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Disney just bought everything from ‘The Simpsons’ to ‘X-Men’

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Rupert Murdoch… er… Mr. Burns with the Simpsons, who are now Disney property.

Image: FOX via Getty Images

It’s an arms race, and every media company is involved.

Disney announced its much-anticipated acquisition of a big piece of 21st Century Fox for $52.4 billion in stock. 

The move gives Disney four important assets as the Mickey Mouse operation moves to compete with rivals including Netflix and Amazon. 

Here’s what Disney is buying:

  • 21st Century Fox movie studio

  • FX and National geographic cable channels and some regional sports channels

  • Fox’s stake in Hulu

  • Fox’s stake in European cable company Sky

What Disney is not buying: the FOX broadcast channel, Fox News, and some other smaller stuff like newspapers. Those pieces are being spun off into a separate company that will be focused on news and sports.

The massive acquisition is the clearest sign yet that Disney is working to transform itself into a modern entertainment juggernaut, with the content and technology necessary to deliver the kind of on-demand experience that Netflix has pioneered. 

Content and technology make up the two big parts of this deal. On the content side, Disney is bolstering its already-deep library of movies and TV, while also acquiring the rights to major franchises for future production. That means popular characters like the X-Men and the Simpsons are now owned by Disney, which already has Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, and plenty more.

On the technology and distribution side, Disney’s acquisition of Sky is a major move into the international market. Disney noted in its press release that the expectation is for Fox’s move to acquire complete ownership of the cable company to go through before Disney’s acquisition goes through finalization and regulatory approval. 

This gives Disney a major distribution source outside the U.S., something it didn’t have before and a piece that will help it hold off Netflix and Amazon, which are growing internationally.

The end game here is a Netflix-style service from Disney that will be so chock full of great content that people won’t be able to say no. Disney will control the entire pipeline of the business from conception to production to release to distribution. 

Here’s where Hulu becomes an interesting part of this deal. Disney is now majority owner, but that doesn’t mean it can do whatever it wants with Hulu. BTIG Research analyst Rich Greenfield noted that Comcast still owns a chunk of Hulu and has the ability to block Disney from turning that service into its own version of Netflix. Disney could buy out Comcast, though Comcast might want to hang on so that it can block Disney from transforming Hulu.

Disney’s vertical integration — in this case adding distribution to content — follows on similar moves by other massive media companies in recent years. Comcast bought NBCUniversal. AT&T is buying Time Warner. All of these deals fused a distribution company with a content company. The only thing particularly different about the Disney-Fox deal is that it’s a content company buying into distribution, as opposed to the other way around. 

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/12/14/disney-fox-netflix-amazon/

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‘Fortnite’ composer Pinar Toprak will score ‘Captain Marvel’

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Image: Brian To/FilmMagic

“Turkish-American composer Pinar Toprak has been hired to compose the score for Captain Marvel, which will premiere in March of next year.

Even if you’re not a film score buff, there’s a good chance you’re already familiar with Toprak’s work. In addition to writing additional music for Justice League in 2017, she is responsible for some of the incredibly catchy music from Fortnite. Yes, the stuff that is stuck in your head all the time…….”

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‘Incredibles 2’ breaks box office records with a whopping $180 million

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Image: disney pixar

“For every unmitigated disaster like Solo, there are multiple other box office hits for Disney. Incredibles 2 is the latest.

The 14-years-later sequel is on a pace to finish off its opening weekend with a $180 million box office haul in the United States. That’s the highest opening to date for any animated release, and for any PG-rated release as well. It’s also the eighth-largest domestic opening weekend ever, overall.

Incredibles 2 soars past another Pixar sequel, Finding Dory, the previous top animated opener. The Finding Nemo sequel launched in 2016 on the same June weekend as Incredibles 2, but it only (only!) managed to pull in $135.1 million in its first three days.

The new $180 million bar will be a tough one for future competitors to beat, though even that record is bound to eventually fall. Inflation and rising ticket prices all but ensure it.

Disney currently has three recent releases in the weekend box office top 10. Solo: A Star Wars Story comes in at #4 on this weekend’s chart, with an estimated $9.1 million. That brings its domestic total up to $192.8 million.

Solo will probably cross $200 million domestic in the next week or two, but it’s currently the lowest-earning live action Star Wars movie to date. There’s even some question at this point as to whether or not it will manage to beat The Empire Strikes Back. Not accounting for inflation, that second-ever Star Wars movie ended its box office run in 1980 with $209.4 million.

Disney’s lowest entrant on this weekend’s box office top 10 is Avengers: Infinity War, at #8. The April 2018 release is still kicking in its eight week after hitting theaters. It picked up an estimated $5.3 million this weekend…..”

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/06/17/incredibles-2-opening-weekend-box-office-records/

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Apple and Oprah sign a multi-year partnership on original content

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Apple announced today a multi-year content partnership with Oprah Winfrey to produce programs for the tech company’s upcoming video-streaming service. Apple didn’t provide any specific details as to what sort of projects Winfrey would be involved in, but there will be more than one it seems.

Apple shared the news of its deal with Winfrey in a brief statement on its website, which read:

Apple today announced a unique, multi-year content partnership with Oprah Winfrey, the esteemed producer, actress, talk show host, philanthropist and CEO of OWN.

Together, Winfrey and Apple will create original programs that embrace her incomparable ability to connect with audiences around the world.

Winfrey’s projects will be released as part of a lineup of original content from Apple.

The deal is a significant high-profile win for Apple, which has been busy filing out its lineup with an array of talent in recent months.

The streaming service also will include a reboot of Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Storiesa Reese Witherspoon- and Jennifer Aniston-starring series set in the world of morning TVan adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation books, a thriller starring Octavia Spencer, a Kristen Wiig-led comedy, a Kevin Durant-inspired scripted basketball show, a series from “La La Land’s” director and several other shows.

Winfrey, however, is not just another showrunner or producer. She’s a media giant who has worked across film, network and cable TV, print and more as an actress, talk show host, creator and producer.

She’s also a notable philanthropist, having contributed more than $100 million to provide education to academically gifted girls from disadvantaged backgrounds, and is continually discussed as a potential presidential candidate, though she said that’s not for her.

On television, Winfrey’s Harpo Productions developed daytime TV shows like “Dr. Phil,” “The Dr. Oz Show” and “Rachael Ray.” Harpo Films produced several Academy Award-winning movies, including “Selma,” which featured Winfrey in a starring role. She’s also acted in a variety of productions over the years, like “The Color Purple,” which scored her an Oscar nom, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” and Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time.”

Winfrey also founded the cable network OWN in 2011 in partnership with Discovery Communications, and has exec produced series including “Queen Sugar,” “Oprah’s Master Class” and the Emmy-winning “Super Soul Sunday.”

The latter has a connection with Apple as it debuted as a podcast called “Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations” and became a No. 1 program on Apple Podcasts.

Winfrey recently extended her contract with OWN through 2025, so it’s unclear how much time she’ll devote specifically toward her Apple projects.

Apple also didn’t say if Winfrey will star or guest in any of the programs themselves, but that’s always an option on the table with a deal like this. CNN, however, is reporting that Winfrey “is expected to have an on-screen role as a host and interviewer.”

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2018/06/15/apple-and-oprah-sign-a-multi-year-partnership-on-original-content/

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