Marvel Staging ‘We Love You 3000’ Tour to Promote ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Home Release

 To celebrate the home video release of Avengers: Endgame, Marvel Studios and directors Anthony and Joe Russo will launch the nine-city “We Love You 3000” Tour as a way to thank the fans who have followed the Marvel Cinematic Universe since it began 11 years ago.

Avengers: Endgame, the 22nd film in the MCU, arrives at digital retailers July 30 and on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Aug. 13.

Tour stops will feature meet-and-greets with fans, plus a variety of giveaways. A total of 3,000 MCU Funko Pop Vinyl Figures will be distributed to fans throughout the tour. Other giveaways will include exclusive Avengers: Endgame prints, vouchers for free McDonald’s Happy Meals, and MCU-inspired sundaes and recipe cards from Ben & Jerry’s.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The tour will kick off from 1:15 to 2:15 p.m. Saturday, July 20 at San Diego Comic-Con International. The Russo brothers, writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, and other special MCU guests will gather at the IMDboat behind the convention center in the 5th Avenue Landing Marina, slip 5B. Costumed guests will be welcomed aboard to participate in a special cosplay photo, and fans will be gifted with free ice cream while supplies last.

It continues July 30 at Funko Headquarters in Everett, Wash., with a fan experience from 1 to 4 p.m.

Oracle Park in San Francisco will host a Marvel Night during the Aug. 8 baseball game between the Giants and Philadelphia Phillies.

Best Buy will serve as the location for five “We Love You 3000” Tour stops, hosting in-store fan events to mark the Blu-ray release. Events will feature signings with Marvel Studios filmmakers; a special digital photo booth; and specialty promotional giveaways. Best Buy will also be selling an exclusive Avengers: Endgame Steelbook-edition Blu-ray. Aug. 13 will feature the Russo Bros. at a store in Chicago, with Best Buys in Miami and Torrance, Calif., holding events the same day. The Russos will be at a Minneapolis store on Aug. 14 and in Cleveland Aug. 20.

The tour concludes at the Aug. 23-25 D23 Expo in Anaheim, Calif.

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.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

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.”

Avengers: Infinity War

BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Street Date 8/14/18;
Disney/Marvel;
Action;
Box Office $678.11 million;
$29.99 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray, $39.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout, language and some crude references.
Stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Josh Brolin, Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Karen Gillan, Tom Hiddleston, Peter Dinklage, Benedict Wong, Pom Klementieff, Gwyneth Paltrow, Benicio del Toro, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, William Hurt, Winston Duke.

If the first “Avengers” film was the superhero movie equivalent of an all-star game, then Avengers: Infinity War has got to be the genre’s Super Bowl. This isn’t just a few heroes uniting for a fight to save the Earth from the megalomaniacal villain of the moment. This is a massive intergalactic brawl with nothing less than the fate of the entire universe at stake.

Though nominally the third film of the “Avengers” brand, Infinity War is really a sequel to the entirety of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which began with the original Iron Man in 2008. Infinity War is the 19th film in the mega-franchise, while the 20th is the recent Ant-Man and the Wasp, whose characters are mentioned but aren’t directly involved here.

What makes Infinity War stand out, however, is how much it deconstructs the traditional “hero’s journey” arc of a typical fantasy adventure to wring suspense from the audience’s expectations of how the story will play out.

The film pits the Avengers against the alien warlord Thanos, who has made minor appearances in previous films as the mastermind behind a quest to collect the six Infinity Stones, gems of immense power that when combined can give the holder nearly godlike abilities.

Thanos is motivated by a desire to wipe out half the population of the universe in order to preserve resources and improve the quality of life for those who remain. Tired from untold years of pursuing his agenda planet-by-planet and earning countless enemies along the way, Thanos realizes that obtaining the Infinity Stones will allow him to complete his goals with the snap of his fingers. It’s not every day a comic book movie can inspire debate over the morality of Malthusian ethics.

The Avengers, on the other hand, are scattered across the cosmos and not much of a threat to Thanos following the events of Captain America: Civil War and Thor: Ragnarok. While Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Captain America (Chris Evans) can organize their own factions on Earth, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is able to bring the Guardians of the Galaxy into the fight, which pretty much finally connects all the quadrants of the MCU.

One of the strengths of directors Joe and Anthony Russo in their previous MCU films has been their ability to tell bold, complex stories with efficiency without sacrificing exciting action or engaging character dynamics. As if finding a way to involve a dozen heroes in Civil War without it feeling overstuffed weren’t enough of an achievement, with Infinity War they pull off one of the greatest balancing acts in cinematic history. Each character serves a function without seeming extraneous, while adding enough to the story to satisfy fans of each particular sub-franchise.

The plot weaves between action and quieter character moments to heighten the emotional impact of a powerful conclusion that unsurprisingly had fans lauding the film as the MCU equivalent of The Empire Strikes Back.

While it may be technically possible to follow along without having seen the previous films, one of the great joys of Infinity War is the chance to see so many of these characters that were established in earlier movies interact with each other for the first time. New viewers who want something of a primer without fully committing to the MCU should at least check out the “Avengers” movies, the “Captain America” movies, the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies and Thor: Ragnarok.

Infinity War’s visual style offers an eye-popping array of color that really looks spectacular on an HD screen. It should be noted that the entirety of the film is presented in a 2.39:1 aspect ratio that doesn’t shift for the scenes that were specifically engineered for the film’s Imax theatrical presentation.

The visual effects are well rendered without overwhelming the senses, even though there is often a lot to take in, especially in the battle sequences (compared with, say, the stretched-to-the-screen’s-edge details of Ready Player One). Infinity War is as much of a science-fiction epic as anything, but in keeping with previous Marvel films, the presentation veers toward the hyper-real, fittingly evoking the feeling of fun comic book art rather than something more true-to-life.

The Blu-ray includes a nice smattering of extras that give a good sense of the scope of making the film but don’t really dive too deeply into specifics aside from a few key scenes.

The five-minute “Strange Alchemy” looks at the fun of uniting the various characters and why some were grouped together the way they were. The six-minute “The Mad Titan” focuses on Thanos and how his history in the films has led to his actions here.

Two “Beyond the Battle” featurettes explore the making of two key sequences, with nearly 10 minutes devoted to team Iron Man and the Guardians fighting Thanos on the planet Titan, and 11 minutes looking at Captain America’s and Black Panther’s squads joining forces to battle the armies of Thanos in Wakanda.

There are four deleted scenes that run a total of about 10 minutes each. Each contain unfinished visual effects but for the most part serve as fun little short films that provide some additional insights about the characters. “Happy Knows Best” features the hilarious cameo by Jon Favreau that was cut from the film. “Hunt for the Mind Stone” is an extension of the fight between Vision, Scarlet Witch and Thanos’ goons. “A Father’s Choice” offers some more Thanos backstory. And “The Guardians Get Their Groove Back” pokes a little fun at the “Guardians” films’ penchant for classic rock soundtracks. These are accompanied by an amusing two-minute gag reel.

Finally, the Blu-ray includes a feature-length commentary from the Russo brothers and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. This is a great discussion as they share all sorts of tidbits about the construction of the film, from pulling together many of the loose threads of the MCU to organizing the screenplay in a way to effectively tell the story while still giving all the characters their due.

Digital editions of the film, which can be accessed through Movies Anywhere and participating retailers using the code provided with the Blu-ray, have an exclusive half-hour roundtable discussion with eight directors of several of the MCU films. This is a great discussion about the art of collaboration on a massive franchise such as this, and how the various directors were able to evolve various characters’ storylines to the point where Infinity War could pay of so much of them. The participation of Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn in the discussion does make the featurette a bit of a victim of some awkward timing, considering how recent revelations over his past Twitter postings have clouded his role role within the MCU.

The Ultra HD edition includes a Dolby Atmos soundtrack but none of the bonus features, which are on the regular Blu-ray Disc included with the combo pack.