Disney Boss Bob Iger Says 20th Century Fox Will Continue to Make Films Under Its Own Brands

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Major questions still loom as Disney prepares to close its multi-billion dollar acquisition of Fox’s film and TV assets. Such as, what structure will the studio take? And will Disney continue to operate Fox’s film assets as is, or rebrand the studio that has been around for more than 80 years?

Disney CEO Bob Iger took a step toward answering some of those questions on Thursday during the company’s annual shareholder meeting in St. Louis, Missouri.

He said the Fox brand will remain intact, and that Mouse House plans to continue releasing 20th Century Fox films.

“The company itself will be The Walt Disney Co., but there will still be companies, especially on the movie side, with the Fox name,” Iger said during the meeting, which Disney live-streamed. “We will continue to make movies under the Fox brand and Fox Searchlight brand. And FX, which isn’t Fox, but sounds like it will keep its name.”

Also Read: Disney Manages to Surpass Wall Street Q1 Expectations Despite Decline in Studio Revenue

Iger’s comments provide a little more detail behind how Disney plans to incorporate and operate the film and TV entertainment assets acquired from Fox in its $71.3 billion deal.

During the Disney quarterly earnings conference call with the Wall Street community in February, Iger said that despite Disney’s PG-rated, family-friendly identity, the studio plans to continue in the business of making R-rated movies like Fox’s “Deadpool” and “Logan.”

And the studio will certainly want to keep up production at Fox Searchlight, which has been a staple in awards races while also producing some successful indie films at the box office, such as last year’s “The Favourite.”

Also Read: Disney CEO Bob Iger Pay Rises 80 Percent to $65.6 Million

At the time of Disney’s February conference call, Iger noted the popularity of the films Fox makes, saying that it will be important for Disney that they clearly brand and market them.

Iger also said during Disney’s shareholder meeting that the Fox acquisition does not include Fox’s studio lot, but that Disney has a lease agreement to use the lot and sound stages “for a really long time.”

Disney and Fox shareholders voted in July 2018 to approve the $71.3 billion bid to buy the lion’s share of Fox’s entertainment assets. The deal, Iger said during the meeting, is expected to close “soon.” Disney previously had been promising a first half of 2019 close. Executives and rank and file employees at Fox have been in a state of uncertainty about their futures since the two companies agreed to the deal.

Also Read: Don’t Worry, Marvel Will Continue Making R-Rated ‘Deadpool’ Movies

In October of last year, Disney laid out plans detailing which executives would make the move from Fox over to the Mouse House.

Emma Watts will report directly to Disney studio head Alan Horn and will serve as vice chairman for Twentieth Century Fox Film and president of production at Fox. Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula will stay on as co-chairmen for Fox Searchlight and will also report directly to Horn, along with Elizabeth Gabler, who will serve as president of production at Fox 2000.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Sets May Opening Date at Disneyland

Craig Hunegs to Lead Disney Television Studios After Fox Deal Closes

Inside Disney’s ‘Insane’ Multibillion-Dollar Year: Fox, Killer Box Office and ‘Black Panther’

Disney Open to Running More Spanish-Language Ads on English-Language TV (EXCLUSIVE)

Read on: Variety.

When Verizon wanted to speak to viewers of the recent Oscars broadcast in Spanish, ABC had to change its rules to make it happen. Now the Disney-owned network is willing to do it again. The telecommunications giant aired two commercials in the Oscars f…

Emily Blunt on How Mary Poppins’ Adventures Are ‘Like Heroin to Her’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

This article about “Mary Poppins Returns” first appeared in the TheWrap magazine’s Oscar Nominations Preview issue.

Mary Poppins was a part of all their childhoods. Rob Marshall remembered it as the first movie he ever saw in a theater, the one that would give the future director of Chicago and Into the Woods a lasting love for musicals. Emily Blunt recalled seeing it at the age of 5 or 6 and feeling “in safe hands” with Julie Andrews’ “practically perfect” nanny. Emily Mortimer said she watched it on BBC2 nearly every holiday. Lin-Manuel Miranda had it in one of those oversize Disney VHS boxes — but he never watched it all the way through, turning it off when “Feed the Birds” came on because the song was too sad for him to endure. “I didn’t see the end of the movie until I was in high school and could survive the musical trauma,” he said.

And Ben Whishaw said that it was the first film he ever saw, and one that consumed him. “I just watched it obsessively over and over again, rewound bits, learned all the songs,” he said. “I dressed up as her. I wanted to be her.” Mortimer, who plays the sister to Whishaw’s character in the new “Mary Poppins Returns,” laughed at this. “The first dinner we ever had, he showed me a photograph of him dressed as Mary Poppins,” she said. “It was the sweetest thing.”

“I was, like, 3, and I paraded up and down our street,” Whishaw added. “In my childhood memories, ‘Mary Poppins’ is mythically massive.”

And now there’s a new Mary Poppins movie, courtesy of Marshall, Blunt, Miranda, Mortimer, Whishaw and a great many others. All of them, from Marshall to his actors to songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, were intimidated by the thought of following the 1964 Disney classic, which landed 13 Oscar nominations and won five, including awards for Andrews and for the song “Chim Chim Cher-ee.”

Also Read: ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ Songwriters on Facing the Pressure of Following a Classic

“I was immediately daunted by the reality of it,” Marshall said. “But then I thought to myself, ‘If anybody’s going to do it, I want to be the one,’ because I knew how much the first film means to me. I wanted to protect that film and treat it with great care and attention to detail. For example, I didn’t want Mary Poppins to break into a contemporary song like ‘Let It Go’ or something like that, which could easily have happened. And so as scared as I was and as much as I knew how high the bar is, I wanted to invest myself in what I knew would be an incredibly long and complicated and difficult film to make.”

So he called Blunt, whom he had directed in the 2014 movie version of “Into the Woods,” and whom he thought was “the only actress” who could play the role. She said yes immediately before getting nervous. “I was like, ‘I get to do my version of Mary Poppins,’” she said. “And then I was like, ‘But everyone loves this other version of Mary Poppins!’ Never have I felt, ‘How am I going to carve out new space for myself?’ more than I did on this project.”

Marshall set “Mary Poppins Returns” about 24 years after the original film, moving it from 1910 into the 1930s, when the original P.L. Travers books are set. But Michael and Jane Banks, the children that the stern but magical nanny Mary Poppins looks after, never age in the books, and Marshall changed that. “I wanted to set it after Michael and Jane have grown up,” he said. “And I felt that the Depression era feels so accessible, somehow. Struggling to make ends meet, dealing with and looking for hope in a darker time — what guided me through the process of making this film was the idea of sending a message of hope today, in this current climate. I thought Mary Poppins coming back can bring that injection of hope into people’s lives.”

Also Read: Evolution of Emily Blunt, From ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ to ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ (Photos)

For Blunt, the challenge was not only following Julie Andrews’ indelible performance, but finding the shades in a character who on the surface is not particularly nice. “That’s the delight of playing her,” she said. “When I dove into the books, I saw a duality that I was struck by and excited by. She’s fastidious and completely eccentric, and she’s grounded and yet airborne and practical and magical and stern and yet has great depth. She is someone who commands the environment she’s in but yet pretends not to. And I think that idea of how deeply she connects with people in their pain and yet holds them at arm’s length at the same time was so delightful to play.

“I talked to Rob a lot about what she really feels when she goes on these adventures. And I think it should be that she’s like an adrenaline junkie. I said to Rob, ‘It’s got to be like heroin for her.’ She loves and she needs these adventures — that’s the child in her, that’s why you see her complete determination to infuse childlike wonder into people’s lives again.”

While Blunt’s Mary Poppins has scarcely aged since the first film, Lin-Manuel Miranda steps into the role of Mary’s new sidekick. In the original, Dick Van Dyke played a chimney sweep (among other things) named Bert, but Miranda is Jack, a lamplighter with a similar devotion to Mary and her magical ways. And the fact that a “Puerto Rican dude” (albeit the Puerto Rican dude who created “Hamilton”) could be dropped into a movie set in 1930s London without a thought was not lost on him. “It feels significant, the same way it felt significant to me when I saw Raul Julia play Gomez Adams in ‘The Addams Family,’” he said. “That character was not a Latin guy in the original series I saw growing up on Nick at Night. Or seeing Rita Moreno on ‘The Electric Company’ when I was a kid. We’re not only playing the quote-unquote Latino roles, but also just playing great roles where race is just a part of it. It’s a step forward, I think, for representation.”

Also Read: Lin-Manuel Miranda on Why a ‘Puerto Rican Dude’ in ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ Is Such a Breakthrough

Given the film’s elaborate dance numbers and its 15-minute sequence blending live action with hand-drawn animation, Marshall knew “Mary Poppins Returns” would require meticulous planning. So he set a two-month rehearsal period, far more than usual. (“‘Hamilton’ didn’t have two months of rehearsal,” said Miranda.) And not only did he block and practice the dance routines, he reminded the cast that for a musical to work, the drama and the songs had to be seamless. “I think we were rehearsing the scene of Mary Poppins’ arrival,” Mortimer said, “and Rob kept saying, ‘You’re still in a musical even though you’re not singing and dancing.’ That was such a good note. Like, you’ve still got to keep the ball in the air, otherwise it could go flat between the songs. That was immediately the key to performing in those scenes.”

But the cast was also reminded of the spirit they were trying to achieve when a special guest came to play a small but crucial role: Dick Van Dyke, whose appearance was “a sob fest for everyone” on the set, according to Blunt. “It was so gorgeous to be around him, and he’s so sprightly and full of life and energy and sparkle,” she said. “I mean, Lin and I were there to assist him onto the desk where he’s supposed to do a tap dance, and he just waved us away and didn’t need any help. I don’t think Rob could even say cut, he was so emotional.”

Blunt’s guess about his emotional state, Marshall said, is entirely accurate. “She’s right. He is one of my heroes, and he did a beautiful monologue where he talks about Michael as a young boy and the tuppence and all of that. So there he is, Dick Van Dyke, and he’s 91 years old [at the time], and he’s talking about things from the first film and doing it so beautifully. I have ‘Feed the Birds’ in my ear, which we use as underscore. And so I’m hearing ‘Feed the Birds,’ I’m seeing Dick Van Dyke deliver this extraordinary speech, and I just lost it. Emily heard me not say cut and she knew. I couldn’t speak, it was so moving to me.”

Also Read: That Time Dick Van Dyke Peed in the Bushes and Paid Walt Disney for 2nd ‘Mary Poppins’ Role

That day, Blunt added, also gave her one of her peak “Mary Poppins Returns” moments, right up there with the sequence where she floats back into the Banks’ lives on a kite. “We all just sat around Dick Van Dyke and wanted him to tell us stories of his whole career,” she said. “Which he did, and he’d break into song all the time. It was just so terribly moving. And there was a weird moment when he finished the monologue and gave the Banks family their house back. He just sort of looked up at me with those blue eyes, and I thought, ‘Holy s—, I’m Mary Poppins!’”

To read more of the Oscars Nomination Preview issue, click here.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Mary Poppins Returns’ Stars and Director Portraits, From Emily Blunt to Lin-Manuel Miranda (Exclusive Photos)

Lin-Manuel Miranda on Why a ‘Puerto Rican Dude’ in ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ Is Such a Breakthrough

That Time Dick Van Dyke Peed in the Bushes and Paid Walt Disney for 2nd ‘Mary Poppins’ Role

Why Julie Andrews Has a Cameo in ‘Aquaman’ But Not ‘Mary Poppins Returns’

P.L. Travers’ Efforts to Adapt ‘Mary Poppins’ for Film, TV Were Often Less Than Jolly

Read on: Variety.

Disney’s “Mary Poppins Returns,” a sequel decades in the making, opens Dec. 19. Even before the 1964 original, Hollywood made several attempts to adapt P.L. Travers’ books, with Samuel Goldwyn and Katharine Hepburn among those involved in the chase. Bu…

That Time Dick Van Dyke Peed in the Bushes and Paid Walt Disney for 2nd ‘Mary Poppins’ Role

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

In this month’s “Mary Poppins Returns,” Dick Van Dyke plays a surprisingly nimble elderly London banker — who bears an uncanny resemblance to the elderly Mr. Dawes he played in the original 1964 film “Mary Poppins.”

The 92-year-old actor, who’s best know for playing the “step-in-time” chimney sweep Bert in the Walt Disney classic, has said that he went to great lengths — and his own personal expense — to land the bonus role in the film.

“I loved portraying old men, and since first reading the script, I had been secretly eyeing that part, which included the song ‘Fidelity Fiduciary Bank,’” the actor wrote in his 2011 memoir, “My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business.” “I saw a lot of potential for extracurricular amusement.”

Also Read: ‘Aquaman,’ ‘Mary Poppins’ Set to Lead Most Crowded Christmas Box Office in Years

To his surprise, though, studio chief Walt Disney insisted that his young star test for the role. So Van Dyke donned white hair and a beard to be made up like “a balding old man in his nineties.” “I was stooped over, talking like the very senior banker, and having a blast amusing both the crew and myself,” he wrote.

During the actual screen test, he ad-libbed lines in front of the on-set house of George and Martha Banks where much of the film took place — and even pretended to “pee in the bushes” every few minutes.

“‘I’m a weak old man because of a hernia,’ I explained in a wheezy voice,” he wrote.

Also Read: ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ Trailer: Emily Blunt Sings and Dick Van Dyke Dances (Video)

The gambit worked. Disney relented and allowed him to take on the extra role — but at a steep price. Namely, he insisted that Van Dyke donate $4,000 to his 3-year-old art school, California Institute of the Arts — which would be more than $32,000 in 2018 dollars.

“I ended up paying him a not insignificant amount of money to play a part I had offered to do for free,” the actor wrote. “I’m still scratching my head over at that one.”

Even so, Van Dyke added, “It was worth every dollar. I would have, in fact, paid even more.”

The actor’s cameo in “Mary Poppins Returns” was considerably less costly. At a Q&A in New York earlier this month, director Rob Marshall explained that Van Dyke’s character was the son of the original Mr. Dawes since the new film is set roughly 25 years after the original.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Aquaman,’ ‘Mary Poppins’ Set to Lead Most Crowded Christmas Box Office in Years

‘Mary Poppins Returns’ Trailer: Emily Blunt Sings and Dick Van Dyke Dances (Video)

Dick Van Dyke Set to ‘Do a Little Song and Dance’ in ‘Mary Poppins Returns’

Edward Norton, Alan Alda, Mariska Hargitay Join Nat Geo’s 6-City ‘Paris to Pittsburgh’ Screening Blitz (Exclusive)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Activists and environmentally conscience celebrities, including Edward Norton, Alan Alda and Mariska Hargitay, will join former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg this week for a special nationwide screening blitz of Nat Geo’s environmental documentary “Paris to Pittsburgh,” TheWrap has learned exclusively.

Six U.S. cities will simultaneously screen the film Monday night — many with their mayors introducing the film — in an effort to shine a light on the need for cities, states and citizens to come together to fight climate change. Charleston, Des Moines, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York and Orlando will get a sneak peek at the doc ahead of its global release on Dec. 12 at 9pm ET/PT on National Geographic, with additional screenings scheduled in Puerto Rico, London and Poland.

“With Washington asleep at the switch, local governments, states, businesses, and citizens from across the political spectrum are taking steps to tackle climate change and build a bright future for our country,” Bloomberg, who produced the movie through his Bloomberg Philanthropies, said in a statement. “We need more leadership from Washington on climate change, but Americans aren’t waiting around for it.”

Also Read: Pittsburgh Mayor Pounds Trump for Climate Claim He Backs ‘Pittsburgh, Not Paris’

Other attendees expected to attend: Peter Hermann, Walt Disney Chairman and NRDC Board Chair Alan Horn, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, Zero Hour’s Iris Fen Gillingham and Jamie Margolin, Katherine Oliver, Joe Berlinger, Emmy Award winning directors Michael Bonfiglio and Sidney Beaumont, Radical Media’s Jon Kamen and Frank Scherma, among others.

The announcement comes on the heels of a federal climate change report last month focusing on the dire threat that human-made global warming poses to the United States. It also comes as world leaders are heading to Poland on Dec. 3 for the COP24 to try and salvage the 2015 climate change Paris Accord, after President Trump reneged on the deal last summer.

Also Read: Al Gore and Bill Maher Talk Climate Change and ‘Losing Florida’ – in Both Senses (Video)

“Paris to Pittsburgh” looks at how states, businesses and citizens are taking action and delve into the social and economic impacts of climate change in the wake of the Trump Administration’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement.

The premise of the documentary is based on a Twitter response from Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto to President Trump the moment he pulled out of the Paris Agreement.

In his speech announcing the U.S. would withdrawal from the agreement, President Trump said in a press conference last June that he was “elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”

“I’m sitting in this room, I’m looking over at my phone and I get an alert,” Peduto says in an exclusive clip of the doc obtained by TheWrap. “Read it twice, went into my chief of staff office and yelled, ‘Pittsburgh?!’”

Peduto said that’s when he composed his now famous response telling the president that Pittsburgh was going to stay in the Paris Agreement.

“On the heels of the recent federal report on climate change, we believe it is more critical than ever to create a global conversation about climate and to provide people with tangible ways they can help make a difference,” Courteney Monroe, president, National Geographic Global Networks, said in statement. “For us, it is not enough to just create this type of important, thought-provoking content. We need to be equally committed to ensuring it reaches the widest audience possible.”

Also Read: Elon Musk Quits Trump Advisory Role Over Paris Accord Exit: ‘Climate Change Is Real’

“Paris to Pittsburgh” is produced RadicalMedia in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies and is co- directed by Emmy Award winners Sidney Beaumont and Michael Bonfiglio. Beaumont also produced the film. Executive Producers are Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Joe Berlinger, Jon Kamen and Katherine Oliver. Co-producers are Lindsay Firestone and Katie Dunn. Antha Williams of the Bloomberg Philanthropies environment program served as a consulting producer.

Watch an exclusive clip of the movie above and the trailer below.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Neil Young Loses Home in Woolsey Fire, Blasts Climate Change ‘Denier’ Trump

Apple Lands Project Based on New York Times Writer’s Climate Change Feature ‘Losing Earth’

Jimmy Kimmel Made a Climate Change PSA Just for Trump

Inside Disney’s Campaign to Keep Channing Dungey as ABC’s Head of Entertainment and Why It Failed

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Channing Dungey decided to leave ABC Entertainment despite direct appeals from incoming leaders Dana Walden and Peter Rice and a close relationship with Disney CEO Bob Iger, multiple insiders told TheWrap.

Dungey, the president of ABC Entertainment, informed her Disney bosses last week that she did not intend to renew her contract when it came up in early 2019. That led them to announce Friday that Karey Burke, head of original programming for Disney’s Freeform, would replace her.

“She was not pushed. She chose not to renew her deal which expires in February,” one knowledgeable insider told TheWrap. “As soon as she informed them that she wasn’t renewing, they made an immediate change to Karey.”

Also Read: Channing Dungey Exits as ABC Chief, Freeform’s Karey Burke to Replace Her

Dungey’s decision to leave despite not having another position elsewhere is a personal disappointment to Iger, who was her mentor in Disney’s prestigious mentoring program earlier in her career, according to the insider. An individual with knowledge of Iger’s thinking confirmed that Iger personally mentored Dungey, saying, “Bob was and still is a big fan.”

Dungey declined to comment for this story.

Dungey, well-liked and highly regarded, was the first black executive to be named head of a major broadcast network.

Her time running ABC had a smattering of successes — “Roseanne,” “The Good Doctor” and a solid, but expensive “American Idol” reboot — but has recently been tarnished some having lost Shonda Rhimes and Kenya Barris to Netflix, who lured the creators with more freedom and fatter checks, and a PR debacle that saw the network cancel its top-rated series in years in “Roseanne,” after star Roseanne Barr came under fire for a racist tweet.

Also Read: Peter Rice, Dana Walden to Lead Disney-ABC’s TV Networks and Studio After Fox Deal Closes

Dungey is the most recent in a string of top black executives at the network to depart. Head of drama Nne Ebong left in August and Jamila Hunter, who was head of comedy, left in October to join Kenya Barris’s Khalabo Ink Society production company.

The losses are a disappointment to Disney given the emphasis it has placed on diversity, especially in recent years with ABC hits like “Black-ish” and “Fresh Off the Boat” and the blockbuster success of “Black Panther” this year.

No one TheWrap spoke to for this story thought Disney had an internal problem with race.

Dungey told top management who tried to convince her to stay that she “loves” Iger, but was not willing to remain. “She wants to be a free agent, she wants to test the market,” said the first insider.

While Dungey does not currently have a job lined up, the prevailing thought is that her options post-Disney would be wide open.

Before Disney announced plans in 2017 to buy the entertainment assets of Fox, Dungey, who had been at the helm of ABC Entertainment since February 2016, had been told she was in line for a broader role at Disney/ABC, the person familiar with Iger’s thinking told TheWrap.

After Disney changed course, however, opting to merge its divisions with Fox, plans for what would have been a promotion for Dungey were put on hold. When Dungey was offered a new contract but for her same position, she opted out.

Also Read: Channing Dungey Exits as ABC Chief, Freeform’s Karey Burke to Replace Her

Walden, who will head Disney’s non-sports TV operations, and Rice, who will serve as chairman, both made pitched efforts to get Dungey to stay, according to three knowledgeable individuals. They took her to dinner and outlined a future in which she had key responsibilities in programming decisions across all of Disney’s growing platforms.

But since neither executive is in place as yet, they were not in a position to make concrete offers, one executive told TheWrap. That executive said that Walden and Rice still hold out hope of luring Dungey back in the future.

Also Read: ABC’s Channing Dungey Says Kenya Barris Was ‘Frustrated’ by Limitations of Broadcast TV

Dungey had been at ABC since 2004 and plans to remain at the network to see through the transition period as her successor Burke takes over.

“I’m incredibly proud of what the team and I have accomplished over the years, and all the meaningful and impactful programming we’ve developed. This job has been the highlight of my career. While I’ve loved every moment, and knew I could call ABC home for many years to come, I’m excited to tackle new challenges,” Dungey said in a statement on Friday.

Group president Ben Sherwood, it was announced in September, would leave once Rice and Walden come on board.

Related stories from TheWrap:

ABC Head Channing Dungey Says Donald Trump Made Her Rethink Programming Strategy

ABC President Channing Dungey Explains Why ‘Castle’ and ‘Nashville’ Had to Go

Channing Dungey Is Broadcast TV’s First Black President — Years Too Late

Disney Misses Q3 Earnings Expectations; Stock Falls in After-Hours Trading

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Walt Disney Co. missed analysts earnings expectations for its 2018 fiscal third quarter on Tuesday.

Disney reported adjusted per-share earnings of $1.87 for the quarter ending July 1. That was below analysts’ expectations for $1.95 earnings per share, according to estimates gathered by Yahoo Finance, but an improvement compared with the $1.58 per-share earnings the company reported during the same quarter a year ago.

Revenue for the quarter was $15.23 billion, which was just short of analysts forecast of $15.34 billion. The company’s third-quarter revenue was an improvement over last year’s reported $14.24 billion in revenue.

Disney reported increased revenue in all of its business segments. The company said that film revenue grew 20 percent to $2.9 billion thanks, in part, to the success of “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Incredibles 2.” Revenue at its media networks increased 5 percent to $6.2 billion, and the parks division saw revenue increase 6 percent to $5.2 billion.

Also Read: Dana Walden Touts ‘Complete Independence’ of ‘New Fox’ After Disney Merger

“We’re pleased with our results in the quarter, including a double-digit increase in earnings per share, and excited about the opportunities ahead for continued growth,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a statement. “Having earned the overwhelming support of shareholders, we are more enthusiastic about the 21st Century Fox acquisition than ever, and confident in our ability to fully leverage these assets along with our own incredible brands, franchises and businesses to drive significant value across the entire company.”

Disney shareholders, along with those of 21st Century Fox, voted on July 27 to approve the company’s $71.3 billion acquisition of Fox’s film and TV entertainment assets. The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2019. In the meantime, Disney will work to figure out how to incorporate the new business and assets into it’s existing operation.

Also Read: Disney/Fox Begins to Take Shape: Peter Rice, Dana Walden Expected to Lead Newly Merged TV Group

Disney will webcast its quarterly conference call with analysts and investors at 4:30 Eastern, and is expected to provide more detail on it’s third-quarter earnings and future plans.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Dave Bautista: It’s ‘Pretty Nauseating’ to Work for Disney After Firing of James Gunn

James Gunn: ‘I Understand and Accept’ Disney’s Move to Drop Me From ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’

Disney Chief Bob Iger’s Response to Comcast Bowing Out of Fox Sweepstakes: ‘Holy Crap’

Dolby, Disney Extend Deal Starting With ‘Avengers: Infinity War,’ ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Dolby Laboratories and The Walt Disney Studios will continue their collaboration, adding 20 new titles to deal to release movies via Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos.

Marvel’s “Avengers: Infinity War” and Lucasfilm’s “Solo: A Star Wars Story” are the first titles under the new deal announced Thursday.

“Dolby and Disney share a rich history and mutual desire to bring the most spectacular cinematic experiences to audiences across the globe,” said Doug Darrow, Senior Vice President, Cinema Business Group, Dolby Laboratories. “With the expanded partnership, fans will experience many anticipated movies, including two upcoming ‘Star Wars’ titles and two titles in the ‘Avengers’ franchise, in both cutting-edge imaging and state-of-the-art sound.”

Also Read: Dolby to Install New Atmos System in 20 Theaters Worldwide

Jeff Miller, President, Studio Operations, The Walt Disney Studios added, “At Disney, we strive to enable the vision of our filmmakers. Our strong partnership with Dolby and their commitment to developing state-of-the-art technology and tools gives the creative community an amazing palette to help deliver extraordinary experiences.”

Most recent and upcoming films coming to Dolby Cinema through 2019 include Pixar’s “Coco,” “Marvel’s “Thor: Ragnarok,” Lucasfilm’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” “Marvel’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” Disney’s “Mary Poppins Returns,” Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2”  and Disney’s “Aladdin,” among many more.

See Video: Dolby Neuroscientist Calls Out Gender Bias in Science

To date, over 165 Dolby Cinema titles have been released. Dolby Vision projection uses state of the art optics and image processing for enhanced color technology and contrast ratio. Dolby’s award-winning sound technology Dolby Atmos moves audio around the cinema for a more inclusive theater-going experience.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Indonesia’s Censorship of ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Isn’t Happening, Disney Says

Disney Must Make Offer to Buy All of Sky If Fox’s Own Deal Falls Through

Donnie Yen Joins the Cast of Disney’s Live-Action ‘Mulan’

Guillermo del Toro Signs Overall Production Deal at Fox Searchlight

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Fox Searchlight has signed reigning Best Director Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro to an overall production deal, where he’ll create genre feature content like horror and science fiction.

Terms of the deal, brokered by division heads Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula, will cover live action film projects to be written, produced and/or directed by del Toro. The studio, now the property of the Walt Disney Company, nabbed Best Picture this year for del Toro’s “The Shape of Water.”

The projects will be developed through a still-unnamed joint label. First up is “Antlers,” a film about an elementary school teacher who takes in a troubled student keeping a mysterious and deadly family secret.

Also Read: Sundance: Will Fox Searchlight Still Be a Player in Shadow of Disney Acquisition?

Scott Cooper will direct from a script by Nick Antosca and Henry Chaisson, based on the short “The Quiet Boy” by Nick Antosca. Del Toro, David Goyer and J. Miles Dale will produce, with Kevin Turen serving as executive producer.

“In Fox Searchlight, I’ve found a real home for live action production — a partnership based on hard work, understanding of each other and, above all, faith … I am honored to have the opportunity to continue the relationship,” del Toro said in a statement.

“We have observed first-hand Guillermo at work as a director, a writer, a producer — a creator. We believe in him and the vision for a new Searchlight label and we are eager to embark on this journey with him,” said Utley and Gilula.

Read the announcement:

Fox Searchlight Pictures Presidents Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley announced today that Fox Searchlight Pictures has signed a deal with Academy Award® winning director Guillermo del Toro that covers live action feature film projects to be written, produced and/or directed by del Toro. Fox Searchlight is also creating a new, soon to be named, label which will serve as a home for projects in the horror, sci-fi and fantasy genres, including those produced and curated by del Toro. Films will be financed, marketed and distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures.

“For the longest time, I’ve hoped to find an environment in which I can distribute, nurture and produce new voices in smart, inventive genre films and channel my own. In Fox Searchlight, I’ve found a real home for live action production — a partnership based on hard work, understanding of each other and, above all, faith. After the wonderful experience I had with Fox Searchlight on ‘The Shape of Water,’ I am honored to have the opportunity to continue the relationship. I am more than grateful to Nancy, Steve, David and Matthew for their trust in me and for joining me on this adventure,” said del Toro.

“Throughout the process of ‘The Shape of Water’ coming to life, we have observed first-hand Guillermo at work as a director, a writer, a producer — a creator. We believe in him and the vision for a new Searchlight label and we are eager to embark on this journey with him,” said Utley and Gilula.

“As well as being a brilliant filmmaker, Guillermo is a passionate collaborator, curator and advocate for other artists. Working with him on this new label, focused on the highest quality projects in the genre space, allows Searchlight to expand our reach to new filmmakers and new audiences around the world,” said David Greenbaum and Matthew Greenfield, Fox Searchlight Pictures’ Co-Heads of Production.

The first film in the pipeline will be ANTLERS, a story about an elementary school teacher who takes in a troubled student that harbors a mysterious family secret with deadly consequences. The film will be directed by Scott Cooper with a script written by Nick Antosca & Henry Chaisson, based on the short story The Quiet Boy by Nick Antosca. Guillermo Del Toro, David Goyer, and J. Miles Dale will produce, with Kevin Turen serving as executive producer.

Guillermo del Toro’s most recent film, THE SHAPE OF WATER, was honored with 13 Oscar nominations and won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Score and Best Production Design. In all, the film garnered more than 100 awards including the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and appeared on more than 70 critics’ lists of the year’s best films.

Del Toro earned international acclaim as the director, writer and producer of the 2006 fantasy drama PAN’S LABYRINTH which won three Academy Awards. He first gained recognition for the 1993 Mexican-American co-production CRONOS, a supernatural horror film, which he directed from his own screenplay after beginning his career working as a special effects makeup artist.


Guillermo del Toro was represented by Gary Ungar of Exile Entertainment, Robert Newman of William Morris Endeavor and attorney George Hayum, Esq. from the law firm of Hirsch Wallerstein Hayum Matlof & Fishman LLP.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Guillermo del Toro Starts Scholarship Fund for Mexican Filmmakers

Oscars Tell a Story of Inclusion – for Women, People of Color and Guillermo del Toro’s Fish-Man

Oscars: Guillermo del Toro Gets Fourth Mexican-Born Best Director Win in 5 Years

Andy Bird Exiting As Chairman Of Walt Disney International

Read on: Deadline.

Andy Bird, Chairman of Walt Disney International, is set to exit the company after 14 years, Deadline has confirmed. The move comes in the wake of last week’s announcement of a reorganization of Disney’s businesses as it prepares to launch direct-to-consumer services and seeks to grow internationally — and ahead of the pending acquisition of Fox’s film and TV assets.
Last week, it was revealed that Kevin Mayer, who has served as Disney’s Chief Strategy Officer, has been…

‘Coco,’ ‘Orient Express,’ Three Other Newcomers Among Top DVD, Blu-ray Disc Sellers

Read on: Variety.

Just in time for the Oscars, the week that ended March 3 was a big one for new releases: Five newly issued DVD/Blu-ray Disc titles debuted among the top 10 home entertainment sellers in the week leading up to the Academy Awards ceremony. Walt Disney’s “Coco,” the latest animated blockbuster produced by Pixar Animation Studios, […]

Ryan Murphy Leaves Fox: Will Fellow FX Studs Kurt Sutter, Donald Glover and Noah Hawley Bail Too?

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Ryan Murphy left Fox in the dust late on Tuesday, when the “American Horror Story” and “American Crime Story” creator inked quite the rich deal with streaming service Netflix.

The new agreement, which is reportedly worth as much as $300 million, allows Murphy to withdraw himself (on a going-forward basis) from Disney’s pending takeover of Fox’s studio and cable channel FX, among many other assets.

“I got a call from Mr. Iger, and I said point-blank that what I do is not specifically Disney, and I’m not interested in that and I’m concerned about that,” Murphy said last month at the Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour. “I’m like, ‘Do I have to put Mickey Mouse in ‘American Horror Story’ now?’”

Nope, not now. But does Murphy’s blow-dealing move to the safe harbor of streaming pave the way for Fox’s other key FX showrunners, Kurt Sutter, Noah Hawley and Donald Glover to follow suit? After all, Netflix affords arguably the greatest creative freedom of any media platform, and Disney may be the most restrictive — from a censorship standpoint, at least.

Also Read: Ryan Murphy Signs $300M Overall Deal With Netflix

“Sons of Anarchy” and “Mayans MC” creator Sutter just signed a new Fox deal a few weeks ago, months after the Disney acquisition was announced. So that guy knows what he’s getting into — as much as anyone can, that is.

“In a scary world of orange monsters and spontaneous castrations, Fox 21 and FX is my ‘safe place’ where I feel loved and appreciated,” Sutter said at the time.

OK, so FX is definitely keeping one even when it seeks shelter under the Disney umbrella. “Mayans” will premiere later this year, which happens to be roughly the same timeline the Disney-Fox deal is expected to close. Sutter’s “The Bastard Executioner” was definitely not Walt Disney fare, but that series was dead on arrival anyway.

Might wanna tone down the “castration” stuff when you head to Disneyland though, Kurt.

Also Read: Here Is the $10 Billion Reason Why Disney May Lose Its Fox Deal

Glover’s overall deal with FX Productions was signed a year before Sutter’s, so at the time he had no idea what the fate of his network and studio would become.

Under that agreement, the “Community” alum will develop television series for FX Networks (FXN) and other networks and streaming services, in addition to continuing to executive produce, write, direct and star in the TV-MA “Atlanta.”

We haven’t seen enough out of Glover’s mind to know whether his original stuff could fit in with Disney’s family friendly environment — his main creation to this point isn’t as tame as that “Star Wars” and “Spider-Man” acting stuff. All the “N”-word usage, gun violence and sex in “Atlanta” isn’t really what the aforementioned Bob Iger is going for.

Mark Glover’s future at what we’ll call “Old Fox” for now down as “Inconclusive.”

Also Read: Attention Cord-Cutters! Disney Prices ESPN+ OTT Service as Cheaper Than Cable

Hawley is, perhaps, the most interesting of the bunch. His last overall deal with FX was signed in December 2015. It was for three years, which means he’ll be up for grabs by this holiday season.

There’s a weird thing here though: Hawley has said more “Fargo” should be ready for 2019. Does that mean an extension is coming? Or could Hawley cut bait and move on?

The former option seems more likely than the latter one, and the fairly tame (by comparison) content of “Fargo” and his “Legion” could fit in just fine with Disney.

“Noah Hawley, who has become quite a busy bee… has told us that he has an idea that excited me enormously for a fourth cycle of ‘Fargo’ and the plan is to have that ready in 2019,” FX boss John Landgraf said at the last TCA event. “The anticipation is there will be another cycle of ‘Fargo’ in 2019.”

Also Read: Ryan Murphy Explains Why Tatiana Maslany’s Role Was Recast in FX Drama ‘Pose’

And what about Murphy’s former protege and current producing partner Brad Falchuk (“Pose,” “American Horror Story,” “9-1-1,” etc.)? Well, he’s kind of stuck where he is for a while.

You see, Falchuk signed a multiyear deal with 20th Century Fox back in February 2016. Though Fox didn’t specify the terms of the deal then and won’t comment now about its length, most of these contracts are for three years. That means Falchuk couldn’t follow Murphy out the door until a year from now.

That said, Falchuk and Murphy’s musical series “The Politician” already exists at Netflix, so he’s already got a foot in the door there.

In addition to “The Politician,” Murphy was already working on Netflix’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” prequel series “Ratched,” starring Sarah Paulson.

Also Read: Two-Part ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ Season 4 Gets Premiere Date From Netflix

Poaching Murphy from his longtime home of 20th Century Fox TV is a huge get for Netflix, which pulled off a similar coup last year when it lured away ABC-hitmaker Shonda Rhimes with her own rich multi-year deal.

Since creating “Nip/Tuck,” one of the first major original programming successes at FX, Murphy has created and produced a number of popular television series for Fox and FX. He currently oversees five shows at the two networks, “American Crime Story,” “American Horror Story,” “Feud,” “9-1-1” and the upcoming “Pose,” all of which will continue at their respective network homes.

“The history of this moment is not lost on me,” Murphy said Tuesday in a statement about his new deal. “I am a gay kid from Indiana who moved to Hollywood in 1989 with $55 dollars in savings in my pocket, so the fact that my dreams have crystallized and come true in such a major way is emotional and overwhelming to me. I am awash in genuine appreciation for Ted Sarandos, Reed Hastings and Cindy Holland at Netflix for believing in me and the future of my company which will continue to champion women, minorities and LGBTQ heroes and heroines, and I am honored and grateful to continue my partnership with my friends and peers at Fox on our existing shows.”

Netflix and Disney did not respond to our requests for comment on this story. FX and 20th both declined comment.

Related stories from TheWrap:

American Horror Story? Ryan Murphy ‘Emotional’ Over Fox-Disney Deal: ‘What I Do Is Not Disney’

Fox Revives Ryan Murphy’s ‘9-1-1’ for Season 2

Ryan Murphy on Why ‘American Crime Story’ Will ‘Never’ Tackle JonBenet or Menendez Brothers

Paramount Names David Sameth President of Worldwide Marketing

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

David Sameth has been named President of Worldwide Marketing at Paramount Pictures.

Sameth moves over to Paramount from Walt Disney Animation and Pixar, where he served as an executive vice president and head of theatrical marketing. He’ll report to Paramount Chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos starting Feb. 1.

Sameth replaces longtime marketing chief Megan Colligan, who departed last November saying she was forced out by “gender bias and discrimination.”

Also Read: Paramount Publicity EVP Katie Martin Kelley to Step Down

“David is an incredibly talented, visionary marketer who has created some of the most iconic and successful campaigns in our industry’s recent history,” Gianopulos said in a statement.

“He has experience launching an array of films from big franchises to small, specialized endeavors, and everything in between. His insights, experience and reputation make him a very welcome addition to our team,” Gianopulos added.

Sameth most recently worked on Pixar’s “Coco,” and dozens of other beloved titles in his long career. Read the full announcement:

Paramount Pictures today named highly regarded film marketing executive David Sameth as President of Worldwide Marketing for the film studio.

Sameth, who currently serves as Executive Vice President and Head of Theatrical Marketing for Disney Animation Studios and Pixar, will report to Jim Gianopulos, Chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures. Sameth will be responsible for the design, development and implementation of all marketing and advertising strategies for Paramount Pictures’ global theatrical releases.

“David is an incredibly talented, visionary marketer who has created some of the most iconic and successful campaigns in our industry’s recent history,” said Jim Gianopulos. “He has experience launching an array of films from big franchises to small, specialized endeavors, and everything in between. His insights, experience and reputation make him a very welcome addition to our team.”

Sameth will begin his new role at Paramount on February 1.

At Disney, Sameth has supervised since 2009 all aspects of marketing for the films from Disney Animation Studios and Pixar. Those titles include Toy Story 3, Tangled, The Muppets, Brave, Wreck-It Ralph, Monsters University, Frozen, Big Hero 6, Inside Out, Zootopia, Finding Dory, Moana, and this year’s Golden Globe-winning film, Coco.

Sameth commented: “While it is with sadness that I leave the Disney family I’ve come to know and love, and which has provided me with amazing opportunities and projects over the last 9 years, it is with great anticipation that I look forward to the next chapter at Paramount. Exciting challenges and great things await all those there, and under Jim’s leadership, I can’t think of a more exciting place to be.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Paramount Taps ‘Revenant’ Screenwriter Mark L. Smith to Pen Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Star Trek’ Idea

Paramount Publicity EVP Katie Martin Kelley to Step Down

George Clooney to Direct and Star in ‘Catch-22’ Series From Paramount TV

Why Fox Buyout Could Make Disney the ‘Most Powerful Company’ in Hollywood

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Disney is in on the cusp of grabbing the ultimate wedge of cheese: The company is closing in on 21st Century Fox’s film studio and a portion of its television business, according to CNBC.

The deal, valued at $60 billion, would instantly make Disney “the most powerful company in the entertainment industry,” Ross Gerber, CEO of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth and Investment, told TheWrap.

Disney is expected to get a treasure trove of Fox assets, including its film and TV production units and much of its non-broadcast TV business, including FX, regional sports networks and Nat Geo, among other channels.

Also Read: ‘Westworld,’ ‘SWAT’ Shut Down Production as Wildfire Scorches Southern California

The Fox broadcast network, Fox News, Fox Business and Fox Sports would remain with Murdoch-controlled Fox — due in part to antitrust considerations, since Disney already owns ABC and ESPN.

But Fox’s treasure trove of new film and TV content is much-needed by Disney as CEO Bob Iger seeks to launch the company’s own streaming service in 2019 to compete with Netflix — which will soon cease to be able to use Disney programming, when its current deal lapses.

“To get these [Fox] assets under one roof creates an incredibly powerful content creator, with new avenues of distribution,” Gerber said. “To control the assets —  the [intellectual property], the studios, FX and the other channels — would make Disney the most powerful company in the entertainment industry. And I think Netflix has a lot to be scared of moving forward.”

Also Read: Blac Chyna Slapped With Another Lawsuit Over Her Instagram Photos

Peter Csathy, chairman of CREATV, a media and tech-focused business development and advisory firm, said the Disney would score by grabbing Fox’s internationally well-known TV shows like “Empire” and “The Simpsons,” along with its evergreen IP like the “Planet of the Apes” and “Alien” movie franchises.

“Fox has great franchises like X-Men,” said Csathy. “X-Men can join Disney with Marvel, Pixar, and ‘Star Wars’ — that holy triumvirate — and really expand the strengths of its exclusive content.”

Csathy — who spends an entire chapter in his latest book, “Media 2.0,” on the brewing battle between Netflix and Disney — said exclusive content is key to building out a successful streaming service.

“Stranger Things” pulls viewers to Netflix; “Handmade’s Tale” has drawn subscribers to Hulu, a service owned jointly by Disney, Fox, Comcast and Time Warner.

Also Read: Terry Crews Files Sexual Assault Lawsuit Against Agent Adam Venit

A Disney-Fox deal could potentially double the Mouse House’s stake in Hulu to 60 percent, giving it a controlling stake.

“Disney can essentially make Hulu its streaming service,” Gerber said. “And by having the Fox assets, plus the Disney assets, plus Hulu, essentially they’ve got content and distribution all in one place and they don’t need to build a standalone streaming service again.”

Maybe that will be the revised strategy, or maybe Disney will stick with its previously announced plan to launch a new SVOD service by 2019. Either way, Disney — which will pull its content from Netflix in two years — has declared war on Ted Sarandos, Reed Hastings and the gang at Netflix.

Also Read: ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ Rings in Episode 99 With World’s Most Awkward Road Trip (Exclusive Video)

Some analysts have groused that Disney waited too long to challenge Netflix and its 110 million subscribers. But USC Media Professor Chris Smith told TheWrap Disney could benefit from the “last-mover advantage.”

“They’ve observed how the streaming video market has evolved thus far and they are betting that if they can combine a) the power of the Disney brand, b) a scaled content library (bolstered by the addition of Fox’s assets), network effects from Disney fans who will be afflicted with FOMO (fear of missing out) if they don’t at least sample the Disney service,” Smith said.

Also Read: Kevin Spacey-Less ‘All the Money in the World’ Screens for Golden Globes Voters

OK, so Disney (theoretically) affirms itself as top dog in this business, and all it costs them is $60 billion — a manageable outlay for a company worth $160 billion. But what’s in this for Fox?

Um, Disney stock, for starters. That’s preferable to shares of Comcast, which has also been circling the same film and TV assets. And for Rupert Murdoch, it allows him to streamline his media empire around broadcast TV, major sports and the Fox News and Fox Business stations that have been his pet projects for years.

“The Murdochs, there’s a reason they’re selling,” concluded Gerber. “Their empire is basically coming down around them. And instead of doing things from a position of weakness, it’s very smart of them to do this.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

American Media Stands by Top Editor Dylan Howard, Denies ‘Baseless’ Sexual Misconduct Accusations

‘This Is Us’ Creator Dan Fogelman’s ‘Life, Itself’ Heads to Amazon in $10 Million Deal

Roy Moore Spokesperson Jane Porter: What About ‘Non-Accusers’? (Video)

50 years later, The Jungle Book is still Disney’s best soundtrack

Read on: The A.V. Club.

The internet is choked with nostalgia for the youth-oriented entertainments of the not-too-distant past. With Memory Wipe, The A.V. Club takes a look at some of our formative favorites with clearer eyes and asks that all-important question: Were they r…

Disney Animation Ditches Jack and the Beanstalk Movie ‘Gigantic’

Read on: Variety.

Walt Disney Animation Studios has dropped development of “Gigantic,” its adaptation of the classic fairy tale “Jack and the Beanstalk.”  “Sometimes, no matter how much we love an idea or how much heart goes into it, we find that it just isn’t working,” said Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios president Ed Catmull.”With ‘Gigantic,’ we’ve come […]