Disney’s first quarter with 20th Century Fox was hardly a success, as major box office flops like “Dark Phoenix” lost the company $170 million. A new report from Variety, entitled “Fox Feels the Pressure From Disney As Film Flops Mount,” reveals how Disney is moving ahead on the Fox film projects it acquired after the $71.3 billion deal. The merger means Disney now owns and releases films from indie powerhouse Fox Searchlight Pictures. First out of the gate this fall from the 25-year-old indie studio is Taika Waititi’s “Jojo Rabbit.” The Nazi Germany-set comedy-drama is billed as an “anti-hate satire” and features Waititi playing an imaginary version of Adolf Hitler, hardly the content associated with Disney’s family-friendly brand.
According to Variety, the Nazi subject matter at the heart of “Jojo Rabbit” is worrying some Disney executives. Variety’s report reads: “The scathing takedown of Nazism may, however, prove a little too edgy for Disney brass accustomed to producing movies suitable for parents and kids. Searchlight has started to screen the film for its new parent company. Halfway through one recent viewing one executive grew audibly uncomfortable, worrying aloud that the material would alienate Disney fans.”
Disney+ not only boasts the parent company’s already impressive catalog but new serialized programming from the likes of Lucasfilm and Marvel Studios. The thing is, despite the fact that the Mouse’s highest corporate entity oversees these and many other offshoots, this doesn’t mean that things are going to be uniform. Such is the case for Marvel Studios and Marvel Television, which are two entirely different entities. Kevin Feige manages the former, which constitutes the MCU, while Jeph Loeb runs the latter, which includes Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the Netflix shows and more.
They aren’t the same thing. So, while Feige and company are spearheading new Disney+ shows like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki and WandaVision, Loeb and his group are doing their own thing. As the Marvel TV head told Deadline in a new interview, however, they will be producing their own content for the new streaming service. “Marvel Television will be doing shows with Disney+, we just haven’t announced what we’re going to do there,” he said. Asked about when those shows would be announced, he added, “When we’re ready.”
If that isn’t confusing enough, though, don’t forget that Marvel TV has many, many other non-Marvel Studios irons in the fire, like Hulu’s Runaways and Freeform’s Cloak & Dagger. There’s also the company’s upcoming slate of live-action and animated shows, which includes the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spin-off Ghostrider and titles based on Howard the Duck, M.O.D.O.K, Hit-Monkey and Tigra and Dazzler. Together, this latter batch will come together to form The Offenders.
Aladdin 2 talks are currently happening at Disney. The studio, over the past handful of years, has been having a tremendous amount of financial success remaking some of their most beloved animated classics. This year, that has proved to be especially true. Now, producer Dan Lin reveals that a sequel to this year's Aladdin remake is very much in the cards.
Aladdin is making its way to home video later this month. Dan Lin was recently being interviewed in honor of the forthcoming release and was asked about the seemingly inevitable sequel. Lin wasn't particularly cagey. While the producer wouldn't dive into specifics, he was very clear about this being a project Disney is looking into. Here's what he had to say about it.
"We have now. We certainly when we first made the movie wanted to just make the best movie we could and let audiences tell us if they wanted to see more. And I would say resoundingly audiences want to see more. They've watched this movie multiple times. We have lots of fan letters about people who really go back and they bring their friends and bring their family. And so we feel like there's more story to tell.
We are going to treat it the same way we treat the original Aladdin movie and not going to do a shot by shot remake of anything that's been done before. We're really looking at what's been done before in the past and the home video, and there's just more story to tell with the underlying materials. So without giving away too much, we are certainly exploring where we can go with this franchise."
As Dan Lin alludes to, while no sequel to the original animated Aladdin was released theatrically, the franchise expanded elsewhere. Two direct-to-video sequels, 1994's Return of Jafar and 1996's Aladdin and the King of Thieves were produced. Plus, there was the relatively short-lived animated series. It's possible that Disney could find a meaty enough story for a sequel in there somewhere.
Directed by Guy Ritchie, Aladdin went on to become an unexpectedly huge hit. The marketing campaign was pretty rocky, with many concerned over Will Smith's portrayal as Genie. However, the movie went on to earn $1.03 billion at the global box office, making it one of the biggest hits of 2019. This, despite the fact that many critics weren't buying what Disney was selling, as the remake holds just a 57 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Yet, the audience responded and, at the end of the day, that's what matters. The Lion King had a very similar fate and has grossed more than $1.3 billion so far. The real question here would be getting Will Smith back on board to reprise his role as Genie. Smith is busy as ever and that could prove tricky. It's likely Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott would return as Aladdin and Jasmine, respectively. We'll be sure to keep you posted as further details on the possible project are made available. This news comes to us via Comicbook.com.
EXCLUSIVE: “When we start thinking about our shows, it’s how do we do better than we did the last time,” declares Marvel Television's chief Jeph Loeb as the small screen arm of the comic cyclopean heads into a new hydra no pun totally intended of offerings. “We will never be a factory. We don't know how to be a factory. There is no Marvel prototype.”
Certainly, as the last year has seen the end of Daredevil, Iron Fist, Punisher, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones on Netflix, the series finale of Legion tonight and the conclusion of ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the next year or so, as Deadline exclusively reported last month, Marvel TV is looking for new worlds to conquer — or more like galaxies according to the EVP and multi-Eisner Awards winner.
With a live action Ghost Rider, an animated Howard The Duck and a more adult-intended series and genres coming to the now Disney-controlled Hulu, plus the launch of the Disney+ streaming service this fall, Marvel TV has, to paraphrase Loeb, risen like a phoenix from what some were assuming to be ashes. Then there's hushed talk of a “brand new” Marvel series on broadcast too, as we heard at the TCA last week
Coming off a Comic-Con last month that saw S.H.L.E.L.D. make its Hall H debut for a long goodbye, Loeb sat down with me to talk all things Marvel TV, clear up some misconceptions, lay down some expectations and reveal how this installment of the masterplan really works.
DEADLINE: So, S.H.I.E.L.D. is coming to an end after Season 7, several new shows are coming on Hulu, crossovers, Legion ending on FX and more. So, where is Marvel TV now and going forward?
LOEB: Well, the most exciting thing right now is finding the new corners. When we start talking about Marvel Television, we like to look at the different families.
DEADLINE: What are those clans?
LOEB: So the Marvel heroes are the ones that are most closely associated with the movies, so that would be S.H.I.E.L.D., and that would be Agent Carter. They came from the movies, our two leads were actually in the movies.
Then the next group is the Marvel Street-Level Heroes, or the Marvel Knights, as we sometimes call them here. So, if the Marvel heroes are here to save the universe, the Marvel Street-Level Heroes, the Marvel Knights, often they are just to save themselves, to save the neighborhood.
Some of those appeared on Netflix, but there are others that live in that category, which are still to come.
Then we took a look at the Marvel Universe that was upcoming and we knew that Tom Holland was going to be playing the role of Peter Parker in Spider-man, so the idea of YA, the idea of young heroes was something that got us very excited because it works really well on television.
DEADLINE: If has become one of the major streams for you in a very short time with Cloak & Dagger on Freeform and Runaways on Hulu, both now Disney controlled units ...
LOEB: … and great casts and really completely different shows in terms of tone, and yet, you can see how those kids would mix well together
DEADLINE: The much-rumored Cloak & Dagger and Runaways crossover has become official, is this going to be just a one-off even though the two outlets have shared corporate parenthood?
LOEB: This is something we’ve wanted to do since Season 1on both shows. We hope it’s the first of many. It’s one of the many benefits of having all our shows on Disney-based platforms. It is a shared universe. #itsallconnected!
DEADLINE: In that vein, ABC’s Karey Burke revealed at TCA that you guys are in active talks on a new project for them that will be a female focus character. What can you tell us about that project and is it intended to air while S.H.I.E.L.D is still on ABC or afterwards?
LOEB: That’s classified. Sorry!
DEADLINE: What's open information is that Legion wraps up its three-season run on FX tonight. The Noah Hawley helmed series was a very different type of show for Marvel in some people’s mind and very much indicative of your scope at the same time. I know you’ve talked about this a bit before, but looking back over the three seasons of Legion , what is your perspective on the series, Noah and maybe even more Legion down the line?
LOEB: It’s a remarkable show created and visualized by an extraordinary filmmaker. Noah carried this from the start - told us how he wanted the show to begin and how he wanted it to end - and we’ve respected that. Having FX as our partner made it very exciting as well from both a creative and marketing stand point.
As to the future, that world and those characters will always be there. It’s our hope that Noah will want to return to them is any capacity he thinks is worth telling. FX remains a huge priority for us because we can tell those unexpected stories there and John Landgraf is something of a visionary himself. They “get” us and we “get” them. We like all of that.
DEADLINE: On the flip-side, under the same corporate umbrella, there’s going to be all these Disney+ shows, Scarlet Witch and Vision, Winter Soldier and Falcon, there’s a number of them, do you feel that there is a potential of too much Marvel?
LOEB: Well, first of all, I have to make something very clear, which is those are shows that are created and run and the responsibility of the motion picture studio. Secondly, Marvel Television will be doing shows with Disney+, we just haven't announced what we're going to do there.
DEADLINE: And when do you think we're going to hear what Marvel TV's Disney+ offerings are?
LOEB: When we're ready.
DEADLINE: OK, but let's shift a bit to the Fox assets and some of the Marvel properties that they had licenses to – does that raise new opportunities in terms of what you guys are looking at what you want to go forward with?
LOEB: Too soon to tell.
DEADLINE: C'mon, really?
LOEB: Honestly, it’s just too soon
DEADLINE: What you do know now that you like with a new affection is animation, which of course was Marvel TV's primary pillar before S.H.I.E.L.D. debuted in the fall of 2013. What turned the spotlight back on the 'toons, so to speak for you?
LOEB: I’m a huge Archer fan, and Dan Buckley, who's the president of all things other than the studio here at Marvel, and I started talking about how we have this mutual love of animation and also pushing that wall. The idea of doing something that was more adult, some of which was started with the idea of doing Deadpool animated. What we really liked was the notion of putting together a group of titles that could then be a group, as we had done with Defenders.
DEADLINE: How did you construct your band of misfits?
LOEB: We just started looking through things that made us laugh, and you know Patton Oswalt playing M.O.D.O.K., Will and Josh, who had this take on Hit-Monkey, the idea of a monkey assassin just made us smile. When Chelsea Handler and Erica Rivinoja came in, and we started talking about how do we do what we sort of refer to as Laverne and Shirley in the Marvel Universe...
DEADLINE: It’s a very good way of putting it, by the way …
LOEB: When you put Tigra and Dazzler together and you know that Chelsea's going to voice Tigra, you just know that's going to be just fun, and then it was just inevitable that we were going to do Howard the Duck, and we just knew that the kind o f Howard the Duck we wanted to do was not going to be a live action guy in a suit or a CG creature, or whatever, we just wanted to do it as a straight ahead, smart, funny, political...
DEADLINE: Is he going to run for president like in the comics?
LOEB: LAUGHS We'll see what happens.
DEADLINE: Still the best issue of that whole series ...
LOEB: One of them for sure, it is absolutely wonderful. But when you have voices like Kevin Smith and Dave Willis, you just know how smart that show's going to be.
Then we're going to put them all together in this thing called the Offenders, which makes me smile. You know in the original pitch it was, the team that nobody asked for. It was just such the perfect marriage of tone and network with Hulu
DEADLINE: You like that relationship, clearly...
LOEB: Oh Yes! And I have to give real credit to the people at Hulu for that.
DEADLINE: That's just good corporate politics ...
LOEB: Yes, but a lot of times the reason why Marvel lands on a platform is because of the people. When they get it, when they want us. I’ve been on the other side of that, I’ve been the writer producer, who's tried to work with the network, and there’s a whole agenda that's going on that you don't know anything about, you’re just making your show. We try to tell people that when a network invites Marvel in, they’re getting Marvel.
DEADLINE: What does that mean to you?
LOEB: That they’re getting this brand that's known throughout the world. It’s just a different kind of strategizing, which is what's the best way that we can tell the world that Marvel adult animation is on Hulu, for example.
We were talking to them, and they started scratching because when you look at the success that they've had with Castle Rock and the world of terror. Something that really interested us and interested them, and we always knew that we were going to do something with Ghost Rider, we were just waiting for the right place to put it.
Then we started having the same conversation, which was there is in the comic book world the Spirit of Vengeance, and they are this sort of unusual group of characters, which involve Ghost Rider, which involve Helstrom, which involve Helstrom's sister, Anna. We suddenly saw that there were three or four shows that we could put together that we now refer to as Adventure into Fear.
DEADLINE: Is that Marvel Horror under another name?
LOEB: No, it's terror, because when you say horror, it means so many different things. There’s everything from Saw, which is the last thing that we want to do, gore-fest kind of thing to there’s a monster running around. What we love is the notion of how we can present a Marvel hero who was truly feared and truly believed that they were a monster, but that, as the stories go on, they realize, oh, I’m the hero of the story, I’m not the villain of the story. That's not something we've ever done before. So we started with Ghost Rider, we went out and managed to get Gabriel Luna to come back and reproduce the role he played on S.H.I.E.L.D. Then we're going to do Helstrom, and then there’s a couple more that we haven't yet revealed to the world.
DEADLINE: It's a new twist after the Netflix situation, which started on such a high and end almost as a case of death by a thousand streaming cuts, didn't it?
LOEB: The hardest part was while the situation at Netflix of which I really can't go into other than to say that we were blindsided and the things that were to come weren't finished yet. We weren't ready to announce that, so there was this space in between it, so it did look like maybe we were going to go out Then suddenly, we were arising again like the Phoenix.
DEADLINE: Which is a good narrative in hindsight, no?
LOEB: Yes but not while you're in it. The truth of the matter is, we were on this thing where we said, oh wait, the bumper fell off the car, but the car's still going, but we couldn’t discuss any of that. So, in the end, however history's going to remember the story, all that's important to us is that we had an opportunity to change television by putting together four heroes, who then joined together in a group, and people have talked about it like this is unprecedented.
Now, we're going to do it again with the animated series, and then we're going to do it again with the fear-based series. It’s now become, for us, our model. We would rather try to find ways of putting together a group of characters so that when a platform meets with us to talk about what we want to do, we're trying to create a family on that platform.
DEADLINE: On the topic of platforms, there were rumors for at least a year of a Ghost Rider series on ABC?
LOEB: LAUGHS I know, you bugged us about it. But no, we never intended for it to be on ABC because we wanted to do a show that was more mature. Look, it has the weight in the best way that there had been a Daredevil movie, so that when there was a Daredevil television show, people knew the name. There was a lot of weight that came with the Daredevil movie that we had to shake off and prove ourselves that we could make a television show that became what it was. The good news is people love Gabe, people love the way that character works, the feature film levels special effects — and the part that's really exciting is we'll push it further. It will have a little fun that folks will really dig.
DEADLINE: So, what is it that you dig?
LOEB: When we start thinking about our shows, it’s how do we do better than we did the last time. That's partially why I could not be prouder of the people who work here because they all have that same ethic. We will never be a factory. We don't know how to be a factory. There is no Marvel prototype.
LOEB: No. Trust me, we don't know how to do that and tell the stories that we're telling.
That's why going back to the beginning, that's why we can do a Legion, a Daredevil, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., a Ghost Rider. I don't know any kind of corporation that makes a product that could do that kind of thing unless it’s at its core a storytelling machine. We have all different kinds of voices and genders and people who want to tell stories through the Marvel library, and when that happens, you get Marvel.
We believe that anyone can be a hero and that that enables you to tell stories about every single person on this planet, that's our real secret.
The Lion King is now officially Disney's biggest original hit ever at the box office. Original in that it isn't officially based on any existing intellectual property, such as the Marvel movies or anything from the Star Wars franchise. Granted, there remains intense debate as to whether or not Disney ripped off Kimba the White Lion, but since The Lion King isn't officially based on that particular cartoon, legally speaking, it's original. With what it brought in over the weekend, the movie has now taken its rightful place as king.
Over the weekend, the Jon Favreau-directed remake of The Lion King earned an additional $20 million at the domestic box office. It's total now stands at $473 million domestically and $861 million abroad, bringing its grand total to a mind-numbing $1.33 billion. That is especially staggering when factoring in the movie has been in theaters for less than a month. Either way, it now stands above Frozen $1.27 billion as the highest-grossing animated movie of all time. It has also passed Beauty and the Beast $1.25 billion to become the studio's most successful remake.
Overall, Disney has released just six movies that have grossed more. This year's Avengers: Endgame $2.79 billion, Star Wars: The Force Awakens $2.05 billion, Avengers: Infinity War $2.04 billion, The Avengers $1.51 billion, Avengers: Age of Ultron $1.4 billion and Black Panther $1.34 billion. All of those are part of pre-existing franchises, meaning The Lion King is about as big as it gets for something not connected to an adapted property. And considering that the remake still has a long way to go, it could easily jump up a few spots on the chart before all is said and done.
Related: Disney's Lion King Remake Reignites Controversy Over Original's Anime Origins
One interesting element to this whole thing is that there seems to be some confusion over what record or records The Lion King just broke. Even before the movie's release, people were debating whether or not this movie is live-action or animated. While it looks photorealistic, the entire movie save for one shot was created using CGI, so it is technically animated. Jon Favreau previously revealed that he slipped in one real shot at the beginning to see if anyone would notice, which really only serves to complicate matters.
Whatever anyone wants to call it, it's another brick in the impressive wall that is 2019 for Disney. The studio has already had a record-breaking year and they could wind up becoming the first studio to ever earn $10 billion at the box office in a single year. It's also worth mentioning The Lion King accomplished this, despite a mixed response from critics, as it currently holds a 52 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Yet, the audience rating is 88, so there is clearly a disconnect there, which seems to be an increasingly common occurrence. This news was previously reported by Forbes.
It's beginning to look like the upcoming Loki Disney+ series will directly set up Thor: Love and Thunder. Marvel Studios officially announced both projects at this year's San Diego Comic-Con and Marvel Cinematic Universe fans have more than a few questions. With that being said, there have been some rumors over the past few months in regard to Loki's mysterious return to the screen and they may have just been proven to be true.
The Loki TV series will see the fan-favorite character return after the events of Avengers: Endgame. In the movie, we briefly see the 2012 version of Loki escaping with the Tesseract. New alleged details about the Disney+ series indicate that he will indeed be traveling through world history, which would explain the concept art we saw featuring the character in the mid-1970s. Loki will be traveling through human history while changing historic events. However, how do those tie the show into Taika Waititi's Thor: Love and Thunder?
Apparently, the time traveling found in the Loki series will bring him up to the current MCU timeline. The series shows "The God of Mischief using the Tesseract to hop through the multiverse," according to a new report. Mjolnir will reportedly be joining the current MCU timeline too and this is how Natalie Portman's Jane Foster becomes Mighty Thor in Thor: Love and Thunder. It isn't clear how Loki will use the Tesseract for time travel, or how he'll be able to bring Mjolnir with him, but it is believed that the Disney+ series will end right before the events of the upcoming Thor movie.
Related: Thor: Love & Thunder: What Convinced Natalie Portman to Return to Marvel?
Obviously, these details in regard to the Loki series are unconfirmed at this time. But, the details surrounding the time travel factor seem to be legit. Both elements also add up to what Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige has been referencing when talking about all of the Disney+ shows on the way. According to Feige, each series will have a big and direct relationship with the MCU movies, which means the Loki show will reportedly have a big impact in setting up the storyline for Taika Waititi's Thor: Love and Thunder.
Taking all of this news into account, it would seem Tom Hiddleston will more than likely end up having a role in Thor: Love and Thunder. At this time, it has only been officially confirmed that Taika Waititi will take on directing duties again while Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, and Natalie Portman will star. MCU fans are also hoping Mark Ruffalo and some of the Guardians of the Galaxy might have a part in the highly anticipated sequel, along with Korg and Meik. We should learn more about Thor: Love and Thunder when the Loki series debuts, presumably in 2021. Production is expected to begin early next year. FandomWire was the first to report about the Loki and Thor: Love and Thunder connections.