Disney Headlines for November 16th, 2023
This week’s Headlines are pretty clear.
We’ve got Disney throwing some parties, The Marvels bombing, and some other Marvel titles switching dates. And I don’t mean to clickbait you here, but one is a surprise.
Let’s talk about a fascinating week of Disney Headlines.
Having a Hollywood Jollywood Christmas
On Saturday evening, Disney’s Hollywood Studios hosted a brand-new after-hours ticketed event.
Named Disney Jollywood Nights, this event offered plenty of booze and fun at Walt Disney World’s most congested park.
MickeyBlog’s dutiful park reporters barely had time to catch their breath, as they’d spent the previous day at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
That’s right, folks! Disney kicked off the party season with a bang, hosting events on consecutive nights at two different theme parks.
We already posted a video of MickeyBlog’s evening at the Magic Kingdom party:
However, you’re probably more curious about Jollywood Nights, which Disney had never hosted before this past weekend.
Well, as you’d expect, the event suffered some opening night jitters, some of them predictable.
We are talking about the smallest theme park at Walt Disney World, and Disney provided many of the best offerings toward the front of the park.
That was an intentional decision because management recognized that partygoers would fall into one of two categories.
Some would hang out and have fun at the bars, restaurants, and live entertainment areas.
Others would take advantage of the after-hours lines to ride popular Hollywood Studios attractions.
Given how long the lines can get during the day, that’s an understandable strategy.
The opportunity cost requires you to skip some of the fun at the front of the park, though.
Not coincidentally, many guests stayed near the front, which created some crowding issues. It’s nothing you haven’t seen before at Hollywood Studios.
Still, we’re kind of keeping an eye on Jollywood Nights to check how long Disney needs to work out the kinks.
You should plan to wait a bit longer for everything here. Also, please be aware that the merchandise…needs improvement.
The Marvels Struggles
Okay, as I said on MarvelBlog Sunday, I’m not rushing to judgment here, as I think we all learned our lesson with Elemental.
On opening weekend, everyone rushed to report that Elemental suffered the worst Pixar start of the 21st century.
During Disney’s earnings call last week, executives were bragging about the box office performance of Elemental, which finished strong.
Still, I don’t hold out as much hope for The Marvels, which opened to $110 million worldwide this weekend. For the MCU, that’s usually a Friday number.
Simply stated, Disney faced a perfect storm of events with this project. The overall impact has just destroyed The Marvels at the box office.
I’m not as doom and gloom about this opening as many. I understand what the underlying factors are.
Due to the SAG-AFTRA strike, the cast of The Marvels, especially Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson, couldn’t promote the film until the last minute.
All the way back at San Diego Comic-Con, Disney tried to avoid stepping on toes by not mentioning the film at all.
Also, the fan frustration with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and Secret Invasion spilled over into the demand for The Marvels.
I suspect the MCU could have survived one of those two disasters, but it could not overcome both.
What Nobody Says about The Marvels
Instead, The Marvels needed a brilliant advertising campaign to show it was closer to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
That didn’t happen because the production of The Marvels was kind of a mess.
Those of you paying attention to what has happened behind the scenes at Marvel during the last 18 months understand why.
A year ago, Marvel burned out its SFX crew, suffered Disney-dictated layoffs, and showed signs of tension in upper management.
In short, The Marvels has become a monument to all Marvel’s sins. But here’s the thing nobody wants to mention! It’s a fun movie!
No, The Marvels isn’t on a par with the best MCU titles to date, but if you enter the theater with an open mind, odds are good that you’ll like it.
As I type this, the film isn’t merely fresh at Rotten Tomatoes but actually trending upward after an early slow start.
What seems to be happening is that the usual Marvel fanatics who post early reviews expected too much.
Most casual movie fans find Carol Danvers, Monica Rambeau, and Kamala Khan delightful together.
Sure, the villain needs work, but they can’t all be Agatha Harkness and Thanos.
As I said with Elemental way back when, I warmly encourage you to watch The Marvels. It’s better than you probably expect.
The Marvel Shuffle
The other Marvel story this week is again predictable to anyone paying attention.
With the SAG-AFTRA strike thankfully in the rearview mirror, film production can ramp up again.
That statement sounds lovely, although it’ll look more like when a NASCAR race restarts after a car wreck. Everyone is gunning for the same spots.
With Disney and Marvel, the trick will be lining up top-tier talent to film in 2024, when they will be in high demand.
Similarly, anyone involved with special effects is going to face more crunch than ever, meaning they’ll work non-stop.
Every studio needs their top projects back in production ASAP. So, it’s a savage race to get ahead of everyone else.
Marvel officials know this and also recognize that they cannot afford another Secret Invasion kind of mistake right now or anytime soon, really.
So, Kevin Feige and his team took a hard look at what they had lined up and made some changes.
The New Marvel Plans
First, Marvel punted Captain America: Brave New World into 2025, which is huge. It means this film needs reshoots and perhaps a new identity.
Interestingly, the Loki season finale opened some possibilities for the entire MCU, and it’s possible the next Captain America film explores them.
Meanwhile, Marvel selected a July date for Deadpool 3, whose story you can probably guess if you’ve watched The Marvels. I’ll say no more.
However, the shocker is that Disney+ has committed to a Christmas Week release for What If…?
Technically, they’re saying late December, but that’s the last week of the year, so…
Disney has had What If…? ready for ages, so I’m asking myself, “Why now?” That’s the next story to track down.
Anyway, if you want more Marvel, you’ll get What If…? and Echo within the next two months.
You might want to temper your expectations for Echo, though…
Notably, Blade will stay in 2024, and Thunderbolts remains a big part of the 2025 schedule.
Given everything that has happened, Marvel is expressing confidence in both projects by leaving them where they are.
Still, we’re only getting one MCU movie next year. Deadpool 3 better be good, y’all.
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