Bob Iger hints more Disney movies might skip cinemas

Disney boss Bob Iger has hinted more movies will skip cinemas and go straight to Disney+ as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. With cinemas being closed in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19, studio executives have been forced to postpone the rel…

Disney boss Bob Iger has hinted more movies will skip cinemas and go straight to Disney+ as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

With cinemas being closed in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19, studio executives have been forced to postpone the releases of their spring-summer 2020 movies and reshuffle the schedule accordingly.

Last week, Disney bosses unveiled their revised calendar and announced that sci-fi adventure film Artemis Fowl, which was due to debut in cinemas in May, would be skipping a theatrical run altogether and be made available on Disney+ at an undisclosed date, making it the studio’s first film to lose its cinema release.

And in a new interview with Barron’s magazine, Iger, who is the executive chairman of The Walt Disney Company, hinted that other movies could be following the same route.

“In terms of movies going ahead after Artemis, there may be a few more that we end up putting directly onto Disney+, but for the most part a lot of the big tentpole Disney films, we’ll simply wait for slots. In some cases, we’ve announced new ones already, but later on in the calendar,” he said. “In some cases, we’ve moved things onto Disney+ faster than we would have. Frozen 2 was one of them, but Onward would be the biggest example. It was in theatres when this happened. We moved to a pay-per-view period for a couple of weeks where people could buy it and own it. And then we ended up putting it on Disney+.”

While Iger didn’t name any of the films that may jump directly to Disney+, it has long been rumoured that X-Men spin-off The New Mutants, which has been delayed multiple times since its original April 2018 release date, will go to Hulu, a streaming service majority-owned by Disney. The superhero movie, starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Maisie Williams, and Charlie Heaton, is currently without a release date.

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Disney bosses committed to three more Star Wars films

Disney bosses are planning another three-film dip into George Lucas’ Star Wars universe. Studio officials have just released information about their future blockbusters and the slate includes another Star Wars trilogy, which will follow J.J. Abrams’ T…

Disney bosses are planning another three-film dip into George Lucas’ Star Wars universe.

Studio officials have just released information about their future blockbusters and the slate includes another Star Wars trilogy, which will follow J.J. Abrams’ The Rise of Skywalker. The latest Star Wars film, set for release later this year (19), wraps up the third trilogy of the franchise, which began in 1977 with A New Hope.

The new Star Wars films, which will be spread out over several years and conclude in 2026, remain untitled and there have been no details released about plot and characters.

Abrams revealed his upcoming Star Wars film, which will hit cinemas on 20 December, will be titled The Rise of Skywalker at a fan convention in Chicago, Illinois last month (Apr19).

Meanwhile, the release of the new Fox-Disney slate will dishearten Avatar fans as James Cameron’s much-anticipated sequel to his 2009 movie has been pushed back a year and will now open in cinemas in December, 2021.

Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story adaptation will debut on 18 December, 2020, while Brad Pitt’s Ad Astra and Kenneth Branagh’s Artemis Fowl now have set launch dates after both being pushed back.

Ad Astra, in which Pitt plays an astronaut searching for his missing father, will now open on 20 September (19) and Disney’s adaptation of Eoin Colfer’s novel Artemis Fowl will debut on 29 May, 2020.

There are also set dates for Ford V. Ferrari (15Nov19) and Disney’s Maleficent sequel, Mistress of Evil (Halloween week, 2019).

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Kenneth Branagh’s nephews encouraged him to read Artemis Fowl

Kenneth Branagh’s nephews inspired him to take on the movie adaptation of Artemis Fowl after raving about Eoin Colfer’s book series on vacation. The actor-turned-director was so taken by the kids’ response to their holiday reading choice he decided to…

Kenneth Branagh’s nephews inspired him to take on the movie adaptation of Artemis Fowl after raving about Eoin Colfer’s book series on vacation.

The actor-turned-director was so taken by the kids’ response to their holiday reading choice he decided to pick up the books for himself, and then discovered he was a studio front runner to take the stories to the big screen.

“Artemis Fowl has been something I’ve been developing for three years now,” the Brit tells Entertainment Tonight. “My nephews were both reading Artemis Fowl four years ago. We were all on holiday together and they said, ‘You should have a look at this’, and I did.

“Then, about three weeks later, Sean Bailey (from Disney) rang up and said, ‘Have you ever heard of Artemis Fowl?’ I said, ‘I just read the first book!’ There’d been some scripts and versions and developments up to that point, and they said, ‘Would you be interested in taking it on?'”

The film reunites Branagh with fellow Brit Dame Judi Dench, who has appeared in several of his films and plays.

The filmmaker actually switched the sex of her character, so she could play Root and he reveals the actress is struggling with the role at times.

“I’ve worked with her many times now, and it was just something that a great theatre director, Pete Brook, refers to as the ‘uninformed hunch’… Whenever I ask Judi to do something, she says, ‘Is it different?’ The other day… Judi looked a little bit trembly lip. She said, ‘I don’t know how to play this part’, and I said, ‘Maybe one of the things is that it sounds quite unlike anything you’ve ever done, you look quite unlike anyone you’ve ever looked like – and I knew that would appeal to you’.

“We arranged a meeting and I said, ‘So, should we talk about the characters?’ And then she started walking around (and) just threw the odd line out… She just started doing this (voice)… Then she turned into this six-year-old and said, ‘You think that would be any good?’ I said, ‘That would be good. That would be really good!’

“I reminded her about this the other day… and she was tickled pink. She said, ‘Rehearsals are useful!'”

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Kenneth Branagh urged Artemis Fowl child stars to ignore Harry Potter links

Kenneth Branagh sat down with his young Artemis Fowl stars before filming began on the new blockbuster and urged them to ignore all the Harry Potter chatter. The actor and director wanted to make sure the newcomers all had fun making the adaptation of…

Kenneth Branagh sat down with his young Artemis Fowl stars before filming began on the new blockbuster and urged them to ignore all the Harry Potter chatter.

The actor and director wanted to make sure the newcomers all had fun making the adaptation of Eoin Colfer’s book series, and the idea of making multiple films and becoming huge stars didn’t cross their minds.

“I said, ‘Don’t get all worked up about stuff. We’ll go to work today and we’ll see what happens. I hope we make a good film, and I hope it’ll be a nice time. The making of the film is the here-and-now. Don’t worry about pressure. Every time somebody says to you about Harry Potter or how’s it (the movie) going to change your life, there’s no life to change. There’s no Harry Potter…,'” Branagh tells Entertainment Tonight.

“It’s important that they (child stars) feel and can convey to an audience… a sense of what it’s like being a kid here. A beautiful moment in the life of the movie was when I took Ferdia (Shaw, actor) around the house for the first time. I imagine it would be a bit overwhelming, so I just came in with me and him, brought him up the stairs and he just went, ‘Wow! Look at that!’ Then we got him into his room and he looked at the bookshelves and he said, ‘God, I’ve read all of these!’ (I said), ‘I know, you told us you had, that’s why they’re there!'”

Branagh is delighted with his choice of Shaw as Artemis Fowl II for the film, insisting the young star was exactly what he dreamed up when he started casting the project: “We wanted to find someone, if we could, who was Irish, because we’re trying to allow that to be a distinctive flavour here,” he shares. “And then we needed to find somebody who was not going to be overwhelmed or intimidated, who could see it for the beautiful opportunity it is and the fun that it is… He had the combination of that.”

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