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As WandaVision arrives, Marvel Studios is about to enter a never-ending cycle

If Marvel Studios has its way, people will get a new entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe nearly every week.

Everything starts with WandaVision. Marvel’s new nine-episode show, which follows Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff and Paul Bettany’s Vision living out an absurd suburban life in an alternate universe, kicks off on January 15th. Two episodes will premiere, with new episodes releasing every week for the rest of the season. Just two weeks after WandaVision ends, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will arrive. It’s then three weeks until Black Widow hits theaters (unless it’s delayed again) and Loki lands on Disney Plus. By the time Loki ends, it’ll be time for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

You get the picture.

Before Disney Plus launched, Marvel Studios solely worked on films. Television shows fell under Marvel Entertainment’s separate TV division. This includes the Netflix suite of series (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage), shows on Hulu (The Runaways), and ABC titles like Agent Carter and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. It’s what kept the Marvel Cinematic Universe separate from everything else, even if those events were referenced. When Disney Plus came along, everything got shuffled. Disney needed new Marvel shows to bring in subscribers and keep them (like The Mandalorian did). Jeph Loeb, former head of Marvel TV, was effectively ousted as everything came under Marvel Studios chief and MCU architect Kevin Feige.

Under Feige, the MCU is now expanding. The various shows and films will interweave with one another. WandaVision will feature characters from Thor, Ant-Man, and Captain Marvel and will connect somehow to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. While former Disney executives told The Verge that viewers won’t need to watch every movie or show to keep up, the strategy is designed like comics — references made to events that happened elsewhere that fans may want to watch to understand the full context.

Depending on people’s opinions of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, having a new Marvel thing each week is either a blessing or a curse. The question is when does it tip into oversaturation? Some people may feel like we’ve hit that point. While studios and networks are making more movies and TV shows than ever before (including outside the superhero genre), few things dominate the box office and conversation like Disney properties, most notably Marvel and Star Wars. Ushering in a never-ending wave of Marvel TV series, on top of three or four films a year, could be what tips the world over into total franchise fatigue.

Except it likely won’t. Franchise fatigue is a popular phrase that gets thrown around, but it’s ultimately flawed. Superhero movies remain some of the biggest box office successes that drive people to theaters at a time when US audiences are, on average, attending fewer movies a year. In China, Marvel movies remain some of the best performing films made by US studios, and the Chinese box office is the second largest box office demographic. This isn’t to imply that Marvel movies are the be all, end all of film (far from it), but mainstream audiences aren’t tired of them. Prior to Infinity War and Endgame, entries like Black Panther and Captain Marvel drove some of the MCU’s largest successes — and those were new characters within the MCU, not Captain America. The audience demand hasn’t disappeared.

Marvel Studios and Disney’s more pressing concern isn’t franchise fatigue — it’s trust. Think about Star Wars. With the exception of Solo, each Star Wars film released over the last five years has performed exceptionally well, but critical opinion of the films has soured. People argued The Force Awakens is just a remake of A New Hope, The Rise of Skywalker is consistently dunked on, The Last Jedi sits at the center of its own ongoing debate, and Solo feels like two movies mashed into one messy affair.

Productions were plagued by directors and writers being fired, with Disney rushing to get out a Star Wars film a year, leaving little room for proper rewrites. Disney arguably lost the trust from fans over its ability to make consistently good Star Wars movies — or, as analyst and venture capitalist, Matthew Ball, says, it’s “accrued disappointment.” Disney tried to rush everything. It didn’t seem like there was a 10-year plan for Star Wars. Marvel Studios’ greatest asset is that Feige was able to archetype what the universe should look like. It’s not exactly quality over quantity — they keep making more MCU movies every year — but quantity without losing the overarching story thread.

Ironically, Star Wars also points to how having more Marvel can still work. Like Rogue One before it, The Mandalorian succeeds because it’s familiar but stands on its own. It’s obviously Star Wars, and there are enough references to key Star Wars figures and moments that diehard fans can dig into the nitty-gritty. It’s also new and unique enough, however, to not feel like a rushed entry in a universe that generates a ton of money for Disney. The Mandalorian’s creators, Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni, were given time to figure it out.

By all accounts, WandaVision is in the same boat. The characters are familiar, but the show is so different from anything within the MCU that it hopefully feels entirely refreshing. Keeping people’s trust and avoiding accrued disappointment is playing to streaming’s opportunity. Experimentation should be encouraged. If it works, the opportunity for success and ongoing profitability has no ceilings.

If it doesn’t, it’s more forgivable on a streaming service, where people are paying monthly for new content on top of their favorite films and TV shows. It’s not the same as paying $10 or more for a movie ticket or tens of millions of dollars in losses for Disney. Reserve safe bets for big, splashy tentpole movies that more than return on the original investment and marketing campaign; experiment on Disney Plus where people are looking for something to satiate their appetite.

Streaming’s main pitfall is thinking because there’s a monthly demand from subscribers that speed is a priority. Consistency is, but consistency also means quality and originality — especially with properties like Marvel and Star Wars. The stakes are higher; there’s a precedent for great, a precedent for awful, and a hungry fan base that will only accept sub-par movies or TV for so long.

The good news is that Marvel Studios just needs to keep doing what it’s already doing. Feige — an architect who designs Marvel storylines a decade in advance, figuring out how to make a giant universe feel tangible and new — is now in charge of ensuring that same level of attention gets applied to the Disney Plus world. We’re about to enter a period where there will constantly be a new piece of Marvel Studios content. It sounds exhausting — but it doesn’t have to be.

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Entertainment UK

Bridgerton’s cursed production as studios abandoned because of asbestos

Enlivening sumptuous Regency sets with sex scenes that would leave Jane Austen in a swoon, Netflix’s Bridgerton reimagines the period drama genre for modern tastes.

But while the show has been a hit with audiences, the production itself was far from easy.

Netflix sued a London studio for more than £200,000 earlier this year, insisting fears of asbestos on set left the streaming giant with no option but to move production of the extravagant Shondaland show five months into filming.

Legal papers said the move came at “very considerable expense”.

High court papers show that after signing a £2million-a-year lease to use Neasdon Studios for the creation of the eight-part series, in May 2019 Netflix bosses deemed the studio unsafe to use.

Netflix sued a London studio for more than £200,000 earlier this year, insisting fears of asbestos on set left the streaming giant with no option but to move production of Bridgerton five months into filming

The papers filed in July this year state the roof had been leaking, ceiling tiles fell down, and in one incident asbestos allegedly fell on to a construction manager’s face.

Stephen Jourdan QC on behalf of Netflix Studios UK, writes that after further investigation asbestos was dis

covered in roof voids and on top of high beams.

The papers filed in July state the roof had been leaking, ceiling tiles fell down, and in one incident asbestos allegedly fell down on to a construction manager's face
The papers filed in July state the roof had been leaking, ceiling tiles fell down, and in one incident asbestos allegedly fell down on to a construction manager’s face

It is alleged these had not been treated above the point where they could be seen from the ground.

He wrote: “This created a serious risk of ACMs (asbestos containing materials) falling from the high-level beams and columns into the property, causing a danger to health.”

Netflix sued both the studios and owner Freddy Kelaty’s firm, Asiatic Carpets, for at least £200,000 in damages

Netflix sued both the studios and owner Freddy Kelaty’s firm, Asiatic Carpets, for at least £200,000 in damages.

It also requested a legal declaration it was entitled to prematurely terminate the lease.

In response Kelaty claimed Netflix was informed of the presence of asbestos early in negotiations and work had been done to make the studio safe.

It stated there was no “danger to health”.

The studio is countersuing for more than £2.5million in unpaid rent and rates.

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Entertainment UK

Phillip Schofield parades around ITV Studios in ‘social distancing’ skirt


Phillip Schofield has taken new measures to keep everyone at the proper distance when at work.

This Morning host Phil rocked an enormous new skirt to “keep people at a distance” with its huge hem circumference.

The 58-year-old shared a glimpse at his bold new look in a Snapchat video, strolling down a corridor at ITV’s studios.

“Until the vaccine is fully-operational I shall be wearing this to keep me Covid-safe and people at their distance,” he announced, before gliding away.

Following the promising coronavirus vaccine news announced by company Pfizer, Phil told viewers: “It’s the only good news.

“We have been talking about the fact we have been lacking in good news, I swear if a nurse came in with one now on a plate, I’d have it.”

Phil debuted his social distancing skirt

ITV have enforced strict Covid safety rules across its shows since March, Phil and co-host Holly Willoughby standing two metres apart.

Phil recently celebrated the release of his autobiography, Life’s What You Make It, an appearance on The One Show bringing Holly to tears.

He’d told the show that he wouldn’t have been able to come out so publicly if it hadn’t been for the unwavering support of his co-host.

He’s using it to keep people at a distance

He details his coming out process on his new book

Phil shared a lengthy coming out post before sitting down for an interview with Holly live on This Morning.

“You talking on The One Show last night made me cry because I’ve never actually heard you say that,” Holly gushed.

Phil had remarked: “I couldn’t have done [the interview] with anyone else.

Phil said he couldn’t have come out so publicly without Holly by his side

He gave a heartfelt interview after coming out

“I wouldn’t have wanted anyone else sitting beside me.

“We’d had a big lead up to that moment. When I knew what I had to do, Holly was one of the first people that I told.

“She’s such a wise person, she’s got such a calm, sensitive aura to her. Everyone at home was saying, ‘It’ll be ok, it’ll be ok’, and Holly was saying ‘It’ll be fine.’

“She was the only one who knew at work at that time. Then we sort of had to figure out how to do something like that.”





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Headlines UK London

I’m A Celebrity’s rumoured stars arrive at West London studios for photoshoot


The reported stars of I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! 2020 were seen arriving one by one at a west London studio over the weekend.

Photos show several of the famous faces said to be heading to Wales for this year’s adapted series turning up in face masks, heading into the building.

It’s thought they were having their promo shots taken, before the two-week isolation period they will have to go through to take part in the COVID-safe version of the reality show at Gwyrch Castle.

The likes of Vernon Kay, Beverley Callard, Victoria Derbyshire and Ruthie Henshall were spotted arriving, being taken inside for the shoot.

In the snaps all of the celebs were seen getting out of blacked-out vehicles while donning face masks which partially obscured their identities.

The stars all kept things casual for the apparent photoshoot, where they reportedly tried on their camp uniforms, and arrived in comfortable clothing such as jumpers and hoodies. 

MailOnline has contacted ITV as well as representatives for Ruthie Henshall, Russell Watson, Hollie Arnold and Victoria Derbyshire for a comment.

It’s thought they were having their promo shots taken, before the two-week isolation period they will have to go through to take part in the COVID-safe version of the reality show at Gwyrch Castle [pictured Ruthie Henshall]

Heading to the castle? West End star Ruthie Henshall was seen arriving at what is thought to have been a photo shoot ahead of I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! starting on Friday

Heading to the castle? West End star Ruthie Henshall was seen arriving at what is thought to have been a photo shoot ahead of I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! starting on Friday

Rumoured contestant: Tenor Russell Watson was also spotted, sparking speculation that he's also on the star-studded lineup

Rumoured contestant: Tenor Russell Watson was also spotted, sparking speculation that he’s also on the star-studded lineup

Ruthie, who has stared in West End shows such as Miss Saigon and Chicago, dated Prince Edward in the 1990s. 

A TV insider told The Sun: ‘Ruthie is a particularly exciting signing for I’m A Celebrity as viewers will want to see if she divulges any gossip on her relationship with Prince Edward.

‘They’ll be hoping she lets slip some juicy information on her posh ex during cosy, intimate chats round the campfire.’  

She has spoken openly about their relationship in the past, telling Desert Island Discs in 2008 that she ‘fell in love with the royal’ but nothing was ‘more important than the stage’.

New home: This year's series will be hosted at Gwyrch Castle in Wales after the coronavirus pandemic made it impossible to stage the popular show in Australia

New home: This year’s series will be hosted at Gwyrch Castle in Wales after the coronavirus pandemic made it impossible to stage the popular show in Australia

Ready to compete? Paralympian Hollie Arnold, 26, was also seen pulling up at the London venue for the shoot ahead of isolation for the show

Ready to compete? Paralympian Hollie Arnold, 26, was also seen pulling up at the London venue for the shoot ahead of isolation for the show

Ruthie added during the interview: ‘It always made me laugh, I’d sort of say ‘I’m going to my boyfriend’s tonight’. Nobody knew who he was.’

Other names previously suggested as being on the line-up include former Strictly Come Dancing star AJ Pritchard, 25, and EastEnders actress Jessica Plummer, 28.

While on Thursday it was reported that Victoria Derbyshire has signed on for the forthcoming series.

The BBC journalist, 52, is said to be ‘really looking forward’ to be joining the line-up, which will allegedly also include stars like AJ Pritchard and Vernon Kay, according to a report from The Sun.

A source speaking to the publication claimed: ‘Victoria is always game for a challenge so when she was approached for I’m A Celebrity she jumped at the chance.

‘It’s always something she’s wanted to do but because of her family she’s never wanted to fly to Australia and be away from them for so long. 

‘When the show moved to Wales and the opportunity came up, she didn’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth so said yes straight away.’ 

While earlier this month, AJ addressed speculation he is set to appear on the show, and claimed he was keen to be on it alongside his brother Curtis.

Exciting: Victoria Derbyshire is another star said to have 'signed up to star in' I'm A Celeb's first UK-based series, it was reported on Thursday

Exciting: Victoria Derbyshire is another star said to have ‘signed up to star in’ I’m A Celeb’s first UK-based series, it was reported on Thursday

Reports: Coronation Street star Beverley Callard could be entering the castle (pictured in soap still)

Speculation: Presenter Vernon Kay, has also been reportedly offered an eye-watering £250,000 to take part in this year's show (pictured in 2007)

Reports: Actress Beverley Callard, left in her role on Coronation Street, is also on the rumoured line-up alongside Vernon Kay, right

During an interview with the Mirror, AJ was asked if he was planning to visit Wales any time soon, as they quizzed him on an I’m A Celeb appearance.

‘We would love to do I’m A Celebrity together,’ AJ said, speaking alongside his brother and fellow professional dancer Curtis.  

A source close to AJ confirmed to MailOnline earlier in October that he will be heading to Gwrych Castle in Abergele as he prepares to star in his first big TV project since hanging up his dancing shoes.

Ready for a challenge: Earlier this month, AJ Pritchard addressed speculation he is set to appear on the show, and claimed he was keen to be on it alongside his brother Curtis

Ready for a challenge: Earlier this month, AJ Pritchard addressed speculation he is set to appear on the show, and claimed he was keen to be on it alongside his brother Curtis

The source said: ‘AJ is really excited – he can’t wait to get going and for the show to start. It was always his aim to do more TV work after leaving Strictly and there’s no bigger challenge than I’m A Celeb.  

‘He’s an early riser, into his fitness and a dedicated person – he hopes being part of camp will give viewers the chance to get to know him better. 

‘The only downside is he won’t be taking part with brother Curtis, who he’s really enjoyed working with since lockdown.’

Different views: The show will certainly be different as the stars swap the outback for Wales in the upcoming series, set to return in November (Ant and Dec pictured in Oz in 2019)

Different views: The show will certainly be different as the stars swap the outback for Wales in the upcoming series, set to return in November (Ant and Dec pictured in Oz in 2019)



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Headline USA

Coming 2 America forgoes theatrical release as Amazon Studios buys the Eddie Murphy seque


Another highly-anticipated movie originally slated for a theatrical release, Coming 2 America, will be skipping theaters and heading to Amazon Studios. 

Paramount Pictures has sold the Eddie Murphy sequel to Amazon Studios for a reported sum of $125 million, according to Variety. 

Paramount had originally set a December 18 release for Coming 2 America, which is the same date Amazon is expected to debut the sequel on its streaming service.

Move to Amazon: Another highly-anticipated movie originally slated for a theatrical release, Coming 2 America, will be skipping theaters and heading to Amazon Studios

While final details are still being hammered out, sources added the deal also includes ‘two complex consumer marketing tie-ins with McDonald’s and whiskey brand Crown Royal.’

Those marketing deals are expected to be transferred to Amazon, and Murphy, who not only returns as Akeem from the first film but also serves as a producer, must also ‘give his blessing’ for the sale. 

Little is known about the consumer marketing tie-ins, though the original movie featured a McDonald’s knock-off restaurant named McDowell’s, owned by John Amos’ Cleo McDowell.

Star-producer: Those marketing deals are expected to be transferred to Amazon, and Murphy, who not only returns as Akeem from the first film but also serves as a producer, must also 'give his blessing' for the sale

Star-producer: Those marketing deals are expected to be transferred to Amazon, and Murphy, who not only returns as Akeem from the first film but also serves as a producer, must also ‘give his blessing’ for the sale

In the original film, Akeem (Murphy) and his servant Semmi (Arsenio Hall) get jobs at McDowell’s so Murphy can try and get close to Cleo’s daughter Lisa (Shari Headley).

It’s possible that McDonald’s could debut McDowell’s ‘menu items’ for the promotion like the ‘Big Mick,’ instead of the Big Mac. 

It’s not clear when more will be known about these consumer tie-in promotions as we get closer to the release, or when the first trailer will be released. 

Akeem and Semmi: In the original film, Akeem (Murphy) and his servant Semmi (Arsenio Hall) get jobs at McDowell's so Murphy can try and get close to Cleo's daughter Lisa (Shari Headley)

Akeem and Semmi: In the original film, Akeem (Murphy) and his servant Semmi (Arsenio Hall) get jobs at McDowell’s so Murphy can try and get close to Cleo’s daughter Lisa (Shari Headley)

The original film followed Akeem, the prince of the fictional African country of Zumunda, who heads to America to find the woman he wants to marry.

Since he wants his queen to love him for him, and not his wealth, he pretends to be a student and gets a job at McDowell’s to court Lisa.

The film earned an impressive $128.1 million domestic, the second highest-grossing domestic movie of 1988 behind Who Framed Roger Rabbit? ($156.4 million), and $288.7 million worldwide.

Zumunda: The original film followed Akeem, the prince of the fictional African country of Zumunda, who heads to America to find the woman he wants to marry

Zumunda: The original film followed Akeem, the prince of the fictional African country of Zumunda, who heads to America to find the woman he wants to marry

Coming 2 America follows Akeem as he’s getting ready to take over the Zumunda throne from his father (James Earl Jones), when he learns he has a long-lost son, a ‘street-savvy Queens native named Lavelle (Jermaine Fowler).’

Akeem honors his father’s dying wish to groom his son to become the crown prince, so he returns to America with his friend Semmi.

John Amos, Shari Headley, Louie Anderson, Vanessa Bell Calloway and Garcelle Beauvais reprise their roles from the original, with Leslie Jones, Rick Ross, Wesley Snipes, Tracy Morgan and KiKi Layne joining the sequel cast. 

Akeem: Akeem honors his father's dying wish to groom his son to become the crown prince, so he returns to America with his friend Semmi

Akeem: Akeem honors his father’s dying wish to groom his son to become the crown prince, so he returns to America with his friend Semmi

Cast: John Amos, Shari Headley, Louie Anderson, Vanessa Bell Calloway and Garcelle Beauvais reprise their roles from the original, with Leslie Jones, Rick Ross, Wesley Snipes, Tracy Morgan and KiKi Layne joining the sequel cast

Cast: John Amos, Shari Headley, Louie Anderson, Vanessa Bell Calloway and Garcelle Beauvais reprise their roles from the original, with Leslie Jones, Rick Ross, Wesley Snipes, Tracy Morgan and KiKi Layne joining the sequel cast



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Super Nintendo World will open at Universal Studios Japan next year after being delayed by Covid-19


Super Nintendo World will finally open at Universal Studios Japan in 2021 after being delayed by coronavirus – and guests will be able to play real-life versions of their favourite video games

  • The Osaka attraction had been due to open in July ahead of the postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics 
  • Guests will be able to play real-life versions of their favourite games, including Super Mario and Mario Kart
  • Ahead of the full opening of Super Nintendo World, a Mario-themed restaurant will open this week 

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Japan’s eagerly awaited Super Nintendo World will finally open early next year, it has been revealed.

The attraction had been due to open in July at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka ahead of the postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but was delayed as a result of coronavirus restrictions.

It will now open in the spring of 2021, it has been confirmed, and guests will be able to enjoy a ride based on the beloved green dinosaur Yoshi and play real-life versions of their favourite games, including Super Mario and Mario Kart.

Super Nintendo World will open in the spring of 2021 at Universal Studios Japan, it has been revealed (rendering shown)

At a press conference in Osaka in January it was confirmed that guests will be able to enjoy an ‘experience that blends the physical world with the world of the video game – bringing the world of Nintendo to life’.

One experience will be based on Super Mario’s Mushroom Kingdom Universe.

Visitors will be able to wear wristbands, called Power Up Bands, which will allow them to collect digital coins, just like Mario does in the games.

As they explore the theme park, they can compete with others in ‘fun and friendly competitions’ in a bid to collect coins.

Visitors will also be able to obtain collectable items, such as character stamps, by achieving various goals.

Ahead of the full opening of Super Nintendo World next year, Universal Studios Japan will open a Mario-themed restaurant this week (October 16) in the park’s Hollywood area, featuring dishes and drinks inspired by the character and his friends, as well as a gift shop.

According to the theme park, the exterior of the restaurant and store will feature oversized Mario and Luigi hat sculptures, as well as the ‘iconic red and green colour scheme from the Mushroom Kingdom’.

The interior will include ‘checkered floors based on the Mario Kart racing flags, LED signs and a luminous sky ceiling’.

A rendering showing the front of the Mario-themed restaurant that is due to open at Universal Studios Japan on October 16

A rendering showing the front of the Mario-themed restaurant that is due to open at Universal Studios Japan on October 16 

The restaurant will feature dishes and drinks inspired by the character Mario and his friends

The restaurant will feature dishes and drinks inspired by the character Mario and his friends

On the menu will be ‘Super Mario pancake sandwiches’, cream sodas and drinks that guests can buy inside a ‘super mushroom souvenir bottle’.

Meanwhile, the gift shop will ‘offer merchandise with original Universal Studios Japan designs that feature characters including Mario, Luigi and Princess Peach’.

The Nintendo-Universal partnership was first unveiled in November 2016.

Three more parks from the collaboration are set to open at Universal Orlando Resort, Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Singapore.

The new Mario-themed gift shop will 'offer merchandise with original Universal Studios Japan designs'

The new Mario-themed gift shop will ‘offer merchandise with original Universal Studios Japan designs’

At a press conference in Osaka in January, pictured, it was confirmed that one experience at Super Nintendo World will be based on Super Mario's Mushroom Kingdom Universe

At a press conference in Osaka in January, pictured, it was confirmed that one experience at Super Nintendo World will be based on Super Mario’s Mushroom Kingdom Universe

Thierry Coup, senior vice president of Universal Creative, wears a 'Power Up Band' wristband. Visitors to the park will be able to wear the wristbands to collect digital coins - just like players can in the Super Mario games

Thierry Coup, senior vice president of Universal Creative, wears a ‘Power Up Band’ wristband. Visitors to the park will be able to wear the wristbands to collect digital coins – just like players can in the Super Mario games



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