Beyonce is Nala and Disney is The Empire

It was an interesting news week for Disney. There were highs, including the release of the cast for The Lion King, and lows, like barring The Los Angeles Times from screenings for Thor: Ragnarok. Still, it’s always a positive week when a service you haven’t even launched yet gets valued at $25 Billion. Anyway, here is the news.

Disney Releases Cast List for The Lion King

Disney released the cast list for the new Lion King movie that hits theaters in 2019. Donald Glover will voice the character of Simba and Beyoncé will voice Nala. James Earl Jones, who was in the original 1994 film, will return to lend his voice as Simba’s father, Mufasa, once more. A trio of comedians, John Oliver, Seth Rogan and Billy Eichner, will play Zazu, Pumbaa and Timon, respectively. You can see the full list below.

Beyonce wouldn’t be my first choice for Nala, given her previous outings as an actress. That said, there’s something to be said about the quality of the Directors she’s been able to work with. Lion King director Jon Favreau has been able to get amazing performances out of several actors and actresses. Adult Nala doesn’t have a ton to do in the original version of The Lion King. Even if Beyonce’s acting doesn’t rise to the occasion, she probably won’t have too many lines. Either way, I’m sure she’ll be a major asset to the soundtrack.

The Disney Empire Strikes Back

Check out this awesome commercial for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Doesn’t that just give you the warm and fuzzies? Now consider this: Disney is leveraging some serious penalties against theaters that don’t show the movie the way Disney wants.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Disney is laying claim to a 65 percent share of ticket-sales revenue, up from a standard 55 percent asked by most Hollywood studios. They are also requiring theaters to reserve at least four weeks in the largest auditorium available exclusively for The Last Jedi screenings.

If a theater violates any of the above terms, Disney reserves the right to charge an additional five percent of ticket sales revenue as a penalty for the violation. This includes if the theater cancels even one screening of the film without Disney’s consent.

And that’s not the only way Disney flexed its muscle this week. The studio blacklisted The LA Times from the Thor: Ragnarok critics screening, after the paper wrote an unfavorable article about Disney not paying its “fair share” in taxes to Anaheim. Disney says the story was riddled with errors and untruths.

Point is, Disney has entered a new level of dominance at the box office. The studio segment is consistently profitable for Disney and that success has helped out other properties – like newspapers and movie theaters. Now that they have asserted their dominance, they are flexing their might. They’re altering the deals. Pray they don’t alter them any further.

Morgan Stanley Values Disney’s New Streaming Service at $25 Billion

After a lot of criticism over leaving Netflix, Disney has got to be feeling good with this latest news from Morgan Stanley. The financial services firm said Disney could gain 30 million subscribers in the next 10 years, valuing the service at $25 billion. Morgan Stanley thinks Disney is poised to make a significant reach into the 1 billion global pay-TV household market, given its exclusive rights to new films and large library offerings.

In addition, Morgan Stanley expects Disney to pick off a share of Netflix’s 10 to 12 percent subscriber growth in 2028.

Morgan Stanley can’t see into the future and they might be overselling the value of this offering a bit. Still, the thing to take away from this is that those in the know expect Disney’s new service to do well. Time will tell how accurate that prediction is.

For more on these and more stories, check out this week’s edition of the Disney Movie Review below.