In just over one month, Disney+ will join the streaming wars and The W Disney Company is not messing around when it comes to competing alongside Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. In fact, they’re paying special attention to undercutting Netflix, who is easily the top dog among streaming services, adding more and more content to their library every day. This includes yet another price reduction promotion that makes the services cost just under $5 per month, as well as actively keeping Netflix advertisements off of most Disney-owned networks.
While Disney+ was already appealing to consumers with a pricetag of just $6.99 per month, a recent Founder’s Circle promotion was even more enticing. The offer for D23 subscribers allowed consumers to pay for three years of the service upfront for around $141, which was $69 less than what it would cost at the regular price. That deal is actually still available to D23 members until October 11 and it’s free to sign up at the lowest level to qualify. But if that’s too much work for you, there’s a new deal available.
For a limited time, The Orlando Sentinel points out you can get three years of Disney+ for a total of $169.99. That’s $40 off what would normally be $209.99 at the usual monthly rate. All you have to do is go to the Disney+ sign-up site and enter the promo code “PARKSPASS3YEARS” to get your discount. With that deal, you’ll be getting Disney+ for a little less than $5 a month for the next three years.
The only downside to this new deal, much like the previous Founder’s Circle discount, is that you have to pay upfront for three years. But don’t forget that Disney is going to be beefing up their library with a lot of content in the first year alone, and only more will be added as time goes on. That includes all of the upcoming original Star Wars and Marvel Studios shows and plenty of upcoming original movies that won’t be available on any other streaming service, especially Netflix. Speaking of which…
Netflix Ads Banned from Disney Networks
With the streaming wars about to get more competitive than ever, Disney+ is already building up their defenses and lashing out at some of their competitors. Earlier this year, Disney made an effort to block any advertising on their channels like ABC and Freeform from rival streaming services. That means commercials for any programs from Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV+ and more wouldn’t have been seen on any networks owned by The W Disney Company.
However, Disney made their stance a little less harsh after compromising with many of the other streaming services. The company said via The Wall Street Journal that they modified their initial ban on all competing streaming advertisements in order to “reflect the comprehensive business relationships we have with many of these companies.” But Netflix remained out in the wind, and they’ll stay that way for the foreseeable future since Disney doesn’t see a mutually beneficial relationship by letting Netflix advertising on their channels though ESPN will still allow Netflix commercials. After all, Netflix doesn’t have any advertisements on their app or website, so there’s no possible promotion for Disney+ or any of their programming.
As the streaming wars continue, we might see more networks choosing to avoid advertising from competing streaming services. Don’t be surprised of NBCUniversal’s Peacock and Warner Media’s HBO Max result in those media corporations getting stingy about advertising on any networks they might own too. Executives at various TV companies have discussed some other options, such as limiting how much advertising money can come from streaming services or charging a premium price for ad space.
Sony has been developing its Masters of the Universe reboot since 2007, hoping to launch a new blockbuster franchise. But now the studio is considering avoiding a potential box office flop by dumping the movie right on Netflix. While Sony still has a stake in Spider-Man, its non-Spidey franchises haven’t done so well. Case in point: this year’s Men In Black: International was panned by critics and flopped at the box office. While nothing is official yet, a new report reveals Sony is considering taking Masters of the Universe right to streaming to avoid a repeat of the Men of Black incident.
THR has the scoop on the Masters of the Universe reboot potentially ending up on Netflix. Sony currently has the film slated for a theatrical release in March of 2021, but an insider tells THR that “studio chairman Tom Rothman is exploring the prospect of getting risk-free cash for the pricey project by making it for Netflix instead.”
Netflix currently has the Masters of the Universe related animated series She-Ra and The Princesses of Power and an upcoming Kevin Smith-led He-Man anime series, which would make the Masters of the Universe movie fit right in. Whether or not Sony does sell Masters of the Universe to Netflix, this concept is definitely the start of a trend in Hollywood. The THR story states:
Studios selling to streamers is an accelerating trend: Paramount is looking into dedicating a division to that purpose, while a source with knowledge of the situation says Sony’s TriStar label is devoting resources to streaming deals. And indie studio A24 inked a multi-year agreement in 2018 to produce a slate of films for Apple.
Studios have been combating streaming services for years, but now that it’s clear streaming isn’t going away they’re realizing it’s time to embrace them. As a source tells THR, studios are “turning around and saying, ‘Let’s join ‘em. We can’t beat ‘em.'”
Last year Paramount ended up dropping The Cloverfield Paradox direct to Netflix rather than release the project in theaters. From a business standpoint, this all makes sense. Studios have been discovering that very few movies – except maybe superhero movies – end up scoring big at the box office. Why risk paltry box office returns when you can send something directly to streaming instead?
The Masters of the Universe reboot has changed creative hands several times since 2007. The project was originally at Warner Bros, before landing at Sony. At one point, McG was announced as a director for the film. McG eventually left the project, and David S. Goyer was announced as writer and potential director. That didn’t pan out either, and the Nee Brothers are now attached to direct, with Art Marcum and Matt Holloway writing the script, and Noah Centineo playing He-Man.
Alicia Vikander returns for her first major leading film role since 2018’s “Tomb Raider” with the Netflix neo-noir “Earthquake Bird.”
Adapted from a novel by Susanna Jones, the film stars Vikander as Lucy, an American expat living in 1980s Tokyo who falls into a dangerous relationship with a native photographer, played by Naoki Kobayashi. Vikander meets Lily, played by Riley Keough recently seen in “Under the Silver Lake,” but even better in TV’s “The Girlfriend Experience”. Lily is new to Japan, but just as soon vanishes under eerie circumstances. The film also stars Jack Huston.
“Earthquake Bird” is written and directed by Wash Westmoreland, whose “Colette” earned acclaim for Keira Knightley in 2018, while his “Still Alice” won Julianne Moore an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Westmoreland spoke with Entertainment Weekly, which had the exclusive trailer, about making “Earthquake Bird” on-location, including at Toho Studios, where many of the contemporary and classic “Godzilla” films were shot.
“Working with Alicia was kind of a dream,” the filmmaker told Entertainment Weekly about collaborating with Vikander, an Academy Award winner herself for “The Danish Girl.”
“The part was very demanding. About 20 percent of it is in Japanese, so we needed an actor who would actually study and learn Japanese by rote so she could pull off these scenes,” Westmoreland said. “Alicia has just such a high standard of excellence for everything she does, and she completely aced that part of the challenge. But also, just on a day-to-day level, she's such a complex and interesting actress, and she always brings so much depth and nuance to every scene.”
Westmoreland also said, “It was a terrific experience to go there and work at Toho Studios, at the center of the Japanese film industry… Yes, there's a big statue of Godzilla right outside the studio. We actually did shoot a scene in the water tank where the original Godzilla comes out of the sea. So you could feel the vibrations!”
“Earthquake Bird” is set for theatrical engagements beginning November 1 before a Netflix streaming bow on November 15 — in the company’s tradition of now providing an ample window for exhibitors before streaming their movies.
Watch the first trailer for “Earthquake Bird” below.
Sanjay Patel's new series Ghee Happyhas been greenlit by Netflix. The animated show from director-animator-illustrator is a playful reimagining of the Hindu deities as little kids discovering their powers in a deity daycare appropriately called Ghee Happy.
An animated version of Sanjay Patel. Netflix
Patel's resume includes an array of iconic Pixar films including Monsters Inc., Ratatouille, Cars, Toy Story 2 as well as both installments of The Incredibles. Inspired by his own childhood, Sanjay helmed the short animated film Sanjay's Super Team, which was paired with The Good Dinosaur. The short was inspired by his own childhood was nominated for Best Animated Short Film at the 88th Academy Awards and for Best Animated Short Subject at the 43rd Annie Awards.
“For the past 25 years I've been working in kids and family entertainment without having kids of my own,” said Patel. “Having finally become a parent, I'm so excited and lucky to be able to create a preschool series that introduces the great pantheon of Hindu Deities, not just into a beautiful and colorful series that is truly entertaining and original to my kiddos, but to families around the world.”
Ghee Happy is the latest in a slate of Netflix original animated series from all over the world, including Rajiv Chilaka's Mighty Little Bheem as well as the upcoming Dragons: Rescue Riders from DreamWorks Animation, Dino Girl Gauko from Akira Shigino, Kid Cosmic from Craig McCracken, Trash Truck from Max Keane, City of Ghosts from Elizabeth Ito, Centaurworld from Megan Nicole Dong, Maya and the Three from Jorge Gutierrez, Battle Kitty from Matt Layzell,and Mama K's Team 4 from Malenga Mulendema. Netflix Animation is also developing a number of animated series with Chris Nee under her overall agreement with the studio.
Everest director Baltasar Kormákur is making a supernatural volcano drama for Netflix.
The Icelandic auteur has co-created Katla with Trapped showrunner Sigurjón Kjartansson. The eight-part series is set in Iceland and begins one year after the violent eruption of the subglacial volcano Katla, which dramatically disturbs the peace and tranquility of the small town of Vik.
As people evacuate the area, the ice near the volcano starts to melt. The few remaining people manage to provide necessary community service and despite its grand location the area turns out somewhat apocalyptic. Mysterious elements, that have been deeply frozen into the glacier from prehistoric times, start to emerge from the melting ice and cause consequences no one could have ever foreseen.
Production is set to start on the project, which is written by is written by Kjartansson, Lilja Sigurðardóttir and Davíð Már Stefánsson, in 2020.
Kormákur has been developing the series, which is produced by his own RVK Studios, for a number of years and took it to Berlinale in 2017, where a number of linear broadcasters were thought to have been interested.
Deadline understands it is one of two projects that Kormákur is working on for Netflix — the other is thought to be a feature film.
“It's an exciting challenge to embark on this journey on Katla with Netflix and we're honored to be the first Icelandic production team to be commissioned to deliver a full series. Katla is a unique and ambitious sci-fi project that has been in development within my company, RVK Studios for a few years and we're delighted that it now has been picked up by Netflix,” said Kormákur.
Tesha Crawford, Director Netflix International Originals Northern Europe, added, “Iceland has been the home for so many series and films over the years. We are excited to be able to feature it's breathtaking surroundings in a story that is so grounded in Icelandic themes. Working with such an acclaimed talent like Baltasar Kormákur makes this project a perfect set up for us. We can't wait to see this story come to life and bring it to our members all across the globe.”
[Editor’s Note: The following story contains spoilers for Season 1 of “The Politician.”]
As with any Ryan Murphy show, the season finale of “The Politician” took a big swing, jumping ahead in time three years in order to set up a brand new reality for Season 2. With the introduction of Judith Light and Bette Midler’s characters, and the final revelation that Ben Platt’s Payton Hobart will be mounting a campaign for New York State Senator, Murphy once again proved that anything is possible in his universe. Series regular Lucy Boynton, who plays school mean girl Astrid, put it succinctly: “You know [Season 2 is] gonna be so different from Season 1. It has to be, it's Ryan.”
Just how different the second season of the soapy political drama will be is yet to be seen, but judging from the shenanigans in Season 1, Murphy will continue to push the envelope. Though we’re told actual details are being kept as mum as those for a Marvel movie, the cast members of Netflix’s popular teen dramedy have their own hopes for their characters — not to mention everyone else’s. Will Payton and Alice’s fraught romance last? Will James and McAffee become more than mere henchman? How long will we have to wait to see Judith Light and Ben Platt duke it out on the debate stage, with Bette Midler biting her nails backstage?
During a recent slate of in-person interviews, much of the main cast shared their hopes for Season 2 of “The Politician.”
Ben Platt Payton Hobart:
“Obviously Season 2 will follow that election and I'm really excited to go toe to toe with Judith [Light]. I would hope that it would continue to explore this larger question of authenticity and feigned authenticity. When [Payton] is getting involved now in the real world of politics and we don't have sort of the cover of, like, a high school sheen, how does that battle then manifest as far as how much can you get away with curating your image? I'm sure there'll also be lots of hot article [inspiration] – the way there has been in the first season with gun control and voter fraud and all of that.”
“I would love to see what a ‘healthy’ actual human relationship might do for Payton, like a romantic one. Both of his romantic relationships in Season 1 are obviously very fraught for different reasons. One is very wrapped up in the tactic and one is no longer alive, so to see how an actual steady romantic relationship might pull him in either direction — of like blind ambition, sacrificing that, or leaning into the empathy and authenticity — would be interesting.”
Zoey Deutch Infinity Jackson:
Zooey Deutch and Ben Platt in “The Politician”
Greg Gayne / Netflix
“Because Infinity is so smart and she is a survivor and she is a product of her victim of her environment, I'd be really interested to see what she morphs into. And if there is some semblance of awareness that comes to play. I think at the present there's not a ton of awareness.”
Lucy Boynton Astrid Sloan:
“I'm excited to see her actually be her, because I think the majority of Season 1 we see her as this constructed version of herself. She has cast herself as the school mean girl, but then that starts to break down. We only really see her beginning to enter that new questioning of who she actually is and what she stands for. So I'll be interested to see what she's actually like. But also hope that while she's working that out you do get incremental moments of old Astrid and new Astrid.”
“I hope they all stick around. I'm excited to see how differently they'll interact. Especially in this new political sphere, as we see at the end of Season 1, the game will definitely change. High school rules don't apply anymore, so to see how they adapt to that will be really interesting.”
Theo Germaine James Sullivan:
“I wanna see what’s going on behind the scenes with James a little bit. I wanna see what his relationship with Alice is in Season 2, like what comes up between the two of them, because they haven't seen each other in a long time. James is so connected to Payton that I'm curious to see, even when the time passes and they're in college together, does he become a little more independent?”
“He's also kind of one of the grounded keepers of Payton. If Payton is the big, wild, flashy personality, James is the ultimate sidekick, and maybe part of his identity is just being the best support he can be in order to make this thing happen.”