Netflix Makes Deal with Russo Brothers for Animated Series Based on ‘Magic: The Gathering’

Netflix is joining forces with Joe and Anthony Russo, Wizards of the Coast, and Hasbro’s Allspark Animation to bring the game franchise “Magic: The Gathering” to the screen for the first time in the franchise’s 25-year history with an animated series of the same name.

The Russos (Avengers: Infinity WarsAvengers: Endgame) will oversee the creation of a new storyline and expand on the stories of the Planeswalkers, the franchise’s magic-wielding heroes and villains. They will also executive produce the series.

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Created in 1993, the “Magic” franchise has connected with more than 38 million fans over the last 25 years and has been published in 11 languages and played in over 70 countries. Fans currently experience the series through the tabletop trading card game, the digital game Magic: The Gathering Arena, a New York Times bestselling novel, a comic book series and professional esports league.

The “Magic: The Gathering” animated series will feature creative talent from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, “Batman: The Animated Series,” “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” Firefly, “Agent Carter,” Ultimate Spider-Man and the Lego movies.

“We have been huge fans and players of Magic: The Gathering for as long as it has been around, so being able to help bring these stories to life through animation is a true passion project for us,” said Joe and Anthony Russo in a statement.

“Working with Joe and Anthony, Wizards of the Coast, and Netflix on such a universally cherished brand is a real highlight for our studio,” stated Isaac Krauss, CEO of Octopie, which will oversee production of the series. “Our goal is to not only tell a compelling story leveraging ‘Magic: The Gathering’s’ incredible body of work, but to also push the medium and perception of storytelling through animation. This series will cross the genres of suspenseful thriller, horror, and drama with deeply developed characters the likes of which are not often seen in animation.”

“More fans are enjoying ‘Magic’ now than at any time in its 25-year history thanks to the enduring popularity of the tabletop game and our latest release War of the Spark, as well as the incredible success of our new digital game, Magic: The Gathering Arena.” said Chris Cocks, president of Wizards of the Coast, in a statement. “We’re thrilled to collaborate with Joe and Anthony Russo to bring ‘Magic: The Gathering’s’ rich and diverse cast of characters and worlds to Netflix in a way that will delight our many fans and those new to the franchise.”

“’Magic’ is a beloved global franchise with a massively engaged fan base that has only continued to grow over the last 25 years,” said John Derderian, head of anime programming for Netflix, in a statement. “There’s no one better suited to bring this story to audiences around the world than Joe and Anthony Russo, whose talent for genre storytelling is unmatched, as demonstrated by their central role in creating some of the biggest box office hits of all time.”

Hulu to Premiere New Kids’ Animated Series ‘The Bravest Knight’ June 21

Hulu June 21 will premiere the first five episodes of a 13-episode order of the new Hulu Original animated kids’ series “The Bravest Knight.”

Based on children’s book by Daniel Errico, The Bravest Knight Who Ever Lived, the story chronicles a young pumpkin farmer’s adventure as he attempts to become the bravest knight who ever lived. The new series features a household with two dads (Sir Cedric and Prince Andrew), making it one of the first children’s television series with an openly gay main character, according to a Hulu press release.

Hulu “continues to be a supporter of LGBTQ content and creators,” according to the release.

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Sir Cedric, now grown and married to the prince of his dreams, shares the story with his adopted 10-year-old daughter Nia of how he transformed from farmer to knight. Nia, who is training to become a knight herself, learns important values such as honor, justice and compassion.

The cast includes T.R. Knight as Sir Cedric, Bobby Moynihan as young Cedric’s troll sidekick Grunt and Storm Reid as Nia. The show also features the voice talents of RuPaul, Christine Baranski, Wanda Sykes, Wilson Cruz, Teri Polo, Steven Weber, Donna Murphy, AJ McLean, Dot-Marie Jones, Maz Jobrani, Chance Hurstfield and others.

Disney’s ‘Cinderella’ Waltzes to Digital June 18, Disc June 25 for Its 70th

For its upcoming 70th anniversary, Cinderella will waltz into the Walt Disney Signature Collection on digital HD (including Movies Anywhere) June 18 and Blu-ray and DVD June 25.

Recently added to the National Film Registry, the animated classic centers on kind and hardworking Cinderella, who is ordered around by her cruel stepmother and her awful stepsisters. When an invitation to the royal ball arrives, Cinderella is left at home. Just when Cinderella believes all is lost, her Fairy Godmother appears and with a wave of her wand transforms her night.

Cinderella is the ninth title to join the Walt Disney Signature Collection, which includes Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Beauty and the Beast, Pinocchio, Bambi, The Lion King, Lady and the Tramp, Peter Pan and The Little Mermaid.

The anniversary edition of Cinderella offers two new extras: Cinderella trivia and fun facts, hosted by Ruth Righi and Ava Kolker from Disney Channel’s “Sydney to the Max,” and “In Walt’s Words: Enhanced Edition,” a special edition of Cinderella featuring production details, original storyboards, archival photos, thumbnail sketches and transcripts throughout the feature film.

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Hours of previously released bonus materials celebrate the animation, music and impact of Cinderella, showcasing Walt Disney’s core group of animators, the art of Disney legend Mary Blair, the original demo recording of the film’s title song and Cinderella’s iconic glass slipper. They include:

  • Diane Disney Miller Cinderella film intro, in which Miller describes how Cinderella helped launch a studio renaissance;
  • “The Real Fairy Godmother,” about the real-life inspiration for the Fairy Godmother, Mary Alice O’Connor, wife of Disney layout artist Ken O’Connor;
  • “Behind the Magic: A New Disney Princess Fairyland,” showing how Imagineers created a Fantasyland at Walt Disney World featuring each of the Disney princesses; and
  • “The Magic of the Glass Slipper,” in which world-famous shoe designer Christian Louboutin creates a very exclusive “Glass Slipper” in honor of the Disney classic.

‘How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World’ Flies to Top of FandangoNow Chart

The animated How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World was the top film purchased and/or rented on FandangoNow for the week ended May 5.

FandangoNow is movie site Fandango’s transactional VOD service.

The Universal film, the third in the series about a boy and his dragon, made $160 million at the box office. The “How to Train Your Dragon Trilogy” came in at No. 9, showing there was strong interest in the franchise for the week.

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Landing at No. 2 was the Warner romantic comedy sendup Isn’t It Romantic, starring Rebel Wilson. Wilson and Anne Hathaway star in the current theatrical release The Hustle, which perhaps boosted interest in the Wilson title.

Universal’s Glass, from filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan, came in third on the FandangoNow chart, while Universal’s Fighting With My Family, a wrestling story starring Dwayne Johnson, landed at No. 4.

In the No. 5 spot was Lionsgate’s Cold Pursuit, starring Liam Neeson as a grieving snowplow driver who seeks revenge against the drug dealers who killed his son. The film earned $32 million at the box office.

The top 10 films purchased and/or rented on FandangoNow for the week ended May 5 were:

  1. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World *
  2. Isn’t It Romantic *
  3. Glass *
  4. Fighting With My Family
  5. Cold Pursuit *
  6. Aquaman *
  7. Serenity
  8. The Mule *
  9. How to Train Your Dragon Trilogy *
  10. Arctic *

 

*Available in 4K

Netflix Acquires Kids Property StoryBots

Netflix has acquired the StoryBots property, the Emmy, Annie, and Parents’ Choice award-winning children’s media brand created by Gregg and Evan Spiridellis.

The brothers have entered into an overall deal with Netflix to significantly expand the universe of the StoryBots. Netflix and the Spiridellis brothers will produce more StoryBots original programming, such as series and short form specials, while also expanding the brand into new areas, according to a Netflix press release.

“The acquisition is a sign of Netflix’s commitment to bring educational content to its growing member base of kids and families around the world,” according to the release.

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The audience for the Netflix original animated series “Ask the StoryBots” has “grown significantly year over year since it first started streaming in 2016,” according to the release.

The series makes use of multiple formats, including 3D, 2D, claymation, stop motion and live action and features guest stars such as Snoop Dogg, Edward Norton, Whoopi Goldberg and Wanda Sykes. It takes kids on a journey to seek answers to questions such as, “Why is the sky blue?” and “How does night happen?”

“’Ask The StoryBots’ has a proven track record of synthesizing complex subjects into bite-sized lessons that are funny and entertaining for young kids and satisfying for parents,” said Netflix VP of original animation Melissa Cobb in a statement. “We are thrilled to welcome Gregg and Evan into the Netflix family and look forward to building out the wonderful and whimsical StoryBots world, finding new ways to delight our growing member base of families around the world.”

“Together with Netflix, our goal is to make StoryBots the leading educational entertainment brand for connected kids and families globally,” said StoryBots co-founders Evan and Gregg Spiridellis in a statement. “We want kids from Argentina to Zambia growing up laughing and learning with StoryBots that feel native to their culture. We see this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring something epically good into the world.”

Season three of “Ask the StoryBots” launches on Netflix this Fall.

Animated ‘Wonder Park’ Rides to Digital June 4, Disc June 18 From Paramount

The animated adventure Wonder Park will be released on digital June 4 and Blu-ray combo pack and DVD June 18 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

It’s the story of a young girl named June who makes an incredible discovery — the amusement park of her dreams has come to life filled with wild rides operated by fun-loving animals. When trouble hits, June and her misfit team of furry friends begin an unforgettable journey to save the park. Wonder Park features the voices of Jennifer Garner, Mila Kunis, John Oliver, Kenan Thompson and Ken Jeong, among others.

The film made $45.2 million at the box office.

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The Blu-ray combo pack includes access to a digital copy as well as bonus content, including the deleted scene “Gus Yodeling”; “The Wonder Chimp Channel”; “The Pi Song Sing-Along”; “Making Noises (It’s Actually a Job?!!)”; “June’s Guide to Wonderland”; “June’s Welcoming Crew”; “Boardwalk Caricatures”; “Drawing Boomer”; “Drawing the Wonder Chimp Pirate”; and “Drawing the Wonder Chimp Princess.”

Best Animated Film Oscar Nominee ‘Mirai’ Coming to Disc and Digital April 9 From Universal

The Academy Award nominee for Best Animated Film, Mirai, is coming out on Blu-ray combo pack, DVD, digital (including Movies Anywhere) and on demand April 9 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

The Japanese film follows a young boy who embarks on a fantastical journey when his new baby sister is born and learns the importance of family. The voice cast includes John Cho, (Star Trek, Searching), Rebecca Hall (The TownChristine), and Daniel Dae Kim (“LOST,” “Hawaii Five-0”).

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Mirai is the first animated feature from Japan to garner a Golden Globe nomination for Best Animated Feature and is the 2019 Annie Award winner for Best Animated Feature — Independent.

Bonus features on Blu-ray and digital include Japanese cast interviews, in which the cast of the original language version of Mirai is interviewed by host Hiroyuki Amano; “Mirai at Cannes Film Festival,” in which director Mamoru Hosoda and Moka Kamishiraishi (voice of Kun) attend the Cannes Film Festival for the world premiere of Mirai; “The New World of Mamoru Hosoda,” a behind-the-scenes look at Studio Chizu with Hosoda as he builds a new world for Mirai; “Mirai in Japan,” in which the  the director and cast of Mirai greet audiences across Japan following the release of the film; “Mamoru Hosoda Visits Toyoma Prefecture,” in which Gen Hoshino (voice of Father) gets a special tour of Studio Chizu guided by the director; and a message from the director and Japanese cast of Mirai to their future selves.

Bonus features on Blu-ray, digital and DVD include an interview with the director; “Visiting Studio Chizu,” in which Gen Hoshino (voice of Father) gets a special tour of the studio guided by the director; trailers and TV spots.

‘Incredibles 2’ First Day Sales Set Record on FandangoNow

Pixar and Disney’s Incredibles 2 Oct. 23 posted the best-ever first day sales for an animated movie on streaming service FandangoNow, according to Fandango.

The first day sales surpassed first day sales for previous record-holder Disney’s Moana.

Fans buying Incredibles 2 on FandangoNow also get the Pixar short, “Bao,” and the new Edna Mode short, “Auntie Edna.”

Incredibles 2 is the kind of movie you want to bring home to your family and watch again and again,” said Fandango managing editor Erik Davis in a statement. “It’s no wonder that America’s favorite family of superheroes would smash the record for best first day sales of any animated movie on FandangoNow.”

Top Animated Films in First Days of Sales on FandangoNow

  1. “Incredibles 2”
  2. “Moana”
  3. “The Boss Baby”
  4. “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation”
  5. “Coco”

 

Earlier this year, Incredibles 2 also broke the Fandango record for top advance ticket sales for any animated film in theatrical release.

Oscar Winning Director Guillermo Del Toro to Produce Animated ‘Pinocchio’ for Netflix

Academy Award-winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro is making his animated feature film directorial debut at Netflix with Pinocchio, which he will also write and produce as a stop-motion musical.

Pinocchio will be del Toro’s first feature film since The Shape of Water, which garnered four Academy Awards last year, including for Best Director and Best Picture.

Del Toro has set his retelling of the classic tale of Pinocchio in Italy during the 1930s.

“No art form has influenced my life and my work more than animation and no single character in history has had as deep of a personal connection to me as Pinocchio,” said del Toro in a statement. “In our story, Pinocchio is an innocent soul with an uncaring father who gets lost in a world he cannot comprehend. He embarks on an extraordinary journey that leaves him with a deep understanding of his father and the real world. I’ve wanted to make this movie for as long as I can remember. After the incredible experience we have had on ‘Trollhunters,’ I am grateful that the talented team at Netflix is giving me the opportunity of a lifetime to introduce audiences everywhere to my version of this strange puppet-turned-real-boy.”

“Throughout his distinguished career, Guillermo has exhibited mastery in inspiring people through his magical worlds filled with unforgettable and magnificent characters, from the monsters in Pan’s Labyrinth to the aquatic creature in The Shape of Water,” said Melissa Cobb, VP of kids and family at Netflix. “We are incredibly excited to expand our relationship with Guillermo and we know that his deeply touching vision for bringing Pinocchio to life on Netflix will be embraced by audiences the world over.”

This marks an expansion of Netflix’s existing relationship with del Toro, who created the Emmy award-winning television series DreamWorks’ “Trollhunters,” the first installment of the DreamWorks’ “Tales of Arcadia” trilogy. He is also the creator of the upcoming Netflix series, “Guillermo de Toro Presents 10 After Midnight.”

Pinocchio is a production of Guillermo del Toro, The Jim Henson Company (The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance), and ShadowMachine (“Bojack Horseman,” “The Shivering Truth”), which will house the stop-motion animation production.

Netflix expects production on Pinocchio to begin this fall.

‘Incredibles 2’ Home Video to Include ‘Auntie Edna’ Mini Movie

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment will release Pixar’s Incredibles 2 digitally Oct. 23 and on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Nov. 6.

The sequel, which picks up directly after the events of the 2004 original film, finds Helen (voiced by Holly Hunter) recruited to be the face of a public relations effort to restore the legal status of superheroes, leaving Bob (Craig T. Nelson) to deal with keeping track of their super-powered children, including the emerging powers of baby Jack-Jack.

In his Twitter feed Sept. 5, director Brad Bird announced the in-home release of the hit animated superhero film will include the short film Auntie Edna, detailing the events of the night Edna Mode babysat Jack-Jack.

“Many of you have suggested we show what transpired the night E babysat Jack-Jack. Well, we were WAAAY ahead of you!” Bird tweeted.

The new short, which will be available with the Blu-ray and digital versions of the film, would parallel a mini-movie called Jack-Jack Attack that was included with the DVD of the first Incredibles in 2005, which chronicled the baby’s night with a babysitter during the events of that film.

Incredibles 2 has earned more than $602 million at the domestic box office and $1.17 billion worldwide.

The Blu-ray, DVD and digital versions of the film will include audio commentary and the short film Bao.

In addition to the Auntie Edna short, the Blu-ray and digital releases will also include 10 deleted scenes with introductions outtakes; a collection of mini-documentaries about the film’s heroes and villains; the featurette “Super Stuff,” about the design of the “Incredibles” world; a profile of production designer Ralph Eggleston; the featurette Strong Coffee: A Lesson in Animation With Brad Bird,” a profile of the director and his history with Pixar;”Paths to Pixar: Everyday Heroes,” a featurette that focuses on the parents who worked on the film and their personal connections to it; “SuperBaby,” a hybrid of documentary and music video that looks at how Jack-Jack came to life onscreen; a “SuperBaby” music video; character theme songs; vintage toy commercial TV spots; a toolkit montage; global Incredibles 2 trailers; and a behind-the-scenes featurette about the making of Bao.

Digital bonus materials may vary depending on the retailer.

Digital versions of the film will include two exclusive extras: “The Coolest Guy in Show Business,” a partially illustrated documentary about Samuel L. Jackson’s love of comic books; and two “SuperScene Breakdowns,” an in-depth examination of the making of two scenes in the film.