The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that negotiations have begun between the theme park operator and their largest unions. The existing contract was set to expire March 29 but was recently extended until July 17 as the negotiations continue. Commenting on the negotiations a Disney spokesperson said, “Since our last negotiation, we have created nearly 6,000 new full-time jobs and provided wage increases that were well above the industry average, even in the midst of one of the worst economic downturns in history.” On the other side of the table, Service Trades Council President Ed Chambers said, “At the end of the day, we all want better wages, better benefits and better working conditions.”
Marvel announced that they are working on an all-age Ultimate Spider-Man Infinite Comic based on the Disney XD animated series. Infinite Comics are digital comics that take advantage of digital platforms by being designed for those screens and featuring digital transitions. The comic will be released later this year and will be released in 10 different languages to reach a worldwide audience. In an interview with Marvel.com Marvel VP of Digital Products Kristin Vincent said, “We are trying to foster and grow the next generation of comic lovers. We’ve heard from parents saying, ‘I think my kids would get a kick out of comics and I just can’t find a way to make it relevant in their lives the way it was in mine.’” Marvel believes introducing kids through the Infinite Comics platform will engage kids that have grown up in a digital world.
At their SXSW panel today, Marvel revealed Tales to Astonish” a new original video documentary series. In an interview with Marvel.com Marvel VP of Content & Programming John Cerilli says, “So many of Marvel’s stories and characters were created by storytellers—editors, writers, pencilers—who like all great artists are often influenced by events happening in the real world. In ‘Tales to Astonish,’ we now have the opportunity to explore all of these influences and, in turn, entertain a wider swath people who may or may not have known about these things, but are interested in entertainment with really compelling narratives.
The first episode will revolve around the 2006 Marvel event Civil War. While no release date or information about future episodes was given, Marvel did release a trailer for the upcoming episode.
We wanted to share the first images we can from today’s premiere of the Festival of Fantasy Parade at the Magic Kingdom.
We also were able to livestream about 15 minutes of the parade.
Laughingplace.com will have a full recap of the Parade with more photos and video later.
As Jon Favreau is at SXSW to promote his small-scale film Chef, Collider interviewed the actor-director and took the opportunity to ask about Jungle Book and Magic Kingdom films. Regarding the Jungle Book he says the film will be a large-scale mix of live-action and animation that will focus on the hero’s journey of Kipling’s book. While the tone of the animated classic is different than his film, he is excited to include imagery and moments in this new version. Regarding the Magic Kingdom he says the challenge is finding a way to make the film without affecting other possible franchises like Pirates of the Caribbean. However, he feels the success of Marvel’s The Avengers and The Lego Movie shows that you can mix-up franchises and that he believes he has a take that would make it all work out. That being said, he hopes that the relationship with Disney established with The Jungle Book will allow him to make The Magic Kingdom. You can watch the video from Collider below. The Disney talk begins at the 3:45 mark
As the US Men’s National Team marches to Brazil, ESPN will be premiering a behind-the-scenes documentary series about the team. While the “all-access” sports documentary genre has become popular, this series access will focus on the positive side of the team working towards their goal of victory at the World Cup. The 5 episode series will premiere May 13 and lead to ESPN’s coverage of the World Cup. More information on the series is expected to be revealed at SXSW.
Update: ESPN has issued a press release regarding this series:
ESPN will premiere a new series, “Inside: US Soccer’s March to Brazil,” this spring focusing on the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team as they prepare for the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The six episode documentary series from ESPN Films, the production group behind 30 for 30, will air weekly for five consecutive weeks beginning on May 13 (full schedule to be announced) with a finale airing in June. Episodes will also air on ABC following their ESPN premieres.
“Inside: US Soccer’s March to Brazil,” produced by Jonathan Hock and Roger Bennett, will provide a never-before-seen perspective from inside the training camp of the Men’s National Team as they prepare for the most anticipated sporting event in the world. Led by head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, a World Cup champion as a player and former coach of the German National Team, the U.S. is coming off the most successful year in its history and now the group of experienced veterans and inspired young talent will face a colossal challenge after being drawn into the tournament’s “Group of Death” against Ghana, Portugal and Germany.
“We know there will be enormous interest surrounding this team as the World Cup approaches so we’re focused on providing an in-depth look at how the players deal with the stakes of preparing for soccer’s biggest stage,” said Connor Schell, VP and executive producer, ESPN Films and Original Content. “The breadth and variety of content offerings across ESPN platforms leading up to and during the tournament will give soccer fans a chance to feel close to the action and “Inside: US Soccer’s March to Brazil” is intended to capture the mental and physical demands of the U.S. players giving viewers a truly unique perspective.”
The series will follow the coaches and players, including Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Tim Howard and Michael Bradley, as they endure a demanding preparation camp and play three international matches before their departure for Sao Paulo.
“We have always said that the National Team should represent the culture of the country, and the fans play a big part in that,” said Klinsmann. “We are going to work extremely hard to get this group prepared to do something special in Brazil, and we are excited to work with ESPN to allow our supporters the opportunity to see the tremendous effort our players and staff will put in to get ready.”
Committed to challenging the team against the best in the world, Klinsmann has led the team to historic results since taking over as head coach in 2011. During the past two-and-a-half years, the U.S. has won a record-setting 12 straight games at home, put together a 12-game winning streak – the longest in program history – captured the 2013 Gold Cup title, and finished in first place in qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Hock and Bennett make a creative team uniquely suited for this project. Hock is an eight-time Emmy Award winner whose contributions to ESPN’s 30 for 30 series include “The Best That Never Was” and “Survive and Advance.” Bennett is a writer and a broadcaster with “Men in Blazers” and ESPN who has chronicled the evolution of the US Team under Klinsmann.
Bennett says, “Since 1994, I have watched with wonder as the US team’s profile has risen in this country after every World Cup. The American players are hungry not just for victory, but for respect. That quest gives Jonathan and me an opportunity to capture true human drama, on the pitch and off.”
ESPN will also produce additional original scenes from the series to air across SportsCenterand other ESPN platforms including ESPNFC and ESPN.com.
Marvel has released an update for their Marvel Unlimited app for iOS devices. Marvel Unlimited is their subscription based service that provides access to thousands of comics. The update listing for version 2.0 is:
INTRODUCING our biggest app update yet! We’re bringing you a completely re-invented, re-imagined Marvel Unlimited reading experience – built for YOUR device!
NEW! Native reading for digital comics – crafted for iOS7 and iOS6
NEW! Smart Panel experience to enhance your comic on mobile devices
ALSO! Exciting new features to discover that Marvel will announce soon!
Marvel will be presenting at SXSW this afternoon. It is unknown if the update relates to this presentation or if some of the teased features will be revealed during the presentation.
You can download Marvel Unlimited in the App Store. As a promotion, Marvel is offering a month of Marvel Unlimited for $.99 by using code SXSW99. A normal month costs $9.99 and a year costs $69.99
UPDATE: After playing with the app we have discovered some new features. The app has the Marvel AR videos that provide behind-the-scenes information about the comics are now included in the app on select issues. Also, some issues of the Winter Soldier storyline have adaptive audio. This feature was originally announced at last year’s SXSW as “Project Gamma”.
Update 2: Marvel has released two trailers regarding Marvel Unlimited. One for the service and the other focused on the adaptive audio feature.
At SXSW Marvel revealed their plans for their social game, Avengers Alliance. Inspired by the Marvel Studios upcoming releases of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy, it was revealed that those characters will be joining the game. While there characters release ties in to the films, the story’s will not. The characters will take place inside the Marvel Gaming Universe. As the “second season” of the game came online, the story opened up to include multiple worlds which give the game some creative freedom. It was also announced that Taskmaster will be introduced in the game as a playable character after appearing in other Marvel Gaming Universe releases. Avengers Alliance has been a bright spot for Playdom, Disney’s social gaming division, which has struggled since being acquired by Disney.
At the SXSW presentation today, Marvel revealed that they will be releasing an updated to their Marvel AR app. The app plays video content when activated by images in Marvel comic books. The updated will be released in April, but you can download the app now.
Dreamwork Animation’s AwesomenessTV interviews Miss Piggy about her red carpet fashion on their show “#OOTW” (out of this world). Miss Piggy will walk the red carpet this Tuesday for the premiere and Muppets Most Wanted is released March 21.