Sci-Fi Storm

Tag: disney

Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire to bring VR experience to Disney Resorts

by on Aug.04, 2017, under Fun Stuff, Movies

[Reposted from our sister site, WDW Untangled]

A collaboration between Lucasfilm’s ILMxLAB division (which works on immersive entertainment) and VR experience startup THE VOID, will see a VOID Entertainment Center open at both Disneyland’s Downtown Disney and Walt Disney World’s Disney Springs, which will feature Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, a fully immersive VR experience, which The Void calls “hyper-reality”.

THE VOID already operates locations in New York City (inside Madame Tussaud’s), Toronto, Lindon, Utah and Dubai, where they have Ghostbusters Dimension.

The Void says Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire “will plunge guests directly into the iconic Star Wars galaxy. They will move freely throughout the untethered, social, and multi-sensory Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire experience in a way that allows them to interact and engage with friends, family and Star Wars characters. This ground-breaking experience will open to the public at two new VOID Experience Centers at Downtown Disney at Disneyland Resort and Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort beginning this holiday season.”

“At The VOID, we combine the magic of illusion, advanced technology and virtual reality to create fully immersive social experiences that take guests to new worlds,” said Curtis Hickman, co-founder and chief creative officer at The VOID. “A truly transformative experience is so much more than what you see with your eyes; it’s what you hear, feel, touch, and even smell. Through the power of The VOID, guests who step into Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire won’t just see this world, they’ll know that they are part of this amazing story.”

Vicki Dobbs Beck, executive in charge of ILMxLab, said, “At ILMxLAB, we want people to step inside the worlds of our stories. Through our collaboration with The VOID, we can make this happen as guests become active participants in an unfolding Star Wars adventure. By combining Lucasfilm’s storytelling expertise with cutting-edge imagery, and immersive sound from the team at Skywalker Sound, while invoking all the senses, we hope to truly transport all those who experience Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire to a galaxy far, far away.”
Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire marks an important milestone in the continued expansion of The VOID, which also joined the 2017 Disney Accelerator earlier this year,” said Cliff Plumer, CEO of The VOID. “Through the power of The VOID, guests can now experience the magic of Star Wars firsthand.”

Expect to have to make reservations FAR in advance…


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Disney sets release dates; Star Wars IX takes saga back to May 2019

by on Apr.25, 2017, under Movies

Disney announced release dates for a slew of movies, and one of the notable dates is that the final episode of the Star Wars saga will move back to it’s old traditional release month, specifically May 24th, 2019 – which is the day before the 42nd anniversary of the first movie.

The Han Solo anthology movie also releases in May in 2018.

In addition, Disney has pushed back the fifth Indiana Jones installment a year to July 10, 2020, giving the old slot of July 19th, 2019 to the upcoming live action version of The Lion King.

Other dates (in release order):

A Wrinkle in Time: March 9th, 2018 (Moved up from April)
Magic Camp: April 6th, 2018
Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks The Internet: November 21, 2018 (Moved back from March)
Frozen 2: November 27, 2019
Gigantic: November 25, 2020 (Moved back from 2018)


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Disney considering two-night immersive Star Wars experience

by on Apr.19, 2017, under Fun Stuff, Movies

Before I say more, I want to preface this by pointing to the second word in this article’s headline – “considering”. There have been a number of “breaking news” articles in the last 24 hours that say “creating”, and the two are VERY different.

According to Tom Corliss of WDW News Today, Disney has been sending a survey to guests via Swagbucks (an earn-rewards-for-surveys site), that asks them their interest in a new form of Star Wars experience – a two-night all-inclusive stay aboard a “starship” (think something like a Star Destroyer or Republic cruiser) with a fully immersive experience where you take part in the story via training programs including lightsaber training, secret missions, and more. The reported price tag would be $900-$1000 per person. You can see some concept art on the original article. This would be a resort next to Disney’s Hollywood Studios park, which is currently getting a massive makeover for a Star Wars “land”, and the price would include some exclusive access to that area (due to be completed in 2019).

Although I think this is a GREAT idea and would totally do it (I’m still considering the price tag, however – I could spend a week on a cruise for that), I’m cautious mainly because I am very familiar with Disney and all these plans that never come to fruition. First, historically a lot of “blue sky” ideas (basically the first level of coming up with ideas, long before practicality and budgets get looked at) get leaked through social media. I’m still waiting for the extra-immersive Adventurers Club over at Animal Kingdom, for example, or the return of River Country.

Second, Disney sends LOTS of surveys with all sorts of ideas to gauge guest interest. I’ve taken dozens of them. Many things on those surveys can be outlandish, and never come to be, but may lead to other ideas. Usually Disney does such surveys internally as well, but this one was done by a third party.

There are various stages of bringing any idea to fruition – this is somewhere above “blue sky”, since they have some concept art showing they are thinking of this seriously), but this is still far below “announced” – and if you know about Disney’s history with announcements, even then that doesn’t mean it gets built.

I place this right now as a 10% confidence of it happening. So while I’m thrilled at the possibility of this existing, my practical Disney side is also saying it is a long shot. I’d like to see this more like a special Star Wars cruise – at least then you are on a real ship. 🙂


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Holiday Tidbits: Rogue One, Doctor Who, Arrival

by on Jan.02, 2017, under Movies, Television

Just a quick roundup on end-of-2016 events…most notably that it’s been the biggest U.S. box office year for movies ever, taking in $11.13 billion with a few days of strong tracking to go. Leading the pack was Disney/Pixar’s Finding Dory at $486 million, followed Rogue One: A Star Wars Story which had $424M, and Captain America: Civil War at $408M, giving Disney’s divisions the box office trifecta for 2016. Rogue One also looks to keep running into 2017, as it reached it’s mark in only 16 days!

While slower at gaining a box office following, Arrival, which cost much less to make than Rogue One and faced a lot of competition after its release, passed $150 million in the global box office, which is not bad for a “thinker” science fiction movie.

What happens when you mash up a superhero story with Doctor Who on Christmas Day? You get the most watched program in 2016 for BBC America. “The Return of Doctor Mysterio” had 1.7 million viewers in the Live+3 ratings and topped all the key demographics, as well as being the channels most active program on social media. Still not sure when the upcoming season will begin, but we are thinking around April.


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Live-action Star Wars series still possible at ABC

by on Aug.06, 2016, under Television

At the recent TCAs, ABC entertainment president Channing Dungey said that talks are still ongoing between the network and Lucasfilm, two divisions of corporate parent Disney, for live action prime time series based on Star Wars. “We have had conversations, and we will continue to have conversations with Lucasfilm. It would be wonderful to extend the franchise.”

This comes as no surprise as Disney has been going full-Death Star with the franchise since acquiring Lucasfilm in 2012. A second animated series, Rebels airs on Disney XD, Episode VII was released last year, the first anthology film, Rogue One releases this December, Episode VIII is in production, and Disney’s theme parks are greatly expanding the presence of Star Wars in the parks.

In addition, Disney has already brought two of its other acquired properties, Marvel and the Muppets, to ABC although the latter had trouble finding an audience, not helped by creative issues with the production.

But what will the possible series entail? It could be anything – they may be discussing the possibility of the setting as part of the negotiations. But we are reminded of how five years ago George Lucas was hot on a live action series so much that they wrote as many as 50 multiple draft scripts for a series set between Episodes III and IV, which may still be available. At the time it was too expensive to actually produce. However, this is the same time period already covered by Rebels as well as the upcoming Rogue One and the second anthology movie about Han Solo, making it a crowded space – and it is possible that some of the plots were re-tuned for the other projects.

Personally, with the expanded timeline that the Star Wars universe already has, I’d like to see them explore a completely different time period, perhaps dealing with the initial reformation of the Sith and the early Republic, whether they use the former Expanded Universe as the basis or not.


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Tidbits: A Wrinkle In Time, Captain Marvel, Caves of Steel movie, Wynonna Earp renewed

by on Jul.26, 2016, under Fun Stuff, Movies, Television

Some tidbits as I get a break from vacation/traveling…

On the movie front, Oprah Winfrey is near set to star as Mrs. Which in a new adaptation of A Wrinkle In Time to be directed by Ava DuVernay (Selma) for Disney. Amy Adams and Kevin Hart are also in talks.

Speaking of Disney, Disneyland is about to rebuild it’s Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attraction with a whole new theme based on Guardians of the Galaxy. The new attraction will be called “Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout” and be ready for next summer. Here is a video of Joe Rhode explaining the attraction:

Also on the Disney park front, if you can get to Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World in Florida, you have to check out the “Star Wars Galactic Spectacular” fireworks and light show. It is AMAZING!

The new Captain Marvel has been announced, and it will be Brie Larson. Kevin Feige made the announcement at Comic Con, but wouldn’t say what movie she might first appear in.

Syfy renewed Wynonna Earp for a second season.

Lastly, Fox has tapped Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind) to adapt Isaac Asimov’s Caves of Steel, which has been in the works for a few years with Simon Kinberg with Henry Hobson. Ironically, Akiva Goldsman co-wrote 2004’s I, Robot, which is often mistaken as an Asimov story due to similar themes with a collection of stories Asimov wrote with the same title, but the movie was based on a short story by Eando Bender.


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Captain America: Civil War passes $200M domestic in less than a week

by on May.11, 2016, under Business, Movies

As of Tuesday’s haul at the domestic box office, Captain America: Civil War has reached over $206 million, in just 5 days. This, coupled with Disney’s Jungle Book holding as the #2 movie after four weeks and passing $300 million soon, you would think Disney would be up on the news – but after an earnings report that didn’t meet expectations, owing in large part to the television business, especially ESPN, softening, saw stock its stock prices take a 4% hit, and Disney announcing it would close down its console gaming business, primarily the Disney Infinity line, and taking a $147 million charge to do it.

So how was the movie? [very minor spoilers perhaps ahead] On a rare occasion that I was able to see it opening weekend, I enjoyed it overall. It relied less on the incessant barrage of fighting action that was the hallmark of Avengers: Age of Ultron, and more on the story. However, some of the justification for what was ripping apart the team seemed contrived, and I think a lot of people may generally dislike the idea of friends taking differing sides and fighting each other, and at times be jovial about it. But that joviality also lightens the movie up, which otherwise be a major downer. It does, however, seem to be setting the stage for Infinity War, which is sort of expected…


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Walt Disney World plans Opening Night event for Star Wars: The Force Awakens at Disney Springs and Hollywood Studios

by on Oct.19, 2015, under Fun Stuff, Movies

From our sister site, WDW Untangled

tfasoirwe872417-613x908On the opening night of Star Wars: The Force Awakens on December 17th, Walt Disney World Resort will host a special ticketed event at Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) and Disney’s Hollywood Studios park for fans who want to be among the first viewers of the movie and celebrate with other fans.

Guests will have a confirmed seat at the AMC Disney Springs 24 theater for a showing between 7pm-8pm, and then celebrate over at Hollywood Studios at a private party afterwards until 2am. The party will include special access to the new Star Wars: Launch Bay exhibit, the Star Tours: The Adventures Continue attraction, a DJ dance party, and a preview of the all new fireworks display set to Star Wars music. Costumes are encouraged! But follow standard Disney guest costume guidelines – if you dress like a Disney character, for instance, you may not pose for pictures with other guests or sign autographs, etc.

Characters will also appear at Launch Bay – it is sounding like a private mini-Star Wars Weekends!

Tickets will go on sale immediately after the latest trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens airs tonight during Monday Night Football. And in fact, tickets for showings at theaters around the country will go on sale at the same time!

Ticket prices will depend on which format you see the movie in: 2D ($94.99), 3D ($98.99) and 3D ETX ($99.99).

Note: Direct transportation between Disney Springs and Hollywood Studios will NOT be provided. Parking is free at Disney Springs, and parking at Hollywood Studios is included in the price of the ticket. Guests staying at a WDW Resort will be able to take transportation from Disney Springs to their resort, and then on to Hollywood Studios.

More FAQs can be found here.


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Disney confirms Star Wars land expansions for Walt Disney World and Disneyland

by on Aug.15, 2015, under Fun Stuff, Movies

Check out the article on our sister site for details, but if you have been waiting for a bigger theme park experience than Star Tours, you’re going to be very happy…


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Tron 3 loses power, gets shelved

by on May.30, 2015, under Movies

The news last month that stars Garrett Hedlund and Olivia Wilde along with director Joseph Kasinski were in for a third installment of Tron, gave hope even after several years had already passed since Tron: Legacy, but Disney said today that it never officially gave a green light for the project, and has in fact pulled it from the development slate.

No specific reasons were given, but given the relatively soft worldwide box office ($400 million against an approximately $180 million budget, not including marketing), and the subsequent failure of the animated Tron: Uprising, and with expected blockbusters from Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the next several years, Disney probably sees the slate pretty clogged with high budget features with likely better returns.

Update: There have been various reports that this was due to the poor opening of Tomorrowland, but there is no real reason they would be connected.


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