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WandaVision Gets a New TV Spot With Original Theme Song

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By ANI | Updated: 5 January 2021

Marvel fans have a reason to rejoice as Disney+ unveiled a new TV spot teasing the much-awaited superhero series WandaVision.

According to Variety, the clip introduces an original theme song written by Oscar-winning songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez.

“WandaVision is such a cool, strange, one-of-a-kind project. When the director, Matt Shakmn, an old friend from my college days, pitched it to us, we didn’t have to think about it,” Variety quoted Lopez as saying.

“We loved the bright feeling of American sitcoms mixed with the deep sense of unease the story had, and it was a really inviting challenge to help set that tone,” Lopez added.

WandaVision, marks the first Marvel Studios series which has been created exclusively for Disney+. It will mark the return of Marvel Universe stars Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff and Paul Bettany as Vision.

The 1950s-inspired series will feature the two superheroes trying to lead a simple ordinary life in the suburbs before they finally realise that the setting is not what it seems.

Others who will be seen essaying important roles in the film include Kathryn Hahn and Marvel alums Randall Park and Kat Dennings.

The series has been directed by Matt Shakman. Jac Schaeffer is the head writer.

The nine-episode-long series will start streaming on Disney Plus on January 15.

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Bang!: Idris Elba, Bullet Train Director David Leitch Set Spy Thriller Movie at Netflix

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 By ANI | Updated: 4 August 2022

Idris Elba is set to star in Bang!, a spy thriller movie on Netflix, with Bullet Train and Deadpool 2 director David Leitch helming it.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Elba — best known for Luther and Hobbs & Shaw — will appear in the movie that is based on the Dark Horse comic of the same name.

The film adaptation comes from Matt Kindt and Zak Olkewicz (Bullet Train). Kindt is one half of the creators on the comic book series Bang! alongside Wilfredo Torres.

Bang! will depict a terrorist group that plans to bring about the end of the world by brainwashing readers with a series of books, while the most renowned spy in the world is dispatched to find and assassinate the author.

Mike Richardson and Keith Goldberg for Dark Horse, Leitch and Kelly McCormick for 87 North, and Elba are the Bang! producers.

In addition to working on Mind MGMT, a television version of the Kindt humour book series, Netflix and Dark Horse Entertainment are also extending their creative collaboration. Curtis Gwinn (Stranger Things) will serve as executive producer.

In Mind MGMT, a young woman accidentally discovers the top-secret Mind Management software. As she searches for the man who was Mind Management’s greatest success — and its most disastrous failure — she encounters weaponised psychics, hypnotic advertising, talking dolphins, and apparently eternal pursuers.

Gwinn, Richardson, and Keith Goldberg are Dark Horse’s executive producers.

Dark Horse, which has a first look agreement with Netflix for film and TV, has more titles in development too.

There’s Lady Killer, an action thriller movie about a 1950s housewife leading a secret life as a highly-trained killer for hire, with Blake Lively starring and producing.

Revenge Inc. is a drama series about a secret, underground company that specialises in vengeance. It is based on the Joelle Jones and Jamie S. Rich comic book series.

Netflix’s Polar and Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles, both starring Mads Mikkelsen, are examples of previous Dark Horse offerings.

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Amazon Prime Membership Fees See Double-Digit Hike in Five European Countries: All Details

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By Agencies | Updated: 27 July 2022

Amazon Prime customers in five European countries learned Tuesday that they face double-digit price increases for the platform’s expedited delivery service. Amazon said the rises were due to increased operating costs as fuel prices have jumped higher. Beginning in mid-September, customers in France will have to pay 43 percent more for an annual subscription. Italians face a 38.6-percent hike, Spaniards 30.3 percent, and Britons and Germans 20 percent.

The rises take the price of Prime, which in addition to rapid delivery includes access to its Prime Video service, to EUR 49.90 (roughly Rs. 4,000) in Italy and Spain. It will be EUR 89.90 (roughly Rs. 7,300) in France and Germany, and GBP 95 (roughly Rs. 9,150) in Britain.

That leaves the service less costly than in the United States, where it rose by 17 percent earlier this year to $139 (roughly Rs. 11,100) per year.

Back in February, Amazon announced that it was raising the price of its annual US Prime subscriptions as it looked to offset higher costs for shipping and wages that it expected to persist this year.

With more than 200 million members globally, Prime is an incentive to consumers to direct more of their shopping to Amazon. That way, they make the most of their subscriptions. At the time, the company had not announced any changes for Prime members outside the United States

While the price hikes are much higher than inflation, analysts believe that the service costs Amazon much more than it charges and is used to lure and keep customers.

Market intelligence firm Foxintelligence estimated last year that European members of Prime bought on average twice as much on Amazon than non-members.

A handful of angry customers announced their intention to cancel the service on Twitter.

However, Amazon representatives in France were unfazed.

“What we could see in the United States was there wasn’t an opt-out surge because more and more services are offered via Prime and it still allows consumers to realise very considerable savings,” said the firm.

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I Am Groot Trailer Unveiled at San Diego Comic-Con 2022, Out August 10 on Disney+ Hotstar

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By ANI | Updated: 25 July 2022

I Am Groot trailer is here. On Friday, Marvel Studios unveiled the official trailer of their upcoming animated spin-off series I Am Groot at San Diego Comic-Con 2022.

Directed by Ryan Little, Hollywood actors Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper will reprise their voice roles — as Groot and Rocket — for the animated short series.

I Am Groot will be a five-part short series featuring the adorable Guardians of the Galaxy character engaging in a variety of hijinks and dancing his way through new worlds.

Soon after Marvel Studios dropped the trailer, fans flooded the comment section with fire and heart emoticons.

Groot first appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy in the year 2014, which showcased the character sacrificing his life for his son Baby Groot.

Post that, Baby Groot was part of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.

The upcoming short series will showcase Baby Groot’s adventures.

I am Groot is going to be Marvel Studios’ second Disney+ animated series after the anthology series ‘What if…?’.

Apart from this, on the small screen in 2022, Marvel also has the upcoming series She-Hulk and The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.

I Am Groot debuts August 10 on Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar wherever available.

I Am Groot

  • Release Date 10 August 2022
  • Genre Animation, Superhero
  • Cast Vin Diesel
  • Director Kirsten Lepore
  • Producer Kevin Feige, Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Kirsten Lepore, James Gunn
  • Production Marvel Studios

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The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power New Trailer Revealed at San Diego Comic-Con

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By Agence France-Presse | Updated: 23 July 2022

Nomadic hobbits, bearded female dwarves and enslaved elves — Amazon finally lifted the lid on its highly anticipated Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power TV series at Comic-Con on Friday.

The enormously ambitious small-screen saga set in the world of J.R.R. Tolkien’s books has been in the works since Amazon Prime bought the rights for $250 million (roughly Rs. 1,996 crore) almost five years ago.

Fans, many of whom camped in line overnight at the world’s most famous pop culture gathering, were treated to a first look at footage, plus interviews with the creators and a 21-strong cast of hobbits, dwarves and elves in a packed presentation hosted by comedian and Tolkien-enthusiast Stephen Colbert.

“As fans and as viewers and lovers of Middle Earth and Tolkien, we didn’t want to do a side thing, or a spin off, or the origin story of something else,” said co-creator Patrick McKay.

“We wanted to find a huge Tolkienian mega epic. And Amazon were, wonderfully, crazy enough to say ‘yes, let’s do that.'”

Amazon is reportedly spending more than $1 billion to make five seasons — each running for 10 hours — the first of which launches on its streaming platform September 2, and which “reintroduces” Tolkien’s world of Middle Earth, said McKay.

Younger versions of elves Galadriel and Elrond — familiar characters to fans of Peter Jackson’s Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings trilogy — will be played by Morfydd Clark and Robert Aramayo.

But with the new TV show set 4,000 years before Jackson’s trilogy, in a fictional “Second Age” — a historical period sketched out in less detail by Tolkien’s writings — the creators had license to create many new characters.

“The field was wide open,” said co-creator J.D. Payne.

“Amazon bought the rights to basically 10,000 years of Middle Earth history and said, ‘Alright guys, let’s take all comers and see what you have to say.’

“We felt that the Second Age is freaking awesome. It’s Tolkien’s amazing, untold story, that is so iconic with the forging of the Rings of Power.”

Gorgeous, regal’ beard

The series is said to be a personal obsession of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and represents the company’s biggest play yet in the so-called “streaming wars” with rivals including Netflix and Disney+.

Much of that cost went into lavish production values, evident to fans packed into the San Diego convention centre’s 6,000-capacity Hall H, where they were treated to five clips from the show, plus a new trailer.

Though plot details remain under wraps, sprawling and intricately detailed settings from the books, including the island kingdom of Numenor — projected onto a giant screen wrapping around-three quarters of the arena — drew audible gasps.

“We built an entire city with several blocks and an entire wharf — it’s crazy and enormous,” said McKay.

“We built as much as any group of humans could,” added executive producer Lindsey Weber.

One clip during the 90-minute presentation introduced a group of Harfoots, nomadic ancestors to the hobbits of “Lord of the Rings,” who live in travelling carts rather than holes.

Another showed a wealthy dwarf kingdom — complete with the saga’s first bearded female dwarves — and a third clip found a group of elves in chains, forced to work for a gang of evil orcs.

“We’re establishing the female dwarf for the first time,” Sophia Nomvete, who plays dwarf princess Disa, told AFP after the presentation.

“We have gone with a version, a gorgeous, regal, one-hair-at-a-time application, divine, detailed version of a beard for the female dwarf, and I know you’re gonna love it!”

‘Thrones’ and zombies Comic-Con is taking place in-person and at full 130,000-strong capacity again for the first time in three years, after going online due to the pandemic.

The Rings of Power is going head-to-head at the event with HBO’s Game of Thrones spin-off House of the Dragon, a rival fantasy series out next month, which gets its own Comic-Con presentation Saturday.

Elsewhere, post-apocalyptic zombie series The Walking Dead had its final Comic-Con presentation Friday, where it was confirmed that the record-breaking cable show’s final eight episodes will debut October 2.

But the undead franchise lives on, with fan favourite Andrew Lincoln telling ecstatic fans he will reprise his role as Rick Grimes for a limited series next year.

And Disney will wrap up the event’s major presentations Saturday evening with a presentation expected to feature its Marvel superheroes, including the eagerly awaited sequel “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

  • Release Date 2 September 2022
  • Genre Adventure, Fantasy
  • Cast Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Nazanin Boniadi, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Joseph Mawle, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete
  • Director J. A. Bayona, Wayne Che Yip, Charlotte Brändström
  • Producer J. D. Payne, Patrick McKay, Lindsey Weber, Callum Greene, J. A. Bayona, Belén Atienza, Justin Doble, Jason Cahill, Gennifer Hutchison, Bruce Richmond, Sharon Tal Yguado
  • Production Amazon Studios, Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Trust, HarperCollins, New Line Cinema

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Rocketry: The Nambi Effect OTT Release Date Set for July 26 on Amazon Prime Video

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By Press Trust of India | Updated: 20 July 2022 

Madhavan’s directorial debut Rocketry: The Nambi Effect is set to have its digital premiere on Prime Video on July 26, Amazon announced on Wednesday.

The biographical drama, based on the life of Nambi Narayanan, a former scientist and aerospace engineer of the Indian Space Research Organisation, released theatrically on July 1.

Narayanan was framed for espionage and imprisoned in 1994. Rocketry: The Nambi Effect “chronicles his achievements, his passion for the country’s space mission, his unmatched dedication and the accusation that eventually became the biggest personal and professional setback of his life.”

Madhavan’s directorial debut Rocketry: The Nambi Effect is set to have its digital premiere on Prime Video on July 26, Amazon announced on Wednesday.

The biographical drama, based on the life of Nambi Narayanan, a former scientist and aerospace engineer of the Indian Space Research Organisation, released theatrically on July 1.

Narayanan was framed for espionage and imprisoned in 1994. Rocketry: The Nambi Effect “chronicles his achievements, his passion for the country’s space mission, his unmatched dedication and the accusation that eventually became the biggest personal and professional setback of his life.”

Rocketry was headlined by Madhavan, who had also written and produced the film. Simran and Ranjit Kapoor also star.

On Prime Video, Rocketry: The Nambi Effect will be available in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam.

There is no update yet regarding the streaming of the film’s Hindi and English version.

In the Tamil version, Suriya had a guest appearance, while its Hindi version featured Shah Rukh Khan in the same role.

Madhavan said he is thrilled to see how the film would be received on Prime Video.

“It’s an incredible honour for me to be able to bring this story to life,” Madhavan said in a prepared statement.

“I’m truly humbled by all the love that the movie has already received and am quite excited to see what new milestones hold next for our film with streaming.

“Essaying this role and helming this incredible story of Nambi Sir was very crucial, and I’m glad that we will be able to reach many more households to inspire, enlighten and entertain through Amazon Prime Video.”

Rocketry: The Nambi Effect is a production of Tricolour Films and Varghese Moolan Pictures.

Rocketry: The Nambi Effect

  • Release Date 1 July 2022
  • Language English, Hindi, Tamil
  • Genre Biography, Drama
  • Duration 2h 38min
  • Cast R. Madhavan, Simran, Rajit Kapur, Ravi Raghavendra, Misha Ghoshal, Shyam Renganathan, Muralidaran, Karthik Kumar, Gulshan Grover, Dinesh Prabhakar, Mohan Raman, Ron Donachie, Phyllis Logan, Vincent Riotta, Bijou Thaangjam, Jagan, Rajeev Ravindranathan, Sam Mohan, Bhawsheel, Suriya, Shah Rukh Khan
  • Director R. Madhavan
  • Music Sam C. S., Divakar Subramaniam
  • Producer Sarita Madhavan, R. Madhavan, Varghese Moolan, Vijay Moolan
  • Production Tricolour Films, Varghese Moolan Pictures

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Netflix Loses Nearly 1 Million Subscribers in Q2 2022, Says Strong Dollar Hit Revenue From Foreign Users

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By Associated Press | Updated: 20 July 2022

Netflix shed almost 1 million subscribers during the spring amid tougher competition and soaring inflation that’s squeezing household budgets, heightening the urgency behind the video streaming service’s effort to launch a cheaper option with commercial interruptions. The April-June contraction of 970,000 accounts, announced Tuesday as part of Netflix’s second-quarter earnings report, is by far the largest quarterly subscriber loss in the company’s 25-year history. It could have been far worse, though, considering Netflix management released an April forecast calling for a loss of 2 million subscribers during the second quarter.

Netflix was probably spared from deeper losses by the ongoing popularity of “Stranger Things,” its science fiction/horror series that debuted in 2016. Following the release of the series’ fourth season in late May, Netflix said, viewers watched a total of 1.3 billion hours of it over the next four weeks — more than any other English-language series in the service’s history.

The less severe loss in subscribers, combined with an outlook calling for a return to growth in the July-September period. helped lift Netflix’s battered stock by 7 percent in extended trading after the numbers came out.

Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings didn’t try to sugarcoat things during a Tuesday conference call about the results. “It’s tough losing a million subscribers and calling it a success,” he said.

The company’s April-June regression follows a loss of 200,000 subscribers during the first three months of the year, marking the first time Netflix’s subscriber totals have shrunk in consecutive quarters since its transition from offering DVD-by-mail rentals to video streaming began 15 years ago.

The loss of nearly 1.2 million subscribers during first half of this year also provides a start contrast to the pandemic-driven growth that Netflix enjoyed during the first half of 2020 when its streaming service picked up nearly 26 million subscribers.

Despite the downturn, Netflix still earned $1.4 billion (roughly Rs. 11,200 crore), or $3.20 (roughly Rs. 260) per share during the quarter, a 6 percent increase from the same time last year. Revenue rose 9 percent from the same time last year to nearly $8 billion (roughly Rs. 64,000 crore).

Netflix ended June with 220.7 million worldwide subscribers. far more than any of its new competitors such as Walt Disney Co. and Apple. And in a hopeful sign, Netflix management predicted its service will add about 1 million subscribers during the July-September period, signalling the worst of its slump may be over.

Although Netflix’s springtime subscriber losses weren’t as bad as investors and management feared, the downturn served as a grim reminder of the challenges now facing the Los Gatos, California, company after a decade of unbridled growth.

Netflix’s stock price has plunged by nearly 70 percent so far this year, wiping out about $180 billion (roughly Rs. 14,39,200 crore) in shareholder wealth. Since then, other video streaming services have made big strides in attracting viewers, with Apple winning accolades for its award-winning line-up of TV series and films while Disney’s popular line-up of family-friendly titles continues to gain traction.

At the same time, Netflix has been raising its prices to help pay for its own original programming, just as the highest inflation rates in 40 years have led consumers to curb spending on discretionary items such as entertainment.

“Netflix is still the leader in video streaming but unless it finds more franchises that resonate widely, it will eventually struggle to stay ahead of competitors that are after its crown,” said Insider Intelligence analyst Ross Benes.

Sensing potential trouble brewing, Netflix began branching out last year by adding free video games to its streaming service.

But that obviously hasn’t been enough to propel subscriber growth, prompting Netflix’s April announcement that it will crack down on the rampant sharing of subscriber passwords and take another step it once scorned by offering a less expensive tier of its service that will include commercial interruptions. Without providing further specifics, Netflix said Tuesday that both the ad-supported plan and the crackdown on password sharing will begin early next year. The company didn’t say how much the streaming option with commercials will cost.

Netflix took another step toward putting together the ad=supported option last week when it announced it will team up with Microsoft to deliver the commercials.

“We have some headwinds right now and we are navigating through them,” Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos said at the end of Tuesday’s conference call. “We’ve seen entertainment formats come and go, we’ve seen entertainment business models come and go, and we have managed to grow through all of them, though all kinds of economic conditions and through all levels of competition.”

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