‘Avengers: Infinity War’ to Hit Netflix Dec. 25

Disney may be leaving Netflix, but not without a parting Christmas gift.

The Disney/Marvel blockbuster Avengers: Infinity War, which has earned more than $678.8 million at the box office, will come out on the streaming platform on Christmas day, according to Netflix.

The streaming platform’s NX on Netflix Twitter account tweeted, “Oh, snap. Avengers: Infinity War is coming to @Netflix on December 25.”

Disney is readying the unveiling of its own streaming service in 2019, Disney+, which will be fueled by Disney content, including that from Marvel and Lucasfilm, which has the “Star Wars” franchise.

After helping grow Netflix with a streaming deal in 2012, The Walt Disney Co. in 2017 announced it would be withdrawing its content from the service to build its own subscription platform.

At a May 14, 2018, MoffettNathanson Media & Communications Summit in New York, Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos was asked about the impact of Disney going direct-to-consumer and the pending loss of its original movies.

“People always ask me, ‘Where you surprised Disney is going to go direct?’ I don’t know what took them so long, exactly,” said Sarandos.

Still, he said the loss of Disney content wasn’t much of a blow.

“[Our subs] watch [Disney movies], but it wasn’t particularly passionate watching and those films are widely available on a bunch of other channels,” Sarandos said.

Disney CEO Bob Iger: OTT Video No. 1 Priority, Not Competing Against Netflix

With the Walt Disney Co. planning to launch a branded over-the-top video platform in late 2019, the SVOD service, along with digital platform ESPN+ and majority ownership of Hulu will dominate the company’s objectives in the coming year, according to CEO Bob Iger.

Speaking Aug. 7 on the fiscal call, Iger said OTT video is a reality and here to stay. He said the pending Disney services would focus on incorporating core brands, including Marvel, Star Wars and Pixar, in an effort to complement, and to a lesser extent, compete with SVOD platforms such as Netflix, which is spending $8 billion this year alone on original content.

“The launch of [direct-to-consumer] product at the end of 2019 is the biggest priority of the company during calendar 2019,” said Iger, adding that the service would initially target core Disney fans.

“There will be significant amounts of support given across all of our assets to see to it that the platform launches successfully,” he said.

The service/app will feature original branded series and movies, including the first-ever live-action “Star Wars” series, and new episodes of the “Star Wars: Code Wars” animated series; a live-action version of The Lady and the Tramp, in addition to other new series based on popular Disney properties.

“The [20th Century Fox Film] acquisition brings even more opportunity to create original programming for this platform,” said Iger, who added Disney plans on walking before running with the new service.

“It’s takes time to build the kind of content library [for the service that] ultimately we intend to build,” he said. “Because the app will feature Pixar, Disney, Marvel, National Geographic, Lucasfilm and Star Wars, we feel that it doesn’t have to have anything close to the volume of what Netflix has.”

“This gives us the ability to not necessarily be in the volume game, but be in the quality game,” said Iger. “It’s not as though the cupboard’s going to bare.”

Iger said the recently launched ESPN+, pending family-oriented Disney service along with the existing Hulu platform appeal to different consumer tastes and audience demographics.

“As we look at the environment today … we don’t want to go to market with an aggregation play that replicates the multichannel [TV bundle] environment, because we feel consumers are more interested in making [channel] decisions on their own,” said Iger. “We can offer that kind of flexibility to consumers because that’s … what consumer behavior demands.”

The CEO reiterated that the Disney OTT service would be priced lower than Netflix to reflect the difference in content offerings. He said that upon closing the Fox acquisition, Hulu would “also fit into our app strategy.”

When asked how the 2019 theatrical slate could impact the streaming service, Iger said existing distribution windows would be configured to benefit the OTT service. Next year’s slate includes Captain Marvel, Dumbo, Avengers 4, Aladdin, Toy Story 4, The Lion King, Jungle Cruise, Artemis Fowl, Frozen 2 and Star Wars Episode 9.

“For 2019, the studio movie slate is clean and unencumbered,” he said.

Fox, Vudu Show Off ‘Deadpool’s Dream Suite’ at Comic-Con

Fox and Walmart’s Vudu showed off “Deadpool’s Dream Suite” before awarding a lucky fan of the July 18-22 San Diego Comic-Con International a chance to stay there on the Saturday evening of the convention.

The location was converted from the most-expensive suite at the Hard Rock Hotel in downtown San Diego across the street from the convention center, and decorated to look like the apartment shared by Deadpool and Blind Al in the “Deadpool” movies. The design team loaded the room with special artwork, Deadpool 2 posters and many subtle nods to the films (but, alas, there was nothing buried under the floorboards).

After Comic-Con, Vudu will host a giveaway of select loot from the suite, with signups at the sweepstakes site beginning July 20.

Deadpool 2 will be available through digital retailers Aug. 7 and on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Aug. 21 from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

Fox Bows Two-Year Anniversary ‘Deadpool’ Blu-ray With Special Goodies in Time for Sequel’s Release

Just in time for the theatrical debut of Deadpool 2 May 18, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment released a Deadpool: 2-Year Anniversary Edition Blu-ray April 24, featuring all-new packaging and an assortment of limited edition collectibles, including stickers, car decals, temporary tattoos and a set of paper dolls.

In addition to the extras with the national release, Best Buy will offer an exclusive 4K UHD Steelbook with new cover art and exclusive patches.

Also, May 15 at Walmart, Deadpool will photobomb the cover art of a collection of Blu-ray films, including Edward Scissorhands, Logan, War for the Planet of the Apes, Predator and Revenge of the Nerds.

Select Blu-ray titles at both Walmart and Best Buy will also include Fandango Movie Money, a coupon that can be applied toward the purchase of tickets to see Deadpool 2 in theaters. The Movie Money program runs through June 28.

Bonus materials on the Deadpool: 2-Year Anniversary Edition Blu-ray are the same as the original home media release from two years ago, and include deleted/extended scenes with optional audio commentary by director Tim Miller; a gag reel; “Deadpool’s Fun Sack”; audio commentary with Miller and Deadpool co-creator Rob Liefeld; audio commentary with Ryan Reynolds and writers Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese; “From Comics to Screen…to Screen”; and galleries of concept art, storyboards, costumes, pre-vis and stunt-vis.

Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’ Coming to Home Video in May

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment will release the box office phenomenon Black Panther through digital home entertainment retailers May 8, followed by a Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release May 15.

The Marvel Studios film is the top-earning solo superhero movie ever, having taken in more than $665 million in American theaters as of April 10 to become the No. 3 domestic release of all time, and $1.3 billion worldwide to place on the global top 10.

The 18th film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Black Panther stars Chadwick Boseman as the title character, the new king and defender of the technologically advanced but hidden African nation of Wakanda, who faces a challenge to his throne in the form of Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan). The film also stars Lupita Nyong’o, Letitia Wright, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Andy Serkis, Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke and Sterling K. Brown.

The Blu-ray includes an introduction and commentary by director Ryan Coogler. Other extras include deleted scenes, a gag reel and several featurettes: “From Page to Screen: A Roundtable Discussion”; “Crowning of a New King”; “The Warriors Within” about the female warriors of Wakanda and the actors who portray them; “The Hidden Kingdom Revealed”; and “Wakanda Revealed: Exploring the Technology.” The disc also includes an exclusive sneak peek at the upcoming Ant-Man and The Wasp (in theaters July 6) and the featurette “Marvel Studios the First Ten Years: Connecting the Universe.”

Select bonus material may also be available with the digital versions depending on the retailer. Digital exclusives include in-world Wakanda tourism ads.

The Black Panther character made his screen debut in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War and next appears in Avengers: Infinity War, which hits theaters April 27 and, according to the trailers, has significant portions of the action set in Wakanda.

As Marvel Movie Draws Closer, Digital Originals Rise Up the Demand Chart

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. Parrot Analytics uses a proprietary metric called Demand Expressions, which measures global demand for TV content 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.

CBS All Access’ “Star Trek: Discovery” remained at No. 1 on the digital originals chart for the week that ended March 3, but dropped from No. 1 to No. 5 on the overall TV shows chart, according to Parrot Analytics’ Demand Expressions data.

On the digital originals chart, the top five remain unchanged from the previous week, but they all lost a quarter of demand compared to last week since no new episodes have aired this year.

“Orange Is the New Black” jumped up a notch to No. 6 on the digital originals chart, displacing the nostalgic teen drama “Everything Sucks!,” which slipped to No. 8. “Everything Sucks!” suffered a 19% decrease in demand from the prior week, and with more original series premiering in March appears likely to drop off the chart.

A third Marvel superhero series entered the top 10 the week ended March 3: “The Punisher,” which joins “Jessica Jones” (No. 7, up a notch from the prior week) and “Daredevil” (which held steady at No. 9). All three series have new episodes in the pipeline. Season 2 of “Jessica Jones” arrives March 8, while a third season of “Daredevil” is expected later this year. A second season of “The Punisher” has also been ordered. All three series have experienced a roughly 20% week-on-week increase in demand. A demand uptick for Marvel/Netflix titles tends to happen around the release of significant Marvel motion picture releases, Parrot Analytics data shows; the next “Avengers” film is scheduled to open theatrically April 27.

On the overall chart, AMC’s “The Walking Dead” shot up to No. 1 from No. 2 the prior week, followed by “Game of Thrones” at No. 2, “SpongeBob SquarePants” at No. 3 and “Grey’s Anatomy” at No. 4. “The Walking Dead” appears to have experienced a renaissance in its popularity. The zombie franchise’s principal producer, Scott Gimple, has talked about plans for more spin-offs of the show in the future. The show, which is currently in its eighth season, already has one spin-off (“Fear the Walking Dead”), and there are discussions for more.

Two long-running reality titles reappeared on the chart. “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” popped back up at No. 8, perhaps due to a pregnancy, while competition format changes may have propelled “The Voice” back onto the chart at No. 10.