Netflix and Marvel is there still a relationship?

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If you've been following the news over the last 10 months or so between Marvel and Netflix you've probably come across countless articles about Disney moving forward with their own on-line streaming service. The implication is that now that Disney owns, like 60% all IP in the marketplace that they would just take their ball and go home. Which would imply that Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Punisher, the Defenders and even the infamous Iron Fist would all revert back to Disney to be on their site. There are thankfully a few roadblocks to this particular plan. 

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For now it seems like Disney will not be able to actually bring the existing shows from Netflix to their streaming site because those were pre-existing deals. The other part of that is they may not really want to. First of all it's clear that Disney's streaming service is aimed solely at kids and it's doubtful they would put any films on their service that are Rated R which should provide relief for the Netflix Marvel shows as they are clearly Rated R. The next part of this conversation is whether or not they will be able to continue to create more Marvel content and that answer is also up in the air but there are some signs that it might be possible. I was encouraged a few days ago when Steven DeKnight (Daredevil, Pacific Rim & Spartacus) told an interviewer that he would love to take a crack at Moon Knight. This is a dark character that was, along with Daredevil, a part of the Marvel adult comic series Marvel Knights and would have a hard time staying PG-13 on the Disney site. This gives me some hope that not only will Netflix be able to retain the original Marvel programming they started with but may even be able to expand and add more like Moon Knight and possibly Ghost Rider, Blade and Shang-Chi. Marvel Ent. President Dan Buckley has expressed that any new projects they go for should fit the content for the networks and platforms and that includes the Disney branded service. 

I'm hoping that despite losing the other movies and TV shows on Netflix in 2019, Disney will still have a strong partnership with Netflix in the further development of more adult Marvel content. It's really a win-win for everybody. 

 

 

Spider-Man: Homecoming Gross Analysis

The Summer Box Office is finally starting to heat up after a somewhat lackluster late Winter-Spring. There were a lot of duds in there from Life to Alien: Covenant and Baywatch, as well as King Arthur, Ghost in the Shell, The Great Wall and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. It’s clear that people want quality over quantity. Which is why Wonder Woman, Baby Driver, Get Out and Guardians 2 all scored big at the box office. Which brings us to this week’s release, Spider-Man: Homecoming. I had a chance to see the movie a bit earlier, and I’m not parsing my words here when I say - BEST SPIDER-MAN MOVIE - so far. And when I say BEST I mean, in my humble opinion, it rivals the best of Tobey McGuire’s Spidey. If you’re a Spidey fan through and through you probably agree that Tom Holland balances the best parts of Peter Parker and Spider-Man into the complete package. Now I promise to delve in on another post about the specifics about the movie, but today I want to take a crack at guessing the opening box office for Spider-Man and what I think it might make all in.

Let’s start with the tracking. In film distribution every film that gets released appears on tracking reports about two to three weeks before its release. Spider-Man, for instance, came on tracking at around a 15 or so and is hovering around a 24 currently, the week of the release. The tricky part about tracking is that it represents polling for first choice by the consumer. If you have a lot of movies in the field either already on screen or coming out in a week or two it can potentially take away points from any film. Because of high numbers for Wonder Woman and Despicable Me, and now War of the Planet of the Apes, it’s possible that the tracking doesn’t reflect for this week the true first choice. So it’s possible that Spider-Man very well could be under-inflated and actually be higher. It’s all kind of a gamble. Early predictions have Spider-Man opening to right around 100 million for the weekend. Not too bad, and if you were to solely base it on tracking it’s a fairly conservative number. But I don’t think that’s where this film is. I’m going to take it a bit higher. I think because the film is currently fresh at 92% on Rotten Tomatoes and is garnering much early love from fans that I think it’s going to reach about 125-130 for the weekend. Which would be an improvement from Amazing Spider-Man 2 back in 2014 which opened to 91.6 million.

Now it is possible that some of the wind in Spidey’s sails has dwindled as this is the third incarnation of the superhero in as many years. But I would say Captain America: Civil War, which introduced this new Spidey last year is proof that Spider-Man is still a major draw. Spider-Man was considered one of the best parts of Civil War and I think, for fans, showed that Spidey would make a huge impression in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe.) This is also the perfect timing for a film of this type, a giant blockbuster, in the heart of summer after two very equally successful and well done Super Hero blockbusters in Wonder Woman and Guardians of the Galaxy 2. I think it helps Spidey that other closer big budgeted flicks like Transformers and The Mummy underperformed. With strong dramas like Apes and Dunkirk soon to follow it could also keep Spidey afloat as those two films seem fantastic, but also very bleak. Apes should be a big grosser but I think with the dark tone it will have a much more limited audience than Spidey. The same might be said about Dunkirk as well as it has already garnered mixed reviews. War movies are always tough especially in the summer but what makes this one even more difficult, at least in the states, is the very British narrative. These types of films usually do very minimal in the U.S., so it will be a testament to director Chris Nolan if Dunkirk makes Inception or Interstellar money. So to sum up, I feel confident that Spidey will have the proper legs to get it to a strong 325-340 million all in.

Will we see a Dr. Strange Villain on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D?

It looks like Agent's of S.H.I.E.L.D. is putting the Inhumans on the backburner for a bit and getting into the mystical arts for the fourth season of the show. So far, after three episodes we've been treated to Robbie Reyes' (Gabriel Luna) Ghost Rider who, I think everyone can agree, has restored the faith in the Spirit of Vengeance after Nicholas Cage. And now it seems they are taking it a step further and delving into Dr. Strange territory by introducing an ancient book of magic called the Darkhold. This book according to the comics is also called the Book of Sins written over a billion years ago by what they call an Elder God named Chthon. Apparently the book is so powerful it took the combined magic of Merlin and St. Brendan to contain it. The Book is supposed to channel the influence of Cthon himself. It is a conduit of black magic that gives the user very dark dimensional powers. Clearly writer Gerry Conway and artist Mike Ploog were sowing their Lovecraft oats with this character. Anyway this book has crossed over to many other Marvel characters including Red Sonja, Conan, Mordred and King Arthur, Blade the Marvel Zombies, Dr. Doom, Dracula and of course Dr. Strange, who according to the good book of Marvel, obtained the Darkhold at a certain point as part of his massive library. I feel fairly confident that we won't actually see Cumberbatch show up on the show as Strange but the book may come into his possession in the movie as a tie in from the show. 

The real question is will we see some Dr. Strange villains on the show this year? Robbie Reyes has already alluded a few times to the demon that he sold his soul to. He didn't mention a name but it has to be Mephisto who has tangled with Strange from time to time. Frankly it would be awesome to see some Mindless Ones come about beacause of misuse of the book which would tie in nicely to Dormammu. But even I can acknowledge that would be an insane tie-in given that Dormammu is Dr. Strange's big bad. But I really have enjoyed this turn to the dark mystical side and I've seen a vast improvement in the script and tone of the show since moving it to the 10 pm slot on Tuesday. So if you haven't started watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. you can catch up on the past 3 seasons Netflix and the current 4th season on ABC.