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  1. It’s a mad, mad multiverse as Marvel drops first trailer for What If…? "Every universe is different. Each one unique." Jeffrey Wright voices Uatu the Watcher. First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all images. All our favorite MCU characters are back in animated form—plus a few more obscure players—in the first trailer for What If...?, a forthcoming series on Disney+ in which key events in the main timeline play out differently, "creating a multiverse of infinite possibilities." It's part of the MCU's Phase Four, in which this multiverse will clearly play a pivotal role. (Some spoilers for prior MCU films below.) This new series is based on the What If...? comic book anthology series that debuted in 1977, narrated by a character called Uatu the Watcher, an entity from a computer world who travels throughout the cosmos observing the rise of fall of various civilizations. Each story in the comics centered on an event in the mainstream Marvel Universe, but then there would be a point of divergence, and the rest of the story explored the consequences of that change to the timeline. Marvel Studios first explored the What If...? concept in S4 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., when the team members found themselves trapped in a virtual creation called the Framework, each living out a drastically different life. The Disney+ series recreates the basic narrative framework of the comics, with Jeffrey Wright (Westworld, Source Code) voicing Uatu the Watcher and narrating the episodes. Head writer A.C. Bradley drew an analogy between the Watcher observing MCU events and people watching that famous video of "pizza rat" dragging a slice down the steps of NYC a subway station. "He has no interest in becoming friends with the rat, living amongst the rat, or doing rat things," Bradley said. "He just goes, 'Man, this is remarkable. Look at the little guy go!'" Each of the 10 S1 episodes will explore how a given pivotal event—perhaps the same "nexus events" introduced in Loki—would be altered if things played out a bit differently, such as Loki wielding Mjolnir instead of Thor. Multiple Marvel films and characters will be represented in every episode, and a big part of the series' appeal is that all the original actors are voicing the iconic roles they brought to the big screen—including the late Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa (aka Black Panther). The trailer opens with an animated re-enactment of the opening scenes from the original Iron Man (2008). Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark is in a military caravan that is attacked by terrorists—except instead of being blown up by one of Stark Industries' signature weapons, he's rescued by none other than Killmonger. So, does that mean he never becomes Iron Man? Yes indeed: word is that one of the first two episodes will explore a reality where Steve Rogers takes on the Iron Man mantle instead. The other episode will feature Peggy Carter taking the super soldier serum instead of Steve to become Captain Britain. The trailer also shows us T'Challa as Star-Lord (teaming up with Yondu), what looks like Peter Parker as Doctor Strange, zombie Avengers, and... Howard the Duck? I think we can safely say that things are gonna get weird—in a good way. "Time. Reality. It's changeable," a voiceover says, which is the whole point of What If...? Between this series and the timeline-hopping antics of Loki—not to mention the casting rumors swirling around Spider-Man: No Way Home—we'll have explored plenty of this expanded MCU before Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits theaters next year. What If...? debuts on Disney+ on August 11, 2021. A second 10-episode season is already in development. Trailer for Marvel's new series, What If...?, debuting August 11 on Disney+. Listing image by Marvel Studios It’s a mad, mad multiverse as Marvel drops first trailer for What If…? (To view the article's image gallery, please visit the above link)
  2. Peter Jackson’s 6-hour Beatles documentary confirmed for Disney+ this November Jackson thanks Beatles, Disney for "allowing me to present this story" as 6-hour beast. The Beatles: Get Back is now a Disney+ exclusive. And hoo boy, it's six hours long. First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all images. Peter Jackson's next six-hour epic is finally coming out this year—and in a first for the acclaimed director, the film will launch directly to a streaming service. It will also be broken up into episodes. The Beatles: Get Back, an expansive documentary originally announced for a theatrical run this August, has had its release strategy tweaked. On Thursday, Jackson and Disney confirmed that the entire project will launch exclusively on Disney+ during this year's American Thanksgiving holiday. Each third of the documentary will launch on the streaming service on November 25, 26, and 27. As of press time, Disney hasn't said how the film will reach audiences outside of Disney+'s supported territories. Neither Jackson nor Disney clarified how the original theatrical run might have worked or whether the global pandemic forced anyone's hand. Today's news confirms that Jackson had an abundance of footage to work with. Roughly three years ago, the remaining Beatles handed him access to a musical holy grail: over 60 hours of previously unseen video recordings, mostly capturing the Beatles working on the album Let It Be and rehearsing for, and then performing, the band's legendary 1969 rooftop concert in London. Jackson stitched the footage together with access to what Disney calls "over 150 hours of unheard, restored audio"—meaning yes, somehow Apple Corps. still has some tapes in hiding after this many Beatles special edition albums, anthologies, video games, and Cirque du Soleil collaborations. For further context on the Let It Be recording sessions, the film will be paired with a physical book full of photos and original interviews, now delayed to an October launch. Jackson's comments in today's news, as provided by Disney to members of the press, imply that he indeed sought to release a long documentary: "I'm very grateful to the Beatles, Apple Corps., and Disney for allowing me to present this story in exactly the way it should be told." He also commented on the original documentary footage, filmed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, as something that is "not nostalgia—it's raw, honest, and human." The Beatles: Get Back will launch on a Thursday, thus breaking Disney+'s latest initiative of launching new series episodes on Wednesdays instead of Fridays. If anyone can break a newly sacrosanct Disney+ rule, it has to be the Beatles. Listing image by The Walt Disney Company / Apple Corps / Wingnut Films Peter Jackson’s 6-hour Beatles documentary confirmed for Disney+ this November (To view the article's image gallery, please visit the above link)
  3. Despite big Marvel and Star Wars shows, Disney+ falls short of targets The limits to recent explosive streaming platform growth might be in sight. Enlarge / Meta-sitcom/adventure series WandaVision was one of Disney+'s most successful recent shows. Analysts expected Disney+ to reach 109 million subscribers in Disney's most recent financial quarter, but the streaming service fell short, landing at 103.6 million. The shortfall resulted in lower revenues than expected for the company and a small stock price stumble. Alongside word that Netflix also saw fairly slow growth in its quarter, the news suggests that there is, in fact, a limit to the explosive growth that streaming platforms have experienced amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, Disney is staying the course with its current strategy of pumping out TV series in established Disney brands like Marvel and Star Wars, as well as releasing new motion pictures on the platform at the same time they premiere in theaters. Speaking to investors, Disney CEO Bob Chapek pointed to the Star Wars TV series The Mandalorian as evidence that launching new properties on streaming services can be successful, noting that merchandise sales related to the show were "extraordinary." (In other words, people are buying a lot of Baby Yoda plushies and the like.) As such, live-action Disney film Cruella, Marvel movie Black Widow, and Dwayne Johnson vehicle Jungle Cruise will be released simultaneously on Disney+ and in theaters, even as most theaters in the United States have now reopened as vaccination rates in the country rise. At least on the business side of things, this subscriber tally is widely seen as a significant disappointment and a worrying trend for Disney's goal of streaming dominance. For example, financial publication CNBC described Disney's slowing subscriber growth as "Netflix-itis," given that Netflix also has struggled to keep the wheels turning as fast as they used to. Disney+'s situation is arguably more concerning, because Disney+'s monthly fee is already quite low at $7.99 per month, inclusive of UltraHD streaming—less than Netflix's $8.99 for SD, $13.99 for HD, and $17.99 for UltraHD. That doesn't give Disney a lot of flexibility. Still, Disney+ is one of the most successful streaming services, and it's a testament to that success that it is even compared directly to Netflix. Most other services like HBO Max or Paramount+ have far fewer subscribers than either Disney+ or Netflix. Content offerings and prices are obviously the biggest factors in competition between these platforms, but tech plays a part, too. Streaming services have attempted to outdo one another in a sort of bitrate arms race. For example, HBO's platforms used to be infamous for poor video quality compared to Netflix and others, but when HBO Max adopted 4K HDR streaming for the premiere of Wonder Woman 1984 in December, the company also significantly improved streaming quality overall. Source: Despite big Marvel and Star Wars shows, Disney+ falls short of targets
  4. Dwayne Johnson Movie ‘Jungle Cruise’ Hitting Theaters & Disney+ Premier This Summer Disney EXCLUSIVE: Disney’s Jungle Cruise will debut in theaters and Disney+ Premier on July 30. We were hearing whispers yesterday that this was bound to happen before Disney’s earnings call. The Dwayne Johnson-Emily Blunt movie based on the Disney theme park attraction is a big tentpole and franchise starter for the studio. Disney+ Premier means that the movie will be available for in-home purchase to Disney+ subscribers for $29.99 in those territories which have the streaming service. Previously, it looked like the Jaume Collet-Serra directed movie was destined strictly for theaters. Johnson also made the news official this AM before Disney’s earning call today at 4:30pm EST. I hear from those close to the filmmaking team that Disney presented them with options for the release of the movie. The decision to go theaters and in homes at the same time stemmed from the continued closure of offshore markets such as Europe and Brazil due to the pandemic; this despite the fact that Europe is reopening as soon as next month. Major provinces in Canada remain closed and won’t possibly see theaters reopening until mid-June. Despite Disney’s continued experimentation with putting movies out in theaters and Disney+, I hear from sources that it’s just temporary, even though Jungle Cruise is the fourth movie after Raya and the Last Dragon, Cruella and Marvel’s Black Widow to be released in theaters and Disney+ Premier. Apparently, Disney does seek to revive the theatrical business is what I’m hearing. No. 3 exhibitor Cinemark, which refused to play Raya over its opening weekend due to stiff terms from Disney, has come around and made a deal with the Burbank, CA lot, among other studios as announced last week. Raya is playing in Cinemark locations as we speak now, and the Texas-based circuit is booking Black Widow. Despite the domestic box office comeback that is expected this summer, it’s a hodge-podge of different types of releases with those respecting the theatrical window, Warner Bros. and HBO Max’s day-and-date titles, and the theatrical/Disney+ Premier simultaneous release of it all. With China poised to see blackout of movies during July according to Nancy Tartaglione’s intel, the Rock here can still enjoy an August launch in the PRC with Jungle Cruise where he is huge. Johnson wrote the following on his Instagram: “On JULY 30th JUNGLE CRUISE hits theaters AND your homes worldwide It’s a pleasure to say WE’RE BACK IN THEATERS! And it’s a pleasure to say, WE WILL ALSO COME TO YOU! Join my ace Emily Blunt (the female Indiana Jones) and myself on THE ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME as our DISNEY’s JUNGLE CRUISE hits theaters and your living rooms ON THE SAME DAY – JULY 30th. The most important thing with our movie was to ALWAYS take care of families around the world by giving you options to watch it. Audience first. Let’s own our 2021 comeback as we get back into the swing of life – ALL ABOARD!! #JUNGLECRUISE #Disney. In theaters AND in your living rooms on Disney+ Premiere Access on JULY 30th!!! And a big @teremana toast of gratitude from deep in my bones to a 20 year career dream come true.” Jungle Cruise is written by Glenn Ficarra, John Requa, Josh Goldstein, Michael Green, and John Norville. Pic is produced by John Davis, Beau Flynn, John Fox, Dany Garcia, Hiram Garcia and Johnson. EPs are Douglas C. Merrifield and Scott Sheldon. Johnson’s Seven Bucks are reteaming with Collet-Serra on New Line/DC’s Black Adam which is currently shooting in Atlanta, GA. therockVerified From IGTV 236M followers 286,966 likes therockOn JULY 30th JUNGLE CRUISE hits theaters AND your homes worldwide 🚢 🗺 It’s a pleasure to say WE’RE BACK IN THEATERS! 🎭 And it’s a pleasure to say, WE WILL ALSO COME TO YOU! 🏠 Join my ace Emily Blunt (the female Indiana Jones) and myself on THE ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME as our DISNEY’s JUNGLE CRUISE hits theaters and your living rooms ON THE SAME DAY - JULY 30th. The most important thing with our movie was to ALWAYS take care of families around the world by giving you options to watch it. Audience first ☝🏾 Let’s own our 2021 comeback as we get back into the swing of life - ALL ABOARD!! #JUNGLECRUISE 🚢 🗺 🌊🌴 #Disney In theaters AND in your living rooms on Disney+ Premier Access on JULY 30th!!! And a big @teremana toast of gratitude from deep in my bones to a 20 year career dream come true 🥃🥃🙏🏾💫 Source: Dwayne Johnson Movie ‘Jungle Cruise’ Hitting Theaters & Disney+ Premier This Summer
  5. Loki hits Disney Plus on June 9, will air on Wednesdays Marvel gives us Loki a couple days early Loki’s previously announced release date was merely an illusion. Marvel Studios announced Wednesday that the new Disney Plus series starring Tom Hiddleston as Loki will now premiere on June 9 (two days early). That means new episodes of Loki will stream every Wednesday, instead of Friday. Marvel’s previous Disney Plus shows (WandaVision, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier) dropped new episodes on Fridays. But with Marvel Studios movies coming back to theaters, starting with Black Widow on July 9, it seems Marvel and Disney want to free up Fridays for major theatrical releases. “Wednesdays are the new Fridays,” Tom says, and who are we to argue? Marvel later released a new look at Loki, which shows Thor’s adopted baby brother getting up to some time-travel shenanigans — including what appears to be a trip to Pompeii to witness Mount Vesuvius erupt ... ? Loki will see Hiddleston reprise his role as the Asgardian trickster in a six-episode series set after the events of Avengers: Endgame. Despite dying (aka “dying”) in Avengers: Infinity War, Loki will live on, thanks to an alternate timeline spawned by Loki’s yoinking of the Tesseract, otherwise known as the Space Stone. Co-starring alongside Hiddleston in Loki is Owen Wilson as Mobius M. Mobius, a representative of the Time Variance Authority, who seems more than displeased with Loki’s timeline meddling. Loki also stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Sophia Di Martino, Wunmi Mosaku, and Richard E. Grant in unspecified roles. Update: We’ve added Marvel’s new “Doing Great” trailer for Loki. Source: Loki hits Disney Plus on June 9, will air on Wednesdays
  6. The Bad Batch is a glimpse at the future of Star Wars spinoffs Going beyond the Skywalker Saga Image: Lucasfilm Ltd. The Bad Batch has arrived today as the latest Star Wars spinoff series for Disney Plus. It’s a different, smaller show than preceding animated shows like The Clone Wars or Rebels, focusing on a single squad of clone troopers, Clone Force 99 — the titular “Bad Batch” — and its struggle to find a place in the galaxy following the rise of the Empire. Unlike the other clone troopers, the Bad Batch’s members were cloned with an emphasis on specific genetic abnormalities. Hunter, for example, has improved senses, while Wrecker is far larger and stronger than the average clone. The Bad Batch was first introduced in the resurrected seventh season of Dave Filoni’s animated The Clone Wars series (which was brought back after its original cancellation in 2013 following Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm) in an episode practically designed as a backdoor pilot for further spinoffs. Knowledge of the previous seven seasons of Clone Wars or the four seasons of Rebels isn’t essential to enjoying The Bad Batch, at least for now. The show takes plenty of time to reintroduce the squad at the start of the extended first episode. Although, familiarity with the broad events of Revenge of the Sith and the downfall of the Republic are helpful. Knowing show creator Dave Filoni’s preference for referencing his other series, it’s almost guaranteed that The Bad Batch will eventually cross over with characters and events from Clone Wars, Rebels, or even The Mandalorian at some point down the line. And that’s sort of the whole point. The Bad Batch is an early preview of the next wave of Star Wars shows: a tower of spinoffs of spinoffs, each interlinking with and building off the previous shows and films. It’s something we’ve already seen the first glimpses of on the live-action side. The success of The Mandalorian’s second season has already spawned not one but three different spinoffs (Ashoka, Rangers of the New Republic, and The Book of Boba Fett), which will eventually culminate in an Avengers-esque crossover in the coming years. If any of that sounds familiar, it’s because Disney is already using a virtually identical tactic with its Marvel Studios films and Disney Plus shows: building an interconnected storyline that spans a wide range of shows and movies to draw viewers in and keep them subscribed to Disney Plus and headed to theaters. Disney tried something similar before with its first attempts at breaking Star Wars out of the Skywalker Saga mold, but cinematic spinoffs like Rogue One or Solo didn’t quite turn into the breakout successes on par with the more mainstream movies. However, those films were aimed at being connective tissue, filling in the missing links between episodes or shading in the histories of characters we had already met. Instead of making Star Wars feel like a bigger universe, they had the adverse effect of making it feel smaller. The Bad Batch looks to solve that issue with a tighter focus on a relatively new group of clones that are striking out on their own. It’s not the broad scope of the sweeping conflict of the entire Clone Wars or the start of the fledgling Rebellion, which means it’ll hopefully be able to carve out a new area of the Star Wars universe instead of just rehashing old ones. A lot of that depends on how independent of a series The Bad Batch’s creators want to make. The Mandalorian, for example, appeared to be on a similar trajectory to start, but its second season saw the show fall squarely back into the mainstream Star Wars path with Luke Skywalker cameos, Boba Fett guest episodes, darksaber duels, and more. It’s easy to imagine The Bad Batch going down a similar route. (The first episode, for example, already sees an appearance from Rogue One’s Saw Gerrera and a more subtle Rebels cameo.) Hopefully, though, The Bad Batch will be the first of a new wave of Star Wars spinoffs that charts its own course in the universe with new stories. Because with the number of Disney Plus shows and movies on Disney’s docket, branching out to new parts of the galaxy will be essential — after all, there’s still a lot of galaxy left to explore. Source: The Bad Batch is a glimpse at the future of Star Wars spinoffs
  7. Secrets of the Whales explores language, social structure of giants of the deep James Cameron produced, Sigourney Weaver narrates new documentary series. National Geographic photographer Brian Skerry spent three years documenting the cultural lives of whales. His journey is the subject of a new four-part documentary series on Disney+, Secrets of the Whales. Intrepid film crews tracked various species of whales all over the world, capturing their unique hunting strategies, communication skills, and social structures for Secrets of the Whales, a new four-part documentary series from National Geographic, now streaming on Disney+. The project started with National Geographic Explorer and photographer Brian Skerry, who spent three years traveling around the globe documenting the culture of five different species of whale: orcas, humpbacks (aka "the singing sensation of the ocean"), belugas, narwhals, and sperm whales. The Massachusetts-born Skerry recalls visiting the beaches of New England as a child and being fascinating by nature documentaries about the ocean. "There was something especially awe-inspiring about whales," he told Ars. "There are so many secrets. If I spent the rest of my life just [filming] whales, I would be very happy." Skerry pitched a one-hour documentary to National Geographic about his project, which turned into four hours when producer, writer, and director Brian Armstrong (Red Rock Films) signed on, along with Oscar-winning director James Cameron as executive producer. "It started off as a photographer profile [of Skerry], but the scope became so big," Armstrong told Ars. "[We realized] it's about the whales and their culture—a big breakthrough topic. It's subtle, but you'll notice when we do introduce human characters, you're usually looking out from the whale's point of view as we get into their world." Narrated by actor Sigourney Weaver, the final documentary series uses some of Skerry's original footage, as well as additional material from subsequent NatGeo shoots. Among the many notable moments, the crew captured a baby sperm whale suckling from its mother (a first); humpbacks on the coast of Australia breaching to communicate with each other; a baby humpback learning how to blow bubbles to create a "bubble net" to corral tasty fish; and the first cross-species adoption ever recorded, as a pod of beluga whales accepts a lone narwhal into its pod. Ars sat down with Cameron, Skerry, and Armstrong to learn more. Ars Technica: What is it that drew you to this project? James Cameron: First of all, what's not to love about whales? That's a no-brainer. But really, it was the challenge and the fascination of maybe finding out something new that cetacea specialists didn't know. Because if you'd go out there with enough people and put enough cameras out there, and you have enough observation time, you're going to see behaviors that have never been seen and/or recorded before. I think the show acts as an intermediary between a body of knowledge that's already known and a public that might not really understand that whales have culture, that they have language, they have music, they have complex social bonds, they have complex social behaviors. They have these highly active, very high-processing brains, the largest brains on the planet, much larger than ours. We're only just beginning to understand how complex their culture is, because they're not tactical. We've got our monkey hands, and we build things, and we love our machines. Whales don't do it that way. They interact with the same world that we do in a completely non-tactical way. Because we don't speak their language, it's only slowly revealed how they're thinking and how they're processing. To me, that was a fascinating opportunity, so I didn't hesitate. When National Geographic started to develop this project, I said, "Hey, guys, I'd love to be involved." Ars Technica: There's always a certain degree of serendipity at play when it comes to documenting nature in the wild. How do you prepare to make sure you're ready when those rare critical moments occur? Brian Skerry: I spent years doing research and talking to scientists, figuring out what the story could be. Where can we go? What time of year? What's the likelihood of seeing these things? You try to narrow down those odds in your favor. At the end of the day, you have a shot list of things that you hope you can get to tell the story—the bare minimum. But if serendipity works in your favor, you get a stingray dropped next to you in New Zealand, or you get a sperm whale mom nursing its calf and trusting me to get close. So serendipity is everything, but that usually only happens for me if I am able to spend a lot of time. Three years and 24 locations sounds like a lot, but in the whale photography biz, it's not a lot of time, really. Brian Armstrong: For most of our sequences, we get it all in one day. But it might take us a month to get that one day. It was a bit like roulette. We went to places where we thought we would most likely be able to at least get some good images of whales and hope that we'd get lucky. We had this young humpback that was learning how to [make a bubble net]; it was trying and not succeeding. We decided to just stick with it and see what would happen over a couple of days. When that little calf finally made its perfectly shaped bubble net, we were just overjoyed with goosebumps. Those are the golden moments that you really hope for in a series. When we got back into the edit suite, we were like, "How do we lay this out and how do we craft it?" We threw the script out. The whales apparently didn't read it. They had other things in mind. In a way, the narratives were led by the whales themselves. Let's see what the whales gave us, and then we'll craft our stories based on that. Ars Technica: Is there perhaps a risk that we're anthropomorphizing the whales too much, effectively casting them in our own image? Brian Armstrong: Previously, it's almost been taboo to talk about animals as having emotion, having culture. Darwin spoke about it 100 years ago in Origin of Species, but we kind of ignored that. It's only more recently that scientists have looked more closely at what these whales are doing. When you see a mother orca carrying around a dead calf for days and days, how do you explain that? You don't want to anthropomorphize, but it [looks like] mourning. It's grieving. That opened the door to let us have this emotional connection to them. James Cameron: As proper cetacean researchers, you have to be very, very careful about not reading too much into the tea leaves. But I think the examples that we've documented are pretty resoundingly obvious. I think the danger in anthropomorphizing [whales] is to assume they think like we do, just because they evince behaviors that are similar to our behaviors. They may not. I'm very curious to learn more about whale thought and philosophy and perspective, because they're non-tactical. They operate in their world in a different way. They don't build things, so they don't control their world. They live in harmonious balance with their world. The big question to me is "why do they need intelligence?" Sharks have gotten along fine for 250 million years with a very limited set of programs that run very well. And they haven't pushed up the evolutionary ladder to have complex intelligence, culture, emotion, and so on. Why does that serve the whales so well? Why is intelligence emerging in a non-tactical species? I think we understand the positive feedback loop between language, tool use, [being] bipedal and upright, freeing our hands to do other things. We understand that positive feedback loop that led to us. What's the positive feedback loop that led to whale intelligence, culture, emotion? I think that the degree to which we can make a case that they are sentient, emotional, intelligent beings is the degree to which we have the moral requirement to keep them alive, to curb our rapacious behavior with respect to the ocean and make space for them in our world. We've grabbed the tiller on the biosphere, for better or worse, but we're not particularly good stewards yet. We haven't gained that wisdom. So I think they can teach us a lot. Ars Technica: It's challenging enough to shoot captivating footage in the wild. It's even more challenging when you have to do so underwater. Brian Skerry: You have to have good weather. You need a boat to get out to sea. The sun has to be shining, ideally, so that we can see detail and color. The visibility underwater has to be really good because even in the clearest of water, I can't use the telephoto lens, and you've got to get close. The whales have to be there. The whales have to be tolerant and let me in close. And then they have to be doing something interesting. Also, most of this is done by breath-hold diving. I'm just holding my breath and swimming underwater, and I can only stay underwater for two or three minutes at best. So all of that has to happen in a short amount of time to get something magical. But inevitably, if you spend enough time, those moments do occur. Technology is a big part of that, and it's evolving quickly. Being able to use digital technology that didn't exist a decade ago is a game-changer, particularly being able to adjust the sensitivity, being able to shoot in low light. We're working in the Norwegian Arctic days before the polar night, when it's going to be dark 24 hours a day. The sun never gets above the mountaintops, and we're trying to film in dark water. So having 64 f-stops of latitude with some of these cameras is tremendous, [as is] being able to put a drone in the sky and see an aerial view with a cinematic-quality video camera that can shoot at 6K or 4K. It's a very exciting time as a storyteller in the ocean. Ars Technica: Audio is a really key factor of this because sound is so critical to how whales navigate and communicate. Brian Skerry: Just to find the animals in the middle of a vast ocean, we need sound. But these are animal societies that rely on acoustics and echolocation. So [we need to be] able to record natural sound to get the humpback song or the codas—this Morse code language that sperm whales have, the cacophony of sounds that the beluga whales make. My tent was maybe a half a kilometer away, but all night long, I could hear them chattering and clicking and whistling, like canaries of the sea. The scientists that we're working with are often only putting hydrophones in the water, listening on headphones to the codas of a sperm whale or the song of a humpback. James Cameron: We’re dealing with the same limitations that the whales are, right? They have evolved to be in a medium that tends to be not that transparent to lights, to electromagnetic radiation, so they tend to live in an acoustic world, and we need to understand that. They've shaped their world around them. Their imaging is basically the biological equivalent of sonar. So as filmmakers, we can only see maybe 30-meters through the water column on a good day, much less when you're in the Orca environments, which tend to be more turbid. The photography is very up-close and personal, but you can hear them from a distance. You can record their songs, you can record their echolocation clicks and their communication codas, which are short bursts or patterns of clicks. We can't speak their languages yet. We've done an awful lot of recordings, but we don't know what they mean. Some interpretation and some analysis has been done. For example, we know that Belugas have names for each other. Belugas have very, very complex vocalizations, probably the most complex of all the whales. But the sperm whales in Sri Lanka, for example, have 24 distinct codas. You could say that a coda is like a letter in our alphabet. We write vast tracks of literature with 26 letters. So how complex is their language? We don't really know yet. Maybe machine learning and AI could be applied. If we were able to get a big enough data set, we could maybe start to have some breakthroughs in being able to communicate directly with the whales. Wouldn't that be profound? We might not want to hear what they have to say. Collectively, we haven't been too kind to them. Ars Technica: Ultimately, what do you hope this documentary series will inspire in people? James Cameron: I would love for them to walk away with a greater respect for the ocean in general—and for its highest-order thinkers. Orcas are the apex predator, but they are also the apex thinker. They're quite smart. The more that we love and respect the ocean and these animals, the more we will protect them and make the sacrifices in our world that will keep them alive. So that's a goal. That's the optimist in me, hoping that we can modify our behavior to save these amazing animals. Secrets of the Whales is now streaming on Disney+. Skerry has also authored a book, Secrets of the Whales, and the May issue of National Geographic features the project as part of its special "Ocean Issue." A sperm whale calf is recorded feeding for the first time ever in Secrets of the Whales, a new documentary series from National Geographic, on Disney+. Listing image by Disney+ Source: Secrets of the Whales explores language, social structure of giants of the deep
  8. Loki trailer breakdown: Throwbacks, swords, and mistrust Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in Marvel Studios' LOKI exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2020. All Rights Reserved A new Loki trailer has sent Marvel fans into a tizzy. What are the new details we’ve learned about the show and, more importantly, what is this show even about? While the trailer gives us some inkling into what to expect from the series, the focus is clearly on suspense than the story. One can assume that the show is so full of Easter Eggs that including anything more in the trailer would be a dead giveaway. This new Loki trailer is less confusing than the first, but to get any answers, fans will still have to wait till June 11, the release date for Loki on Disney Plus. So, what happens in the trailer? And what does it all mean for Loki, one of the most beloved, albeit unreliable, villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? We break down all the important moments from the trailer and explain what they could mean. Loki Trailer: Where is Loki? Start your countdown to the glorious arrival of Marvel Studios' #Loki. The Original Series starts streaming June 11 on @DisneyPlus. pic.twitter.com/8y7yibT74F — Loki (@LokiOfficial) March 18, 2021 Who is this Loki? This is the Loki who escaped from Earth with the Tesseract in 2012 after the Avengers from the future bungled their mission. It’s important to remember that this Loki has not experienced the events from Thor: The Dark World up until Avengers: Infinity War. The Loki trailer makes it a point to highlight that the Loki in this show is a time variant. He even wears a uniform with the word emblazoned on it. In other words, this Loki is still a bit villainous and extremely untrustworthy. It’s also highly likely that he’s going to be annoyed at being deemed a variant when he is the only version of Loki he’s ever been. Unlike in the first trailer, in this new Loki trailer Loki knows where he is and who he is dealing with. How Loki knows what the Time Variance Authority (TVA) is and does, we don’t yet know. Loki also clearly chafes against being held prisoner by them. Though it’s hard to tell from the order of sequences in the trailer, it does seem like Loki will at some point fight the TVA, including Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s Judge Ravonna Lexus Renslayer. Will he escape them only to be recaptured? That might be a likely plot point. We also see more of Owen Wilson’s Mobius M. Mobius, who has recruited Variant-Loki for his unique “perspective.” It sounds more like Mobius wants to exploit Loki’s ability to lie and create illusions. For good or for bad? We will have to find out in the show. Loki Trailer: What is Loki Up To? Mobius does let Loki know why the TVA needs him. When Loki disappeared in 2012, he created rifts in time. Dr. Bruce Banner had a conversation with the Ancient One about this issue with time travel. By the end of Avengers: Endgame, Captain America had returned all the Infinity Stones to their assigned places, but he clearly couldn’t do that with the Tesseract that Variant-Loki stole in 2012. It only makes sense that the TVA would want a variant to fix the problems that he caused. What does this mean for Loki? In the new Loki trailer, we see Loki traveling to different worlds and through time. We catch a glimpse of Loki in a version of New York that has been destroyed—we even see the collapsing Avengers Tower in the distance. Loki is also seen in the Asgardian throne room and on a purple-hued planet, dodging meteors—or worse. Apparently, fixing the timeline requires a fair amount of sword-wielding, which Variant-Loki should have no problem with, seeing as he’s from Asgard. There’s one shot in both the previous trailer and this new Loki trailer that has fans all abuzz. We see Loki sitting alongside a reddish-haired figure, clothed in a stealth suit. Many fans believe this to be Black Widow on Vormir. But neither the timelines nor Natasha Romanoff’s hair match-up. Who could the character be? We aren’t quite sure, but many have surmised that the person is a version of Loki, Lady-Loki, to be precise. Could Loki’s adventures with the TVA see him meeting other versions of himself? That’s either going to give Variant-Loki an existential crisis, or he’s going to team up with his alternates and take over the TVA. We would enjoy watching that. There’s also a version of Variant-Loki wearing a modern version of his Asgardian suit and crown, but with a ‘Vote Loki’ badge. Plus, Loki suits up as D.B. Cooper, an infamous airplane hijacker who was never found. Now we know why. We don’t get many answers from the Loki trailer, but it’s certainly whet our appetites for the show. Buckle up, everyone, because this is going to be a bumpy ride on the Bifrost. Loki will stream on Disney Plus from June 11, 2021. Source: Loki trailer breakdown: Throwbacks, swords, and mistrust
  9. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Is the 'Most-Watched Series Premiere Ever' for Disney Plus Two weeks after the end of WandaVision, Marvel already has another hit. Disney+ has announced that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier's premiere weekend was the biggest yet for any series on the streaming service. Disney+ did not provide exact viewership numbers for the premiere. However, it did mention that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier stands above WandaVision and the Season 2 premiere of The Mandalorian, with the trio composing the top three most watched weekend premieres for the platform. During its annual shareholders meeting earlier this month, Disney announced that its streaming service had reached 100 million subscribers since its launch 16 months ago. The success of WandaVision and The Mandalorian, as well as movie releases like Pixar's Soul and Raya and the Last Dragon likely played a major role in boosting popularity for Disney+. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier began its six-episode run on March 19, with new episodes debuting on Disney+ every Friday for the next few weeks. There are currently no announcements for a second season, though Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has confessed that some ideas are being bounced around. On the horizon for Disney+ original series, Marvel will debut Loki on June 11. The studio is also eyeing release dates before the end of the year for Hawkeye and Ms. Marvel. The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Cast and Characters 17 Images In our review of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier premiere, IGN gave the episode an 8, saying it was "packed with thoughtful character observations and themes that run deeper than many Marvel movies and shows." Source: The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Is the 'Most-Watched Series Premiere Ever' for Disney Plus
  10. Black Widow headed to Disney+ as studio shakes up schedule The Marvel adventure and Emma Stone’s Cruella will both debut in cinemas and on streaming simultaneously Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh in Black Widow. Photograph: Allstar/Marvel Studios/Disney/Jay Maidment Disney has announced that Black Widow and Cruella will both be debuting on its streaming service Disney+ at the same time as in cinemas. The Marvel adventure and 101 Dalmatians prequel had both been intended for traditional theatrical releases but with the box office still underperforming, the studio has made the decision for a hybrid release. “Today’s announcement reflects our focus on providing consumer choice and serving the evolving preferences of audiences,” said Kareem Daniel, chairman of Disney’s media and entertainment distribution. Both films will be part of the platform’s premier access service, which requires users to pay an additional $30 rental fee, the same model used for Mulan and, most recently, Raya and the Last Dragon, which some US exhibitors have refused to show because of the simultaneous release. Box office intake has slowly started to increase in the US, with cinemas reopening in New York City and Los Angeles, the two biggest markets in the country, but many national locations still remain closed and capacity limits mean that attendance remains low. The studio has also announced that Pixar’s summer film Luca will eschew any form of theatrical release in territories with Disney+, headed straight to the platform for no additional cost. The same strategy was used in December for Soul. Other films moved back by the company include Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, now opening in September, and the Agatha Christie adaptation Death on the Nile, now being released in February 2022. Cruella, starring Emma Stone as the titular villain, will be released on 28 May while Black Widow is scheduled to premiere on 9 July. The Scarlett Johansson adventure was initially scheduled for 1 May 2020 but has seen a number of shifts because of Covid-19. The news comes after Disney claimed its latest Marvel series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, was its most watched Disney+ series premiere yet, beating The Mandalorian and WandaVision. The studio recently reported that the platform has over 100 million users in just 16 months of operation. Source: Black Widow headed to Disney+ as studio shakes up schedule
  11. Disney+ tops 100 million subscribers just 16 months after launch KEY POINTS Disney+ now has more than 100 million global subscribers. The streaming service launched just 16 months ago. Disney has forecast that the platform will have 230 million to 260 million subscribers by 2024. Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany star as Wanda Maximoff and Vision in Marvel’s “WandaVision.” Disney Disney+ has topped 100 million global subscribers. On Tuesday Disney CEO Bob Chapek revealed the streaming service surpassed the benchmark in just 16 months since its launch. “The enormous success of Disney+, which has now surpassed 100 million subscribers, has inspired us to be even more ambitious, and to significantly increase our investment in the development of high-quality content,” Chapek said in statement. Disney’s streaming service has released a number of popular TV series since its launch, including two seasons of “The Mandalorian” and its first Marvel series, “WandaVision.” Both have been top-viewed content, according to reports from Nielsen, and have driven sign-ups for the service. Disney has made its Disney+ service a destination for family-friendly favorites and the only place Marvel and Star Wars fans can see content that directly connects to blockbuster theatrical features. The company reached this milestone just months after Disney told investors it planned to push more heavily into streaming. In October, the company began restructuring its media and entertainment divisions to focus more on Disney+. Around that time, Disney announced plans for about 100 film and television projects, about 80% of which are set to go directly to Disney+. This includes nearly a dozen Marvel series and more than 10 Star Wars shows. Disney+ exceeded the company’s initial subscriber goal of 60 million to 90 million by 2024 in November, forcing it to reforecast. The company expects Disney+ will have 230 million to 260 million subscribers by 2024. The streaming service has seen rapid growth in subscribers since its launch in November 2019. On day one, the company had 10 million sign-ups and, by the end of the first quarter, the service had secured 26.5 million subscribers. Source: Disney+ tops 100 million subscribers just 16 months after launch
  12. Disney+ unveils premiere dates for Loki, Star Wars: The Bad Batch Everyone's favorite green-clad trickster god is soon coming to Disney+. The streaming service announced a slew of release dates during Wednesday's TCA presentation, setting spring and summer premieres for Loki, Star Wars: The Bad Batch, and more. Loki, the third of Marvel's live-action Disney+ shows, will premiere June 11 — slightly later than its originally announced premiere of "May 2021." Tom Hiddleston once again reprises his role as the Asgardian chaos agent, and the show follows his adventures through time and space after he grabbed the Tesseract and disappeared in Avengers: Endgame. The cast also includes Owen Wilson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Sophia Di Martino, Wunmi Mosaku, and Richard E. Grant, with Kate Herron as director and Michael Waldron as head writer. CREDIT: MARVEL STUDIOS Also next up is Star Wars: The Bad Batch (premiering May 4), the animated series set after The Clone Wars that follows an elite military squad of unusual clones. It's the first of the many, many Star Wars spin-off shows that Disney+ has in the works, including the live-action Ahsoka, Kenobi, and Rangers of the New Republic. Disney+ also set dates for several new series: John Stamos' basketball show Big Shot (April 16), Tony Hale's mystery series The Mysterious Benedict Society (June 25), the Pixar spin-off Monsters at Work (July 2), Josh Peck's Turner & Hooch reboot (July 16), and Chip 'N' Dale: Park Life (July 23). Source: Disney+ unveils premiere dates for Loki, Star Wars: The Bad Batch
  13. Disney Plus Launches Star, A Streaming Outlet With More Grown-Up Fare, In Europe And Other Global Territories Disney Plus has made good on its plans to offer general entertainment service Star in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, giving the company a new streaming outlet for more grown-up programming. Also today, Disney+ with Star launched in Singapore, the first market where Disney+ has launched with the new Star offering. Eastern Europe, Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea are due to follow later this year. After its initial launch in November 2019, Disney+ is now in dozens of territories. In Europe, the Star service will cost €8.99 per month or €89.90 per year, with a similar pricing in the other launch markets. With Hulu only a domestic operation for the time being, the revamp and expansion of Star gives Disney a valuable global streaming outlet for a wider range of content, especially what it produces in-house. It took over the operations of Star, a potent force in linear TV and streaming in Southeast Asia and elsewhere, in 2019 as part of the $71.3 billion acquisition of most of 21st Century Fox. Thousands of hours of movies and TV shows from Disney General Entertainment Content are featured on the new Star offering. Suppliers under that tent include Disney Television Studios (ABC Signature and Twentieth Television), FX Productions, 20th Century Studios and Searchlight Pictures. Star will premiere more than 35 new originals from Disney Television Studios in International markets, with over 35 first-run series set to premiere by the end of the first year. Titles will vary by region. Among those streaming in select markets at launch are the David E. Kelley-created drama Big Sky; Love, Simon spinoff series Love, Victor; and adult animated sitcom Solar Opposites, co-created by Justin Roiland of Rick & Morty and Mike McMahan, who was a writer’s assistant on the animated hit. Drama series Helstrom will also be available at launch. The service also plans locally produced originals in select regions. Library series on Star include Grey’s Anatomy (a big draw in the U.S. for Netflix), 24, The X-Files, Lost, Family Guy, Atlanta, black-ish and Scandal. Films include award-winners from recent years like The Favourite and The Grand Budapest Hotel, along with classics such as Pretty Woman, Die Hard 2, The Devil Wears Prada and Moulin Rouge. As part of today’s launch, Disney+ has also added new parental controls. (See explanatory video above.) The beefed-up tools include the ability to set limits on access to content for specific profiles based on content ratings and the ability to add a PIN to lock profiles with access to mature content. The controls will be available on Disney+ in the U.S. as well as internationally. As Star begins its rollout, the initial tie-up with the Star assets has already demonstrated its worth. Streaming bundle Disney+Hotstar offers Disney+ at a low price point to Hotstar subscribers in India and Indonesia. It accounted for about 30% of the total Disney+ reach of 94.9 million subscribers as of January 2, the company reported this month. The latest launch plans were announced last December at the company’s investor day. Wall Street continues to reward Disney’s pivot to streaming, which has come at a time when Covid-19 has battered its other operations like theatrical film releasing and theme parks. The company’s stock rose 4% on Monday to an all-time high of $191.76, in large part due to anticipation for the Star rollout. “Disney+ has touched the lives of nearly a hundred million people around the globe by providing a home for exceptional storytelling from the beloved brands of Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic, and today’s launch of the Star-branded international general entertainment offering marks an exciting expansion for the service,” said Rebecca Campbell, Chairman, International Operations and Direct-to-Consumer, The Walt Disney Co.. “With the addition of Star, we’re building even more value for consumers by adding an incredible array of high-quality movies and series for families, older teens, and adults, fueled by the acquisition of 21st Century Fox and our creative studios.” Source: Disney Plus Launches Star, A Streaming Outlet With More Grown-Up Fare, In Europe And Other Global Territories
  14. Disney Plus Pops to 95 Million Paid Subscribers Disney Plus had the wind at its back to close out 2020: The streaming service notched 94.9 million customers worldwide as of Jan. 2, 2021, the company announced. That’s up more than 8 million in just one month, from 86.8 million paid subscribers as of Dec. 2. It also now tops Disney’s original projections of landing up to 90 million subs for Disney Plus within four years. Disney Plus’ continued growth through December benefited from the premiere of Pixar’s “Soul” on the platform and the culmination of Season 2 of Star Wars-set hit series “The Mandalorian,” both of which turned in strong viewership numbers, according to Nielsen. It’s also scored another buzzy release with Marvel’s “WandaVision,” which debuted in mid-January. And Disney is investing big money into originals to keep the streaming train powering forward — and to retain existing subscribers. At its investor day in December, the company outlined a slate of 105 movies and TV series, 80% of which are targeted for its direct-to-consumer streaming services, under the Star Wars, Marvel, Disney Animation and Pixar brands. All told, Disney’s streaming services — Disney Plus, Hulu and ESPN Plus — stood at 146.4 million customers at the end of the quarter, a 131% increase from the year prior. Hulu subscribers were up 30% year-over-year to 39.4 million (including 4.0 million live TV customers) and ESPN Plus subscribers rose 83% to 12.1 million. The streaming surge helped Disney top Wall Street expectations for the period, its fiscal first quarter of 2021. Disney Plus stands to get another kick with the rollout starting Feb. 23 of Star, Disney’s international general-entertainment service analogous to Hulu, which will be integrated with Disney Plus (except in Latin America). There’s one caveat on the Disney Plus subscriber figures: About 30% of those come through Disney Plus Hotstar in India and Indonesia, which carries a much lower average price point than other regions. For the quarter ended Jan. 2, the average monthly revenue per Disney Plus subscriber dropped 28% year-over-year, to $4.03. CFO Christine McCarthy said that excluding Disney Plus Hotstar, the service’s monthly ARPU for the quarter would have been $5.37 (down 3%). Still, the continued rise of Disney Plus — coupled with strong Q4 subscriber gains for Netflix and HBO Max — illustrate that the so-called “streaming wars” aren’t a zero-sum fight, at least in today’s pandemic environment. Disney Plus’ strength has given the media conglomerate confidence to raise pricing: Effective March 26, 2021, the service’s price in the U.S. will increase to $7.99 per month (up from $6.99 now) or $79.99 per year (up from $69.99). The three-way bundle with Disney Plus, Hulu with ads and ESPN Plus will increase to $13.99 per month, also up a dollar. The Mouse House bowed Disney Plus in November 2019 in the U.S., Canada, the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand, before expanding to Europe, India and other territories last year. The service offers a rich library of Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars movies as well as hit original series “The Mandalorian” and other exclusive TV shows and movies. Given the service’s strong momentum in year one, Disney in December provided a dramatic upward revision on its forecast for Disney Plus: It now expects 230 million to 260 million total paid subscribers by September 2024. On the earnings call, McCarthy said the company is “very pleased on the level of churn” for Disney Plus as well as with the conversion of Verizon customers who were on the one-year-free offer to paid. She also said Disney will report streaming subscriber numbers only at quarter-end from here on out (except in cases when they reach key milestones), which is what the company originally said back in 2019. Over the past year, company execs have regularly provided interim updates for Disney Plus subs to tout its meteoric growth. Pictured above: Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff in Marvel’s “WandaVision” on Disney Plus Source: Disney Plus Pops to 95 Million Paid Subscribers
  15. Full-Length Trailer for 'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier' Teases the Next Marvel Disney+ Show Disney+ has released a brand new trailer for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. The TV side of the MCU is already alive and well on Disney+, with WandaVision currently in the middle of its run and exciting fans with each new episode. Falcon and the Winter Soldier will be the next in the Marvel Disney+ line-up, with Loki, What If...?, and Hawkeye coming later in the year. Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan star in Falcon and the Winter Soldier, with supporting cast including Daniel Brühl, Emily VanCamp, and Wyatt Russell. Today's Falcon and the Winter Soldier trailer is perhaps the most insightful look we have at the new Marvel Disney+ show so far. Previously, an exclusive first look was released during Disney Investor Day 2020. That teaser trailer gave us an updated look at Sam Wilson, a.k.a. Falcon (Mackie), and Bucky Barnes, a.k.a. Winter Soldier (Stan), teasing their updated suits and weapons as well as their unique brand of witty banter. However, outside of the the promise of a new band of villains and some impressive action sequences, we still didn't know what to expect from Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Until now. This new original series was created by Malcolm Spellman and finds Kari Skogland (The Walking Dead) directing all the episodes. Set after the events of Avengers: Endgame, the show finds Mackie's Falcon and Stan's Bucky teaming up for... something. The details of their mission remain under wraps, but this trailer does give us a look at the return of Brühl as Baron Zemo from Captain America: Civil War. In that film, Zemo was just a regular citizen with an axe to grind. But in Falcon and the Winter Soldier, it looks like he's fully crossing over into Marvel supervillain territory, bringing the character more in line with the comics. Still no sight of Russell as John F. Walker yet, but I imagine he'll play a big role in the series. Walker is a Captain America successor created by the U.S. government, and series composer Henry Jackman recently teased that the show would touch on uncomfortable issues like race — in the world of the MCU, might the U.S. government be uncomfortable with a Black Captain America despite the fact that Steve Rogers handed Sam the shield? In essence, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier looks like a TV version of Captain America: The Winter Soldier with some buddy cop antics mixed in. That's a far cry from the puzzlebox nature of WandaVision, but I'm curious to see how an extended season-long arc set in this more grounded world plays out. One key difference to WandaVision is that this new series consists of six hourlong episodes. Watch the official trailer and check out the new poster below. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier premieres on Disney+ on March 19th. For more, find out what's coming in the MCU's Phase 4. Source: Full-Length Trailer for 'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier' Teases the Next Marvel Disney+ Show
  16. The big Disney+ ESPN+ Hulu bundle is here: Worth it? Today we’re taking a peek at the big Disney Plus bundle with ESPN Plus and ad-free Hulu. This bundle was just made widely available today after a smaller release and announcement in recent weeks. This version of the subscription service puts all three streaming services in one payment plan and makes their combined price slightly lower than the services would be on their own. If you purchased each of these subscription services on their own, you’d be paying approximately $6 more per month. If you subscribe to the bundle, the price will be approximately $19 USD. If you look at the price on your bill, you’ll likely see $18.99 right out the gate. There’s also a version of this bundle that’ll cost slightly less than this. If you’re not worried about seeing advertisements in your Hulu, you can get the bundle with all three services (with the Hulu with ads system) for approximately $13 per month. Disney+ usually costs approximately $7 per month, while ad-free Hulu is generally $12, and ESPN+ is around $6. If you already get any of these three services as part of a complimentary year-of-service, like for example the Verizon deal that was released over the last year – you might want to hold off. If you don’t get any discounts at the moment on any of these services, and you use all three, now might be a good time to pack em all up into a single price. There’s a bundle page over at Disney+ right this minute for the masses. You’ll also find a $69.99 per year price available if you’re all about paying for the whole thing at once – that’s the best price of the bunch if you’ve got the cash. Take a peek at the timeline below to learn more about a couple of the Disney+ shows we’ve been following closely, and let us know if you’re watching something new on any one of these services right now. Source: The big Disney+ ESPN+ Hulu bundle is here: Worth it?
  17. Wakanda Series in the Works at Disney Plus Under Ryan Coogler’s New Disney Television Deal A series set in Wakanda is in development at Disney Plus. The series is part of a new multi-year overall television deal Ryan Coogler and his Proximity Media have signed with The Walt Disney Company and will include other television projects in the future. Coogler previously directed and co-wrote the hit Marvel film “Black Panther,” which takes place in the fictional African nation of Wakanda. Coogler is currently at work on the film’s sequel. The deal will enable Proximity to develop shows for other divisions of the Walt Disney Company as well. Along with Coogler, Proximity’s principals are Zinzi Coogler, Sev Ohanian, Ludwig Göransson, Archie Davis and Peter Nicks. “Ryan Coogler is a singular storyteller whose vision and range have made him one of the standout filmmakers of his generation,” said Bob Iger, executive chairman of The Walt Disney Company. “With ‘Black Panther,’ Ryan brought a groundbreaking story and iconic characters to life in a real, meaningful and memorable way, creating a watershed cultural moment. We’re thrilled to strengthen our relationship and look forward to telling more great stories with Ryan and his team.” Should the Wakanda project go to series, it would be the latest show set within the Marvel Cinematic Universe to make its way to Disney Plus. The streamer recently launched its first such show, “WandaVision,” with “Falcon and Winter Soldier” and “Loki” also on deck. Others include “Hawkeye,” “Moon Knight,” “She-Hulk,” and “Ms. Marvel.” There are also shows on the way focusing on Nick Fury with Samuel L. Jackson starring, the character War Machine played by Don Cheadle, and Dominique Thorne starring in “Ironheart.” “It’s an honor to be partnering with The Walt Disney Company,” Coogler said. “Working with them on ‘Black Panther’ was a dream come true. As avid consumers of television, we couldn’t be happier to be launching our television business with Bob Iger, Dana Walden and all the amazing studios under the Disney umbrella. We look forward to learning, growing, and building a relationship with audiences all over the world through the Disney platforms. We are especially excited that we will be taking our first leap with Kevin Feige, Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso and their partners at Marvel Studios where we will be working closely with them on select MCU shows for Disney+. We’re already in the mix on some projects that we can’t wait to share.” The deal was negotiated on behalf of Proximity Media by WME, Charles King of M88 and Jonathan Gardner, Esq. of Cohen & Gardner. “Black Panther” was a smash hit for Disney and Marvel, grossing nearly $1.35 billion worldwide. The film has taken on increased meaning of late after the sudden death of star Chadwick Boseman from colon cancer back in August. Source: Wakanda Series in the Works at Disney Plus Under Ryan Coogler’s New Disney Television Deal
  18. Nick Fury will return: New Disney Plus show to star Samuel L. Jackson Mr. Robot producer named as showrunner (Image credit: Marvel Studios / Disney) Samuel L. Jackson will step back into his iconic role as Nick Fury in the latest new Disney Plus MCU original series, according to sources at Variety. The site's insider information offered very little beyond the fact that Jackson is "attached to star" in the show, Marvel Studios will produce the project, and Mr. Robot producer Kyle Bradstreet will write and executive produce the show. As of now, we don't know anything about the plot, supporting characters or even when the show will take place. As we saw with Captain Marvel, the 71-year-old Jackson has been de-aged to appear as his younger self before, so it's not a given that the show will take place after the events of Avengers: Endgame. The last time we saw Nick Fury in the MCU, he was (SPOILERS INCOMING) vacationing aboard a Skrull vessel in space in the post-credits scene of Spider-Man: Far from Home, while the Skrull shapeshifter Talos impersonated him on Earth. It's theoretically possible that Nick Fury's new adventures could be an interstellar adventure, but given his origins as a spy and Bradstreet's past work with tense dramas, it's much more likely to be a grounded story. Bradstreet also previously produced Berlin Station, which starred a CIA operative working undercover to reveal terror plots in Germany. When will Nick Fury reappear? Marvel has revealed the order of MCU films and shows for the next few years, but filming delays caused by the pandemic have shifted the intended order of releases. Just in the past week, Disney pushed The Falcon and the Winter Soldier past WandaVision to 2021, then juggled Black Widow, Shang-Chi and The Eternals to new 2021 premieres. In other words, even though there are several MCU series due out for Disney Plus before Nick Fury, it's always possible that Jackson's new show could jump ahead of the pack. For now, we're currently waiting for WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, What If?, Hawkeye, Ms Marvel, Moon Knight and She-Hulk. The latter show recently cast Tatiana Maslany as She-Hulk. As it stands, assuming Nick Fury (the series) comes last, and Disney Plus sticks to its plans to release four new shows per year starting with WandaVision in 2020, we theoretically wouldn't see the Nick Fury show until the 2022 holidays. But this is pure speculation and could easily change. In the meantime, Nick Fury fans can program their Amazon Echos to speak in Samuel L. Jackson's voice. Maybe that will make the long wait easier somehow. Nick Fury will return: New Disney Plus show to star Samuel L. Jackson
  19. Disney Plus in October 2020: every new movie and TV show What’s coming to Disney Plus US, UK and Australia this month (Image credit: Disney Plus/Lucasfilm) October is a big month on Disney Plus for Star Wars fans thanks to the highly-anticipated premiere of The Mandalorian season 2. Don't cancel all your plans just yet, though, as the first episode won’t appear until the end of the month. It’s just as well that there are some other new additions to the service in the US and Australia through the rest of October to keep you occupied until your return to a galaxy far, far away. One such addition is another Disney Plus original series: The Right Stuff. This drama, which follows the famed Mercury Seven astronauts and the early days of the American Space Race, will be making its debut on October 9 with new episodes weekly. There are some fun flicks being added, too, like X2 and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice while the brand new short Once Upon a Snowman will send us on an adventure with everyone’s favourite sentient snowman: Olaf. Subscribers in the UK will finally get the chance to stream the latest Pixar hit, Onward while kids and exasperated parents will be delighted as the UK service becomes the new home for Disney Channel, DisneyXD and Disney Junior content from October 1. Below, you’ll find what’s new on Disney Plus in October 2020. We’ve put a few of our highlights in bold. If you're in the UK, scroll to the bottom, and you'll find region-specific Disney Plus movies and shows coming in October 2020 there. October 1 Maleficent October 2 Beverly Hills Chihuahua Cheaper by the Dozen 2 Mr. Holland's Opus Secrets of the Zoo: Down Under (season 1) The Simpsons (season 31) Zenimation: Extended Edition Magic of Disney's Animal Kingdom (new episode) One Day at Disney (new episode) Weird But True (new episode) October 9 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Oil Spill of the Century Wild Portugal X2 The Right Stuff (Season 1, episode 1 and 2) Magic of Disney's Animal Kingdom (new episode) Weird But True (new episode) One Day at Disney (new episode) October 16 Disney Junior the Rocketeer (season 1) Drain (season 3) Lost on Everest Marvel's Iron Man & Captain America: Heroes United Clouds The Right Stuff (new episode) One Day at Disney (new episode) Magic of Disney's Animal Kingdom (new episode) Meet the Chimps Weird But True (new episode) October 23 Gathering Storm (season 1) India from Above (season 1) Marvel Super Hero Adventures (shorts) (season 4) Pompeii: Secrets of the Dead Ultimate Viking Sword Once Upon a Snowman The Big Fib (new episodes) Magic of Disney's Animal Kingdom (new episode) The Right Stuff (new episode) Weird But True (new episode) One Day at Disney (new episode) October 30 The Mandalorian (season 2, episode 1) Disney the Owl House (season 1) The Sorcerer's Apprentice X-Ray Earth (season 1) Magic of Disney's Animal Kingdom (new episode) Weird But True (new episode) One Day at Disney (new episode) The Right Stuff (new episode) Disney Plus UK in October 2020 For Disney Plus UK, expect all of the original episodes for the shows mentioned above like The Mandalorian , The Right Stuff and One Day at Disney, as well as the following region-specific additions, some of which comes as a result of Disney Plus becoming the new home for Disney Channel, DisneyXD and Disney Junior content in the UK from October 1. October 1 Gabby Duran and the Unsittables Just Roll With It Miraculous: Tales of Lady Bug and Cat Noir Raven's Home October 2 Onward October 9 Upside Down Magic October 16 The Rocketeer Gordon Ramsay Uncharted (season 1) Rio 2 Disney Plus in October 2020: every new movie and TV show
  20. Disney Plus price: bundle costs and sign up deals compared to Netflix, Amazon Prime and more Don't miss out on the best price for you on Disney's greatest hits (Image credit: Shutterstock) Is the Disney Plus price worth it? Well the service is certainly a serious contender in the multiverse of streaming services, with a subscriber tally reported at 54.5 million in May, only six months after its US launch. The Herculean task of keeping young ones entertained during lockdown couldn’t have harmed its popularity, but nor could its enticing roster of content – every episode of The Simpsons, the Star Wars franchise, Marvel’s blockbusting output, as well as Disney classics and a plethora of original content. And now the world's biggest musical Hamilton has even turned up on the service. But is the Disney Plus price really worth a trip to the House of Mouse? As Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and other services duke it out for streaming supremacy, we compare each against the Disney Plus price and platform, its bundle costs and sign up deals, so you can choose which one most deserves your hard-earned cash. Disney Plus - or Disney+ as it's officially styled - initially launched in the US, Canada, and the Netherlands in November last year and has since become available across Australia, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Europe, India, the UK, and most recently Japan. The Disney Plus juggernaut will continue to rollout over 2020, with the Nordic countries, Brazil, and Latin America among those able to subscribe before the end of the year. Not only does Disney Plus have a lot more exclusive content planned, but it also hosts Pixar’s animated output and National Geographic documentaries, as well as access to Disney movies old and new and exclusive Star Wars and Marvel Cinematic Universe spin-offs (The Mandalorian season 2 is coming in late 2020). If this sounds like something you need in your life, you can sign-up to it in certain territories now. Read on as we explain how much you can expect to pay for the new service and its bundles. We'll tell you about the Disney Plus price, and how its bundles compare to other TV streaming services. Disney Plus price at a glance Compared to the competition... Netflix: From $8.99 per month ($12.99 for HD) Amazon Prime: $12.99 per month HBO Max: $14.99 per month (Image credit: Disney / Becca Caddy) What price does Disney Plus cost? In the US, a month-by-month flat subscription to sign up for Disney Plus costs $6.99 per month. Nice and straightforward. But there’s a saving to be had if you go for Disney’s 12-month option, with a year’s subscription costing $69.99 for the year (so $5.83/month). In Canada, a Disney Plus subscription is $8.99 per month (or $89.99 per year), it's £5.99 (or £59.99 for the year) in the UK and the Disney Plus price is €6.99 per month (or €69.99 per year) in Europe. Australians pay $8.99 per month (or $89.99 per year), and the subscription cost in New Zealand is $9.99 per month (or $99.99 per year). Supported devices for the service include iPhone, iPad, PS4, Xbox One, Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, Chromebooks, Amazon Fire TV and Android. You’ll be able to make multiple profiles and the apps will stream 4K Ultra HD video at no extra charge. Below, we take a look at how Disney Plus prices and sign up deals compare to other major streaming services in the US. Disney Plus bundles: consider your options There's no doubt about it: the entry-level Disney Plus price is exceptionally good value and compares nicely with the competition (more on that below). But before you go and pledge your $6.99 a month, it's worth taking a moment to see if you can get more bang for your buck. In the US, Disney is also offering a bundle package of Disney Plus along with its two other streaming services - Hulu and ESPN+ - for the knockout price of $12.99 a month – that’s $5 cheaper than subscribing to all three separately. That's a ridiculously low price for such a wide range of prime content. On the Hulu side, that means access to a library of something like 1,500+ shows and 2,500+ films (on top of the thousands of titles you’re going to get on Disney Plus). This includes all of Hulu's original programming and co-productions like The Handmaid’s Tale and Catch-22, in addition to old and new episodes of TV staple Saturday Night Live. And the ESPN+ bolt-on will please the sports fan in the family. The streaming service's reputation has grown exponentially since launch and has won the rights to some of the biggest events on the globe. From exclusive UFC and boxing events, to daily MLB and NHL games and golf and tennis majors too. That’s all in addition to a whole host of original ESPN programmes. Head here to sign up for the great value Disney Plus bundle. (Image credit: Disney Plus) How to get a year of Disney Plus for free The good news for Verizon customers in the States is that subscribers to its 4G LTE, 5G unlimited wireless, or Fios home internet services will get a free year’s subscription to Disney Plus. That's a great little perk, and we'll soon see if other major retailers come up with their own promotions. And for those in the UK, if you're on an existing plan from O2 you can add Disney Plus as an extra and get £2 off your monthly airtime. Those new to O2 or upgrading, however, can enjoy this family-friendly streaming service absolutely free for six months. How does the Disney Plus price compare to Netflix? With a comparatively slender library, but packed full of commercially lucrative franchises and content from major film studios, Disney Plus looks poised to rival Netflix as the world’s most popular streaming service. However, Netflix - the omnipresent streaming giant - has over three times as many subscribers and almost five times as much content, with a wide array of exclusive hits like Sex Education, Russian Doll and The Crown. It also includes Oscar-nominated original movies like The Irishman, plus a huge library of family-friendly fare and curated kids section. A Netflix Basic plan costs $8.99 a month, but that only lets you stream one movie at a time and only in SD resolution. A Standard subscription costs $12.99 and includes two simultaneous streams and HD resolution, while a four-screen Ultra HD Premium plan will set you back $15.99. What does this mean? In the price wars at least, Disney Plus comes out on top with its affordable $6.99, single tier subscription plan. Want to know more about the current battle between these two services? We've considered Disney Plus vs Netflix: who will win? (Image credit: Disney Plus / Netflix / TechRadar) How does Disney Plus price compare to Amazon Prime? Online behemoth Amazon’s online video service may not have produced quite as many big hits as Netflix when it comes to its own original content, but it can boast a much deeper library than its rival, with four times as many movies and access to top-notch classic TV such as Lost, Parks and Recreation and The X-Files. It’ll also be the home of a massive new TV adaptation of The Lord of the Rings and Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten in 2021. A single Amazon Prime membership is $12.99 per month or $119 per year if you choose to pay annually, which allows you to stream content to two devices at once. While this might seem dear compared with the Disney Plus price, it also includes Amazon Prime membership, giving you access to same-day or one-day shipping on Amazon.com purchases, plus photo storage and access to exclusive deals at times like on Amazon Prime Day. How does Disney Plus price compare to Hulu? Despite being a majority Disney-owned service, Hulu is, in some ways, a competitor to Disney Plus. Boasting award winning Hulu Originals like Normal People, Castle Rock and Future Man, the on-demand service is also bolstered by its new IPTV offering which adds over 50 live TV channels, including live sports broadcasts. The service has three main pricing tiers; a basic $5.99-a-month ad-supported option, a $11.99 ad-free monthly tier, and the aforementioned Hulu with Live TV which comes in at $54.99-per-month, with HBO, Showtime, Cinemax and Starz all also available as add-ons. It’s worth noting that while you can bundle in Hulu with Disney Plus as mentioned above, this only includes its On Demand offering and not its live TV service. How does Disney Plus price compare to YouTube TV? Aimed squarely at cord-cutters, YouTube TV is Google’s attempt at a service similar to Sling TV, offering live TV to your phone, tablet and streaming device without a costly cable subscription and contract. Currently exclusive to the US, YouTube TV allows six people in the family to access the service and will allow up to three of them tune in simultaneously and also offers unlimited storage to record shows for up to nine months. A recent price hike has seen the flat fee for YouTube TV go up to $49.99 per month, which is nevertheless much cheaper than a regular cable contract. Users can also add additional channels to their line-up, including AMC Premiere ($5 per month,) Fox Soccer Plus ($15 per month) and Showtime ($7 per month). How does Disney Plus price compare to HBO Max? HBO Max is the latest offering from revered TV network HBO. Launched in the US in May 27, it’s a joint venture with parent company WarnerMedia, differentiating itself from HBO Now and HBO Go mainly through the sheer breadth of its content. Like HBO Now, there’s a single subscription plan available at $14.99 per month. This gifts you access to the service’s impressive 10,000 hours of film and TV content: iconic HBO shows like Game of Thrones, The Sopranos and Watchmen, recent blockbusters like Crazy Rich Asians and Aquaman, as well as being the exclusive home of TV favorite Friends and Studio Ghibli’s back catalogue, It can be viewed on - among other devices: apps on iOS and Android, Apple and Android TVs, PCs and Macs via the HBO Max website, as well as consoles such as Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Disney Plus price: bundle costs and sign up deals compared to Netflix, Amazon Prime and more
  21. These new Star Wars Disney Plus rumors sound too good to be true Grand Admiral Thrawn getting his own series, anyone? (Image credit: Penguin Random House/Lucasfilm) The success of The Mandalorian on Disney Plus, coupled to rumors that season 2 of the show will reintroduce key characters from the Star Wars universe, has seemingly sent the rumor mill into overdrive on what's coming next. Two reports from the past few days have focused on possible live-action debuts of other notable Star Wars icons, and they both raise an eyebrow. The first is Grand Admiral Thrawn, a character with a long history in the Star Wars universe. Originally introduced in the Thrawn trilogy of books by Timothy Zahn starting in 1991, the character was then reintroduced into Disney's Star Wars continuity via the animated series Rebels. Zahn has since written more books featuring the character, who's a Star Wars fan favorite villain. According to The DIS Insider (via writer Daniel Richtman), Disney is looking to cast a live-action Thrawn for use in future Star Wars projects, with the report mentioning a rumor that it could be for his own series. And, that's all there is to it. The other recent story comes from The Illuminerdi, which claims Disney is looking to cast a live-action version of Ezra Bridger from the animated series Star Wars: Rebels, played by an actor in their 30s-40s. While the report doesn't cite which project the casting is for, it does suggest the project will be on Disney Plus. Nothing has been said on either matter by Lucasfilm, of course, so treat both as wild rumors and nothing more for now. Why we're not convinced There's a whole industry of Star Wars rumors on the internet. Previous reports about Boba Fett and Ahsoka Tano turning up in The Mandalorian season 2 felt more convincing because they came from the Hollywood Reporter, a long-established film industry publication with demonstrably spot-on sources. Indeed, the outlet has a recent confirmed scoop, in that it revealed Russian Doll creator Leslye Headland is making a series for Disney Plus. Lucasfilm then formally announced that series on May the 4th 2020, also known as Star Wars Day. That suggests what we've learned about the cool cameos in The Mandalorian's next set of episodes is pretty airtight. In the case of these newer rumors, we're reticent to believe them. It's not impossible Lucasfilm wants to bring more elements of the wider Star Wars universe to its Disney Plus shows, given that the universe is managed through one unified Lucasfilm Story Group. There are just a lot of stories like this on the internet. Disney Plus already has four confirmed Star Wars series in the works: The Mandalorian, Headland's untitled series and the two spin-off shows focused on Obi-Wan Kenobi and Rogue One's Cassian Andor. These new Star Wars Disney Plus rumors sound too good to be true
  22. You can now sync Amazon Prime movies with your friends – with Hulu and Disney Plus to follow Rave the roof Rave (Image credit: Rave) You'll have probably heard of Netflix Party – a Google Chrome browser add-on that lets you sync up playback of Netflix shows while chatting in a side-pane with your friends and family. If you're looking for similar features in other TV streaming services, though, the social streaming app Rave may have the solution. We first reported on Rave back in 2019, as a smartphone app able to sync Netflix watching over mobile with in-app chat functions – but it's now got Amazon Prime Video integration, meaning you can sync up Good Omens, Parks and Rec, or whatever Amazon Prime shows you're keen on watching too. What's more, Rave is also set to get Disney Plus and Hulu – according to a press release we received from the company – though there's currently no date given for those respective launches. We're told, though, that usage of Rave has jumped up tenfold since March – hardly surprising, given it's around the time many Western countries entered lockdown – and it's clear many viewers will be looking for solutions for staying in touch with their friends in more fun and dynamic ways than the the occasional Zoom meeting. Platform problems The major downside to Rave in the past has been its platform limitations, as the app is only available on iOS and Android smartphones. Obviously, many phones and tablets actually offer a decent display for watching TV these days, but it's not quite the same as kicking back in front of a TV, or even a laptop screen. That is set to change, though, with Rave "coming soon to Mac and PC" – which should help it compete with the likes of the Netflix Party browser add-on, or the Mac-enabled Houseparty app. If you're keen to make use of Rave's new Amazon Prime Video functions, too, here are the best Amazon Prime shows and Amazon Prime movies to start with. You can now sync Amazon Prime movies with your friends – with Hulu and Disney Plus to follow
  23. Watching Disney Plus with other people will soon get much easier Gather round everyone (Image credit: Disney) Many of us are turning to streaming services to fill the time that we're spending stuck at home and away from friends and family, and now Disney Plus appears to be testing a new feature to make it easier to watch content with other people. A limited test of the new feature, called GroupWatch, was first reported by The Verge after users mentioned it on Reddit. It would seem that streamers in Canada are getting the functionality first, with a wider rollout coming soon. GroupWatch works exactly how you might imagine: up to seven Disney Plus subscribers are able to sync their devices and watch the same show or movie together, though for the time being at least it doesn't look as though there's a built-in chat window. Disney has now put up a support page for GroupWatch, so you can read more about some of the features and how they work there. Anyone watching can play, pause, fast forward and rewind what's on screen, for example. Keep on watching You can apparently watch several episodes of a show one after the other in GroupWatch – they won't keep playing automatically, but the group will be invited to load up the next episode once the current one has finished. The streaming sync feature also offers what are called GroupWatch reactions, so you can post emojis alongside the action. Most devices will support GroupWatch, though there are exceptions (including the PlayStation 4). "GroupWatch is a feature that lets you watch any title on Disney Plus with your personal friends and family virtually through the app," says the FAQ. "GroupWatch will sync your streams so that you can easily watch together, even when you're apart." Of course Disney Plus is far from the first streaming service to offer this sort of functionality for people who are physically apart but want to watch something digitally together. There's a similar tool available for Amazon Prime Video subscribers, and there's an unofficial add-on that will work with Netflix. Watching Disney Plus with other people will soon get much easier
  24. Disney's Mulan is a smash hit on pirate sites, where millions of people streamed and downloaded pirate copies of the film over the past week and a half. For days on end, the film has been pirated many times more than the competition, which is a rare sight. This 'success' is the result of a volatile mix of steep costs, low availability, and high-quality pirate alternatives. Online movie piracy has plagued Hollywood for roughly two decades now. Despite numerous enforcement efforts, the problem only appears to get worse. Ten years ago, the threat mostly came from torrent sites which proved to be a hurdle for the impatient or tech illiterates. Today, there are hundreds of streaming sites and apps that rival Netflix, Disney, and other legal platforms. We can’t say that the movie industry hasn’t changed. Responding to rampant piracy figures, movies have appeared online more swiftly after their theatrical release. During the current pandemic, several prominent titles even premiered online. However, that appears to have had little impact. The release of Mulan illustrates this perfectly. After several delays, the film skipped the box office in most countries. Instead, it was released on Disney+ where viewers had to pay an extra fee to see it. The exact price differs per region but in the US it’s roughly $30 on top of the regular subscription. That’s a steep price or a bargain, depending on who you ask. Disney would argue that two box-office tickets plus drinks and popcorn would cost more. And you’ll save on gas too. Then again, compared to the dozens of other titles you can watch on Disney+ for the regular monthly subscription fee, it’s quite expensive. Without arguing over who’s right or wrong, the online premiere of Mulan had a major side-effect. For days on end, it’s been the most pirated movie, crushing all competition by a wide margin. Over the past several days, we’ve collected various samples of download figures from public torrent trackers with help from I Know. We don’t like to publish hard numbers as it’s impossible to capture all downloads perfectly. However, it’s clear that Mulan was downloaded millions of times through torrent sites alone. We have seen many pirated movies appear online over the past decade but seldomly do the download figures stand out like this. For example, on the first full day that it was online, September 5, Mulan was downloaded 900% more than the second most downloaded film (The Owners). This dominance continued throughout the week when no other movie came close, not even newer releases. To give an indication, here are the download estimates of the five most-downloaded movies in our sample on September 5. Pirated torrent download sample September 5 And here’s the same list a week later on September 12, more than a week after the first pirated copies appeared online. The download numbers in our sample dropped significantly but remain higher than the competition, with 300% more downloads than runner-up Ava. Pirated torrent download sample September 12 We should stress that these numbers are based on data from public torrent trackers; direct download sites and pirate streaming views are not considered. However, it clearly shows how popular Mulan is. Another good reference point is a comparison to last year’s hit release from Disney, The Lion King. That was very popular on torrent sites as well but the number of downloads was roughly 50% lower than Mulan on the first day, and also 50% lower the week after. There are several reasons that contributed to Mulan’s popularity and we’ll discuss a few here. Various surveys have shown that the most common motivation for pirates is “because it’s free.” This cost factor definitely plays a role in Mulan’s release. The pricing differs from country to country but in the US it’s $29.99, which sits on top of the $6.99 monthly subscription. Needless to say, this is a bigger hurdle to overcome when compared to regular movies that come out on Netflix or Disney+. The costs are not too far away from those associated with a visit to a movie theater for two people, but that’s where the second argument comes into play. When a movie usually premieres at the box office there are no high quality pirated copies. If there’s a release it’s usually a ‘camcorded’ version, which we saw with Tenet recently. In this case particularly, pirates prefer to pay for quality. With Mulan the situation is different. Soon after the movie appeared on Disney+, high quality pirated copies were widely shared. These are direct competitors to, and substitutes for, the official release. Finally, there are many regions where Mulan is simply not legally available. This means that for some the only option is to wait for several months avoiding all spoilers, or go down the illegal route. There may be other factors that play a role as well but steep costs, low availability, and high-quality pirate alternatives certainly play a major role. While it may be tempting to conclude that Disney’s strategy backfired, that conclusion is too easy to reach. Game of Thrones was widely known as the most pirated TV-show for years, but all the buzz surrounding the show also resulted in many new HBO subscriptions. Disney may hope for the same. The company has a dedicated anti-piracy department and knew what to expect. Perhaps they didn’t anticipate this piracy bonanza, but if it resulted in an equal boost in new subscriptions, they likely won’t complain. Source: TorrentFreak
  25. Disney Plus won its first Emmy awards last night, thanks to The Mandalorian Mandalorian won big in several technical categories If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement. The Mandalorian was one of the first shows to premiere on Disney’s streaming service when it launched in November 2019, and now it’s the reason Disney Plus won its first Emmy awards. The streamer won five Creative Emmys last night for various visual and audio effects seen in a number of Mandalorian episodes. The Mandalorian won awards for Outstanding Special Visual Effects, Outstanding Cinematography for a Single Camera Series, Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series, Outstanding Sound Editing for a Comedy or Drama Series, and Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Program. The event can be watched on the Creative Arts Emmys website. The Mandalorian was nominated for 19 awards in total, including Outstanding Performance by a Guest Actor (for Giancarlo Esposito’s role as Moff Gideon) and Outstanding Drama. The latter nomination came as a surprise to many — likely including Disney executives — as the company made no real effort to even campaign the series as an Outstanding Drama contender during the “for your consideration” period. While anything is possible, the chances of The Mandalorian actually winning Outstanding Drama — and beating shows like Watchmen, Succession, and The Crown — seems pretty slim. The Creative Emmys continue leading up the actual annual Emmy Awards primetime telecast on Sunday, September 20th. Jimmy Kimmel is back to host the first virtual Emmys, which kicks off at 8PM ET on ABC. Disney Plus won its first Emmy awards last night, thanks to The Mandalorian
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