Star Wars, Marvel Films Moving From Netflix to Disney Streaming Service

Via Variety.com:

Disney CEO Bob Iger on Thursday delivered a blow to Netflix, saying the company had decided to move Marvel and “Star Wars” films to its forthcoming streaming service, set to launch in 2019.

The announcement ends speculation about what would happen to the Marvel and Lucasfilm titles currently being streamed on Netflix. When the Walt Disney Company announced last month that it would launch a Disney-branded direct-to-consumer streaming service, Iger said Disney and Pixar movies on Netflix would move to the planned streaming service.

“We’ve now decided we will put the Marvel and ‘Star Wars’ movies on this app as well,” Iger said during a question-and-answer session at Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media’s communications and entertainment conference held at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

Iger also narrowed the time frame when the Disney streaming service will launch, saying he expects it will go live in late 2019. The announcement of a streaming platform signaled Disney felt ready to compete in the digital streaming space that Netflix has dominated in recent years. Netflix has been ramping up its original offerings in an effort to reduce its dependency on licensing content like Disney hits “Zootopia,” “Finding Dory,” and “Rogue One.”

Shortly after Disney announced its plans, Netflix hit back by poaching ABC Television hitmaker Shonda Rhimes in an exclusive overall deal. Rhimes, the “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal” creator, has spent more then a decade at Disney’s ABC. The development came amid negotiations between Disney and Netflix over the streaming rights to Marvel and Lucasfilm titles.

Iger offered a few more details Thursday about its streaming service, saying Disney plans to produce four or five original movies per year, as well as an equal number of original series and TV movies. A price for the subscription has not yet been announced.

Investors didn’t seem to be cheered by Iger’s announcement. Disney shares were down about 4% in midday trading after the news broke, on what has so far been a down day overall for the Dow and S&P 500 indexes.

Netflix shares, on the other hand, were not hurt by the Disney news, nor did they see a bounce. Shares were up about 30 cents, or less than 1%, in midday trading.

‘Star Wars,’ Among Art Directors Guild Award Nominees

Via Hollywoodreporter.com:

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Mad Max: Fury Road, Bridge of Spies and The Martian are among the nominees for the Art Directors Guild’s 20th annual Excellence in Production Design Awards, which will be presented Jan. 31 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.

The guild recognizes work in feature film in three categories: period, fantasy and contemporary.

Nominees in the category for period films include Bridge of Spies (whose production designer, Adam Stockhausen, won an Oscar last year for The Grand Budapest Hotel), Crimson Peak, Danish Girl, The Revenant and Trumbo.

The fantasy film nominees are Cinderella, Jurassic World, Fury Road, The Force Awakens and Tomorrowland. And in the contemporary film category, the ADG nominated Ex Machina, Joy, Martian, Sicario and Spectre.

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‘Star Wars,’ – ACE Eddie Awards Nominee

Via Variety.com:

The American Cinema Editors nominated “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” for best film editing of a dramatic feature Monday. It is the first industry awards group to recognize J.J. Abrams’ record-breaking sequel.

Prior to the film’s world premiere in mid-December, Disney opted out of screening it for groups with early voting deadlines, like the Screen Actors Guild. ACE balloting ran from Dec. 4 through Dec. 29, wrapping up just as the Lucasfilm blockbuster crossed the $600 million mark at the domestic box office in record time.

Raking in another $88 million over the weekend, “The Force Awakens” is on course to eclipse “Avatar’s” all-time mark by the end of Tuesday.

Also nominated in the dramatic category was “The Martian,” contradictory to the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.’s controversial comedy classification earlier this season.

The two films were joined by “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “The Revenant” and “Sicario.”

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‘Star Wars’

Via Nytimes.com:

Three important things happened in the middle of 1977, each separated by a little more than a month: “Star Wars” was released, I celebrated my 11th birthday and Elvis Presley died. One of those things is not like the others, I know, and strictly speaking there wasn’t then and isn’t now anything beyond calendar coincidence that links them together. But those random events nonetheless go a long way toward explaining my relationship to popular culture.

And not only mine, of course. Modern life is a series of generational milestones. We calibrate our collective identities according to the shared experience of public events, including hit movies and popular songs. Whether we like them or not, those become part of the architecture of our private selves and also a kind of currency we trade with our peers. Elvis, in his mid-40s at the time of his death, was for kids like me immutably the property of the old, a reminder of the moment in our parents’ youth when everything had changed. The Beatles represented a similar, slightly more recent earthquake: They too belonged to the past. We had sung their songs in nursery school and heard them on “Sesame Street.” Nostalgia had claimed them. “Star Wars” was different. It was ours — our own special tectonic shift, after which the landscape was forever altered.

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New Maine Summer Camp Mixes Shakespeare, ‘Star Wars’

Via Pressherald.com:

Ever wondered what Chewbacca would say if Shakespeare had written “Star Wars”? Would Yoda’s sage advice be taken more seriously if his speech was peppered with thees and thithers?

The stars would seem an unlikely place to meet the Elizabethan Bard, but that is the aim of a new summer camp at Kents Hill School.

The two-week day camp, being run by the newly formed Maine Stage Theater Company, hopes to introduce young people to Shakespearean language through a dramatization of Ian Doescher’s adaptation, “William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, a New Hope.”

“I think it’s an astonishingly good idea,” said Samuel Richards, who will direct the camp and the play.

“It sounds like tremendous fun and kind of a tweak of the old guys.”

Richards has secured the facilities and the councilors. Now all he needs is the campers.

“We need at least 30 campers to pull something like this off and we have like seven,” Richards said.

The camp, open to anyone ages 12 to 19, is set to run 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday Aug. 10-22.

The $400 registration fee, which includes lunch each day, must be submitted by Friday to run the camp this year, Richards said.

“If it doesn’t work this year, it could be a great run-up to do it right next year,” he said.

The theater company has already secured the Kents Hill facilities next year, when Richards hopes to offer both day and overnight camps.

Todd Wheelden, director of auxiliary programs for Kents Hill, said the school typically hosts sports camps, but the theater company offers a chance to showcase the school and its facilities to a wider range of young people and parents. The school has transformed the former Newton Hall basketball court into a theater.

“It’s a great facility, and we’re really hoping to get it out to the community,” Wheelden said.

He said the camp gives the theater company a quality venue and the school a chance to attract would-be students.

“It can be kind of a two-way street,” Wheelden said. “We’re looking to collaborate and work for both of our interests.”

The Maine Stage Theater Company is the brainchild of Richards, who over the past few decades has produced dozens of plays; and musicals starring juvenile actors most notably as the head of the Southern Maine Association of Shakespearean Home-schoolers.

Now Richards wants to create the same learning opportunities for all students, not just those who are home schooled.

“I’ve been doing Shakespeare through home school for 25-plus years,” Richards said.

“What I kept hearing was, ‘What a shame the kids from public schools can’t have some of this.’”

Richards has been talking about forming the new theater company for the past few years, but those plans took off when Larisa Batchelder, who helped produce SMASH plays, put together a business plan and connected with Kents Hill.

The camp has drawn support from a number of people anxious to help with all levels of production from set creation to sound.

“We’re trying to get people in the community involved, especially since we’re losing the extra theater programs in schools these days,” Batchelder said.

Richards said the camp will be fun, but it also will be intense. The two weeks will end with a public performance, which means there will be a lot of work to do and a short time to prepare. He compared it to crunch week of SMASH performances, when it is not uncommon to put in 10-hour days.

The camp is an opportunity to learn every phase of putting on a play and how a theater is run.

“Kids who don’t necessarily want to be on stage can come and participate,” Batchelder said. “Whether they’re working behind the scenes or in front of the scenes, everyone will learn about Shakespeare, Shakespearean speech and have a lot of fun.”

For more information on Maine Stage Theater Company, call Larisa Batchelder at 500-2189 or email her at LarisaBatchelder@yahoo.com.

Luke Skywalker, Heir to the Jedi

Heir to the Jedi, by Kevin Hearne

Heir to the Jedi, by Kevin Hearne

 

In August 2012, Heir to the Jedi was announced at Star Wars Celebration VI. At the time, the novel was without a final title, and simply described as a first-person story about Luke Skywalker after the events of A New Hope. This was somewhat intriguing, as only one other Star Wars book has been written in first-person to date: I, Jedi. Shortly after the book’s initial announcement, Jennifer Heddle (the Senior Editor of LucasBooks) stated on Twitter that Hearne had submitted an outline for the novel. She also boasted that the outline was very funny, a somewhat unique description for a Star Wars novel.

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STAR WARS, A FAMILY AFFAIR

Via Starwars.com:

The Star Wars saga is the story about the Skywalker family and how their lives had an impact on an entire galaxy. This family connection also exists outside of the movies, with a lot of actors and crewmembers being related to each other. This holiday season we bring you and your family a look at these special bonds.

Probably the most well known family connection that exists, besides the Lucas family, is that of Denis Lawson, who played Wedge Antilles in the original trilogy and his nephew, Ewan McGregor.

Denis Lawson grew up in Crieff, a tiny provincial Scottish village, but realized that for his chosen career path of acting he had to leave his beloved town. After beginning with a small role on West End in the stage production of The Metamorphosis, his star rose quickly thanks to roles he played in the TV series Merchant of Venice and Rock Follies before landing the role of Wedge Antilles. He’s been busy in the 37 years since, appearing in too many series, movies, and theater productions to mention here now. In 2001 he returned to his role as Wedge to voice him for the Nintendo GameCube game Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II — Rogue Leader.

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