Stan Lee Universe Licenses Stan Lee Name and Likeness to Marvel Studios

Stan Lee Universe, Genius Brands International’s Genius Brands controlled venture with POW! Entertainment, has signed a 20-year deal to license the name and likeness of Stan Lee to Marvel Studios for future feature films and television productions, as well as use in Disney theme parks and experiences worldwide.

“We are proud to be the stewards of the incredibly valuable rights to Stan Lee’s name, likeness, merchandise and intellectual property brand,” said Andy Heyward, chairman and CEO of Genius Brands, in a statement. “And, there is no better place than Marvel and Disney where Stan should be for his movies and theme park experiences.  As we enter the centennial year of Stan’s birthday, December 28, 2022, we are thrilled to see his memory and legacy will continue to delight fans through this new long-term agreement with Marvel.”

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Under the terms of the deal, Marvel Studios has acquired rights to use Stan Lee’s name, voice, likeness and signature in movies and television projects, as well as use images, existing footage and existing audio recordings featuring Lee. Exclusive rights to use Stan Lee’s name, voice, likeness and signature in theme parks, water parks, cruise lines and in-park merchandise were included for Disney Parks, experiences and products as part of the deal.

“As Stan’s longtime business partner and friend, I’m looking forward to commemorating his work in this new way,” said Gill Champion, president of POW! Entertainment, in a statement. “Building a connection with his fans is important to us and it’s a privilege to get to do that on his behalf.”

As Marvel’s editor-in-chief, Stan Lee helped build a universe of interlocking continuity, with super heroes from Spider-Man to the Fantastic Four, Thor, Iron Man, the Hulk, the X-Men and more. Lee went on to become Marvel’s editorial director and publisher in 1972 and was eventually named chairman emeritus.

His well-known cameos in Marvel films began in the 1989 telefilm The Trial of the Incredible Hulk. After the release of X-Men in 2000, he appeared in nearly every Marvel film and television project until his passing in 2018.

Sony Looks to Reclaim Box Office Supremacy With ‘Morbius’ Debut

Sony Pictures’ decision to shelve tentpole movies until theaters re-opened to full capacity from the pandemic has redoubled moviegoer interest for theatrical releases such as Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, Spider-Man: No Way Home and, most recently, Uncharted.

Now, the studio is debuting a new comic book anti-hero Marvel character in Morbius, starring Jared Leto as a biochemist who inadvertently infects himself with a form of vampirism.

The movie is projected to generate upwards of $33 million in ticket sales across 4,000 North American screens, which should unseat Paramount Pictures’ box office chart topper for the past two weekends: The Lost City. The latter, co-starring Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum, is expected to see another $16 million in ticket sales, which could extend the movie’s domestic haul near $56 million.

Morbius is off to a strong start, generating $5.7 million in Thursday screenings.

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Separately, Paramount is bowing The Contractor, starring Chris Pine, in limited release. The movie was acquired from STX Entertainment.

Other weekend returnees include The Batman, the Warner Bros. Pictures’ reboot that should realize another $11.5 million in ticket sales to bring its North American total above $350 million; and Uncharted with $3.3 million and $138.7 million overall.

‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ Swings to Top of Weekly Vudu Chart

Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: No Way Home debuted in the top spot on the chart of the 10 most-popular titles on Fandango’s transactional digital service Vudu the week ended March 20.

The Marvel Studios film became available for digital purchase March 15. As the film begins, the friendly neighborhood hero’s identity is revealed, bringing his superhero responsibilities into conflict with his normal life and putting those he cares about most at risk, including MJ (Zendaya). When he enlists Doctor Strange’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) help to restore his secret, the spell tears a hole in the world, releasing the most powerful villains who’ve ever fought a Spider-Man in any universe. Peter (Tom Holland) will have to overcome his greatest challenge yet, which will not only forever alter his own future but the future of the Multiverse. 

The canine buddy comedy Dog fell from No. 1 to No. 2 on the chart. Available for premium digital rental, the MGM film follows an Army ranger (Channing Tatum) who races down the Pacific Coast with an Army dog named Lulu to make it to a fellow soldier’s funeral on time. Along the way, they drive each other crazy.

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Illumination’s Sing 2 fell from No. 2 to No. 3 on the chart. The animated sequel, distributed by Universal Pictures, is available for digital purchase. It follows the animal singers as they plan a new show and try to persuade the world’s most reclusive rock star, Clay Callaway (voice of Bono), to join them. The film also features the voices of Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson and Taron Egerton.

Universal’s Jennifer Lopez-Owen Wilson romcom Marry Me landed at No. 4 on the chart. The film, which became available for digital purchase March 13, follows a heartbroken pop star (Lopez) slated to marry her pop star fiancé on stage who instead marries a stranger from the audience (Wilson).

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Also new to Vudu’s chart for the week was the supernatural horror thriller The Cursed, which landed at No. 5. Set in the late 1800s, the film follows a man who arrives in a remote country village to investigate an attack by a wild animal but discovers a deeper and sinister force that has the manor and its townspeople in its grip. The film is available for premium digital purchase and rental.

Vudu’s top 10 titles for the week ended March 20, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. Spider-Man: No Way Home
  2. Dog
  3. Sing 2
  4. Marry Me
  5. The Cursed
  6. The Matrix Resurrections
  7. American Underdog
  8. Scream (2022)
  9. Blacklight
  10. Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Disney+ Bows Trailer for New Original Series ‘Ms. Marvel’ Debuting June 8

Disney+ released the trailer and poster for Marvel Studios’ series “Ms. Marvel,” which will launch exclusively on the streaming service on June 8.

The trailer gives viewers a first look at the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s newest superhero as she tries to balance high-school life, her family and her emerging superpowers. 

Marvel Studios’ “Ms. Marvel” introduces Kamala Khan, a Muslim American teenager growing up in Jersey City. An avid gamer and a voracious fan-fiction scribe, Kamala is a superhero mega fan with an oversized imagination — particularly when it comes to Captain Marvel. Yet Kamala feels like she doesn’t fit in at school and sometimes even at home — that is, until she gets super powers like the heroes she’s always looked up to.

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Iman Vellani stars as Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel. The cast also includes Aramis Knight, Saagar Shaikh, Rish Shah, Zenobia Shroff, Mohan Kapur, Matt Lintz, Yasmeen Fletcher, Laith Nakli, Azhar Usman, Travina Springer and Nimra Bucha.

 

‘Eternals’ Debuts Atop Disc Sales Charts

Disney-owned Marvel Studios’ Eternals easily topped both the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc chart the week ended Feb. 19.

The film, about a group of aliens that have been secretly protecting and guiding the growth of human civilization for thousands of years, earned $164.9 million at the domestic box office.

Another Disney release, the animated Encanto, remained No. 2 on the overall disc sales chart for a second week, but slipped to No. 3 on the Blu-ray chart after having debuted in the top spot there a week earlier.

Similarly, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife slipped to No. 3 on the overall disc sales chart after two weeks in the top spot there, but held steady at No. 2 on the Blu-ray Disc chart.

No. 4 on the overall disc sales chart, and No. 5 on the Blu-ray chart, was Sony Pictures’ Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City. The seventh “Resident Evil” film is a reboot of the film series based on the popular video game franchise of the same name.

The No. 5 overall disc seller, and No. 4 on the Blu-ray Disc sales chart, was Warner’s new adaptation of Dune, holding the same spots it did a week earlier.

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The only other new release to crack the top 20 was BBC Studio’s Doctor Who: Flux, the 13th season of the venerable sci-fi television franchise since it relaunched in 2005. It was No. 14 overall and No. 15 on the Blu-ray Disc chart.

Blu-ray disc formats accounted for 67% of first-week Eternals sales, with 37% from regular Blu-ray and 30% from 4K Ultra HD (meaning 33% was from legacy DVD). The new “Doctor Who” release had 47% of its sales from Blu-ray.

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The Media Play News rental chart the week ended Feb. 20 had Ghostbusters: Afterlife in the top spot for a third week.

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City remained No. 2, with Paramount’s Clifford the Big Red Dog moving up a spot to No. 3.

Encanto made its first appearance on the rental chart at No. 4 after a week’s delay, pushing Warner’s King Richard to No. 5.

Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 2-19-22
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 2-20-22
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 2-19-22
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 2-19-22
Sales Report for Week Ended 2-19-22
Digital Transactions Snapshot for Week Ended 2-21-22

‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ Headed to Digital March 15, Disc April 12

The Marvel Studios film Spider-Man: No Way Home will head to digital March 15, and DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc April 12 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

As the film begins, the friendly neighborhood hero’s identity is revealed, bringing his superhero responsibilities into conflict with his normal life and putting those he cares about most at risk, including MJ (Zendaya). When he enlists Doctor Strange’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) help to restore his secret, the spell tears a hole in the world, releasing the most powerful villains who’ve ever fought a Spider-Man in any universe. Peter (Tom Holland) will have to overcome his greatest challenge yet, which will not only forever alter his own future but the future of the Multiverse. 

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Bonus materials on the Blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD and digital editions include a bloopers and gag reel; alternate reality Easter eggs; seven behind-the-scenes featurettes; and two panels. DVD bonus features include two behind-the-scenes featurettes.

Merchandising: ‘Eternals’ Exclusives Arrive

Disney-owned Marvel Studios’ Eternals arrived at retail Feb. 15 with exclusive editions from each of the three major national home entertainment retail chains.

The 26th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe casts the history of Earth in a different light as 10 alien protectors visit the planet thousands of years ago to protect humanity from hostile predators called Deviants, while also guiding the advancement of civilization through the ages.

Best Buy offered its typical Steelbook edition of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack of the film for $34.99.

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Target’s 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack also cost $34.99, but offered exclusive box art and two foil-etched prints.

Target’s ‘Eternals’ 4K Blu-ray

The Walmart 4K combo pack edition contained a limited-edition enamel pin for $34.96.

Walmart’s ‘Eternals’ 4K Blu-ray

Feb. 15 Lineup of New DVD and Blu-ray Releases Led by ‘Eternals’

Feb. 15 sees the Blu-ray Disc and DVD releases of big titles such as Disney-owned Marvel Studios’ Eternals and Sony Pictures’ Julia.

Disney-owned Marvel Studios’ Eternals is set to make its retail debut on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Feb. 15. The packaged-media releases include bonus material such as deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes featurettes, filmmaker audio commentary and a gag reel. Eternals, which has generated $164.9 million at the North American box office, and $402 million globally, follows a group of ancient heroes from beyond the stars who have protected Earth since the dawn of man. When monstrous creatures called Deviants, long thought lost to history, mysteriously return, the superheroes are forced to reunite in order to defend humanity once again. Read a review here.

The documentary Julia, about cookbook author and television star Julia Child, will be released on DVD Feb. 15 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Using never-before-seen archival footage, personal photos, first-person narratives and cutting-edge food cinematography, the documentary traces Child’s 12-year struggle to create and publish the revolutionary Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961), which has sold more than 2.5 million copies to date, and her rapid ascent to become the country’s most unlikely television star. It’s the empowering story of a woman who found her purpose — and her fame — at 50, and took America along on the whole delicious journey. The film was an official selection at the Telluride Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, Hamptons International Film Festival, Mill Valley Film Festival, AFI Fest, among other film festivals. It was nominated at the Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards for Best Historical or Biographical Documentary and Best Score.

Lionsgate releases the pro-wrestling drama Heels: The Complete First Season on DVD Feb. 15. Set in a close-knit Georgia community, the Starz series follows a struggling small-town family owned wrestling promotion, the Duffy Wrestling League, as two brothers and rivals, Jack Spade (Stephen Amell) and Ace Space (Alexander Ludwig), war over their late father’s legacy. In the ring, someone must play the good guy, the face (Ace), and someone must play their nemesis, the heel (Jack). But in the real world, those characters can be hard to live up to — or hard to leave behind. The cast also includes Mary McCormack, Kelli Berglund and Allen Maldonado. The first season consists of eight episodes.

The South Korean thriller Seobok: Project Clone will be released through digital retailers and on Blu-ray and DVD Feb. 15 from Well Go USA Entertainment. In the film, a former intelligence agent is assigned to transport the first ever human clone to a new safe location. Because the robotic clone holds the secret to immortality, evil organizations are bent on kidnapping him to extract the dark secret. As the enemy closes in, the pair is forced to make an impossible choice. Directed by Lee Yong Zoo (Possessed), the film stars Gong Yoo (Train to Busan, “Squid Game”), Park Bo Gum (Love in the Moonlight, Hello Monster), and Jo Woo Jin (Steel Rain, The Book of Fish), plus popular television series stars Jang Young Nam (“It’s Okay to Not Be Okay,” “My Country: The New Age,” “Find Me in Your Memory”) and Park Byung Eun (“Arthdal Chronicles,” “Mystery Queen,” “Your Honor”). The release includes an English dub.

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Paramount Home Entertainment has set the thriller Run & Gun for digital sellthrough Feb. 15. After leaving a life of crime and violence, Ray is a reformed good guy, enjoying a quiet family life in the ‘burbs. But when his past is discovered, Ray is blackmailed into one last job to collect a mysterious package. After a deadly double-cross, he finds himself wounded and on the run from ruthless assassins who will stop at nothing to get what he has. Now, with the lives of his loved ones hanging in the balance and danger at every turn, Ray’s only hope is to draw upon his violent past to survive. The cast includes Ben Milliken, Brad William Henke, Janel Parrish, Mark Dacascos, Celestino Cornielle, Angela Sarafyan, Alison Thorton, Hudson Yang, Michelle Campbell, Ari Barkan, Rafael Cebrián and Richard Kind. It will be released on DVD and VOD March 1.

The Saban Films mystery thriller Here Before will be released on digital in the United States Feb. 15 from Well Go USA Entertainment. In the film, when a young girl and her family move next door, a grieving mother is convinced the child may be the reincarnation of her own deceased daughter, killed years earlier in an auto accident. As the mother’s obsession deepens, and the child claims to have been “here before,” a sinister secret surfaces that threatens to destroy both families. Here Before stars Andrea Riseborough (“Black Mirror,” “Possessor”), Jonjo O’Neill (“The Queen’s Gambit”) and Niamh Dornan.

Writer-director Rian Johnson’s Looper will be released on 4K Ultra HD Feb. 15 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment for its 10th anniversary. In the futuristic action thriller, time travel will be invented — but it will be illegal and only available on the black market. When the mob wants to get rid of someone, they will send their target 30 years into the past where a “looper” — a hired gun, like Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) — is waiting to mop up. Joe is getting rich and life is good until the day the mob decides to “close the loop,” sending back Joe’s future self (Bruce Willis) for assassination. The film also stars Emily Blunt, Paul Dano and Jeff Daniels.

Friday, Feb. 18 sees the release of the action thriller The King’s Man through digital retailers Feb. 18 from Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution. Set during World War I, The King’s Man tells the origin story of the world’s very first independent intelligence agency. As a collection of history’s worst tyrants and criminal masterminds gather to plot a war to wipe out millions across the globe, one man must race against time to stop them. Directed by Matthew Vaughn, the film stars Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton, Rhys Ifans, Matthew Goode, Tom Hollander, Harris Dickinson, Daniel Brühl, Djimon Hounsou and Charles Dance. Extras include a making-of documentary and several featurettes. The King’s Man arrives and on 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD Feb. 22. Also available digitally and in a Steelbook will be “The Kingsman Collection,” featuring all three films with bonus features together for the first time.

A complete list of new disc and digital releases, compiled each week by the Media Play News market research team, can be found here.

Disney+ Bows New Marvel Studios ‘Moon Knight’ Series Full-Length Trailer

The Jan. 17 NFC Super Wild Card blowout win by the Los Angeles Rams over the visiting Arizona Cardinals on ESPN/ABC was essentially a done deal at halftime. That left plenty of time for viewers to watch the exclusive full-length trailer for Marvel Studios’ new series “Moon Knight,” starring Oscar Issac, which is set to debut March 30 on Disney+.

The series follows Steven Grant (Issac), a mild-mannered gift-shop employee, who becomes plagued with blackouts and memories of another life. Steven discovers he has dissociative identity disorder and shares a body with mercenary Marc Spector (Ethan Hawke). As Steven/Marc’s enemies converge upon them, they must navigate their complex identities while thrust into a deadly mystery among the powerful gods of Egypt.

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Mohamed Diab and the team of Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead directed the episodes. Jeremy Slater is the head writer, and Kevin Feige, Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Brad Winderbaum, Diab, Jeremy Slater and Isaac are the executive producers. Grant Curtis, Trevor Waterson and Rebecca Kirsch serve as co-executive producers.

‘Shang-Chi’ Tops Disc Sales Charts for Second Week

Disney-owned Marvel Studios’ Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings secured the No. 1 spot for a second week on the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc units sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart the week ended Dec. 11.

In its second week, Shang-Chi had 64% of its tally come from Blu-ray Disc — 41% from regular Blu-ray and 23% from 4K UHD Blu-ray.

The week’s top new release, at No. 7 on the overall chart and No. 6 on the Blu-ray Disc chart, was Warner’s Cry Macho, directed by and starring Clint Eastwood as an aging former rodeo star and washed-up horse breeder in 1979 who takes a job from an ex-boss (Dwight Yoakam) to bring the man’s young son home from Mexico. Cry Macho title saw 59% of its sales come from DVD, 36% from regular Blu-ray and 5% from 4K.

No. 10 on the overall disc chart, and No. 3 on the Blu-ray chart, was another newcomer, Disney-owned 20th Century Studios’ Ron’s Gone Wrong, an animated movie about a boy trying to protect his defective robot. It had 61% of its unit sales from HD formats (50% Blu-ray and 11% 4K).

Warner’s fifth season of animated series “Rick and Morty” debuted at No. 13 on the overall disc chart, and No. 4 on the Blu-ray chart, thanks to 62% of its tally coming from the HD format.

No. 17 on the overall disc sales chart was another newcomer, Universal’s God’s Not Dead: We the People, the fourth film in the “God’s Not Dead” series.

The only other new release to land in the top 20 was Universal’s Dear Evan Hansen, an adaptation of the stage musical, at No. 20 overall and No. 14 on the Blu-ray chart. It had 48% of its units sales from Blu-ray Disc.

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The Media Play News rental chart the week ended Dec. 12 had Shang-Chi at No. 1, followed by Cry Macho at No. 2.

Universal’s Copshop was the No. 3 rental, followed by Disney’s Jungle Cruise at No. 3, and Disney-owned 20th Century Studios’ Free Guy at No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 12-11-21
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 12-12-21
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 12-11-21
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 12-11-21
Sales Report for Week Ended 12-11-21
Digital Transactions Snapshot for Week Ended 12-13-21