic-Con attendees. The Marvel convention news awaits you below.

Well, this was probably inevitable. Disney, in their never-ending quest for entertainment world domination, currently owns both Marvel and Star Wars. That’s a hefty chunk of pop culture entertainment, and with that comes the inevitable convention gatherings where exciting new projects are announced. For most of recent history, events like SDCC were the site of the biggest announcements. But the times they are a changing.

In recent years, Star Wars Celebration, first started in 1999, has eclipsed Comic-Con as the location for big Star Wars news. With the Star Wars Celebration only growing bigger and better, it was only a matter of time before Marvel made the jump to their own con as well. Then there’s the biennial D23 Expo, which recently featured Marvel announcements alongside events for Star Wars. Marvel President Kevin Feige is out making the rounds to help promote promote Thor: Ragnarok right now, and dropping hints left and right of things to come. In a new interview with Fandango, Feige talks about how there have been many discussions regarding a Marvel-only con, and how much he’d like to make it happen:

“Over the years there have been discussions about that […] I think what we try to do occasionally in San Diego we’re very proud of and think is a fun tradition. That being said, I think [Star Wars] Celebration is pretty amazing. I’ve been to a few Celebrations and the idea of doing something like that … I think we have enough content, and enough fans, and enough ideas that we could easily do something like that, I’m just not sure where or when.”

When and if this finally happens (and let’s be honest, it probably will), the question that arises is: what becomes of Comic-Con? With no Marvel and Star Wars, does Comic-Con wither away and die? Or will it soldier on with other big events surrounding companies like DC? Marvel and Star Wars may be big, but are they big enough that their absence at an event would sink the event completely? Time will tell. At the very least, the big movie studios pulling out would let Comic-Con be about comics again.

From SlashFilm

Disney Releases Updated Film Release Schedule…Aladdin and Star Wars Episode IX Get Release Dates

A dream is a wish your heart makes, and today, Walt Disney Studios made kids’ and parents’ dreams come true when it announced the release dates for 20 (!!!) upcoming films, including the live-action Aladdin and the highly anticipated Star Wars: Episode IX. 

Mark your Disney princess calendar, because here are all of the upcoming House of Mouse film releases through the end of 2019. Bibbidi-bobbidi-boom!

Thor: Ragnarok: November 3, 2017
Coco: November 23, 2017
Star Wars: The Last Jedi: December 15, 2017
Black Panther: February 16, 2018
A Wrinkle in Time: March 9, 2018
Dolphins: April 20, 2018
Avengers: Infinity War: May 4, 2018
Untitled Han Solo Project: May 25, 2018
The Incredibles 2June 15, 2018
Untitled Christopher Robin Project: April 3, 2018
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms: November 2, 2018
Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2: November 21, 2018
Mary Poppins Returns: Decembe 25, 2018
Dumbo: March 29, 2019
Untitled Toontown Studios Film: April 12, 2019
Live-Action Aladdin: May 24, 2019
Toy Story 4: June 21, 2019
Artemis Fowl: August 9, 2019
Nicole: November 8, 2019
Star WarsEpisode IX: December 20, 2019

From PureNow

D23 Expo 2017 Summary – Live Action Presentation

Hollywood’s biggest names in acting and directing… Surprises at every turn… Compelling stories and sneak peeks that had us on the edge of our seats. The Hall D23 presentation from The Walt Disney Studios this morning at D23 Expo featured all of these and more!

Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn greeted the 6,800 fans who had just watched a sizzle video that spotlighted some of Disney’s recent hits and upcoming films. “I know those guys. They’re friends from work,” he joked, echoing Thor himself in the trailer for Marvel Studios’ upcoming film Thor: Ragnarok. And, he added to the crowd’s great delight, “We have a lot of them backstage.”

Always one of the most eagerly anticipated presentations at D23 Expo, there were indeed a lot of stars and filmmakers taking the stage in Hall D23—and announcements and unexpected treats galore. Here are just a few of the moments we’ll remember long after D23 Expo concludes:

“Everybody here gets a poster! Everybody here! You get a poster!”
Sure, fans were excited to learn they’d be going home with a teaser poster for The Walt Disney Studios’ upcoming film A Wrinkle in Time, which opens in theaters on March 9, 2018. But to be told that news by brand-new Disney Legend Oprah Winfrey only made the gift that much more exciting.

Winfrey (who plays Mrs. Which) joined director Ava DuVernay and co-stars Reese Witherspoon (Mrs. Whatsit), Mindy Kaling (Mrs. Who), Chris Pine (Mr. Murry), and newcomer Storm Reid (Meg Murry) in Hall D23. The epic adventure is based on Madeleine L’Engle’s classic novel, which takes audiences across dimensions of time and space, examining the nature of darkness versus light and ultimately, the triumph of love.

DuVernay described Disney as “the perfect place” for A Wrinkle in Time. Thrilled to attend her first D23 Expo, DuVernay told the audience, “I found my tribe—people who love movies as much as I do.” She also debuted the first trailer for the film:

Wrinkle In Time Trailer

A First Look at The Nutcracker and the Four Realms—with an Exclusive Live Dance Performance
Sean Bailey, president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production, introduced us to The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, acclaimed director Lasse Hallström’s spin on a story that has been beloved for generations. The film, which will be in theaters on November 2, 2018, stars Keira Knightley, Helen Mirren, Mackenzie Foy and Richard E. Grant, as well as Morgan Freeman in the iconic role of Drosselmeyer. Music and dance are essential to the film, Bailey stressed, and he revealed that the incredible stylings of Charles Riley, known as Lil Buck (picture below), are being used to create the film’s Mouse King. The character will be made up of thousands of mice, made possible through cutting-edge CG, Bailey said. Expo guests were treated to a special performance by Lil Buck that gave us a glimpse into the hypnotic, fluid dance style we’ll see from the Mouse King when the film opens next year.

A Practically Perfect Glimpse into Mary Poppins Returns
Mary Poppins Returns director Rob Marshall and actress Emily Blunt talked about the upcoming film, which flies into theaters on December 25, 2018. Speaking reverently about the original Mary Poppins film, Marshall said, “I think it was my first film. I think it was many of our first films. There’s something so amazing about it that lived with me my whole life.”

When it came to stepping into Disney Legend Julie Andrews’ shoes, Blunt stressed, “No one is ever going to out-Julie Julie Andrews.” To make the character her own, she explained, “I needed to try to pay homage to Julie but carve out a new space for myself. And we were very loyal to the books.”

The film was shot on location in London—which Marshall characterized as a special experience—and he said that audiences will recognize Cherry Tree Lane immediately. They might also recognize a piece of furniture, Marshall noted, sharing a photo of a table that’s part of the set for Mary Poppins Returns that also appeared in the original film.

Leaving fans with “a little something”—an understatement—composer Marc Shaiman led an orchestra in a performance of a piece of the original score, which played over a series of images from the film. It was a supercalifragilistic-Expo-alidocious moment, if ever there were one.

Dumbo is Coming!
Director Tim Burton sent a greeting to Disney fans from the set of Dumbo, which is currently in production in London. Additionally, Bailey showed fans a maquette that was created to help bring the beloved baby elephant to life via state-of-the-art visual effects. The film stars Golden Globe® winner Colin Farrell (Saving Mr. Banks), Golden Globe winner Michael Keaton (Birdman, Beetlejuice), Emmy® and Golden Globe winner Danny DeVito (Batman Returns, Big Fish), BAFTA Award winner and Golden Globe nominee Eva Green (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Dark Shadows), and introduces Nico Parker and Finley Hobbins in their first film roles. Dumbo is slated for release on March 29, 2019.

The Lion King Looks Amazing!
The Walt Disney Studios presentation at D23 Expo 2015 gave Disney fans a first look at The Jungle Book, directed by Jon Favreau, who was on hand again this year and received a standing ovation after showing footage from the upcoming live-action The Lion King. The photoreal interpretation of the film’s “Circle of Life” sequence featured beloved characters, including Rafiki, Mufasa, and an impossibly adorable baby Simba. Favreau, a lifelong Disney fan himself, told the excited crowd, “We like to check in with you.” His first question upon embarking on the film was, “When’s D23? We wanted to give you the first look.” The film is slated for release in 2019.

News from a Galaxy Far, Far Away
Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson took the stage at his first D23 Expo today, revealing that he began his career at Disney Channel, working in on-air promotions. As much as he loved that job, he says that making Star Wars: The Last Jedi has been the time of his life.

Johnson introduced stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Gwendolyn Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Benicio del Toro, and, of course, new Disney Legend Mark Hamill. Johnson and his cast wouldn’t reveal much about the upcoming film—in fact, they wouldn’t really reveal anything, though Hamill confirmed that we will, indeed, hear Luke Skywalker speak in this film. He referred to the movie as a “game changer,” and noting, “When I read the script, there were so many unexpected elements.”

Johnson and the cast then offered up a behind-the-scenes look at Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which opens in theaters on December 15, 2017.

Avengers—and More—Assemble!
Kevin Feige is Marvel Studios President—and he’s also a massive Disney fan and a card-carrying D23 charter member who has been coming to D23 Expo since the first Expo in 2009. Feige explained that next year will be one of celebration—in honor of the 10th anniversary of Marvel Studios. It’s going to be a big year for the studio, and fans can look forward to what Feige calls “the biggest production in the Marvel Cinematic Universe—Avengers: Infinity War. The film is filming now, Feige said, but a slew of Super Heroes—and a fearsome villain—were able to take time away from the production to surprise Disney fans at Expo. In the most Marvel-ous gathering of stars ever, Feige welcomed Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Mackie, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Josh Brolin, Don Cheadle, Sebastian Stan, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, and Pom Klementieff to the stage, along with one of the film’s directors, Joe Russo.

“Even I find myself geeking out,” Feige joked, as the assemblage continued. The crowd was on their feet long before Robert Downey Jr. demanded, “Let’s see it”—“it” being an exclusive early look at footage from the movie.

Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War, an unprecedented cinematic journey 10 years in the making and spanning the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, opens in theaters on May 4, 2018.

See What The Walt Disney Studios is Bringing to D23 Expo

At D23 Expo 2015, we met the cast of Star Wars: The Force Awakens at The Walt Disney Studios live-action panel, were the first to hear new details about Toy Story 4 at the Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Panel, and were thrilled by so much more throughout the three-day event. These two can’t-miss panels are back for D23 Expo 2017, along with new presentations that will bring some of your favorite characters and films to life in a whole new way. Take a look at the schedule below and get ready for D23 Expo!

Friday, July 14

John Lasseter at D23 Expo

Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios: The Upcoming Films, Hosted by John Lasseter (2:30 p.m., Hall D23) –– Join host John Lasseter, chief creative officer of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, as he shares never-before-seen footage from Pixar’s upcoming feature Coco and Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2. Plus, surprise announcements, musical performances, and appearances by star voice talent. Cell phones, cameras, and all recording devices will be checked for this presentation.

Saturday, July 15

Disney, Marvel Studios & Lucasfilm – Live Action at The Walt Disney Studios (10 a.m., Hall D23)–– At this exclusive Hall D23 presentation featuring never-before-seen footage, surprise star appearances, and more, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at an exciting array of spectacular films on the horizon from these world-class studios. Cell phones, cameras, and all recording devices will be checked for this presentation.

Moana, Ariel, and Tiana

The Power of the Princess (10:30 a.m., Stage 28)––Join Jodi Benson (Ariel), Paige O’Hara (Belle), Anika Noni Rose (Tiana), and Auli‘i Cravalho (Moana) as they share stories from the making of these iconic films and how these characters have impacted fans across the globe. Hosted by Walt Disney Animation Studios animators Amy Smeed and Kira Lehtomaki.

Creating the Worlds in Pixar’s Universe (12:15 p.m., Stage 28) –– Pixar production designers and artists will literally take guests behind the scenes on a visual tour of the amazing worlds created in Pixar films––from oceans and outer space, to mountain tops and “monstropolises.”

Olaf's Frozen Adventure

Olaf’s Frozen Adventure: A Sneak Peek at the New Frozen Short Film (2:30 p.m., Stage 28) –– Be among the first to see exclusive and behind-the-scenes footage from Walt Disney Animation Studios’ newest Frozen holiday short film event, the highly anticipated Olaf’s Frozen Adventure. The film, which features the talents of the original Frozen cast, as well as brand-new songs, is directed by the Emmy®-winning team Stevie Wermers-Skelton and Kevin Deters (Prep & Landing) and produced by Oscar®-winning producer Roy Conli (Big Hero 6, Tangled).

The Evolution of Pixar’s Characters (6 p.m., Stage 28) –– Pixar characters are full of personality––from the waves in their hair to the shoes on their feet. Join some of the legendary Pixar artists behind its most memorable characters as they share what it’s like to draw these lovable characters to life.

Sunday, July 16

The Lion King

Celebration of an Animated Classic: The Lion King (10 a.m., D23 Expo Arena) –– Join a Disney celebration of the magic, the music, and the majesty of the animated classic The Lion King. Producer Don Hahn, director Rob Minkoff, and animators Tony Bancroft and Mark Henn, along with some very special guests, reveal the secrets behind the making of the timeless animated classic.

Bambi’s 75th Anniversary (11:30 a.m., Walt Disney Archives Stage) –– Celebrate the 75th anniversary and Walt Disney Signature Collection release of Bambi with personal stories from the voice cast, anecdotes behind the making of this film and its exquisite hand-drawn artwork, and much, much more.

Throughout the weekend, be sure to check out these five sweet spots on the show floor:

Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios
Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios once again join forces for a must-see animation experience at D23 Expo. Don’t miss artist demonstrations, autograph signings with top filmmakers, fan giveaways and interactive displays featuring the latest films including Cars 3, Coco, Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, and Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2.

Marvel Studios Pavilion
At the Marvel Studios Pavilion, fans will get an up-close look at the costumes and props from Thor: Ragnarok, including photo opportunities with exclusive set pieces from the film, as well as incredible costumes from Black Panther. Marvel Studios will host multiple giveaways and events within its pavilion space in Hall B. Fans will get the chance to meet with Marvel Studios’ filmmakers, development team, and talent. Exclusive artwork will be given away daily, along with other surprises. Details on talent appearances and special signings will be made available on the D23 Expo app.

Disney Music Emporium
Over the three-day Ultimate Disney Fan Event, the Disney Music Emporium will feature album signings by artists and award-winning composers. Limited quantities of a wide assortment of music products will be available, including new releases from Marvel, Moana, Beauty and the Beast, and Disneyland attraction picture discs, plus lithographs, Crosley turntables, and posters. For a complete list of talent appearances and album signings, visit http://waltdisneyrecords.com/d23expo/signings.html.

Disney Movie Rewards and Disney Movie Club
Disney fans will be able to experience a unique augmented reality photo booth presented by Disney Movie Rewards. Fans will be able to earn mystery points which can be used for great rewards like Blu-rays, movie tickets, and exclusive collectibles only available at DisneyMovieRewards.com. Disney Movie Club, the ultimate source for building your Disney movie library, will also be there hosting a special augmented reality gallery. Come by for free giveaways and a special sign up offer just for D23 Expo 2017 attendees.

Disney Family Movies
Stop by the Disney Family Movies booth in Hall C to learn about this fun subscription, video-on-demand service.

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

Marvel Shake-Up: Film Chief Kevin Feige to Report Directly to Alan Horn

kevin_feige

After what one source describes as “several years of frustration,” Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has pulled off a reorganization of the vaunted film company that has him reporting to Disney studio chief Alan Horn as opposed to the infamously micromanaging Marvel Entertainment CEO Isaac “Ike” Perlmutter.

Feige, the architect of Marvel’s transition from a flailing comic book company into a film powerhouse that was sold to Disney for $4 billion in 2009, is said to have vented his unhappiness to Horn and Disney CEO Bob Iger earlier this summer. The reorganization was put into effect last week, according to sources.

“Marvel Studios is taking the next logical step in its integration with The Walt Disney Studios, joining Pixar and Lucasfilm in centralizing many of its film-related functions in Burbank, with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and co-president Louis D’Esposito continuing to lead the Marvel Studios team reporting to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn,” a Disney spokesperson tells THR in a statement.

The revamp is a blow to New York-based Perlmutter, a low-profile billionaire who has contributed to Marvel’s reputation in Hollywood for frugality and secrecy (as THR reported in a 2014 feature, he attended the premiere of Iron Man in a disguise to go undetected and once complained that journalists at a press junket were allowed two sodas instead of one). Jeph Loeb, head of Marvel Television, continues to report to Perlmutter, who will maintain oversight of Marvel’s TV group, publishing, animation and other New York-based operations.

Perlmutter, 72, is said to have accepted Feige’s insistence on the film group breaking free. But the move illustrates the power that Feige has amassed within the Disney empire, having overseen a slate of films since 2009 that has grossed more than $7 billion while rival Warner Bros. has struggled to turn its DC superheroes into a comparable cinematic universe. Disney has plotted out Marvel films until at least 2019.

The shift also evidences the tricky executive politics that Iger must manage as a result of assembling several freestanding feifdoms under the Disney banner over the past decade. Pixar Animation Studios, Lucasfilm and Marvel have been key acquisitions that brought with them valuable intellectual property assets and creative expertise. But each silo is overseen by powerful executives such as animation gurus John Lasseter and Ed Catmull, producer Kathleen Kennedy and Perlmutter and Feige, respectively, all of whom have tremendous influence within their corner of the Disney empire.

Feige, 42, has been considered the key man at Marvel, producing everything from the original Iron Man through this summer’s Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man. One insider says Feige has earned the opportunity to break free from Perlmutter, who is not only controlling, but also obsessed with thrift.

“Everybody knows Ike is difficult,” says one source close to the company. “This has been a long time coming. Kevin has grown his entire career under Ike and now it just makes sense.”

From The Hollywood Reporter

Stars & Filmmakers of Disney, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm Featured at Live Action Presentation

Force Awakens Cast

 

Disney, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm presented their live action film slates this morning at the D23 EXPO 2015 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif. The presentations, which revealed exclusive news and details about the upcoming live action films, were aided by live and video appearances from talent and filmmakers. Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn hosted the highly anticipated biennial event.

“It’s quite something to be able to have Disney, Marvel and Lucasfilm all on the same stage, and it’s tremendously gratifying to unveil our upcoming projects to our most dedicated fans first,” said Alan Horn, Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios. “We always have an incredible time at the D23 EXPO.”

After welcoming the crowd to D23 EXPO 2015, Horn introduced Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios, and Sean Bailey, President of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production, to present overviews of the Marvel Studios and Disney live action slates. Later Horn returned to the stage to present the Lucasfilm film slate to the enthusiastic audience.

A recap of the presentation follows:

· Kevin Feige led off with a glimpse into the world of Marvel’s “Doctor Strange,” featuring a video greeting by Benedict Cumberbatch, who stars as the title character, followed by a pre-production piece that offered fans a taste of the look and feel of the upcoming film, opening in U.S. theaters on October 26, 2016.

Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” marched into D23 EXPO with an introduction by its producer, Kevin Feige. To the delight of the audience, Chris Evans and Anthony Mackie showed up on stage to help Feige show never-seen-before footage from the movie. Before the footage rolled, Feige revealed that there was a special “Easter egg” for fans to find: it was aptly a nod to D23 EXPO.

Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” picks up where “Avengers: Age of Ultron” left off, as Steve Rogers leads the new team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. After another international incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability and a governing body to determine when to enlist the services of the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers while they try to protect the world from a new and nefarious villain.

The movie stars Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Emily VanCamp, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Frank Grillo, Tom Holland, with William Hurt and Daniel Brühl. Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” is directed by Anthony & Joe Russo and produced by Kevin Feige. Louis D’Esposito, Alan Fine, Victoria Alonso, Patricia Whitcher, Nate Moore and Stan Lee serve as executive producers and the screenplay is by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely. Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” opens in the U.S. on May 6, 2016.

Sean Bailey took the stage to introduce the first film in the Disney live-action lineup, “The Finest Hours,” which is based on the remarkable true story of the most daring rescue mission in the history of the Coast Guard. Chris Pine, who plays Bernie Webber, the captain of the rescue boat, joined Bailey on stage to give fans a peak at the heroic action-thriller.

Presented in Digital 3D™, Real D 3D and IMAX® 3D, the film, which is directed by Craig Gillespie and also stars Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, Holliday Grainger, John Ortiz and Eric Bana, transports audiences to the heart of the action, creating a fully-immersive cinematic experience on an epic scale.

“The Finest Hours” is produced by Jim Whitaker and Dorothy Aufiero and Doug Merrifield is the executive producer. The film is based on the book by Michael J. Tougias and Casey Sherman and the screenplay is by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson. “The Finest Hours” storms into U.S. theaters on January 29, 2016.

After an introduction by Sean Bailey, Jon Favreau, director of Disney’s upcoming “The Jungle Book,” welcomed to the stage newcomer Neel Sethi, who was selected from thousands of candidates to play man-cub Mowgli; plus Oscar® winners Ben Kingsley, who helps bring panther-turned-mentor Bagheera to life, and Lupita Nyong’o, who lends her voice to the protective mother wolf Raksha. Favreau treated fans to a sneak peek of footage from the film, and each guest received a copy of the dramatic teaser poster following the presentation. The all-new, live-action epic adventure showcases Mowgli’s journey of self-discovery when he’s forced to abandon the only home he’s ever known.

Based on Rudyard Kipling’s timeless stories and inspired by Disney’s 1967 animated classic, the film features state-of the-art technology that immerses audiences in the lush world like never before. “The Jungle Book” also features the voices of Bill Murray, Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson, Giancarlo Esposito and Christopher Walken. Jon Favreau and Brigham Taylor produce and the screenplay is by Justin Marks. “The Jungle Book” hits theaters in stunning 3D and IMAX 3D on April 15, 2016.

· Bailey welcomed Mia Wasikowska to the stage, where she thrilled fans with a preview of the all-new spectacular adventure, “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” featuring the unforgettable characters from Lewis Carroll’s beloved stories. Director James Bobin brings his own unique vision to the spectacular world Tim Burton created on screen in 2010 with “Alice in Wonderland,” in which Alice (Wasikowska) returns to the whimsical world of Underland and travels back in time to save the Mad Hatter. The film, which once again features Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter and the voices of Alan Rickman, Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen and Timothy Spall, introduces several new characters as well: Zanik Hightopp (Rhys Ifans), the Mad Hatter’s father, and Time himself (Sacha Baron Cohen), a peculiar creature who is part human, part clock.

Joe Roth, Suzanne Todd and Jennifer Todd, and Tim Burton produce and John G. Scotti is the executive producer. The screenplay is by Linda Woolverton. Presented in Digital 3D™, Real D 3D and IMAX® 3D, Disney’s “Alice Through the Looking Glass” opens in U.S. theaters on May 27, 2016.

In addition to attending the film’s presentation in Hall D23 at the Convention Center, fans had the opportunity to transform themselves into their favorite characters from Underland with an interactive experience, Travel Through the Looking Glass. By means of a first-to-market face-tracking application, D23 EXPO participants entering one of four photo booths located on the show floor were able to become the Mad Hatter, the Red Queen, the White Rabbit or the Cheshire Cat with full digital-makeup and cinematic 3D objects seamlessly—and instantly—applied to their reflections, and in real time. They were then emailed a 10-second video and still image, which they could share on their favorite social media platforms.

Bryce Dallas Howard joined Bailey on stage to talk about her starring role in “Pete’s Dragon,” a reimagining of Disney’s cherished family film. The heartwarming adventure of an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend Elliott, who just so happens to be a dragon, “Pete’s Dragon” is directed by David Lowery, produced by Jim Whitaker, and executive-produced by Barrie Osborne, and also stars Oakes Fegley, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban, Oona Laurence and Robert Redford. “Pete’s Dragon” opens in U.S. theaters on August 12, 2016.

Bailey, with the help of Lupita Nyong’o, introduced the crowd to the upcoming film “Queen of Katwe,” which is based on the inspirational true story of a girl from the poverty-stricken slums of rural Uganda who dreams of becoming a champion chess player. Directed by Mira Nair from a screenplay by William Wheeler based on the book by Tim Crothers, “Queen of Katwe” stars Nyong’o, David Oyelowo and newcomer Medina Nalwanga.

Bailey next presented “Beauty and the Beast,” including a musical greeting from stars Emma Watson, Josh Gad and Luke Evans—sent from the London set where they are currently filming. The live-action musical, a retelling of the studio’s animated classic, stars Watson, Dan Stevens, Evans, Gad, Kevin Kline, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Emma Thompson, Ian McKellen, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Audra McDonald and newcomer Nathan Mack. The film is directed by Bill Condon. Alan Menken, who won two Academy Awards® (Best Original Score and Best Song) for the animated classic, provides the score, which will include new recordings of the original songs written by Menken and Tim Rice, as well as several new songs. “Beauty and the Beast” will be released in U.S. theaters on March 17, 2017.

A surprise visit by Johnny Depp, who showed up on stage completely decked out as Captain Jack Sparrow, brought down the house and thrilled fans at Sean Bailey’s presentation of the next exciting film in the “Pirates of the Caribbean “ franchise, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.”

Thrust into an all-new adventure, a down-on-his-luck Captain Jack Sparrow finds the winds of ill-fortune blowing even more strongly when deadly ghost pirates led by his old nemesis, the terrifying Captain Salazar (Bardem), escape from the Devil’s Triangle, determined to kill every pirate at sea…including him. Captain Jack’s only hope of survival lies in seeking out the legendary Trident of Poseidon, a powerful artifact that bestows upon its possessor total control over the seas.

The film is directed by Espen Sandberg & Joachim Rønning and stars Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Brenton Thwaites, Kevin R. McNally, Kaya Scodelario, Golshifteh Farahani, Stephen Graham, David Wenham and Geoffrey Rush. Jerry Bruckheimer is the producer and Chad Oman, Mike Stenson, Joe Caracciolo, Jr. and Brigham Taylor serve as executive producers. Jeff Nathanson wrote the screenplay. “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” releases in U.S. theaters on July 7, 2017.

Alan Horn took the stage again to present the Lucasfilm slate and timeline to the D23 EXPO fans. Horn told the audience that there were only 124 days to the release of Episode VII, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” on December 18, 2015 and added that there have been record-breaking trailer views and fantastic fan response. Touching on “Star Wars: Episode VIII,” Horn reminded the audience that Rian Johnson will be directing the film slated for release on May 26, 2017. Then in a surprise announcement, Horn informed everyone that Colin Trevorrow (“Jurassic World”) has signed on to direct “Star Wars: Episode IX,” which is scheduled for release in 2019.

Moving on to the new Star Wars stories series, Horn touched on the “Untitled Han Solo” stand-alone film, slated for release on May 25, 2018 by reminding everyone that it will be directed by Christopher Miller & Phil Lord, with Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jon Kasdan writing the screenplay.

Horn then took the audience by surprise, announcing the cast for “Rogue One,” the first of the standalone Star Wars stories to hit the big screen, which has commenced principal photography. Gareth Edwards (“Godzilla,” “Monsters”) is directing “Rogue One,” which tells the story of resistance fighters who have united to steal plans to the dreaded Death Star.

The filmmakers have assembled a stellar cast, including Felicity Jones, nominated for an Academy Award® for her leading role in “The Theory of Everything”; Diego Luna, who was featured in 2008’s Oscar®-winning “Milk” and the critically acclaimed “Killing Them Softly”; Ben Mendelsohn, recently nominated for an Emmy® for his leading role in “Bloodline” and co-starring in the upcoming “Mississippi Grind”; Donnie Yen, Hong Kong action star and martial artist who starred in “Ip Man” and “Blade II”; Jiang Wen, who co-wrote, produced , directed and starred in the award-winning “Let the Bullets Fly” and “Devils on the Doorstep”; Forest Whitaker, recently featured in the critically-acclaimed Lee Daniels’ “The Butler” and winner of an Academy Award® for his leading role in 2006’s “The Last King of Scotland; Mads Mikkelsen, who starred in “The Hunt” and was the memorable villain from 2006’s “Casino Royale”; Alan Tudyk, who plays a performance-capture character in “Rogue One,” stars in the soon-to-be-released “Con Man” series and “Trumbo,” which releases this November; and Riz Ahmed, who was recently featured in “Nightcrawler” and starred in the BAFTA-winning film “Four Lions.”

The film is produced by Kathleen Kennedy and is slated for a December 16, 2016 release.

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” ended the live-action presentation with a bang as J.J. Abrams introduced stars John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac and Lupita Nyong’o. The crowd cheered when John Boyega announced that everyone there would get a Drew Struzan D23 EXPO commemorative poster to take home. Then, in a bringing-down-the house surprise moment, Harrison Ford, who is reprising his role as Han Solo, joined Abrams on stage to wild applause.

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Max Von Sydow. Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk are producing with Tommy Harper and Jason McGatlin serving as executive producers. The screenplay is by J.J. Abrams & Lawrence Kasdan. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” releases in U.S. theaters on December 18, 2015.

 

‘Ant-Man’ Opens With Tiny (For Marvel) $58M Weekend

Marvel's Ant-Man..Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd)..Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal..? Marvel 2014

Walt Disney and Marvel’s Ant-Man got off to a solid start with a $58 million debut weekend. It is not a little amusing that the two smallest opening weekends in the Marvel Cinematic Universe thus far are from the biggest and smallest heroes in their ranks at the moment. So yes, Ant-Man opened this weekend with $58m, which is the second lowest debut for the Marvel Cinematic Universe behind the $55m debut of The Incredible Hulk, a 2D film from 2008 whose debut would be around $70m adjusted for inflation and the 3D/IMAX/PLF bump. But before we panic too much, we should be aware that Ant-Man was the cheapest film in the MCU thus far, coming in at a comparatively puny $130m for production. And considering it’s already made $114m worldwide as of today, Ant-Man is a small(er) scale film that will likely be a small(er) scale success. Its 2.5x domestic weekend multiplier is right in the Marvel safe zone.

As much as we might like to think that the Marvel offices are reenacting everyone’s’ favorite scene from Event Horizon, that’s not fair and not true.  Ant-Man was the closest thing we’ve seen thus far to a Marvel B-movie. That’s not an insult, but it’s a cheaper, lighter, and smaller-scale caper that served as something of a Phase 2 epilogue after the epic season finale that was Avengers: Age of Ultron. Truth be told, the Paul Rudd/Michael Douglas/Evangeline Lilly heist adventure played closer to a Phase 1 Marvel movie than the somewhat supercharged Phase 2 entries. It was the first solo hero origin story/franchise-starter since Captain America: The First Avenger way back in July of 2011.

That film opened with $65m and ended with $176m domestic and $373m worldwide on a $140m budget. I have to assume that we’ll see a similar result here, with stronger overseas potential factored in accordingly. The film played 42% 3D, 10.5% IMAX, and 9.5% PLF in America, The film earned $9.1m worldwide in IMAX. In terms of demos, it played 53% under-25 years old (“The kids, the kids!”) and 63% male.  Marvel movies tend to make around 2.4x their opening weekend (Iron Man 2Iron Man 3Avengers 2The Incredible Hulk, Thor: The Dark World) in America, over/under 2.7x their opening weekend (ThorCaptain AmericaCaptain America 2), or 3x or above (Iron ManThe AvengersGuardians of the Galaxy).

I don’t think Ant-Man is a zeitgeist film and the deluge of PG-13 action fare over the next five weeks (PixelsMission: Impossible Rogue Nation, The Fantastic Four, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Hitman: Agent 47)  is going to be brutal in terms of demo competition. But the film works as intended, kids love it, and I don’t see it disappearing quietly into that good night. So yeah, I’m guessing a 2.7x multiplier with an estimated $156m cume here and hopes that it will play like The Wolverine and/or Thor overseas for an over/under $435m worldwide cume, or 3.3x its budget before post-theatrical. But that’s highly speculative (a standard 40/60 split gives it $390m worldwide) and we’ll know more next weekend.

The success of The Avengers took Marvel to a different playing field, and the Phase 2 films have been remarkably successful especially when compared to Phase 1. Most of the them were sequels. Guardians of the Galaxy was something of a fluke, coming off of strong buzz, superb reviews, and the sense that the film was the great late-summer blockbuster that was going to save us from the otherwise lackluster summer.  Even if Ant-Man was hoping to be the late-summer gem to save us all (think Warner Bros./Time Warner with Inception and the last two Dark Knight movies), this summer has had plenty of crowd-pleasing spectacles along the lines of Avengers: Age of UltronMad Max: Fury RoadPitch Perfect 2San AndreasSpyJurassic World, Inside Out, and Minions. Summer didn’t need to be rescued in mid-July this time around. Coming after a super kid-friendly Minions probably didn’t help either, as said film is going to do another $49m this weekend to boot.

On one hand, the general moviegoers likely didn’t care about the behind-the-scenes gossip (“Edgar who?,” says your average moviegoer of the film’s infamous director switch last year). If they went, they went because of the Marvel brand, the quirky trailers, and the brand name value of star Paul Rudd. On the other hand, they probably didn’t care all that much about Ant-Man at least in comparison to the last handful of Marvel movies. And the reviews were “good, not great,” with a number of critics using ESP or travelling to an alternate dimension to view Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man so they could determine that it was clearly superior to Peyton Reed’s version.

So yeah, this is the closest we’ve had to a Marvel movie not really being an event. When you have a track record like Marvel’s, “okay” should be allowed now and then when you’re offering what amounts to a comic intermission in between “mythology episodes.” If Age of Ultron and Civil War are the super important main features, then Ant-Man was the cartoon playing in between them on a double-bill (I have no such comparisons for the newsreel, unless you toss in an episode of Agent Carter). Ant-Man was something of a risk and to a certain extent Marvel came through okay.

It might actually be a good thing over the long haul, as it will reset expectations for the likes of Dr. StrangeCaptain Marvel, and Black Panther down the road.  I’ll discuss this tomorrow if time allows, but the film’s mid-credits cookie will surely get everyone’s hopes up for an Ant-Man 2, since it sets up the potential upside of such a sequel as well as any superhero movie since Batman Begins. So with Avengers: Age of Ultron currently at $1.3935b worldwide, superhero fatigue hasn’t quite set in yet.

From Forbes