Disney+ Bows Marvel Studios’ ‘Loki’ Series Trailer; Streaming Exclusively Starting June 11

Disney April 5 unveiled the trailer to the new Marvel Universe live-action series “Loki,” which will begin streaming exclusively June 11 on Disney+.

In the series, the mercurial villain Loki (Tom Hiddleston) resumes his role as the God of Mischief in a period that takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame.

After absconding with the Tesseract, Loki is a fish-out-of-water when he lands in a world of trouble with the bureaucratic TVA (Time Variance Authority). Joining Hiddleston’s return as the title character are Owen Wilson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Sophia Di Martino, Wunmi Mosaku and Richard E. Grant. Kate Herron directs and Michael Waldron is head writer.

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‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ Jumps Up Parrot’s Digital Originals Chart, but ‘WandaVision’ Leads for Fifth Week

“WandaVision,” the first Disney+ series set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, remained No. 1 for a fifth consecutive week on Parrot Analytics’ digital originals U.S. chart the week ended March 27. It had 42.3 times the demand of an average series after a 5.8% drop in demand expressions, the proprietary metric Parrot uses to gauge a show’s popularity. It was No. 8 on Parrot’s list of all TV shows.

Meanwhile, the second Disney+ Marvel original series, “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” jumped up to No. 4 on the digital originals chart after an 80% spike in demand expressions to give it 34.2 times average demand. The show, an extension of the “Captain America” side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, bowed its first of six weekly episodes March 19, just two weeks following the conclusion of “WandaVision.” It had been No. 13 the previous week.

Disney+ had a third show in the top five digital originals with the live-action “Star Wars” series “The Mandalorian,” though it dropped a spot from the week before, to No. 3, garnering 36.6 times the demand of the average show after another 1.3% dip in demand expressions.

Netflix’s perennially popular “Stranger Things” moved up to No. 2 on the digital originals chart with 39.3 times average demand and a 9.5% rise in demand expressions. It was No. 9 on the list of overall TV show demand.

Netflix’s “Cobra Kai” dropped a spot to No. 5 on the digital originals chart with 31.3 times average demand and a 2% drop in demand expressions.

With the animated “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” at No. 6, Disney+ had four shows in the top 10 digital originals, while Netflix had five, including “The Crown” at No. 8, “Lucifer” at No. 9, and “The Witcher” at No. 10.

The top 10 original not from one of those two streamers was HBO Max’s “Titans” at No. 7.

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A “digital original” is Parrot’s term for a multi-episode series in which the most recent season was first made available on a streaming platform such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu or Disney+.

The No. 1 overall TV series in terms of online demand was “SpongeBob SquarePants,” with 66.2 times average demand.

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Media Play News has teamed with Parrot Analytics to provide readers with a weekly top 10 of the most popular digital original TV series in the United States, based on the firm’s proprietary metric called Demand Expressions, which measures demand for TV content in a given market through a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites. Results are expressed as a comparison with the average demand for a TV show of any kind in the market.

Disney+ Proclaims Marvel’s ‘Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ Its Most Watched Series Premiere Ever

The Disney+ original series “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” from Marvel Studios ranked as the most watched series premiere ever on Disney+ during its March 19-22 opening weekend, and was the most-watched title overall for the same time period on a global basis, including in Disney+ Hotstar markets, according to the streaming service.

The premiere of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” joins the premieres of Marvel Studios’ first live-action series “WandaVision” and the season two premiere of “The Mandalorian” from Lucasfilm as the three most-watched Disney+ original series opening weekends to-date, the studio announced.

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“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” stars Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson aka The Falcon, and Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes aka the Winter Soldier. The pair, who came together in the final moments of Avengers: Endgame, team up on a global adventure that tests their abilities — and their patience.

Directed by Kari Skogland with Malcolm Spellman serving as head writer, the six-episode series also stars Daniel Brühl as Zemo, Emily VanCamp as Sharon Carter and Wyatt Russell as John Walker. “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” debuted worldwide on Disney+ March 19.

Disney Delays Theatrical ‘Black Widow’ Release to May 2021; Exhibitor Stocks Drop

In another blow to the beleaguered exhibitor business, Walt Disney Studios Sept. 23 announced it would delay the planned Marvel Studios’ Black Widow actioner theatrical release, starring Scarlett Johansson, to May 2021 from the previous Nov. 6 launch date.

Disney is also delaying by 12 months a reboot of West Side Story from director Steven Spielberg to Dec. 1o, 2021, and Kenneth Branagh’s Death on the Nile, a sequel to 2017’s Murder on the Orient Express, to Dec. 18 from Oct. 23.

The moves by the box office’s perennial leader represent another dagger in the heart of exhibitors looking to jumpstart the moviegoing consumer from the coronavirus pandemic shutdown — albeit without much content. While 70% of domestic screens have re-opened with social distancing and mask requirements, many analysts predict 2020 will achieve a record low at the box office with revenue down more than 80% from 2019.

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Warner Bros.’ Tenet, which was supposed to bring consumers back to theaters, has generated about $250 million at the box office, mostly overseas. Domestic ticket sales have wilted from the Christopher Nolan-directed thriller’s opening $20 million weekend over Labor Day to a cumulative tally around $36 million.

Eric Handler with MKM Partners says the sluggish domestic box office is in part due to ongoing theater closures in California and New York.

Tenet’s U.S. results definitely showed us that middle America cannot carry a tentpole film. You need the coasts,” Handler wrote in a note.

With no COVID-19 vaccine ready for consumption, Michael Pachter, media analyst with Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles, says consumers remain leery.

“People may be eager to visit the theaters once they feel safe doing so, but we think it is unlikely crowds will return to any semblance of normal before a vaccine is widely distributed, particularly in urban and suburban markets,” Pachter wrote in note earlier this year.

Indeed, the latest delays sent exhibitor stocks into a tailspin, with AMC Entertainment down 5.5%; Cinemark down 4.1%; Imax down 5.6%; Marcus (-3%); Reading International (-0.9%) and National CineMedia down 0.9% in midday trading.

ABC TV’s Commercial-Free Broadcast of ‘Black Panther’ Tribute to Late Actor Chadwick Boseman Generated 6 Million Views

Disney-owned ABC Television’s commercial-free Sunday night (Aug. 30) broadcast of Marvel Studios’ Black Panther following actor Chadwick Boseman’s death on Aug. 28 after a lengthy battle against colon cancer, generated more than 6 million viewers — tops among all networks.

The subsequent tribute, “Chadwick Boseman: A Tribute for a King” generated 4.7 million viewers. The program featured numerous Black Panther co-stars, Marvel Studios CEO Kevin Feige and Disney executive chairman Bob Iger, among others.

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“He was having this immense success, in a strata of his own, humble hardworking, always smile on his face,” actor Robert Downey Jr., who plays Iron-Man in the Avengers franchise, said about Boseman. Downey called Black Panther “the crowning achievement” of the Marvel cinematic universe.

‘Black Panther’ Star Chadwick Boseman Dead at 43

Actor Chadwick Boseman, who generated acclaim for his portrayal of strong black characters and the lead in Disney/Marvel Studios’ groundbreaking Black Panther, died Aug. 28 at age 43 after a lengthy battle against colon cancer.

Boseman died at his home surrounded by his wife and family, according to a statement by his publicist Nicki Fioravante on social media. The actor had been diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016, which had worsened to stage IV.

“It is with immeasurable grief that we confirm the passing of Chadwick Boseman,” the statement read. “A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much. From Marshall to Da 5 Bloods, August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and several more, all were filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy.”

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Boseman is most well-known for playing King T’Challa in Marvel Studios’ 2018 superhero movie Black Panther, which went on to win three Oscars and generate more than $1.347 billion at the global box office. The movie was the top-grossing release of the year, besting Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War, Pixar’s Incredibles 2 and Universal Pictures’ Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Boseman originated the role in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, and reprised it in Infinity War and 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, the latter becoming the highest-grossing box office film of all time (unadjusted for inflation).

His performance in Black Panther earned an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture, and a Screen Actors Guild Award as part of the ensemble for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. He also won MTV Movie Awards for Best Performance in a Movie and Best Hero.

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Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson in ’42.’

Boseman first came to mainstream attention playing Jackie Robinson in the 2013 film 42, which depicted the civil rights icon’s breaking of the Major League Baseball color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Coincidentally, the MLB had been celebrating Aug. 28 as Jackie Robinson Day, marking the day in 1945 Dodgers GM Branch Rickey told Robinson he was being prepped for integrating the league (baseball’s usual Jackie Robinson Day to mark his MLB debut on April 15 was wiped out this year when the league delayed starting its season as a result of the coronavirus pandemic).

Aug. 28 is also the birthday of Black Panther co-creator Jack Kirby.

TNT to Air Network Premiere of Marvel Studios’ ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

WarnerMedia’s TNT will air the network television premiere of Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War on June 27. There will be an encore presentation on June 28 as a part of TNT’s “Big Ticket Movies” content promotion.

To further “eventize” the broadcasts, TNT is promoting a sweepstakes where 20 winners will receive a copy of the Avengers: Infinity War soundtrack on vinyl and a Crosley record player to be provided by Disney Music Emporium and Crosley Brands.

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In Infinity War, Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk and the rest of the Avengers unite to battle their most powerful enemy yet — the evil Thanos. On a mission to collect all six Infinity Stones, Thanos plans to use the artifacts to inflict his twisted will on reality. The fate of the planet and existence itself has never been more uncertain as everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment.

The 2018 release generated more than $2 billion at the global box office, including $679 million domestically.

TNT, TBS, and truTV Airing ‘Black Panther,’ ‘Just Mercy’ Special Combo Event to Promote Social Justice

In an affort to continue dialog on social justice, WarnerMedia’s TNT, TBS, and truTV June 19 are partnering for a special one-night-only on-air broadcast of critically acclaimed movies, Disney/Marvel Studios’ Black Panther and Warner Bros. Pictures’ Just Mercy, along with reflections from distinguished guests about the personal impact these films had on their lives and the culture.

With limited commercial interruption, Black Panther, which won three Oscars in 2019, will air at 7 p.m., followed by Just Mercy.

Host Anthony Anderson (“Black-ish”) will be joined by guests, including Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative (whom Just Mercy is based on), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and CNN’s W. Kamau Bell. Additionally, Andra Day will perform her Grammy-nominated song “Rise Up.”

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Reginald Hudlin, who wrote for the “Black Panther” graphic novel series, serves as executive producer of the special content, along with executive producer Phil Gurin and co-executive producer Byron Phillips.

In Black Panther, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returns home to the hidden high-tech African nation of Wakanda to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king, following the death of his father. But when a man named Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) appears, T’Challa’s mettle as king — and Black Panther — is tested when he’s drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Pitted against his own family, the king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and embrace his future as an Avenger.

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Just Mercy is based on the thought-provoking true story of young lawyer Bryan Stevenson (Jordan) and his history-making battle for justice. After graduating from Harvard, Bryan had his pick of lucrative jobs. Instead, he heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or who were not afforded proper representation, with the support of local advocate Eva Ansley (Brie Larson). One of his first, and most incendiary, cases is that of Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx), who, in 1987, was sentenced to die for the notorious murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite a preponderance of evidence proving his innocence and the fact that the main testimony against him came from a criminal with a motive to lie. In the years that follow, Bryan becomes embroiled in a labyrinth of legal and political maneuverings, as well as overt and unabashed racism as he fights for Walter, and others like him, with the odds — and the system — stacked against them.

Entertainment One Inks Deal With Former Marvel Exec Jeremy Latcham

Entertainment One has entered into a first-look agreement with producer and former Marvel Studios executive Jeremy Latcham.

Hasbro recently acquired eOne.

The first project announced under the deal is a film for “Dungeons & Dragons,” which is managed by Wizards of the Coast, a Hasbro subsidiary that also manages “Magic: The Gathering.” Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley are attached to write and direct the film, which is co-produced by eOne, Hasbro’s global entertainment studio, and Paramount. This film marks the first project for eOne with Paramount since eOne’s acquisition by Hasbro.

“Jeremy is a massively talented producer with a track record of creating true-to-brand films with size and scope that resonate with audiences and excel on a global scale,” Nick Meyer, eOne president of film, said in a statement. “In our exciting new era with Hasbro, we’re thrilled to begin this new partnership and look forward to sharing the amazing projects that are to come.”

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“Nick and the entire eOne team have welcomed me into the fold with open arms,” Latcham said in a statement. “Hasbro’s incredibly rich library of beloved brands in addition to the opportunity to develop original material makes for a very exciting next step for me as a creative producer. My passion for telling stories steeped in heart, humor and spectacle aligns with D&D’s decades of immersive, adventure-driven storytelling, and I am beyond excited to help John and Jonathan, eOne, Paramount, and Wizards of the Coast bring this rich world to filmgoing audiences.”

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Latcham most recently produced 2018’s Bad Times at the El Royale. Previously, Latcham spent 13 years at Marvel Studios, where he executive produced Spider-Man: Homecoming, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers. Latcham was the associate producer on Iron Man and co-producer on Iron Man 2.

Hasbro’s additional film properties include the “Transformers” and “G.I. Joe” film franchises.

Disney+ Bows YouTube Clip Showcasing 2020 Content

SVOD service Disney+ Jan. 1 launched a social media blitz offering a sneak peak into coming content in 2020.

“New year, new stories — and some familiar ones!,” the service tweeted. From Toy Story 4 and Aladdin to “Lizzie McGuire” and Marvel Studios’ WandaVision, here’s a look at the blockbusters and originals coming to #DisneyPlus in 2020.

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The service launched on Nov. 12 reportedly has more than 15 million registered users — many of whom using third-party promotions such as 12 months free service to any Verizon subscriber.

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Disney+ includes content from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic.

The promotion for new programming comes as the service hopes to retain subscribers following the end of the first season of “The Mandalorian.” Several “Star Wars” fans took to Twitter the final week of the year vowing to cancel their service until the second season debuts in the fall.