Mouse House Charges More for Disney+

Everyone’s favorite rodent has been killing it in the streaming wars. Ole Mickey and friends are dominating the OTT game with recent title releases like “WandaVision” and “Falcon and The Winter Soldier.” Other companies such as HBO and Netflix continue to churn out quality content for their devoted followers but are not seeing subscriber numbers like The Mouse Empire. One must stop and wonder: how is audience engagement of this content so quickly surpassing that of the competition? Well to put it simply-they are showing the money! Disney+ is taking the sitcom-esque storytelling style and turning it up to 11. It’s obvious they spared no expense on the production quality and writers can expand certain character arcs and hash out supporting storylines without runtime or other limitations of feature film. This helps explain how, in just 18 months, the new streaming platform has accrued 100 million subscribers. Disney figured out the magical formula and it’s going to cost us.

Paul Tassi brilliantly explains the price hike for Disney+ of $6.99 a month to $7.99 a month (or $69.99 for the year to $79.99 annually). He elaborates that no one should be surprised by this given the recent influx of new titles. Mickey knows his subscribers will pay to see Han Solo reunite with Chewbacca and watch Tony Stark say “I’m Iron Man.” Tassi discusses how Disney is in a good spot right now considering they are one of the most inexpensive streaming services. He cleverly compares this initial price increase to “the frog slowly boiling in water” where at first the pot is on low, but it can bubble into a deadly figure that will eventually make your wallet scream in pain.

Disney is considered by many to be the “Happiest Place on Earth.” However, it can be a financial challenge for parents. Between trips to Disneyland, Halloween costumes, or the never-ending supply of toys and merchandise, Disney has got marketing nicely covered. Extending that reach, the Mouse King scampered his way into parent’s pockets to keep their little rascals glued to the TV, hypnotized by classic movies and shows from their vault. And let’s not forget about the other demographic subscribing to its service-the Star Wars and Marvel nerds who flock to Disney+ for shows like “The Mandalorian” and “Falcon and Winter Soldier.”

Mickey was astute in his foray into big budget productions like “The Mandalorian” which is two seasons in and a megahit for the platform. “WandaVision” was so hot that is caused the platform to crash and most recently, “Falcon and The Winter Soldier” has broken records since its premiere. And there are a slew of other Star Wars and Marvel shows still in production. So, it’s safe to say-Disney+ is here to stay. They have solidified themselves as a streaming kingpin, compelling parents, and fans alike to hit that subscribe button.

Other streaming platforms should be taking notes. According to Tassi, Disney+ is ramping up production and kicking its original content creation into high gear. Disney will soon be releasing new Star Wars or Marvel content every other week. In five weeks “Falcon and Winter Soldier” will have its season finale and right around the corner is “Loki.” Season 3 of “The Mandalorian” is scheduled to drop around Christmas this year. Tassi suggests that “things are going to move quickly now, and you’ll have to pay a tiny bit more to stick around.” I’m sure subsequent years will bring additional price increases. It’s funny how quickly Disney+ has managed to climb to the top of the streaming business heap and sit pretty alongside Netflix and HBO. When all is said and done, I’m sure many people will not find the price hikes amusing. One thing is clear, the Mouse King is taking their laughs to the bank.

AppleTV+ Gives Tom Holland’s ‘Cherry’ R-Rating

Tom Holland is Spiderman. Thanks to the Russo Brothers, it is rather difficult to imagine Holland playing any character who isn’t wearing tights or swinging from a web with Mary Jane. His iconic role as Peter Parker has propelled his popularity among Marvel fans to monolithic proportions. After the release of “Spiderman: Far from Home,” Holland devotees will flock to just about anything he is involved in. Apple TV+ gives audiences a rare opportunity to see Holland expand his acting range for this rather dark role in “Cherry” which received an R-rating. Moviegoers be warned. This is not your friendly neighborhood web slinging feature for the kids. It is far from that.

The folks over at Distractify offered some insight into why “Cherry” received a hard R. They make the claim that Holland’s character is “pretty much the opposite of do-gooder Peter Parker” and becomes a “battered anti-hero.” Apple TV+ are in a unique position as they have a feature film where, rather than thwarting evil and saving lives, Holland is injecting evil and taking lives. The film follows the story of Cherry, a young man who grows up in a midwestern, middle-class family but feels deprived and cast down by society. He meets the love of his life Emily, but she soon moves away for school. Aimless, Cherry drops out of college and joins the military in a last-ditch effort to get his life back on track. Returning from the war, Cherry suffers from PTSD and still lacks a sense of direction in life. He reunites with Emily, who is addicted to drugs, and runs with the wrong crowd. This leads Cherry to develop an addiction of his own. What happens when money runs out and they can’t fund their habit? They turn to robbing banks of course.

“Cherry” is based on Nico Walker’s semi-autobiographical novel of the same name. According to Distractify’s article, the R rating of its film counterpart is “well-deserved” considering how the film portrays drug addiction and thievery. It’s a bold move for the Russo Brother’s in that an R-rating goes against the grain of their usual family friendly Marvel movies. Uncle Ben would be rolling in his grave if he could see his poor Peter Parker now. Watch your beloved Spiderman go from web shooting hero to veteran shooting heroin on Apple TV+ Mar. 12.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Rated 16+

The Mouse Empire is on roll, churning out quality content for its lucrative Disney+ which currently has 95 million subscribers. Mickey has developed a devout following that consumes whatever the Disney overlords produce. So, to further its ambition to win the streaming wars, Mickey and friends are giving the fans what they want-more violence.

With the highly successful R-rated “Deadpool” franchise and “Logan,” it is no surprise Marvel is in pursuit of another edgy series upon which fans can binge, feasting on bashing bravados against CGI backdrops. This darker tone from Marvel is on par with Netflix’s “Daredevil,” “Jessica Jones” and “Luke Cage” series’ which have adult themes that leave the audience craving more. It was recently revealed the film, “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” has earned a TV rating of 16+ which is a bold new direction for the MCU.

Math Erao writes that the Dutch film and television rating board, Kijkwijzer, rated the “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” 16+ citing “violence” and “coarse language” as rationale for the mature rating. Earo implies this tone resembles the Marvel shows released on Netflix. The intense fight sequences and adult themes presented in “Daredevil,” “Jessica Jones” and “Luke Cage” can be expected from the upcoming Disney+ show. Furthermore, Earo states the 16+ rating is like a soft TV-MA which makes this the “most mature rated Marvel Studios property.”

According to Erao, all other properties carry a 12+ rating. When the 2003 film “Daredevil” was released, it received a PG-13 rating for its “heavy use of violence” which remains true to the original comics. Fast forward to the now Disney-owned Marvel and this brutality and bloodshed is highly frowned upon. Erao suggests that “fans have yet to see a movie display a similar amount of violence (to “Daredevil).” Interestingly, the recent Disney+ “Wanda Vision” series initially received a TV-PG rating.

However, by the fourth episode, the tone shifted toward a heavier narrative ultimately giving it a mild TV-14 rating. All the films currently in the MCU are rated PG-13. Naturally, there are going to be some elements not suitable for younglings. Excitingly, this tidbit of news proves “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” will increase MCU’s ferocity cred.

It is also apparent that the ‘Merc with the mouth’ Deadpool is getting a hard R rating for its third installment. This seems to confirm that Disney is allowing its “non-family-friendly” catalog of titles to emerge from darkness into the light of day. While the Mouse Empire does keep a tight lid on what’s going on behind the scenes, rumor has it that there might soon be an adult section of Disney+. Similarly, long running shows like “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” are now under the Mouse umbrella, so it seems that Mickey is fine with streaming mature titles. Looks like Disney is ready to tickle that adult demographic with mechanical wings and a fake robot arm. Watch “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” fly into your living room when it premieres March 19th on Disney+.

‘Deadpool 3’ Gets R-Rating

Who knew back in 2016 that “Deadpool” would become the highest grossing R-rated superhero movie of all time? It’s no surprise that its sequel “Deadpool 2” would garner even more success. After everyone’s favorite rodent swallowed the Fox Corporation back in 2019, they acquired the rights to the Deadpool franchise. Now fans can rejoice that “Merc With a Mouth” is back for a third installment-thanks to Disney. The Mouse Empire revealed its plans to release “Deadpool 3” with an R rating; the first R-Rated film set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Tim Adams’ article shares that Marvel President Kevin Feige is currently working on “Deadpool 3” and Ryan Reynolds is closely overseeing production. According to Adams, the script is written by Wendy Molyneux and Lizzie Molyneux-Loeglin. However, it is not yet clear who will direct. Feige notes that filming won’t begin till next year because “Ryan is a very busy, very successful actor” and describes Reynolds as “a force of nature.”

The character Deadpool originally debuted in February 1991’s “The New Mutants” Issue No. 98 created by writer Fabian Nicieza and writer and artist Rob Liefeld. The first live action appearance of Reynold’s Deadpool was featured in 2009’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” This origin film is commonly referred to among fans as “the movie we don’t speak of” due to its laughable execution but at least it gave us Ryan Reynolds. Fast forward to 2016’s “Deadpool” which began as a fan made CGI action sequence voiced by Reynolds. The fan video received so much attention that Fox greenlit the full production, reworking the sequence frame by frame and including it in the feature length film. As with the first film, “Deadpool 2” was released with an R-rating. Interestingly, Disney rereleased 2018’s “Deadpool 2” in theaters as “Once Upon a Deadpool” with a PG-13 rating. This act left audiences wondering if the next Deadpool film would follow a similar path of censorship.

Adams writes “It remains to be seen how the family-friendly studio will choose to handle the decidedly R-rated Deadpool,” whose first two releases grossed over $1.5 billion worldwide. Ideally, Disney should give the fans what they want and let Feige and Reynolds have their way with the franchise. Mickey and Co. should move with the times, do what everyone else is doing and release “Deadpool 3” exclusively on Disney+. It would be the first R-Rated title to premiere on Disney+ and the first R-Rated Deadpool movie to officially debut in the MCU. Would Walt Disney approve of Mickey Mouse endorsing The Merc with the Mouth?

Now the Longest Running Comedy Series: ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’

More hours are being spent on the couch than on the road now with everyone in quarantine and working from home. We have seemingly replaced commuting in cars to bingeing TV. Streaming platforms are taking advantage of this new reality by churning out as much original content as they can. Older, forgotten shows are getting rebooted or renewed for additional episodes exclusively for their respective platforms. The show “Friends” has a reunion special confirmed to be exclusive to HBOMAX in 2021. Similarly, Disney+ already released new original episodes of the once canceled animated series “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” If these networks continue this trend, who will have the longest running series? Currently, the longest running animated television series goes to “The Simpsons” (Fox) with 32 seasons followed by “South Park” (Viacom/HBO) with 23 seasons. On the other hand, “Law and Order: SVU” (NBC) has 22 Seasons making it the longest running scripted drama series. As for scripted comedy the record now belongs to “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” which, according to Brandon T. Harden’s article, just got renewed for four more seasons thus making it the longest running live action scripted comedy series on television with 18 seasons.

The 15th season of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” will premiere on FXX on an unspecified date in 2021 and the following day on FX on Hulu. Interestingly, FXX and Hulu fall under the Fox/Disney umbrella. The show follows a neurotic group of friends who run a bar in South Philadelphia and get into all sorts of greasy shenanigans-funded by the father of two of the characters. Some might complain that 18 seasons of this obnoxious comedy is too many. But you can’t argue with success as evidenced by the thriving careers of the cast. Rob McElhenney now has his own show “Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet” which is exclusive to AppleTV. Charlie Day has had major screen roles and did voice acting work with Disney/Pixar. Kaitlin Olson has also had success with Disney and Pixar in her role as Destiny in “Finding Dory.” Glenn Howerton starred in his own show “A.P. Bio” which premiered in September on NBC’s Peacock streaming platform. And finally, the legendary Danny Devito’s career continues to flourish at 76.

According to Harden, “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet,” previously held the longest running series record with 14 seasons (1952 through 1966). It’s ironic that The Mouse Empire now owns “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” (thanks to its recent Fox acquisition) and that it is has lasted this long on television. Pop on any episode and it’s very likely you will see scenes of drunken debauchery like a fully nude and sweaty Danny Devito hastily emerging from a leather couch during a holiday work party. Or it’s the episode where the gang solves the mystery of who pooped the bed; naturally, it was Danny Devito’s character Frank. The writers and actors have no comedic limits which might explain its rabidly loyal fan base who continually watch reruns and post “Always Sunny” memes on social media.

It would be wise for Disney+ to incorporate the “Always Sunny” gang into its rumored R-Rated section if they want to expand their adult viewership. The cast is clearly getting older, but they still plan on continuing the show for as long as possible. Creator/co-star Rob McElhenney took to Twitter claiming that “Sunny was originally pitched as a 36-season arc. So happy to be halfway done.” Tim Molloy in his article notes that McElhenney didn’t appreciate how characters in other shows “always get better looking in later seasons, as storylines get syrupier and their stars get richer.” For its seventh season, McElhenney decided sudden weight gain or “cultivating mass” would be a “perfect way to mock other sitcoms and capsize the relentless vanity of his character, Mac.” A clever alternative to the current methods implemented in wardrobe and makeup popularized in productions today. Danny Devito’s character Frank summarized this moment of uncertainty best by telling fans “Well, I don’t know how many years on this Earth I got left. I’m gonna get real weird with it.” Apparently, he’s spending it filming more “Always Sunny,” and it has already been really weird. Well done gang.