Tagged: Muppets

MIKE GOLD: Disney Does Marvel

As is well-known, the Walt Disney Company purchased Marvel Comics a little over two years ago. Marvel joined the Muppets, Pixar, ABC and ESPN as tentacles of that great evil media empire that has done so much to homogenize the American culture. After all the jokes died down, some people wondered why the Mouse wanted the House that Jack Built in the first place.

Disney is a movie company, and Marvel’s shiniest family jewels – Spider-Man and The X-Men – were in the hands of competing studios (Columbia Pictures and 20th Century Fox, respectively) and aren’t likely to revert any time soon. The sundry Avengers characters were in the hands of Paramount Pictures, although Disney was able to purchase a nice reversion deal here. But, still, the motion picture revenue picture was severely compromised by the Spidey and X deals, and made all the more expensive by the Paramount buy-back. So, the question “why” certainly is valid.

Nobody that big buys a publishing venture – certainly not a comic book publishing venture – for the profits it will generate on its own. The phrase “fart in a blizzard” comes to mind. Merchandising and licensing revenues can be fairly attractive and Disney/Marvel/Muppets are a good fit. But… still… why?

I think we’re beginning to see the real reason. Disney owns ABC, which includes ABC Family, the Disney Channel, Disney XD (which already carries many of the Marvel animated shows), Playhouse Disney, Disney Cinemagic, Hungama, Jetix, Radio Disney, SoapNet, WABC-TV New York, KABC-TV Los Angeles, WLS-TV Chicago, WPVI-TV Philadelphia, KGO-TV San Francisco, KTRK-TV Houston, WTVD-TV Raleigh-Durham, and KFSN-TV Fresno, and as the various ESPN channels – possibly excluding “El Ocho.” Plus all kinda stuff overseas.

One can argue that teevee in general doesn’t have much of a future, and I might agree. But teevee programming has one hell of a great future no matter what platform we’ll be enjoying in the future: cable, satellite, computers, tablets, integrated teevee/computer systems, visors, brain implants, whatever. And that’s where the Mighty Marvel Money Machine will become the Mouse’s cash cow, true believer.

Disney already has The Hulk, Cloak and Dagger and Alias in development. Of course “Alias” has to be renamed – it’s working under the title “a.k.a. Jessica Jones” right now, and the show includes both Luke Cage and Carol Danvers. Mockingbird is also in development as a Miley Cyrus style kids show, possibly as fodder for the ABC Family network.

Step back a pace and take a look at what’s going on here.

Most of these shows are built around female superheroes. As headliners, such characters are anathema to motion picture studios. But Disney is betting heavy, heavy bucks that the distaff side will draw a sufficient audience to warrant the investment.

That’s pretty cool – and very risky. Women heroes haven’t fared much better on the small screen: Nikita was renewed by the skin of her teeth, The Bionic Woman revival flamed out, as did Charlie’s Angels redux. David E. Kelley’s Wonder Woman didn’t make it past the pilot stage. Yet Disney is developing no less than three Marvel shows built around women.

So no matter what I might feel about Disney’s predatory influence on our culture, they are showing a great deal of courage here – courage they developed by purchasing Marvel.


THURSDAY: Dennis O’Neil

Official D23 Announcements Focus Mainly on Pixar

121543352_ae_6447_5d35477db6385687b17058f1f58245b5-300x201-4377421For those of you who missed out on Disney’s fan fest, D23, the studio provided us with a recap which we will run intact below. But we know what you really care about is what was said and shown about next year’s The Avengers. Well, there were some clips, another blindingly fast set of clips. According to a report over at Newsrama these included “a conversation between Tony Stark and Loki — with Tony Stark notably appearing behind a bar. Stark details the Avengers lineup — ‘a couple of master assassins, a demigod, and a living legend that actually lives up a legend’ — and Loki retorts back, ‘I have an army.’ ‘We have a Hulk,’ Stark replies.

“The montage sequence also included a monologue from Fury, detailing the purpose behind the Avengers — that they were organized to take on the threats that S.H.I.E.L.D. can’t.”

121543352_ae_6354a_5c434f0cb1f223cf95e6cbd59835890f-300x215-3394201Bleeding Cool added, “In the clip, Loki is shown trapped in a cage on the helicarrier. It’s a cage built to hold The Hulk, and he’s told that if he’s too much trouble, they’ll just drop it out of the botttom of the helicarrier, 30,000 feet to the ground below. Maria Hill and Steve Rogers watch from the bridge on a monitor while Tony Stark and Nick Fury step up to Loki and have a little threatening banter with him.”

“At the start of Feige’s presentation,” Newsarama continued, “a reel was shown of the five previous Marvel Studios films — Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk (no Edward Norton footage was shown), Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger. The clips focused on the interconnectivity of the movies, scenes like Tony Stark appearing at the end of Incredible Hulk and Johann Schmidt discovering the Tesseract at the beginning of Cap. That vignette ending with the tagline ‘assembly begins next summer’.”

Here’s the formal release: (more…)

Mickey Rooney Talks The Fox and the Hound

In the mid-1920’s, an up-and-coming young animator had a brief encounter with an up-and-coming child star.  Although they only met in passing, Mickey Rooney remembers Walt Disney as “a very charming man.”  More than 50 years later, in 1981, Rooney would find himself starring in one of Walt Disney Studio’s most beloved animated films, The Fox and the Hound.  Rooney voiced the character of Tod, an orphaned fox cub who forms an unlikely friendship with Copper, a coonhound voiced by Kurt Russell.   The film also stars Pearl Bailey, Pat Buttram and Jack Albertson.  The Fox and the Hound and its sequel The Fox and the Hound 2 will be released in a 30th Anniversary 2-Movie Collection on August 9, 2011.

Although he is quick to deny it, Mickey Rooney is the definition of a Hollywood legend.  With a career that spans nine decades, he has defied the odds in an industry that often typecasts performers.  He got his start crashing his parents’ vaudeville act while still a toddler and, just a few years later, he became a silent film sensation; starring in the popular “Mickey McGuire” shorts.  In the 1930’s Rooney made a successful transition to sound films, headlining in the long-running “Andy Hardy” series and teaming with his friend Judy Garland in such classic musicals as Strike Up the Band and Girl Crazy.  Rooney was awarded a special Juvenile Oscar at the 1939 Academy Awards ceremony and the next year was nominated in the competitive Best Actor category for Babes in Arms, the first of four Oscar nominations.   He also won an honorary Academy Award in 1983 in recognition of 50 years of memorable film performances.  Having also won an Emmy and two Golden Globes by that time, many actors would be content to rest on such precious laurels but Mickey Rooney, now 90, continues to work on stage, screen and television and recently wrapped a cameo role in the highly anticipated Walt Disney Pictures Holiday 2011 release, The Muppets. (more…)

Monday Mix-Up: Sam The Eagle as Captain America

Wait, wait, wait… are there Muppets in this poster?

In spite of the giggle factor, this may be an important milestone– this may be the first official crossover between Disney and Marvel properties, promoting both Captain America: The First Avenger in theaters now, and The Muppets coming out in November.

Kermit Leaves Muppets for the Green Lantern Corps?

One look at this pic and we had to drop everything and post this.

Everything is pointing to the forthcoming Muppet movie as a return to its roots as a genuinely funny film without resorting to crudity or nudity, just their patented absurdity. The picture was accompanied by the following note:

Hi ho! Kermit the Frog here!  I sure hope you enjoy this “Being Green” trailer…and our other parody trailers—“Green with Envy” “Fuzzy Pack”.  Now,  after much ado—and Miss Piggy’s insistence that she get final cut—we’re finally ready for the world premiere of the official trailer for our upcoming movie, “The Muppets”.  You can watch it everywhere on Monday June 20th at 8 am Pacific Time.  Be sure not to miss it! – Amphibiously yours, Kermit The Frog

The November 23 release will star Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, Animal, Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper and Walter. Directed by James Bobin from a script by Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller, the movie will be the first Muppet feature in 11 years and probably the first funny one in closer to two decades.


The official synopsis:

On vacation in Los Angeles, Walter, the world’s biggest Muppet fan, and his friends Gary (Jason Segel) and Mary (Amy Adams) from Smalltown, USA, discover the nefarious plan of oilman Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) to raze the Muppet Theater and drill for the oil recently discovered beneath the Muppets’ former stomping grounds. To stage The Greatest Muppet Telethon Ever and raise the $10 million needed to save the theater, Walter, Mary and Gary help Kermit reunite the Muppets, who have all gone their separate ways: Fozzie now performs with a Reno casino tribute band called the Moopets, Miss Piggy is a plus-size fashion editor at Vogue Paris, Animal is in a Santa Barbara clinic for anger management, and Gonzo is a high-powered plumbing magnate.

Monday Mix-Up: The Muppets in ‘Spider-Monster: The Musical’!

Monday Mix-Up: The Muppets in ‘Spider-Monster: The Musical’!

It’s not really Monday anymore, but this is way too good to let wait.


Yes, it’s short… it’s still in previews. You’ll see the full thing in the fall, but you won’t see it on Broadway– only on Sesame Street as it starts its 42nd season. I can’t wait!


ComicMix Quick Picks (in Six) for December 16, 2009

ComicMix Quick Picks (in Six) for December 16, 2009

Six quickies:

Anything else? Consider this an open thread.

Disney and Pixar Go Boom

Boom! Studios has announced they’ll be publishing comic book adaptations of Pixar cartoon properties, with the first announced being an Incredibles project.

The news comes as an early announcement from Comic-Con International, which is just getting underway. Boom EiC Mark Waid will be writing the Incredibles series, featuring covert art from Darwyn Cooke.

"Today, American comic books are aimed primarily at an older readership. Comics produced for an upcoming generation of readers are scarce – and BOOM! Studios aims to do something about that," said Waid. "There will be comics for kids again!"

To commemorate this historic partnership, BOOM! will be releasing a special preview book featuring sneak previews of upcoming projects using the characters from TOY STORY, FINDING NEMO, and MONSTERS, INC. Featuring commentary by Waid, this preview will give comic fans and interested parents a look at the quality comics BOOM! will be producing for a younger audience by the end of the year.

According to the release, these won’t be straight adaptations, but rather all-new stories set in the world of various Pixar films.

Boom also is going to be doing a Muppets book, Waid told CBR.

It was also announced Wednesday night that Waid will be writing "The Muppet Show." Given the Muppets’ long and varied history in television and film, CBR asked Waid about the particular form this series would take. He was able to reveal that the first thing to appear would be a four-issue miniseries, but future series are "something that’s more in flux." "We’re talking about doing a couple one-shots that could be collected into a trade paperback, we’re talking about doing series that are based on ‘The Muppet Show‘ itself," Waid explained, "and then we’re also talking–with Disney’s heavy encouragement–to do things like Muppet Robin Hood, or the Three Muppeteers or whatever. They’re talking to us about following sort of the paradigm they set up in the movies about classic stories retold with the Muppets."

Muppet Star Wars Figures Coming

Muppet Star Wars Figures Coming

Greetings! We here at Muppet Labs have discovered a new way to separate money from your wallet. Using an advanced stimulus-response mechanism called "the Force" and combining it with marketing techniques and a dash of paprika to create the ultimate in licensing tie-ins! My assistant, Beaker, will demonstra– no, no, Beaker, be careful with that lightsaber!

Speaking of stimulus-response, we’ll also be using mice to create versions of these action figures, along with ducks and dogs.

We anticipate great success. This continues with our earlier experiments in turning Muppets into human beings, as witnessed by the transformation of myself, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, into a correspondent and resident expert for The Daily Show