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Thursday, 14 December 2017

Disney Buys 21st Century Fox Assets In Historic Merger


It's official! The Walt Disney Company has purchased 21st Century Fox for $52.4-Billion.

The deal includes 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Fox 2000, 20th Century Fox Television, FX Productions, Fox21, FX Networks, National Geographic Partners, Fox Sports Regional Networks, Fox Networks Group International, Star India and Fox’s interests in Hulu, Sky, and Endemol Shine Group.
 
This deal does not include the Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, FS1, FS2 and Big Ten Network. These will become part of a newly listed company to be named at a later date.
 
Additionally, as a result of the historic Hollywood merger, it has been announced that Disney CEO Bob Iger has agreed to continue in his position through the end of calendar year 2021.
 
Check out the full press release posted below...

 
The Walt Disney Company and Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement for Disney to acquire 21st Century Fox, including the Twentieth Century Fox Film and Television studios, along with cable and international TV businesses, for approximately $52.4 billion in stock (subject to adjustment). Building on Disney’s commitment to deliver the highest quality branded entertainment, the acquisition of these complementary assets would allow Disney to create more appealing content, build more direct relationships with consumers around the world and deliver a more compelling entertainment experience to consumers wherever and however they choose. Immediately prior to the acquisition, 21st Century Fox will separate the Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, FS1, FS2 and Big Ten Network into a newly listed company that will be spun off to its shareholders.

Under the terms of the agreement, shareholders of 21st Century Fox will receive 0.2745 Disney shares for each 21st Century Fox share they hold (subject to adjustment for certain tax liabilities as described below). The exchange ratio was set based on a 30-day volume weighted average price of Disney stock. Disney will also assume approximately $13.7 billion of net debt of 21st Century Fox. The acquisition price implies a total equity value of approximately $52.4 billion and a total transaction value of approximately $66.1 billion (in each case based on the stated exchange ratio assuming no adjustment) for the business to be acquired by Disney, which includes consolidated assets along with a number of equity investments. 

Popular Entertainment Properties to Join Disney Family

Combining with Disney are 21st Century Fox’s critically acclaimed film production businesses, including Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Fox 2000, which together offer diverse and compelling storytelling businesses and are the homes of Avatar, X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool, as well as The Grand Budapest Hotel, Hidden Figures, Gone Girl, The Shape of Water and The Martian—and its storied television creative units, Twentieth Century Fox Television, FX Productions and Fox21, which have brought The Americans, This Is Us, Modern Family, The Simpsons and so many more hit TV series to viewers across the globe. Disney will also acquire FX Networks, National Geographic Partners, Fox Sports Regional Networks, Fox Networks Group International, Star India and Fox’s interests in Hulu, Sky plc, Tata Sky and Endemol Shine Group.

“The acquisition of this stellar collection of businesses from 21st Century Fox reflects the increasing consumer demand for a rich diversity of entertainment experiences that are more compelling, accessible and convenient than ever before,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company. “We’re honored and grateful that Rupert Murdoch has entrusted us with the future of businesses he spent a lifetime building, and we’re excited about this extraordinary opportunity to significantly increase our portfolio of well-loved franchises and branded content to greatly enhance our growing direct-to-consumer offerings. The deal will also substantially expand our international reach, allowing us to offer world-class storytelling and innovative distribution platforms to more consumers in key markets around the world.”

“We are extremely proud of all that we have built at 21st Century Fox, and I firmly believe that this combination with Disney will unlock even more value for shareholders as the new Disney continues to set the pace in what is an exciting and dynamic industry,” said Rupert Murdoch, Executive Chairman of 21st Century Fox. “Furthermore, I’m convinced that this combination, under Bob Iger’s leadership, will be one of the greatest companies in the world. I’m grateful and encouraged that Bob has agreed to stay on, and is committed to succeeding with a combined team that is second to none.”

At the request of both 21st Century Fox and the Disney Board of Directors, Mr. Iger has agreed to continue as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company through the end of calendar year 2021.

“When considering this strategic acquisition, it was important to the Board that Bob remain as Chairman and CEO through 2021 to provide the vision and proven leadership required to successfully complete and integrate such a massive, complex undertaking,” said Orin C. Smith, Lead Independent Director of the Disney Board. “We share the belief of our counterparts at 21st Century Fox that extending his tenure is in the best interests of our company and our shareholders, and will be critical to Disney’s ability to effectively drive long-term value from this extraordinary acquisition.”

Benefits to Consumers

The acquisition will enable Disney to accelerate its use of innovative technologies, including its BAMTECH platform, to create more ways for its storytellers to entertain and connect directly with audiences while providing more choices for how they consume content. The complementary offerings of each company enhance Disney’s development of films, television programming and related products to provide consumers with a more enjoyable and immersive entertainment experience.

Bringing on board 21st Century Fox’s entertainment content and capabilities, along with its broad international footprint and a world-class team of managers and storytellers, will allow Disney to further its efforts to provide a more compelling entertainment experience through its direct-to-consumer (DTC) offerings. This transaction will enable Disney’s recently announced Disney and ESPN-branded DTC offerings, as well as Hulu, to create more appealing and engaging experiences, delivering content, entertainment and sports to consumers around the world wherever and however they want to enjoy it.

The agreement also provides Disney with the opportunity to reunite the X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool with the Marvel family under one roof and create richer, more complex worlds of inter-related characters and stories that audiences have shown they love. The addition of Avatar to its family of films also promises expanded opportunities for consumers to watch and experience storytelling within these extraordinary fantasy worlds. Already, guests at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort can experience the magic of Pandora—The World of Avatar, a new land inspired by the Fox film franchise that opened earlier this year. And through the incredible storytelling of National Geographic—whose mission is to explore and protect our planet and inspire new generations through education initiatives and resources—Disney will be able to offer more ways than ever before to bring kids and families the world and all that is in it.

Enhancing Disney’s Worldwide Offerings

Adding 21st Century Fox’s premier international properties enhances Disney’s position as a truly global entertainment company with authentic local production and consumer services across high-growth regions, including a richer array of local, national and global sporting events that ESPN can make available to fans around the world. The transaction boosts Disney’s international revenue mix and exposure.

Disney’s international reach would greatly expand through the addition of Sky, which serves nearly 23 million households in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy; Fox Networks International, with more than 350 channels in 170 countries; and Star India, which operates 69 channels reaching 720 million viewers a month across India and more than 100 other countries.

Prior to the close of the transaction, it is anticipated that 21st Century Fox will seek to complete its planned acquisition of the 61% of Sky it doesn’t already own. Sky is one of Europe’s most successful pay television and creative enterprises with innovative and high-quality direct-to-consumer platforms, resonant brands and a strong and respected leadership team. 21st Century Fox remains fully committed to completing the current Sky offer and anticipates that, subject to the necessary regulatory consents, the transaction will close by June 30, 2018. Assuming 21st Century Fox completes its acquisition of Sky prior to closing of the transaction, The Walt Disney Company would assume full ownership of Sky, including the assumption of its outstanding debt, upon closing.

Transaction Highlights

The acquisition is expected to yield at least $2 billion in cost savings from efficiencies realized through the combination of businesses, and to be accretive to earnings before the impact of purchase accounting for the second fiscal year after the close of the transaction.

Terms of the transaction call for Disney to issue approximately 515 million new shares to 21st Century Fox shareholders, representing approximately a 25% stake in Disney on a pro forma basis. The per share consideration is subject to adjustment for certain tax liabilities arising from the spinoff and other transactions related to the acquisition. The initial exchange ratio of 0.2745 Disney shares for each 21st Century Fox share was set based on an estimate of such tax liabilities to be covered by an $8.5 billion cash dividend to 21st Century Fox from the company to be spun off. The exchange ratio will be adjusted immediately prior to closing of the acquisition based on an updated estimate of such tax liabilities. Such adjustment could increase or decrease the exchange ratio, depending upon whether the final estimate is lower or higher, respectively, than the initial estimate. However, if the final estimate of the tax liabilities is lower than the initial estimate, the first $2 billion of that adjustment will instead be made by net reduction in the amount of the cash dividend to 21st Century Fox from the company to be spun off. The amount of such tax liabilities will depend upon several factors, including tax rates in effect at the time of closing as well as the value of the company to be spun off.

The Boards of Directors of Disney and 21st Century Fox have approved the transaction, which is subject to shareholder approval by 21st Century Fox and Disney shareholders, clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, a number of other non-United States merger and other regulatory reviews, and other customary closing conditions.

This is a huge move that has been rumoured for months now, one that brings several popular 20th Century Fox brands under the Walt Disney umbrella. These include such properties as Avatar, The Simpsons, the X-Men movies and many, many more!

What are your thoughts on this historic merger, Infinite Earths fans?

Source: Variety

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Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Star Trek Discovery Gets New Character Posters


CBS' Star Trek Discovery is currently on its mid-season break, but ahead of the show's return next month, the studio has released some pretty sleek looking character portraits.

Check out the monochromatic posters of Michael Burnham, Lieutenant Saru, Captain Lora and the Klingon separatist, Voq, posted below...























If that's not enough to tide you over until the show returns, over on the official Star Trek Discovery Twitter account, the studio revealed the titles for episodes 10 - 15. Check out the video below...
Star Trek: Discovery returns on January 7th, 2018.

Source: CBS All Access

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McQuarrie's Vision Lives In The Star Wars Reel


Is there anything more beautiful than the Star Wars concept art of Ralph McQuarrie?

We certainly don't think so. And, while many of the final designed received a bit of an overhaul before hitting the big screen, the look and feel of the Star Wars Universe was forever defined by those amazing initial pieces of concept art.

Now, a group of student filmmakers from the DAVE School in Orlando, Florida recently created a concept trailer that brings Ralph McQuarrie's original art to life!

Check it out below...


Impressive! Most Impressive!

Kind of makes us wish we'd gotten a chance to see this version of Star Wars on the big screen.

Source: The DAVE School

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Superman Joins The National Film Registry


The Library Of Congress has announced the 2017 additions to the National Film Registry and among the 25 selected titles is Richard Donner's 1978 DC film, Superman.

Each year, the Library Of Congress selects 25 films for preservation in the National Film Registry. The films must be at least ten years old and are chosen based off of their cultural, historic and/or aesthetic importance to society. Titles selected for the Registry are to be preserved for future generations as examples of the world's unique film heritage.

The total number of films within The Library now numbers 725 and includes such greats as Star Wars, Ghostbusters, The Lion King and 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.

Director Richard Donner made the following statement after learning that two of his classic films, Superman: The Movie and The Goonies, had been selected for preservation:

"I thank he National Film Registry for choosing Superman: The Movie and The Goonies as films to be treasured. They are both special films in my life, as was the cast and crew for both. It's wonderful to see them listed among so many great films." 

Check out the full list of 2017 inductees posted below...
  • Ace In The Hole (1951)
  • Boulevard Nights (1979)
  • Die Hard (1988)
  • Dumbo (1941)
  • Field Of Dreams (1989)
  • 4 Little Girls (1997)
  • Fuentes Family Home Movies Collection (1920s - 1930s)
  • Gentleman's Agreement (1947)
  • The Goonies (1985)
  • Guess Who's Coming To Dinner (1967)
  • He Who Gets Slapped (1924)
  • Interior New York Subway, 14th Street To 42nd Street (1905)
  • La Bamba (1987)
  • Lives Of Performers (1972)
  • Memento (2000)
  • Only Angels Have Wings (1939)
  • The Sinking Of The Lusitania (1918)
  • Spartacus (1960)
  • Superman (1978)
  • Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser (1988)
  • Time And Dreams (1976)
  • Titanic (1997)
  • To Sleep With Anger (1990)
  • Wanda (1971)
  • With The Abraham Lincoln Brigade In Spain (1937 - 1938)
Source: Library Of Congress

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Colton Haynes Is Returning To Arrow


Roy Harper will soon return to Star City.

The CW has announced that actor Colton Haynes is set to reprise the role of Liver's former sidekick for an arc beginning with the sixth season’s 15th episode.

"We’re thrilled to announce that Colton Haynes will be reprising his role as Roy Harper for a short arc on Arrow this year," executive producers Marc Guggenheim and Wendy Mericle said in a statement, adding that the reason Roy returns when he does is to "help resolve an urgent matter with high stakes for the team."

Although the return will be short, fans can expect "something surprising when he reunites with Thea [Willa Holland] and sparks a change in both of their lives that will have long-lasting consequences."

The character of Roy Harper first appeared in the debut season of Arrow in a recurring capacity. For seasons 2 and 3, Haynes would become a series regular as his character began training under Oliver Queen as Arsenal. He would later take the fall for his mentor in Season 3 and would return for a single episode in Season 4.

Arrow returns Thursday, January 18th at 9pm.

Source: Variety

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Let's Delve Into The World Of The Aquanoids


Growing up in the 1990's, there never seemed to be a shortage of small scale action figures. From M.A.S.K. to Mighty Max and M.U.S.C.L.E., there was plenty on the pegs to stuff in your pocket and take wherever your L.A. Gear light-up sneakers dared to go.

After you spent your hard earned allowance on them, of course.

Yessir, it was truly a golden age of pocket-sized playthings - one that we never thought we'd see again. And then came Star Light Attic and the Aquanoids.

Launched earlier this year, the Aquanoids are a line of 3" action figures that combine Lovecraftian lore with the tiny toys of the 80's and 90's. They're fully articulated, crafted from high grade PVC, come in wide range of eye-catching colors and, at such a small scale, can easily come along with you on any of your surface world excursions.

Making up the maiden wave of figures are four aquatic guardians - two from the Nautilus tribe, and two from the Octopus tribe. Each features a total of 16 points of articulation, and are some of the coolest little collectibles we've ever gotten our hands on!


First up, we have Takonoid. Described as a brave and speedy warrior on his included bio card, Takonoid resembles a Mollusca Knight decked out in red and yellow armour.

This is complimented by some Octopus themed greaves and bracers that resemble tightly wound tentacles. These are done in a pale green plastic that pop nicely against the warrior's brightly coloured armor and go along well with the attached cape. This additional little accessory is attached to the figure's back via a ball joint, which allows the cape to be displayed either at rest, or as though it's floating on the ocean current.

This whole ensemble gives the Takonoid's amour an almost symbiotic appearance, as though these guardians work alongside their tribe's namesake to defend their watery realm from evil.


Rounding out this impressive little figure are a pair of twin cypher blades. These are rather small and made of a harder plastic, however they do fit nice and snugly into each of Takonoid's hands. Just do yourself a favor, especially if you're planning on playing with these guys, and keep an eye on those blade accessories. Like we said, they're small, and we're betting there will be more than one of our readers out there who will end up losing them down a vent, or sucking them up in the Roomba - it's just the way things work in this world.

Thus, you have been warned!

Takonoid is also joined in this initial wave of gumball colored figures by Syren. Clearly meant to be Takonoid's female counterpart, she is a repaint of the previous figure who strays away from the more eye-popping palette of her wave mate and trades it in for a softer gold and black motif that is one of the nicest to be seen throughout this entire assortment. She features the same armaments as Takonoid, but all of these have swapped out the pale green of the first figure in favor of some pale blue accessories that go along nicely with her similarly colored cypher blades.


Star Light Attic has even gone the extra mile by opting to give each of the Octopus tribespeople a pretty decent level of added details ranging from ancient oceanic etchings throughout the armour, to sculpted suction cups peppered throughout the tightly entwined tentacles. These added little niceties do a really nice job of flushing out the whole package, proving that even the tiniest of toys can benefit from even the smallest of additional details.

Additionally, we have to take a moment to praise the company for their superb paint work present here. Not only do the selected colors mesh together very well with each of these little figures, but each one features top notch applications composed of crisp, clean lines that put those seen on many mass retail offerings to shame! Star Light Attic clearly cares about what they're doing here, and it shows in every last aspect of these little guys!

But as cool as the Takonoid and Syren are, and they're quite cool indeed, they're nothing when compared to the aquatic guardian known as Nauticus. Like the Takonoids, there are two different versions of this figure offered in this wave - however, we'll just be taking a look at the Liberti version of the character. But, that's just fine with us!

 
Yes, Liberti Nauticus is easily the highpoint of this little assortment!

Like Takonoid and Syren, he stands 3" tall and features 16 points of articulation. Looking like a cross between Cthulhu and an ancient Assyrian soldier, he features a slightly bulkier build than the more nimble Takonoids, and looks downright fantastic from head to toe!

According to his included bio card, Nauticus is a member of the Nautilus tribe and is described as a noble, selfless, fiercely tenacious soldier. As if that's not cool enough, this warrior is revealed to be a master in the art of Phyto-Ki - an ancient form of martial arts developed by his people.



The figure comes decked out in some very cool blue and red armour meant to resemble his tribe's namesake. From his shell-like helmet, hulking pauldrons and knee-high greaves, this is clearly a soldier that is not to be messed with on the battlefield. And, this is made even more evident by the figures included accessories in the form of a protruding shell shield and rather intimidating Kilij-like sword. In short, he may be small, but looks to carry a rather big stick!

Like the above mentioned Takonoids, Nauticus also features a rather impressive level of detail for such a small action figure. These include the ancient etchings spread the character's armour, and even the sculpted spiral design present on his small shield. Additionally, said shield can be mounted to the rear of the figure thanks to a hole in the back. This allows both hands to be freed up during play, which can aid in some pretty sweet two-handed sword wielding poses!



Look, if you haven't figured it out yet, we love these little Aquanoids!

Yeah, they're small and simplistic in comparison to some of the larger scale action figures available on the market today, but they make up for these shortcomings with plenty of charm and attitude! And the best part is, there are more aquatic guardians on the way!

Honestly, we can't say enough good things about these little figures! Whether you're a fan of oceanic lore or hunger for the days of pocket-sized playthings, you're going to love the Aquanoids!

Positives

+ Unique Designs
+ Excellent Level Of Detail
+ Superb Paint Applications
+ Plenty Of Articulation
+ Wide Range Of Colors
+ Appropriate Number Of Accessories
+ Collector Friendly Packaging
+ Perfect For Action Figure Adventures On The Go

Negatives

- Small Weapons Could Easily Be Lost

Overall: "Star Light Attic wins big with their first wave of Aquanoids action figures! Though small, they bolster plenty of attitude and charm that fans and collectors of tiny toys are sure to devour quicker than a Shariken at an all you can eat buffet!"

- Special thanks to Chris over at Star Light Attic for sending the samples used in this review!
- Special thanks to Katie Passfield for taking the pictures used in this review!


Want to get your own set of Aquanoids? Then we suggest you click the Star Light Attic banner to the right of this story, or click the one featured at the bottom of this review!

Each is listed in Singapore dollars.

Snag Your Own Aquanoids Right Here!
www.starlightattic.com/
 
We hope you've enjoyed this review!
 
Please leave us a comment and let us know what you thought!
 
Until next time, Infinite Earths fans!
 
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Tense New Trailer For Annihilation Debuts


It has been a few months since we saw the first teaser trailer for Annihilation.

Now, Paramount Pictures has released a tense new trailer that gives us a better understanding of the plot, and gives us a look at the otherworldly creature that'll be stalking Natalie Portman and her team in the environmental disaster zone they're tasked with exploring.

Check out the new trailer posted in the player below...


Starring Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny and Oscar Isaac, Annihilation opens in theaters on February 23rd.

Source: Paramount Pictures

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