Disney News Thread

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Re: Disney News Thread

Postby mr.negativity » Tue Aug 06, 2019 6:49 pm

Screen Rant:
Home Alone Reboot Confirmed For Disney+

THR:
Disney Earnings Disappoint Despite Hefty Studio Performance

The Verge:
Disney announces $12.99 bundle for Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+
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Re: Disney News Thread

Postby mr.negativity » Wed Aug 07, 2019 3:12 pm

Screen Rant:
Disney Addresses Lower Attendance At Star Wars Galaxy's Edge

THR:
Disney Sets Course for Pared-Down 20th Century Fox Amid $170M Loss
Pamela McClintock wrote:The consequences of two major Hollywood studios merging became clearer Tuesday as Disney's film empire reported a loss of $170 million in the third quarter related to the titles it inherited from 20th Century Fox, led by the pricey superhero pic Dark Phoenix.

"The Fox studio performance...was well below where it had been and well below where we’d hoped it would be when we made the acquisition," Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger said during an earnings call, acknowledging that Fox leadership was in a difficult spot between the time the merger was announced in December 2017 and closed in late March 2019.

Still, the public lashing couldn't have been easy to hear for Hollywood veteran Emma Watts, who is among a small cadre of Fox film executives who made the leap to Disney, and is the vice chairman of the 20th Century Fox label.

Rumors have abounded in recent weeks that Watts was seeking employment elsewhere. However, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that she's striking a new contract with Disney and will keep overseeing the marquee Avatar, Planet of the Apes and Kingsman franchises, along with awards hopeful Ford v. Ferrari, set to hit theaters this fall, and Free Guy, a July 2020 comedy starring Ryan Reynolds, among other projects. And there Fox and New Regency's Brad Pitt-starrer Ad Astra, which debuts in September after making its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival.

Watts is also overseeing the next installment in the Murder on the Orient Express series and Steven Spielberg's West Side Story, set for release over Christmas 2020. (Fox's superhero properties, including Deadpool and X-Men, now go to Kevin Feige's Marvel.)

In discussing the $170 million deficit with investors, Iger said that Disney Studios co-chairmen Alan Horn and Alan Bergman are working with Watts to "consolidate and to cut back on the number of releases so as to focus on the kind of release that we hope would come out of that studio."

Iger's comments confirmed what Hollywood insiders have known for months: Fox is now a pared-down label that lives alongside Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, Disney's live-action studio, Pixar and Disney Animation. Sources say the 20th Century Fox silo could make 10 or more movies a year, with half or more headed directly for Disney's new streaming service or Hulu, now controlled by Disney.

Continuing, Iger said, "it will probably take a solid year or two years before we can have an impact — obviously it takes longer on the development side — but an impact on the films that are actually in production. We’re all confident that we’re going to be able to turn around the fortunes of Fox live action and you’re going to see those results in a couple years."

"I don’t mean to cast aspersions at any individual at all — it was a very difficult transition for that business," Iger added during the earnings call.

Whatever the cause, Fox is currently a dismal No. 7 in domestic market share for the year (even behind Lionsgate) at 3.6 percent. Dark Phoenix, costing $200 million to produce before marketing, earned just $252.4 million at the worldwide box office, while the comedy Stuber also flamed out. "If these results had happened under the old ownership — the Murdochs — heads would have rolled," says a former Fox executive.

Fox's last major hit was Bohemian Rhapsody, which grossed north of $900 million pre-merger following its release in fall of 2018. In terms of mining the 20th Century Fox library for streaming purposes, Iger said Tuesday that Watts and her team will be rebooting Night at the Museum, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Home Alone and Cheaper by the Dozen for Disney+.

Iger wasn't as specific when it came to Fox Searchlight, the specialty label and home of multiple Oscars that's overseen by Steve Gilula and Nancy Utley. "Fox Searchlight will continue to make the prestige films it’s known for, while expanding its high-quality original storytelling into the [direct to consumer] space," Iger said.

Searchlight isn't in the business of big-budget productions, and only releases a handful of movies annually. In the eyes of many analysts, a Searchlight movie that doesn't work is merely a rounding error for Disney.
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Re: Disney News Thread

Postby Henry88 » Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:15 am

Disney Will Reportedly Continue the Planet of the Apes Series
https://comicbook.com/movies/2019/08/07 ... es-series/
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Re: Disney News Thread

Postby Henry88 » Thu Aug 15, 2019 12:16 pm

For the sake of cinema, Disney needs to be broken up
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... -broken-up
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Re: Disney News Thread

Postby klen7 » Thu Aug 15, 2019 6:14 pm

I think Disney owns the blockbuster now, but this might be good for other studios to get back to strong storytelling rather than endless effects sequences. Cinema may get stronger while the big budget flicks get "safer"
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Re: Disney News Thread

Postby Henry88 » Fri Aug 16, 2019 2:22 pm

Disney Planning To Reboot The Die Hard Franchise
https://wegotthiscovered.com/movies/dis ... franchise/
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Re: Disney News Thread

Postby XvGojira » Fri Aug 16, 2019 7:59 pm

Henry88 wrote:Disney Planning To Reboot The Die Hard Franchise
https://wegotthiscovered.com/movies/dis ... franchise/


I'm all for more action movies, especially if they're R rated. So if they make an entertaining action that happens to just have Die Hard in the title great.

But there hasn't been a Die Hard movie since 1995. Bruce has phoned in his roles for years and Michael Kamen is no longer around to create a Die Hard score. Live Free was a mediocre action movie, that had a few glimmers of Die Hard-ness but Good Day was just garbage.

So I'm kind of okay with them rebooting it. It's better than the stupid McClane prequel that Fox was setting up.

Although with it being based on a book, how does that work?


Also I read somewhere that they're also planning on "rebooting" the Alien series as well, but having Ridley Scott in a producing role. I'm in the minority of actually liking both Prometheus and Alien Covenant, so I'm sad that we probably won't get to see how Ridley was going to end that trilogy. Maybe they'll do a comic or audio novel like they did with unused Alien 3 scripts.

They REALLY don't need to remake the original, nor should they. With how odd the Alien's continuity is, they could just make a new Alien movie that's removed from Ripley/Sigourney which could easily ignore everything aside from the first two movies and no one would notice. It'd be like one of the Aliens comics, just a new story within the same world. I'd be perfectly fine with that. Ditto if they do the same with Predator, even though I'm one of the few that also enjoyed the heavily flawed The Predator. They just need to keep to the Predator's MO of 1 & 2, hunting during heat and conflict. They could do a period piece and re-use set of Pirates of the Caribbean films and have the Predator killing pirates and whatnot.
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Re: Disney News Thread

Postby Henry88 » Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:30 pm

Ex-Disney Accountant Files SEC Claims Alleging Books Were Cooked – Report
https://deadline.com/2019/08/ex-disney- ... 202671773/
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Re: AD ASTRA

Postby mr.negativity » Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:06 am

phpBB [media]
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Re: Disney News Thread

Postby mr.negativity » Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:49 pm

THR 8/21/2019:
Disney’s Streaming Push Adds Intrigue to Bob Iger Succession Race
Paul Bond wrote:On Aug. 23, thousands of Disney's most faithful fans will trek to D23 Expo in Anaheim, where they'll be treated to sneak peeks of the new live-action Lady and the Tramp as well as Star Wars series The Mandalorian and a High School Musical reboot, all of which are headed for Disney+, the streaming service set to launch Nov. 12. They'll also hear from CEO Bob Iger, and, unknowingly, they might be given a shot at mingling with Iger's eventual successor.

Some observers now believe the inside track may belong to Kevin Mayer, chairman of direct-to-consumer and international who is expected to appear at the convention to showcase Disney+. That Iger has called the upcoming streamer the "most important product" to launch since he became CEO in 2005 speaks volumes about the stakes for Mayer, 57, and how the performance of Disney+ could influence who takes over when Iger retires at the end of 2021.

With global content and advertising sales in his purview, "Kevin is controlling well over 50 percent of the company's revenue," notes Neal Lenarsky of STI Management, an executive search firm for media. "Running the direct-to-consumer puts him right in the bull's-eye of Disney's strategic future."

But Disney has been down this road before. Iger, 68, has changed his mind multiple times about retirement, citing big initiatives he needs to see through before leaving, the latest being the partial merger with 21st Century Fox, which closed March 20. Not only might Iger extend his run again, but the succession bake-off also could change dramatically, as it did when former CFO-COO Thomas Staggs — once positioned as the primary contender — left the company in 2016.

Certainly Iger will leave big shoes to fill, given that his tenure has included bold moves like the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and most of Rupert Murdoch's Fox assets, not to mention that shares of Disney have risen 490 percent, compared with 135 percent for the S&P 500, during his reign. But Iger himself filled the shoes of Michael Eisner, who, in two decades as CEO helped Disney shares surge 2,300 percent, also more than three times the S&P 500's gain.

"Iger is a giant who has only grown in stature with the Fox deal and all-in strategic shift to streaming," says analyst Steven Birenberg, founder of Northlake Capital Management. "How well Disney+ is doing next year … will have an impact."

“Mayer is a fascinating choice,” adds analyst Jimmy Schaeffler of the Carmel Group. “The combination of two decades at Disney together with stints at Playboy, Clear Channel and the research firm L.E.K. Consulting, and the résumé works some subtle magic. The real question is: can his character and personality walk figuratively, and literally, in the footsteps of Walt Elias Disney and Robert A. Iger?”

Many industry insiders see the race to replace Iger as still a wide-open competition. "There is no one who obviously comes to mind as a successor," notes Birenberg. "Iger will be difficult to replace," adds Ben Weiss, chief investment officer of 8th & Jackson Capital Management. "He had vision and wasn't afraid to bet big" and has "the respect of both the creative and the financial community."

Having been president of ABC Television and COO of Capital Cities/ABC, joining Disney when it purchased that entity in 1996, Iger comes from the TV side of the business, which some suggest gives Jimmy Pitaro and Peter Rice a leg up. Iger thinks highly of the latter; he made Rice, 53, chairman of Walt Disney Television and co-chair of Disney Media Networks after Rice joined the company by way of the Fox purchase, where he was instrumental in doubling the revenue of Fox Networks Group and oversaw big-ticket sports rights deals.

As for Pitaro, he was asked to prove his mettle when in 2018 he was made not only co-chair of Disney Media Networks but also president of ESPN, which one insider called "the toughest job in television," given that the leader in sports media has lost about 15 million subscribers in eight years due to cord-cutting. If he can right that ship — which Disney is trying to do partly through streamer ESPN+, now at 2.4 million subscribers — he may prove he can run all of Disney.

Bob Chapek, who in 2015 replaced Staggs as chairman of parks, experiences and products, also is a contender. Guggenheim Securities projects that parks and resorts alone will generate $7.4 billion in adjusted operating income in fiscal 2020, more than cable networks, broadcast TV or studio entertainment.

Mayer, meanwhile, has a steep hill to climb in order to make Disney+ a hit. Analyst Richard Greenfield of BTIG estimates Disney will sacrifice $500 million annually by saving content for Disney+ rather than licensing it to the highest bidder. And Disney's direct-to-consumer segment will lose about $900 million in the current quarter as it ramps up its new streamer, which the conglomerate hopes will attract 30 million subs by 2024.

In replacing Iger, STI Management's Lenarsky figures that Mayer, Rice and Chapek are the lead contenders and notes: "A critical part of successfully leading will be to keep and nurture talent that's in place, and Kevin seems poised to do that."

But the Disney board — and shareholders — hope that Decision Day is (again) put off a few more years, says Schaeffler. To avoid a “tragic transition,” the board is hoping for three things: “Bob extend his stay; immediately fashion a successful identification of his heir apparent; and be given a timeframe to have the successor learn directly from Bob himself.”
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Re: Disney News Thread

Postby mr.negativity » Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:59 pm

VARIETY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2019:
Walt Disney Studios Teams Up With Microsoft to Make Movies in the Cloud (EXCLUSIVE)
Janko Roettgers wrote:The Walt Disney Studios has partnered with Microsoft to move key parts of its movie-making and distribution processes to the cloud. The five-year partnership is being spearheaded by Disney’s StudioLab, an internal innovation incubation lab, and has the ultimate goal of using Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform all the way “from scene to screen,” as the two companies put it in an announcement Friday.

“There are tons of benefits of being in the cloud,” said Walt Disney Studios chief technology officer Jamie Voris in an interview with Variety this week. Voris said that the initial focus of the collaboration will be on moving some of the studio’s editing to the cloud, something that will be aided by Microsoft’s existing partnership with creative tools specialist Avid.

Cloud-based editing will allow Walt Disney Studios to more easily collaborate across multiple locations, explained Voris. “We can be on a set in Australia and editing in Burbank,” he said. “Filmmaking is a global process.”

And with Hollywood embracing global streaming services, like Disney does with Disney Plus, it’s only logical that the industry would also look to technology to future-proof its global production pipelines. “It really feels like we are at the tipping point for cloud in media and entertainment,” said Microsoft US president Kate Johnson.

Working collaboratively on the same project in the cloud will also cut down on the need to store and administer many different copies of a file, explained Voris. “For big films, we produce petabytes of data.” And with all that data comes the risk of footage getting lost, or falling into the wrong hands. “Moving around physical files is a risky proposition,” he said.

Voris said that Walt Disney Studios chose Microsoft to kick off its cloud ambitions because some of the company’s cloud competitors weren’t as focused on the media space. Johnson acknowledged that the company was trying to beat the competition in Hollywood. “We like to think of us as the platform cloud for media and entertainment,” she said.

Part of this was due to Microsoft embracing media as a strategic growth opportunity for Azure. However, Johnson also mused that some in Hollywood might be hesitant to work with competing cloud giants that were operating their own media businesses — a not-so-subtle dig at Amazon and Google, which at times have been accused of using some of the data insights they’re getting from partners to supercharge their own businesses. “We just don’t do that,” she said.

Walt Disney Studios and Microsoft have already begun to implement production workflows on the Azure platform, and a StudioLab representative told Variety that the audiences may see first movies that have been edited in the cloud on the big screen in 12 to 18 months. Asked about the prospects of seeing the Microsoft logo appear in the credits of a Disney blockbuster, Johnson quipped: “I can’t wait.”
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Re: Disney News Thread

Postby Dai » Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:05 pm

^ I'm picturing a future where cinema screenings turn black every few minutes and the dreaded buffer wheel appears.
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Re: Disney News Thread

Postby mr.negativity » Mon Sep 16, 2019 1:48 pm

^I see massive pirating.
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Re: Disney News Thread

Postby Henry88 » Sat Sep 21, 2019 12:20 am

Accounting Fraud Allegations Against Disney

https://boundingintocomics.com/2019/09/ ... st-disney/
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Re: Disney News Thread

Postby mr.negativity » Sun Sep 22, 2019 12:41 pm

THR, 9/13/2019:
Bob Iger Steps Away From Apple Board of Directors

Vanity Fair, NOVEMBER 2019:
“WE COULD SAY ANYTHING TO EACH OTHER”: BOB IGER REMEMBERS STEVE JOBS, THE PIXAR DRAMA, AND THE APPLE MERGER THAT WASN’T



THR, 9/22/2019:
Bob Iger Explains Why Disney Walked Away From Twitter Acquisition: The "Nastiness is Extraordinary"


THR:
Disney Parks Veteran Steps Down Amid Sluggish Star Wars Land Attendance
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Re: Disney News Thread

Postby mr.negativity » Tue Oct 01, 2019 5:07 pm

/film:
Walt Disney Animation Isn’t Opposed to Hand-Drawn Features, Jennifer Lee Talks About Making Changes After John Lasseter’s Exit [Interview]

VARIETY, OCTOBER 1, 2019:
Walt Disney Animation Names Directors for Four New Film Projects (EXCLUSIVE)
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Re: Disney News Thread

Postby Henry88 » Sat Oct 05, 2019 12:41 am

The Abominable Financial State of Non-Disney Animated Features
DreamWorks Animation just had its worst opening in decades while Disney continues to increase its share of the theatrical animation market.
https://filmschoolrejects.com/abominabl ... ox-office/
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Re: Disney+ News Thread

Postby mr.negativity » Wed Oct 16, 2019 1:33 pm

THR, October 16, 2019:
Disney Over the Top: Bob Iger Bets the Company (and Hollywood's Future) on Streaming
Natalie Jarvey wrote:During the first weekend of October, Bob Iger took a break from his book tour and fired up an episode of a television series about two years in the making. The Mandalorian won't be released until November, but Iger had just received the finished first episode of the Jon Favreau space Western, which follows Pedro Pascal's bounty hunter on a new adventure through the Star Wars universe. No surprise, he loved it. "[There's] nothing like it on the air," Iger tells THR a few days later. "If you're going to do a live-action Star Wars series, this is the way to do it."

With Mandalorian, Iger is setting course for a destination even more distant than a galaxy far, far away. The series' Nov. 12 premiere marks liftoff for Disney+, his multibillion-dollar attempt to break free from the cable TV shackles that have kept his business earthbound and directly challenge streaming leader Netflix and its 152 million global subscribers.

Over the past two years, Iger has been singularly focused on reorienting The Walt Disney Company, founded in 1923 at the dawn of the motion picture industry, for its streaming future. He's invested $2.6 billion to acquire the necessary technology, shuffled his executive ranks to create a new direct-to-consumer division, forgone $150 million in annual income by ending the studio's output deal with Netflix and even spent $71.3 billion for the 21st Century Fox assets to beef up Disney's production capabilities and content library. Though it's a risky bet for a company that most recently generated $6.7 billion in quarterly revenue from its legacy television business, Iger argues that it would have been a bigger risk to sit back and do nothing as customers ditch cable for streaming options. "This is necessary," he says. "The risk would have been essentially maintaining a status quo approach to how we were managing our content."

With its plan to distribute directly to consumers, Disney is a key instigator of what has exploded into an all-out war for streaming dominance. Disney+ is one of the first in a string of new services, including Apple TV+, HBO Max (from AT&T) and Peacock (Comcast), expected to roll out over the next six months. But Disney+ will be hard to top: For $7 per month, customers will have access to nearly 500 Disney titles (from classics like Sleeping Beauty to modern hits like Moana); more than 7,500 episodes of television, including all 30 seasons of The Simpsons; a suite of such original films as a Lady and the Tramp reboot starring Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux; and new TV series like High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. "Disney is betting the whole company on streaming," says Jeffrey Cole, director of the USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future. "You can feel [them putting] pedal to the metal."

Disney+ will launch as a completely realized product. The promise of 35 originals in the first year alongside a mix of kids' programming, old Star Wars films and, eventually, the full Marvel library was enough to cause lines to form inside the Anaheim Convention Center at fan event D23 in late August as people signed up for the service. (A limited 33 percent discount on a three-year subscription may have helped juice signups, too.) "The early response has been great," notes Iger. Still, despite the high volume of interest from parents whose children watch Frozen on repeat and lifelong Star Wars fans who will pay for the full Skywalker saga, there's lingering doubt about how Disney+ will entice more casual fans to sign up. Ponders Cole, "They're always going to have the kids, but can they keep the late teens and the adults?"

Disney executives are, not surprisingly, downplaying the challenges. The company is projecting between 60 million and 90 million global subscribers by 2024, more than the 28 million U.S. members that Hulu currently has and in line with the 83 million that Netflix had within five years of separating its streaming subscription service from its DVD plans. "We like the hand we have," says Kevin Mayer, who leads Disney+ as chairman of the company's direct-to-consumer and international division. "We've collected some of the most preeminent brands in the entertainment sphere and we're using them aggressively. We have the timing. We have the right price point."

Iger remembers the exact moment when he realized Disney needed to throw out the legacy media playbook and chart a streaming future. It was Aug. 4, 2015, and he was on a conference call with Disney investors during which he'd decided to speak candidly about the state of the company's pay TV business. ESPN, in particular, had been hit by the erosion of the cable bundle and had suffered a loss of 7 million subscribers in two years, though he assured stockholders that he had "enormous confidence in ESPN's future, no matter how technology disrupts the media business." The stock dropped 6 percent that evening. By the end of August, it was down 15 percent.

"That was, in effect, an alarm bell," Iger reflects. "It incentivized us to address the issue quickly and aggressively." The next summer, Disney invested $1 billion in the MLB's industry-leading BAMTech streaming technology business. (It later acquired a majority stake in the company, since renamed Disney Streaming Services, to make it the infrastructure of its D2C product.) It also continued to invest in and distribute programming to Hulu, which at the time it owned as a minority stakeholder alongside rivals NBCUniversal and 21st Century Fox.

But it would take some time before Disney was ready to go all in on its own streaming platform. For one thing, it had its relationship with the cable providers to worry about. For another, it was in the middle of a multiyear film output deal with Netflix estimated to be worth between $200 million and $300 million.

Almost exactly two years from that first revelation, Iger stunned investors with the announcement that Disney would pull its films from Netflix in preparation for the launch of two streaming services: a family-friendly option that would become Disney+ and the sports-centric ESPN+. It was a shot across the bow for Netflix, which saw its stock drop 5 percent on the news.

As Disney began to put the pieces in place for Disney+, one of the first questions concerned the content identity of the service. With the film library coming home, executives knew they'd be able to offer current releases like Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame and the remake of The Lion King, but they would need to pad out the offering. "The first thing I did was make sure that the library was going to be ready for our launch," says senior vp content Agnes Chu, a longtime Disney executive who was one of the first to be pulled onto the Disney+ team. "It was everything from going into our vault and physically looking at things that had not yet been restored to [paging through] binders of pieces of paper with legal deals."

She also took meetings with the heads of Disney's divisions, sitting down with Walt Disney Studios production president Sean Bailey and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy to discuss what a Disney+ original film or Star Wars TV series could look like. Bailey soon agreed to move the Anna Kendrick holiday comedy Noelle, once earmarked for theatrical release, to the service. Chu says the conversation around which projects make sense for streaming is guided by their budgets but also focused around determining whether a project warrants a theatrical release. "There are films that work really well in theaters and require the big screen," she says. For those films that are released in theaters, Disney doesn't plan on changing any windows to bring them sooner to Disney+, which means there will be around a seven-month wait for titles like the upcoming Frozen 2 and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker to hit the service (Toy Story 4 should become available in early 2020).

One of the first TV projects Disney+ ordered was Favreau's Mandalorian, complicated not only by the fact that it is Lucasfilm's first live-action Star Wars series but also because Disney+ is essentially a brand-new network and needed to figure out its deal structure. Sources say Disney has been moving toward a model of buying out the backend for most projects, regardless of whether they air on a network or stream on Disney+, a move spurred by the popularity of the formula with streamers like Netflix. It's a decision that has irked some Hollywood creatives, though Dan Erlij, co-head of television literary at UTA, notes that the introduction of a new service like Disney+ ultimately will "make the competition for branded content — including recognizable intellectual property and brand-name showrunnners — even more heated, with talent reaping the benefits of higher pay." Chu declined to comment on specific deal terms.

Disney is sparing no expense on programming, projecting a 2020 original content budget short of $1 billion. The Mandalorian is said to cost $15 million an episode, for instance, and a source pegs Marvel entries The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, WandaVision and Hawkeye at as much as $25 million per episode. Rounding out the high-end projects are unscripted and shortform series like Encore with host Kristen Bell, on which adults will restage their high school musicals, and One Day at Disney, which will follow employees in various divisions at the company.

There have been a few stumbles to get to the current lineup. Two high-profile projects, Disney villains drama Book of Enchantment and comedy Muppets Live Another Day, were scrapped in the summer over creative differences with producers.

Disney's focus on buying from its in-house studios has meant that it is more selective about outside projects, though it has ordered CBS TV Studios' Gina Rodriguez-produced Diary of a Female President. "Disney was our first meeting," Rodriguez says. "We got a straight-to-series offer and we didn't keep trying to find another home for the show. Our missions just aligned so well." Ricky Strauss, who is overseeing the programming efforts as president of content and marketing, says he will look to outside studios if they are pitching projects that are "undeniably and uniquely Disney." That's made it more challenging for the creative community to work with Disney+, which, because of its focus on its core brands, isn't always the right home for, say, a raunchy comedy or gritty drama. But while Disney+ has been deemed the family-friendly component of a three-service bundle that also includes Hulu and ESPN+, Mayer dismisses the notion that it is in any way a niche play. "We are designing the product and the content within the product to appeal to a four-quadrant audience," he says. "Young, old, male, female — we have content for everyone."

Still, the Disney+ launch slate will be lighter on originals than other streaming services, which rely on specific projects to lure new subscribers and retain existing ones. Though it will offer 10 originals at launch, The Mandalorian is the only true high-budget tentpole project among the bunch. "Original, exclusive shows will matter," says Macquarie analyst Tim Nollen. "That is what has made Netflix so successful, especially in the last six years. That will be important to any of these services. Just doing reruns and old movies isn't enough."

Strauss, a former film marketer, acknowledges that Disney+ is starting small when it comes to originals and will ramp up over time. Eventually, the company expects to offer 50 originals a year between films and returning and new series. "It takes some time to get [the tentpole] shows completed," he says.

While analysts had been dragging Disney for its lack of digital strategy for years, that didn't mean that investors would be immediately on board with an investment in streaming that, by one estimate from MoffettNathanson, would mean $8.8 billion in operating losses over its first two years. So on April 11, Disney staged an elaborate presentation inside the historic Stage 2 (site of the original Mary Poppins set) on its Burbank campus. Over the course of the nearly four-hour presentation, executives unfurled their strategy for the service and revealed a gasp-inducing price of $7 per month, significantly lower than Netflix's standard $13 monthly fee and (later) bested only by Apple TV+'s $5 monthly price point.

Mayer suggests it wasn't easy to settle on that price. "We struggled with [the decision] a little bit," he says. "We wanted to find the right price that we felt reflected the quality of the service and the product itself while also maintaining something that is pretty important at Disney, democratizing the availability of the app." The final decision didn't come down to a lot of consumer research but, instead, what a small team of executives felt was right based on their subscriber goals and the larger competitive landscape.

The pricing is expected to give Disney a leg up as consumers weigh how many of the rash of new offerings they're willing to pay for. Bundling it with 1-year-old ESPN+ and Hulu (which Disney assumed operational control over in May after acquiring Fox's stake and striking a deal with NBCU) for $13 also gives it an advantage and is key to helping Disney reach a goal of as many as 160 million subscribers between all three services in the next five years. But observers expect the low rate won't last for long. "They can't survive at $6.99," says Cole, suggesting that at some point the price will go up. That may be one way that Disney expects the service to reach profitability by 2024. Despite losing out on revenue from licensing to third parties, as well as an estimated nearly $4 billion in direct-to-consumer losses in 2019 (expected to rise to almost $5 billion in 2020), that subscription price could translate into as much as $5 billion in revenue from Disney+ by 2024.

While most analysts expect that consumers will find room in their wallets for both Disney+ and Netflix, the former still poses the most significant threat to Reed Hastings and company. In a tacit acknowledgement of its war with Netflix, Disney has banned advertising from the streamer on its TV networks. "The pricing was rather aggressive but astute also, because it looks like it's a pretty good deal for consumers," says Hal Vogel of Vogel Capital Management. "That doesn't necessarily mean this is an easy field to enter, even for Disney."

In order to truly compete, Disney+ will need to make significant inroads internationally, where more than 91 million people currently subscribe to Netflix. Following the North American launch of Disney+, much of 2020 will be devoted to rolling the product out overseas, where over time Disney+ also expects to launch local-language programming like Netflix. However, without ESPN+ or Hulu to bundle with the offering, it may be a less attractive option for some subscribers. Taking those products international is challenged, however, by the competitive sports and television rights landscape. "I hope we can, in the not too distant future, have something to say about that with more clarity," Mayer says. China also remains an elusive market where there are some 300 million potential subscribers, per forecasts from Digital TV Research, but Mayer says there is no current plan to offer the services there.

On Sept. 12, two months before the official launch of Disney+, the service quietly went live in the Netherlands. The free pilot trial was offered as a way to work out any final kinks before it begins around the world, starting with the U.S. and Canada. Reviews quickly came in. The Verge called the product — which doesn't include access to originals like The Mandalorian — "empty but elegant" and praised the seamless user experience. A priest who vlogs under the name Father Roderick posted a video demo on YouTube (145,000 views) in which he expressed enthusiasm about the library of Disney titles available. Early testers also praised the service for offering unlimited downloads and up to four simultaneous streams. "We were thinking about the paradigm of the current viewing experience," says Disney Streaming Services president Michael Paull. "Co-viewing as a concept has changed. It's not everybody in front of one TV at the same time watching the same program. People are still there together but watching different things on different devices." A few technical glitches were noted, including the service forgetting where a person had paused their viewing, but Iger says the team "addressed them immediately" and he's "heartened" by the early response.

With the countdown on, there's not much left to do to get Disney+ ready. "We're kind of locked and loaded," Iger says, explaining that Disney will ramp up its marketing muscle. Already, emails have started to go out reminding those who signaled interest to sign up. A subscription service will require frequent marketing to both acquire new subscribers and, once it launches, keep existing ones, so the company is leveraging all its platforms, including signage at Disneyland and Disney World, Disney cruises and hotels. There also will be a Disney night on ABC's Dancing With the Stars and a Nov. 8 preview of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series that will air across ABC, Disney Channel and Freeform. "We're leveraging all of the consumer touch points," says Strauss. "It's a competitive advantage."

Not succeeding with Disney+ isn't really an option for Iger, 68, who has said he plans to step down from his post at the end of 2021. His legacy, and the future of Disney, depends on it. But as he buckles up and gets ready to blast off into an unknown world, Iger is confident he'll reach his destination. "There's only one Disney," he says. For more than a decade, he's been building up that Disney, acquiring the assets — Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic — that are now central to its streaming future. "No one can come out and have a product that's like ours, because no one's got those brands."
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Re: DISNEY’S SONG OF THE SOUTH

Postby mr.negativity » Tue Oct 22, 2019 2:39 pm

You Must Remember This, OCTOBER 21, 2019
DISNEY’S MOST CONTROVERSIAL FILM (SIX DEGREES OF SONG OF THE SOUTH, EPISODE 1)
Karina Longworth. wrote:Disney Plus is launching with the stated intention of streaming the entire Disney library...except for Song of the South, the 1946 animation/live-action hybrid film set on a post-Civil War plantation, which was theatrically re-released as recently as 1986, served as the basis for the ride Splash Mountain, but has never been available in the US on home video. What is Song of the South, why did Disney make it, and why have they held the actual film from release, while finding other ways to profit off of it? Across six episodes of our new season, we’ll dig into all facets of Song of the South’s strange story. Join us, won’t you?

You Must Remember This is the podcast exploring the secret and/or forgotten histories of Hollywood's first century.

mr.negativity wrote:
canofhumdingers wrote:I wonder if e really means what he says when he speaks of the “entire Disney motion picture library”... I’m looking at you Song of the South!

Spoiler Below:
phpBB [media]

THR 4/22/2019:
'Song of the South,' 'Dumbo's' Jim Crow Scene Will Not Be on Disney+
Disney plans to open up its vault for Disney+ and release several classic films on the direct-to-consumer streaming service, but one title is staying locked away.

There are no plans to make Song of the South available on the $7-per-month offering.

That is consistent with Disney's previous policy regarding the 1946 film, which has been criticized for its portrayal of African-Americans following the end of the Civil War. The film, which won a best original song Oscar for "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" and inspired the Disneyland ride Splash Mountain, has not been released on home video in the U.S.

Disney CEO Bob Iger spoke about the decision during the company's 2011 annual meeting, saying that, after a rewatch of the film, he felt parts of it "wouldn't necessarily sit right or feel right to a number of people today" and that "it wouldn't be in the best interest of our shareholders to bring it back, even though there would be some financial gain." Boardwalk Times first reported the movie's absence.

The company also doesn't plan to include a scene from the 1941 animated film Dumbo featuring a crow named Jim Crow, a reference to a 19th century blackface character that later became the name of the segregation laws enacted following the Reconstruction era. The scene also does not appear in Tim Burton's live-action remake of the original animated pic. Boardwalk Times also first reported the scene's absence.

Disney+, which is designed to be a family-friendly service, is set to launch Nov. 12 with an expansive library of programming, including the Disney classics 101 Dalmatians, Bambi, Fantasia, Mary Poppins, The Sword in the Stone, Steamboat Willie and Sleeping Beauty. In addition to the some 7,500 TV episodes and 500 movies available, the platform will also be home to original programming including The Mandalorian, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series and the live-action remake of Lady and the Tramp.
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Re: Disney News Thread

Postby lhb412 » Wed Oct 23, 2019 11:06 am

^I love that podcast! You Must Remember This.

This entire season is about Song of the South. Unless I miss my drift, the first episode is laying out the thesis that the film has always been politicized in one way or another. There was a lot of criticism when it was in production, but once it was released to mediocre performance discussion about it deflated. The film dissapeared from the slate of rereleases during the heyday of the Civil Rights Movement only to cone back to its greatest success during the '70s and early '80s essentially riding the conservative backlash to the previous decade. Interesting!
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Re: Disney News Thread

Postby Tom R VanSlambrouck » Thu Oct 24, 2019 12:00 am

Speaking of Disney Plus any one with an Unlimited Data plan on Verizon is eligible to get one free year of the service. That's pretty awesome news.

I hope eventually Disney decides to put Song of the South on the service, maybe add a disclaimer in the beginning of the movie.
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Re: Disney News Thread

Postby mr.negativity » Sat Oct 26, 2019 11:19 am

VULTURE, OCT. 24, 2019:
Disney Is Quietly Placing Classic Fox Movies Into Its Vault, and That’s Worrying
Matt Zoller Seitz wrote:Joe Neff knew there was trouble when the horror films started vanishing.

Neff is the director of the 24-Hour Science Fiction and Horror Marathons that happen every spring and fall at the Drexel Theater, an independent venue in Columbus, Ohio. For this year’s Horror Marathon, Neff wanted to screen the original 1976 version of The Omen and the 1986 remake of The Fly, two of hundreds of older 20th Century Fox features that became the property of the Walt Disney Corporation after its $7.3 billion purchase of the studio’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, was made official this past spring. In the preceding few months, Neff had heard rumblings in his Google group of film programmers that Disney was about to start treating older Fox titles as they do older Disney titles — making them mostly unavailable to for-profit theaters. More and more film programmers and theater managers were reporting that they had suddenly and cryptically been told by their studio contacts that Fox’s back catalogue was no longer available to show. Some got calls informing them that an existing booking had been revoked.

When Neff’s requests to screen The Fly and The Omen were denied — via the Drexel, which handles the logistics of booking a programmer’s requested titles — he realized the rumors were true, and that he had to stop screening Fox films altogether. It was a devastating blow: Neff’s homegrown repertory festivals have shown many older Fox movies, including Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Zardoz, the original versions of The Day the Earth Stood Still and Suspiria, and Phantom of the Paradise. He asked the theater to double-check with Disney to make sure there hadn’t been some mistake. “Our Fox booking contact offered a very brief apology that she could no longer book repertory titles with the theater,” he says.

Sadly, Neff’s experience is indicative of a recent trend across North America, where it’s sometimes hard to tell exactly what Disney’s new policy regarding back-catalogue films is, beyond generally making it more difficult to show classic 20th Century Fox movies in theaters. The Transit Drive-In in Lockport, New York, which has hosted packed screenings of older Fox films like Alien, Aliens, Say Anything, The Princess Bride, and Moulin Rouge, says those films and others can no longer be screened there. The Little Theater in Rochester booked Fox’s Fight Club for August and was told by a Disney spokesperson mere days before the scheduled screening that a Digital Cinema Package (DCP) of the movie would no longer be shipped; then a Disney representative called the theater to apologize for the misunderstanding, and assured management that the film was still on its way; the reversal happened a day after a Los Angeles Times reporter called Disney asking them to clarify their repertory policies.

A recent Canadian Broadcasting Company story confirmed that even major first-run chains like Cineplex will now lose access to Fox repertory titles. That collection of movies is a gold mine for many commercial theaters — particularly art houses, regional chains, and big-city multiplexes that like to mix things up by sprinkling a few older works into their screening lineups. In addition to films that have already been mentioned, Fox’s holdings include hundreds of notable films in a variety of genres and modes, a layer cake of options which, taken together, give a sense of the richness of American cinema over the last 100 years: everything from Miracle on 34th Street, All About Eve and The Sound of Music to Deadpool, The Revenant, The Simpsons Movie, and Terrence Malick’s version of The Thin Red Line.

Disney officially declined to comment for this piece, but a film distributor with firsthand knowledge of the company’s policy says it is directed at theaters that screen first-run Disney and Fox content alongside older titles. The distributor said that screenings of vintage Fox films would still be allowed at nonprofit theaters such as Film Forum in New York and Segundo’s Old Town Music Hall, and in some other venues, including outdoor screenings in public spaces and at museums and cultural institutions (particularly ones dedicated to cinema, such as the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, New York, and the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago). And there might be some exemptions granted for special occasions such as anniversaries. But each instance would be considered on a case-by-case basis, with no guarantee that the decision will go the theater’s way, no matter what Fox films it had been able to wrangle a week, a month, or a year earlier.

In fact, in reporting this story, I found that Disney’s new policy is being applied differently from place to place. Several theater managers and film programmers (all of whom requested anonymity for fear of creating bad blood with Disney) said their requests to show older Fox titles had been either preemptively denied or revoked after the fact, despite fitting the description of a venue that should be allowed to do so. Sometimes no rationale was offered; other times, they were given a reason, but it didn’t jibe with what was happening at other venues. In August, Rachel Fox, the senior programmer for the Rio Theater near Vancouver, tried to book the original Alien to play alongside the upcoming Alien making-of documentary, Memory: The Origins of Alien. Disney told her that the title was unavailable, even though Alien has had one-off screenings in theaters all over North America throughout 2019, the movie’s 40th anniversary year, and is being shown via satellite in hundreds of theaters by Fathom Events this month.

In some ways, this is just standard operating procedure for Disney. Older Disney movies — particularly traditional animated movies like Fantasia and blockbuster live-action “family films” like The Swiss Family Robinson and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea — have generally been unavailable to theaters of all kinds. It’s a vestige of the company’s long-standing “Disney Vault” strategy of artificially creating excitement for a repertory title by keeping film prints out of theaters for years or decades, and periodically manufacturing a limited number of physical media copies (on VHS, then DVD, and eventually Blu-ray). The general absence of older Disney films from first-run theaters always made them feel a wee bit denuded of possibility, but over the decades, cinephiles gradually got used to the idea that Pinocchio or Sleeping Beauty would probably never show at such theaters unless they were part of a coordinated, wide-scale Disney rerelease, timed to a film’s appearance on some new variant of home video, often remastered in a new format to spruce it up.

But Disney is one thing, Fox is another. Even without older Disney films, inhabitants of major cities, medium-sized suburbs, and college towns could visit a populist, commercial venue such as a multiplex or art-house theater and choose between, say, the new Fast and the Furious or Frozen or a Quentin Tarantino movie, or a weekend midnight show of a Fox title like the original Planet of the Apes or Commando — or, during a holiday period, Fox Searchlight’s 28 Days Later or 20th Century Fox’s Die Hard and Home Alone.

Now, Fox classics are going into the vault as well, for reasons the company won’t publicly explain or justify. And Disney’s vaultification of Fox titles is bad news for movie theaters that depend on repertory screenings to shore up their increasingly shaky bottom lines. The decision to broaden Disney’s artificial scarcity tactic to include thousands of movies released by a onetime rival is a wounding blow to a swath of theatrical venues that used to be able to show them, and where film buffs were able to see them with an audience.

For such theaters, repertory screenings make business sense, too. “It may not seem like a big deal, losing access to movies that might only make the theater $600 or $1,000 once you deduct the costs attached to booking them,” said a film programmer who asked not to be named in this story for fear of angering Disney. “But over the course of a year, it all adds up. A lot of these movies are what you’d call ‘steady earners’ for theaters. You show them, and people turn up.” Speaking of steady earners: the steadiest of them all, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, appears to be the one title Disney isn’t cracking down on — perhaps because, according to Rachel Fox, “maybe Disney knows that if they pull Rocky Horror too, there’ll be a full-scale audience revolt.”

What all of this does is erode the idea, beloved by cinephiles, that any film is new if you’re seeing it for the first time, and that movies exist in a perpetual present where different eras are in conversation with each other. This idea is still reflected on streaming platforms like Amazon Prime, Hulu, Criterion Channel, and Shudder, and to a degree, Netflix (although the latter has become notoriously unwilling to dedicate more than a fraction of its offerings to movies made before 2000). But there’s a special thrill in seeing an older title displayed on the marquee of a first-run movie theater like Cincinnati’s Esquire, which one weekend not long ago was offering Joker, Downton Abbey, Monos, and Aquarela, plus 1987’s The Lost Boys and 1968’s Rosemary’s Baby.

The silent erasure of many classic Fox films from mainstream commercial spaces is also unnerving because it invites the question, What will go away next? If you’re a fan of seeing repertory films in public spaces, and are lucky enough to live near a first-run theater that shows them at midnight, on weekends, as anniversary or holiday events, or in themed festivals like Joe Neff’s drive-in marathons, Disney’s gradual culling of the Fox catalogue is chilling — like the start of a horror film where the things you love begin to vanish from the places they once called home.

But why, exactly, is Disney doing this?

The most commonly floated theory is that the company is trying to give consumers one more reason to subscribe to its new streaming service, Disney+. Recently, the company released a list of the films and shows that will be available to stream on the new service when it debuts November 12 — predictably, it included plenty of old Disney movies both good and bad (lots of Don Knotts!), as well as some Fox titles that could conceivably be Disney titles (Miracle on 34th Street, or Danny Boyle’s Millions). Does that mean that the rest of the Fox catalogue will go to Disney’s sister streaming service, Hulu (a cooperative venture that Disney recently acquired by purchasing Fox, a one-third partner in Hulu, then buying out the other remaining partner, Comcast)? That’s not clear at this point. Either way, the Disney+ theory only makes sense if you really believe that film buffs who love Fox or Disney repertory titles enough to leave their homes to see them in theaters would be less likely to subscribe to a service that offered a whole library of options in that vein.

A more convincing theory is that this is just how Disney does business. We’re now 11 years into the imperial phase of Disney’s expansion, which saw the company buy Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm (owners of Star Wars and Indiana Jones) and become the dominant player in theatrical exhibition. Last year, Disney claimed 40 percent of North American ticket sales (a number expected to jump to 50 percent once the Fox merger begins to deliver). It is able to demand and receive percentages of ticket sales far beyond those of its rivals, plus entire screens dedicated not just to near-surefire hits from Marvel, Pixar, Lucasfilm, and Disney’s animation department, but iffier prospects like the live-action remakes of Pete’s Dragon and Dumbo, A Wrinkle in Time, and nature documentaries like Monkey Kingdom.

More than one exhibition professional contacted for this article speculated that Disney’s overall goal is to claim as many screens at a theater as possible for its newer titles, even if some of them are packing the house but others are selling just a handful of tickets per show. A former theater manager for a major chain, who asked not to be identified in this piece, says, “It seems short-sighted, you know? But they do it, I think, just to keep a Sony title out, to keep a Universal title out.” The Fox freeze out, he speculates, may be an extension of that tactic: Disney considers any screen that’s taken up by an older movie, even one that’s owned by Disney, to be a screen that could be showing the new Marvel or Star Wars title instead. Or showing Orangutans 4 to an audience of three.

It might seem as if the wars being waged by international conglomerates over screen space would have little bearing on whether a movie lover in Montreal or Minneapolis can see a weekend screening of a Fox comedy like How to Marry a Millionaire, Mrs. Doubtfire, or Big. But as an ancient proverb states, when elephants fight, it’s the grass that suffers.

The economic effects could be especially devastating for neighborhood landmarks like the Plaza in Atlanta — the oldest and last remaining independent theater in the city. Its owner, Christopher Escobar, also the executive director of the Atlanta Film Society, estimates that 25 percent of the Plaza’s yearly revenue comes from Fox titles. Half that take is The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which they’re still permitted to screen; but once they lose other guaranteed Fox moneymakers like Alien, Fight Club, and The Sound of Music, he estimates they’ll lose 10 to 12 percent of their yearly income. “Why would a distributor make it harder to be in the movie theater business now?” Escobar asks. “In an era when there are a dizzying amount of streaming platforms launching, and there are all these fights happening about availability windows, they should be working to get people to see movies in the best possible way first.”

There might be a tendency to see all this as a niche issue, one that only affects nostalgists and people who are still enamored with the theatrical experience. But Escobar and other theater owners interviewed for this piece point out that the estimated 600 independent first-run theaters left in the United States are the only reliable incubators for independent filmmakers who are unlikely to have their work screened in multiplexes dominated by Disney and other major distributors. Many of them are international filmmakers, documentary filmmakers, and filmmakers of color who are going to lose access to these venues unless they’re subsidized by other events such as repertory screenings of old movies that can be relied on to draw crowds. “These kinds of theaters are the only places where women filmmakers and other members of underrepresented groups can go and see themselves, the last frontier space,” Escobar says. “The more the means of making, distributing, and exhibiting films are controlled by a handful of companies, the fewer entry points those voices are going to have.”

Access to multiplex screens has become even harder for independent filmmakers in recent years, now that a version of “block booking” — the supposedly illegal practice of withholding likely hits from a theater unless it agrees to take a probable flop from the distributor as well — has become commonplace once more. Distributors are increasingly practicing “clearance” — refusing to book films in small theaters if they’re already playing at a big multiplex, even one that’s an hour away. The Rio’s Rachel Fox says her theater only shows new major studio films when they’re basically played out, because big multiplexes in the area always get first dibs and hang onto them until they’re old news. “I mean, we didn’t even get A Star Is Born until weeks after the Oscars,” she says. But that hasn’t helped her make her case to Disney. The Disney representative she spoke with said those distinctions didn’t matter, because their theater was considered first-run regardless of what films it shows and when. She says she’s starting to suspect that Disney “makes the distinction of what kind of venue you are to be based, probably, on your box-office return, which really sucks.”

Even at the upper echelons of theatrical exhibition, the business is being worn down by a confluence of forces, including the relative cheapness of streaming services; shorter windows between when a movie plays theaters and when it goes to home video; more aggressive rental terms by major distributors; shoddier service (at chains, mainly) due to cost-cutting; and ticket prices, which have steadily risen with inflation over the past 40 years even though wages have remained roughly the same. Audiences have been conditioned not to leave their homes except for spectacular, special-effects-laden, heavily advertised entries in a big-name franchise like James Bond, DC adaptations, The Fast and the Furious, or, well, everything else that seems to be owned by Disney these days — from Marvel, Pixar, and Walt Disney Animation to Star Wars, Die Hard, and Alien to awards-friendly one-offs like The Descendants, 12 Years a Slave, The Shape of Water, and the upcoming A Hidden Life and French Dispatch. Huge chains are able to survive under these conditions (though not easily). Smaller theaters have to go the unconventional route, and repertory screenings have always been an important tool in their kit. Remove it, and survival becomes much harder.

The Plaza’s Escobar also happens to be a Disney shareholder, and he says he’s holding out hope that Disney will change its mind and rescind the new policy. “Disney has the opportunity not to be the bad guy, to act in the public interest and prove that them owning something is not a bad thing,” he says. Time to wish upon a star.
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Re: Disney News Thread

Postby lhb412 » Sat Oct 26, 2019 10:05 pm

^ MZS is one if the best film/pop culture writers working today.

The practice and question is just another reason why Disney's bigness is so dangerous, irregardless of whether you enjoy their movies or theme parks or whatever.
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Re: Disney News Thread

Postby Dai » Sun Oct 27, 2019 7:28 am

Disney's ultimate goal is as transparent as it is terrifying. They're not interested in being a competitor or the major player, they want to be the only game in town, and they potentially have the financial muscle to reach the point of monopoly within the next 20 years. What makes it worse is their vision of what the media landscape should be: a world of plastic cinema dominated by a handful of Disney blockbusters, an even smaller handful of Oscar-bait films to hoover up the awards, and Disney+ as the last streaming service standing to handle everything else.

I wonder how long it will be before Fox's back catalogue of blu-rays starts mysteriously going out of print. I wouldn't be surprised if Disney creates that level of artificial scarcity for the next few years to push people towards Disney+.
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Re: Disney News Thread

Postby klen7 » Sun Oct 27, 2019 12:40 pm

^^^ I just saw this article and am really bummed out. One more reason I am glad I stick with physical media..
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