MING-NA WEN IS NEGOTIATING A CAMEO IN DISNEY’S LIVE-ACTION MULAN REMAKE

Disney’s live-action Mulan remake is still in the pre-production, but it’s never too early to call in the Cavalry! Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. actress Ming-Na Wen provided the voice of Mulan in Disney’s animated feature film and its direct-to-video sequel, so it’s no surprise that Wen would very much like to make an appearance in the new version of Mulan. And during her recent appearance at the Heroes & Villains Fest in Nashville, Wen indicated that there has been some progress on that front.

Via ComicBook.com, Wen was asked if she was interested in appearing in Mulan and if she had been approached about it. “All of the above,” replied Wen. “I’m hoping. I mean, I’ve spoken to one of the producers on the film, and they’re still in the very early stages of it. So, we’re keeping an eye on it, and hopefully, yeah, It would be lovely too, I think, for the fans as well as for myself, right?”

Mulan large

Wen added, perhaps in jest, that she wanted fans to go on social media and tell Disney that they want to see her in the film. “So, I want everybody to Tweet, later on, today, to Disney and let them know how you feel,” said Wen. It shouldn’t even be a question, although it’s doubtful that remake would give Wen a chance to show off her Melinda May-style fighting skills.

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Pandora May Not Save Disney World This Year

Disney (NYSE:DIS) made a big bet on James Cameron’s Avatar to drum up attendance at Disney World, and it may not be paying off. TouringPlans.com — a popular trip planner and queue watcher — just put out a report on the impact of the new Avatar-themed expansion of Disney’s Animal Kingdom on the resort’s attendance trends. Shareholders aren’t going to like what they see.

TouringPlans.com analyzes wait times across all four of Disney World’s theme parks to make a rough estimate of crowd sizes. There was naturally a spike in tourist activity around the time that Pandora — The World of Avatar opened during Memorial Day weekend. Attendance — or more specifically the hourly average number of guests at attractions, in this case — soared 18% between May 27 and June 7. However, since June 8, the hourly average number of guests at Disney World rides or attractions has risen by a mere 1,349 sun-baked park-goers, or 4%.

A family walking through Pandora

IMAGE SOURCE: DISNEY.

Fight of passage

The two new Pandora attractions have an hourly capacity of 2,900 and the wait times for Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey are consistently above an hour. If the average number of guests across all of Disney World’s offerings has risen by 1,349 in recent weeks, it means that the wait times are shorter across the rest of Disney World since last summer. Park guests may be comforted by seeing shorter wait times, but it’s going to be disappointing if Disney’s massive investment in Cameron’s eco-friendly sci-fi franchise only produces a 4% uptick in turnstile clicks.

It gets worse. Folks gravitating to Disney’s Animal Kingdom are coming at the expense of the resort’s three other theme parks. Unlike rival Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), which saw dramatic surges in attendance through Universal Orlando when it added The Wizarding World of Harry Potter attractions at Islands of Adventure in 2010 and Universal Studios Florida in 2014, Disney is just robbing Goofy to pay Pluto.

Distribution of Guests June 8 to June 29 2016 2017
Disney’s Animal Kingdom 19% 31%
Magic Kingdom 34% 32%
Epcot 25% 19%
Disney’s Hollywood Studios 22% 18%

DATA SOURCE: TOURINGPLANS.COM.

The good news is that reinforcements are coming to the two parks that need it the most. Disney’s Hollywood Studios will open Toy Story Land in 2018 and Star Wars Land in 2019. And a massive makeover for Epcot will likely be announced later this month during Disney’s D23 fan conference.

It’s certainly disappointing that Pandora doesn’t appear to be extending vacations at Disney World the way we saw at Comcast’s Universal Orlando after its Potter-fueled additions. Investors will need to take a long-term view of what Disney adds to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in the next two summers, and then at Epcot starting in 2020, to see the true potential of Pandora.

Disney itself seems to be all but throwing in the towel. On Wednesday it began opening Disney’s Animal Kingdom an hour later and closing it an hour earlier, despite July typically being the peak summer travel season. After seeing attendance at Disney World decline in three of the four quarters of the 2016 calendar year — and industry tracker Themed Entertainment Association confirms slight declines at all four Disney World parks — shaving two hours from the park’s operating day confirms that the newness of Pandora is wearing off.

We should only see modest recovery in terms of attendance, but the silver lining here is that revenue growth should be more robust than the headcount. Folks are paying more for their tickets, and giving guests at Disney hotels two extra hours every night (since May 27) to explore Pandora should keep bookings at healthy levels. Pandora is just the opening chapter in Disney’s game-changing transformation; clearly, the House of Mouse still has a lot to do throughout its resort.

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Tens of thousands expected to flood Anaheim Disney’s D23 Expo 2017, including Oprah, Mark Hamill; here’s what you need to know

Oprah is coming here. As are Mark Hamill, the original “Star Wars” lightsaber-wielding Jedi, and Whoopi Goldberg, actress and comedian.

And fans, tens of thousands of them, are gearing up to flock to Anaheim for a mid-July romp in all things Disney.

The D23 Expo, The Walt Disney Co.’s fan convention, is Friday, July 14, to Sunday, July 16, at the Anaheim Convention Center. The fan club’s name is a nod to 1923, the year Disney founded his company.

The biennial fan fest, held since 2009, brings together the company’s extensive entertainment, merchandise and theme parks portfolio under one roof. Tickets for Friday and Sunday from $53 to $81 are still available. Saturday’s individual-day tickets are sold out.

D23 doesn’t release the convention’s attendance numbers, but in 2013 officials estimated  more than 65,000 hardcore Disney enthusiasts attended the event.

  • More than 65,000 Disney fans are expected to attend the D23 Expo at the Anaheim Convention Center. Photo by MINDY SCHAUER, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

More than 65,000 Disney fans are expected to attend the D23 Expo at the Anaheim Convention Center. Photo by MINDY SCHAUER, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

In recent years, the convention has been where high-level Disney executives – including the creative head of Pixar, John Lasseter, Disney Studio Chairman Alan Horn, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and CEO Bob Iger – discuss and release special previews and dates of upcoming live-action movies, animated features and television shows.

Bob Chapek, the chairman of Disney Parks and Resorts, is slated to attend, signifying possible major announcements of what’s in store for Disney’s global array of theme parks including Disneyland and Disney California Adventure here in Anaheim.

There’ll be special limited-edition merchandise to mark the occasion, exhibitors, a concert by musician Alan Menken and plenty of panels, including on the reboot of the new “Ducktales” animated cartoon, a look at legendary Disney Imagineers and on televisions shows “Once Upon a Time” and “The Golden Girls.”

The actresses who gave voice to several Disney princesses – Anika Noni Rose, “The Princess and the Frog;” Ming-Na Wen, “Mulan;” Auli‘i Cravalho, “Moana;” and Jodi Benson, “The Little Mermaid” – will appear.

 

In 2009 and 2015, Johnny Depp showed up dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films. In 2011, Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlet Johanson of Marvels’ Avengers made a surprise appearance. And, in 2013, Idina Menzel performed “Let it Go” from “Frozen.”

At the most recent D23 Expo, Iger announced the creation of a “Star Wars”-themed land at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. This expo, a model of the 14-acre lands now under construction in both parks will be on display, giving a peek at the starships and creatures that will dwell within.

The three-day event will kick off by honoring Disney’s latest “Legends” – individuals who have contributed in one way or another to the success of the company. Among the 10 recognized this year are Oprah Winfrey, whose talk show spent 25 years on ABC; Stan Lee and his late partner, Jack Kirby, for helping create Marvel; Julie Taymor, an Emmy and Tony award-winning filmmaker known for adapting “The Lion King” to the stage; and Hamill and the late Carrie Fisher for their roles in the “Star Wars” franchise.

  • Director Garry Marshall arrives at the premiere of “New Year’s Eve” in Los Angeles on Monday, Dec. 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)

Director Garry Marshall arrives at the premiere of “New Year’s Eve” in Los Angeles on Monday, Dec. 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)

Other events during the weekend include the Mousequerade, cosplay competition; live performances from Aimee Carrero, Lou Diamond Phillips and Susan Egan; and  Goldberg hosting a celebration of music from Disney’s live-action films.

 

If you go

When: Friday, July 14, to Sunday, July 16

Where: Anaheim Convention Center, 800 W. Katella Ave.

Time: Panels begin each day at 10 a.m.

Tickets: Friday and Sunday range from $53 to $81

Information: d23.com

 

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‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ will be Disney’s first 4K Blu-ray

Director James Gunn has confirmed that his Marvel movie “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” will be the first 4K Blu-ray released by Disney.

The director indicated in April that he was lobbying Disney to release the film with the extended color and contrast that the format allows.

“LIGHT and COLOR are such important elements of ‘Vol. 2’s’ story, and why we screened the world premiere in Los Angeles in essentially this format,” Gunn said in a Facebook post Wednesday (read the full post below).

The director said that home releases will also include a 3D version, plus plenty of extras and surprises. His post didn’t mention high dynamic range, but the disc has been rumored to include the Dolby Vision HDR format along with the standard HDR10 available on most 4K Blu-ray discs.

“We will soon have lots more exciting announcements about the home release and some unbelievably cool additional content, including something that’s so amazing I’ve been chomping at the bit for months not being able to talk about it!” Gunn said.

A date has not been finalized for the release.

4K Blu-ray is the highest-quality disc format and so far includes over 100 releases from studios such as Warner, Paramount, Universal/Sony and Fox. Disney fans have another reason to be excited as rumors point to Star Wars being next to get the 4K treatment.

Read Gunn’s Facebook post below — but beware of potential spoilers:

Disney: Declining Cable Ratings Raise Concerns

Walt Disney Co. (DIS) investors may be focused on the struggles at its sports network ESPN, but ratings at some of its biggest networks are also declining, raising concerns about its future prospects in cable TV.

The Wall Street Journal, citing show ratings data from Nielsen, reported the viewership at Disney Channel, its kid-focused cable TV channel, and Freeform, formerly ABC Family, which is geared toward teens and young adults, are seeing huge declines in ratings. Meanwhile, SNL Kagan, an industry consulting, firm told the paper the two Disney-owned channels each lost around 4 million subscribers during the past three years.

Young viewers, many of whom grew up watching YouTube and streaming videos from Netflix, are less inclined to watch cable TV the way their older counterparts do. That has hurt all media companies, but for Disney, which is already dealing with the rising cost for sports content at ESPN and a decline in viewership, a loss of younger viewers is particularly worrisome. (See also: The Market Cries Wolf on Disney’s ESPN.)

Cable’s Part of Profit Pie

The Wall Street Journal noted that based on Nielsen data, prime-time viewing for those aged 2 to 34 has declined 34% during the past five years in general. It doesn’t help that 30% of Disney’s revenue and 43% of its profits came from cable television in its last fiscal year. Morgan Stanley told the WSJ that around 23% of the cable revenue and profits at the entertainment company come from networks including the Disney Channel and Freeform and the rest is via ESPN. Declining viewership also means less opportunity to sell merchandising from popular TV shows, whether toys, clothes or home products. That has long been a big driver of revenue for the company. (See also: Disney Expects a Merch Windfall From ‘Spider-Man’.)

In an interview, Disney Channel President Gary Marsh said the entertainment powerhouse is trying to enhance its programming and move into mobile and online in a bigger way. “We see the migration,” the executive told the paper. “One of the challenges is trying to serve the viewership where they’re going as opposed to trying to drive them where we want them to go.” Marsh said the company will also pursue a path that enables it to boost its digital revenue with something potentially unveiled in the “near future.” The executive did acknowledge that Disney Channel lacked hits with some of its newer shows, which hurt ratings. Meanwhile, Freeform president Tom Ascheim said digital viewing of its channel has doubled during the past two years as it added shows online.

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Catch up with the women of Star Wars in Disney’s new Forces of Destiny shorts

Disney and Lucasfilm Animation have finally launched their new micro-series, Star Wars: Forces of Destiny, this week. Three episodes are currently available on Disney’s YouTube channel, and they feature some brief, entertaining looks at the adventures of Rey and Princess Leia. More stories featuring the leading women of the Star Wars universe are on the way.

The first two episodes of Forces of Destiny feature Rey and BB-8, and they appear to take place at an early point in The Force Awakens. The pair must escape from a Nightwatcher Worm and a group of scavengers to find safety and protect BB-8’s precious information. The third episode, “Ewok Escape,” stars Princess Leia early in her time with the Ewoks during Return of the Jedi, and it shows how she and the little creatures managed to outsmart a group of Stormtroopers.

Disney announced the debut of Forces of Destiny back in April. In addition to Rey and Leia, the series will celebrate characters like Rogue One’s Jyn Erso, Star Wars Rebels’ Sabine Wren, and Clone Wars fan favorite Ahsoka Tano. Save for Carrie Fisher, the actresses who play each character will all reprise their roles for the shorts. We’re not sure how many more to expect, but the series is definitely off to a strong start.

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Meet the man who has visited Disneyland every single day for the last five years

This is the man who has visited Disneyland every single day for the last five and a half years.

Disney-mad Jeff Reitz even met his current girlfriend at the theme park, according to NowThis news.

The 44-year-old began going to the theme park on January 1, 2012, and since then he has not missed a single day without a trip.

In fact, Jeff, of Huntington Beach, has been going to Disneyland for about 2000 days in a row.

He has also kept every parking ticket from his daily trips.

Jeff Reitz has been to Disneyland every day for five and a half years (Photo: Facebook)
Jeff Reitz keeps all his parking tickets from visits too (Photo: Facebook)

Video footage shows him looking very happy, strolling around with Disney characters and having fun on the rides.

“It was something to do to keep things fun,” he told the Orange County Register.

He started going in 2012 with a friend as they were both unemployed and wanted to keep their spirits up. But even when he landed a job later that year, he didn’t break the tradition.

Jeff says he keeps going back because he loves the atmosphere, the shows, the music, and the cast members.

Jeff looking happy on one of his days out at DisneyLand (Photo: Facebook)
Jeff has been to Disneyland for 2,000 days (Photo: Facebook)

The army veteran says the park also reminds him of being on duty, as if they were having a bad day they would go and see a film or go out for a meal.

“If I’m having a bad day at work or need to be cheered up now, Disneyland is an equivalent,” he told the Disney Examiner.

Jeff has an annual pass and says it’s become a “living, breathing thing along the way”.

Jeff Reitz even keeps his parking tickets from his daily Disney visits (Photo: Facebook)
Jeff says he doesn’t know when he will stop going to Disneyland (Photo: Facebook)

Sometimes he goes alone, whereas other times he takes his girlfriend Karen Bell along.

He has also made several friends at the theme park.

And it seems it’s a healthy hobby as well, as according to reports he has lost 40 pounds over the years from all the walking around there.

Jeff says he hasn’t won any awards for his daily trips yet but he ‘has his eye on’ a Guinness World Book Record.

 

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Disney Tsum Tsum July 2017 Event is ‘Beauty and the Beast’

“Be Our Guest” with the Disney Tsum Tsum app in July. It’a a tale as old as time as the new Tsum Tsum event will be based on ‘Beauty and the Beast.’

The event will see players trying to clear Gold and Silver Platter missions, where they will be rewarded with a Mrs. Potts Tsum. In addition, Romance Belle and Romance Beast will be available in the Premium boxes. These versions are based on the live-action movie versions of the characters and feature new abilities. Gaston and Lumiere will be available later in the month. Lilo will be available once again at some point in a Pickup Capsule.

The actual event beings on July 5. Romance Belle and Romance Beast will be available beginning on July 1.

 

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Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean ride loses ‘Wench Auction’

 

(CNN)After 50 years, Disney plans to remove the “Wench Auction” section from its fan-favorite “Pirates of the Caribbean'” ride at its parks, a Disney spokeswoman told CNN on Friday.

The scene, featuring animatronic characters, showed a line of women tied together under a sign that read, “Auction — Take a Wench for a Bride.”
Soon, however, the sign will say, “Auction, Surrender Yer Loot.”
Instead of just women, the auction will feature a mix of men and women auctioning off personal goods such as jewelry and clocks.
“We believe the time is right to turn the page to a new story in this scene consistent with the humorous, adventurous spirit of the attraction,” said Suzi Brown, a spokeswoman for Disneyland Resort.
The first Pirates of the Caribbean ride was installed at Disney’s Anaheim, California, location on March 18, 1967.
One of the redheaded “wenches” will become a pirate in the new display, overseeing the auction, according to Kathy Mangum, senior vice president of Walt Disney Imagineering, the division that designs Disney rides.
“Given the redhead has long been a fan favorite, we wanted to keep her as a pivotal part of the story, so we made her a plundering pirate,” Mangum said.
But not everyone is embracing the change.
One comment on the Disney Parks’ blog post that announced the renovations called it a “horrible, horrible” idea.
“The new idea isn’t funny, doesn’t advance the story (and) is insulting to the original. Smooth move,” the commenter wrote.
Another comment on the post said in part, “As one of the last rides Walt (Disney) oversaw I’m very sad they felt the need to change this. We need to stop shielding people from history. Why don’t we just give all the pirates cell phones instead of interacting with each other.”
Marty Sklar, the former creative executive for Walt Disney Imagineering, who worked with Walt Disney, said changes to park rides are part of what keeps Disney a unique experience.
“I can’t think of a single attraction that has not been enhanced and improved, some over and over again,” he said in a statement. “Change is a ‘tradition’ at Disneyland that today’s Imagineers practice — they learned it from their mentors, many of them Walt’s original team of storytellers and designers — the Disney Legends.”
The first park to have the section removed will Paris in July. It will be followed by the parks in Orlando and Anaheim next year.

Disney on Ice brings to life a modern classic

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The school holidays are looming leaving parents with the task of finding something to keep their kids occupied and entertained.

It’s winter so the days at the beach and swimming pool are far gone which unfortunately doesn’t leave a whole lot of options.

Luckily, the new Disney on Ice tour has made its way to Australian shores and this time it is the heart warming Academy award winning tale, Frozen.

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Elsa and the lovable Olaf during Disney on Ice. Photo: Disney.​

Australian audiences will be transported to the beautiful ice kingdom of Arendelle this June and July and will be delighted by the ice skating performances of 39 world class skaters, including well known characters Elsa, Anna and the lovable Olaf.

Prepare to be dazzled by special effects, hundreds of lights and speakers and over 100 breathtaking costumes and 650 accessories.

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Snow princess Elsa singing during Disney on Ice. Photo: Disney. 

Audiences will be magically whisked away to wintry Arendelle by dazzling special effects and astonishing skating and will be able to sing and dance along to exciting songs including well known tune “Let It Go.”

Frozen fans will also see Elsa’s famous Ice Queen dress made from hand painted silk chiffon, designed by world class costume designer, Parson- Meares in New York.

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Anna performing a leap during her routine. Photo: Disney. 

There will also be special appearances throughout the show from other Disney Princesses and characters from favourites such as Mickey and Minnie, Disney Pixar’s Toy story, Finding nemo and the Lion King.

The national tour has already visited Perth, Adelaide, Wollongong and Newcastle and is currently performing in Brisbane until July 2.

The show will then move onto Hisense Arena in Melbourne from 5-9 July and will finish in the harbour city Sydney between July 12-17 at Qudos Bank Arena.

Tickets range from $25 up to $88 and can be purchased from Ticketek via the following website. www.ticketek.com.au/disneyonice

olaf

Snowman Olaf dances his way across the ice. Photo: Disney.

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