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‘Strange World’ Eyes $25M Offshore Bow In Slimmed-Down Release As Disney Opts To Skip Middle East & More Over Potential Censorship

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EXCLUSIVE: In step with domestic, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Strange World will make its offshore theatrical debut this week, and is eyeing an overseas start in the $21M-$29M range. That’s lower than where a new animated movie from Disney might normally kick off, but the studio has taken a voluntary pass on more than 20 markets, choosing not to submit the film in countries where its LGBTQ+ content would have very likely forced demands for edits.

Strange World features a key character, Ethan (voiced by Jaboukie Young-White), who has a crush on another boy in the movie. This is an inherent part of the storyline. Unwilling to make any edits that would impact storytelling, Disney thus made the preemptive decision not to submit the movie to censorship authorities where there may have been challenges. 

This includes all of the Middle East, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Turkey, Vietnam, East Africa (Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya), West Africa (Nigeria, Ghana), Maldives, Nepal and Bangladesh. (Naturally given the current geopolitical context, the film was not submitted to Russia). 

Per a Disney spokesperson, “In countries where we operate, we seek to share our stories in their original form as we and the artists involved have created them. If we make edits, because of legal or other considerations, they will be as narrow as possible. We will not make an edit where we believe it would impact the storytelling. In that circumstance, we will not distribute the content in that market.”

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Dis has plenty of experience with censors, and notably over the past year, has refused to make requested edits when it comes to LGBTQ+ issues. Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story last winter was submitted across the Middle East where Saudi Arabia and Kuwait did not approve distribution certificates. Censors in the other markets asked for cuts which Disney opted not to make. Similarly, last year, Saudi Arabia and other markets sought cuts to Marvel’s Eternals which featured a same-sex kiss. Dis did not agree (in the UAE, a version of Eternals was ultimately released that removed all scenes of intimacy — heterosexual and homosexual —as is generally normal practice there).

We understand Disney is evaluating movies on a title-by-title and territory-by-territory basis. In some cases, accepting a higher rating in lieu of cuts may be a possibility (that was long the practice for all studios in Russia).

By taking this preemptive step with Strange World, Dis is likely leaving money on the table. Last year’s Encanto did just under $25M in the same markets where Strange World is not releasing — and that itself was lower than it might have been given Encanto went out when many of those areas were battling Omicron. 

Major overseas markets releasing Strange World on Wednesday include the UK, Italy,  Korea and Japan. They will be followed by Australia, Brazil, Germany and Mexico on Thursday, and Spain on Friday.

As we have previously reported, Strange World, which also features characters voiced by Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid and Lucy Liu, will go directly to Disney+ in France, though this is down to the market’s stringent windowing system rather than a censorship issue. As regards the markets where it has not been submitted, no post-theatrical plans have as-yet been announced.

Strange World is directed by Don Hall and written by Raya and the Last Dragon’s Qui Nguyen who co-directs. The story follows a legendary family of explorers whose differences threaten to scuttle their latest crucial adventure.

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FIFA Fever In Bollywood: Madhuri and Aishwarya also danced together after a long time in the song ‘Waka Waka’

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Madhuri and Aishwarya also danced together after a long time in the song 'Waka Waka'

Who is not a fan of the football world cup? It is said that eight to eighty are overcome by the fever of the FIFA world cup this time. If you keep an eye on social media, you will see just a small clipping all over social media—a flood of troll memes about the World Cup game. And, like Madhuri Dixit, Aishwarya Rai Bacchan will triumph over World Cup fever this time. These two “Devdas” movie heroines collaborated on the “Waka Waka” song!

A few days ago, a video went viral on social media, which will be seen by everyone. In that video, a scene from the film ‘Devdas’ is seen. The two actresses danced together on the once-popular song ‘Dola Re.” The song ‘Waka Waka’ has been removed and placed there! The unusual dance posture and rhythm are also appropriate for this song! Social media is now abuzz with this funny video.
If you look at the comment box of this video, you will understand how enthusiastically the viewers are enjoying the video, the viewers have filled the comment box with jokes and fun. The caption of the video is also quite funny. Social media is flooded with troll memes but this video caught everyone’s attention. The first song ‘Waka Waka’ was released in 2010. This song in Shakira’s voice captivated everyone.

Read: Fifa World Cup Knock Out Line-up: USA takes on Senegal and the Dutch in the World Cup knock-outs against England
On the other hand, Amazon Prime Video (Amazon Prime Video) has now brought their first Indian original film which you can watch on Amazon Prime Video OTT Platform (OTT Platform). The name of the film is ‘Maja Ma’. Madhuri Dixit will be seen in the lead role. Bandish Bandits fame director Anand Tiwari is in charge of this film.

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‘A Little Life’: James Norton To Star In West End Adaptation Of Hanya Yanagihara Bestseller

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James Norton has been set to lead the West End stage adaptation of Hanya Yanagihara’s bestselling novel A Little Life. Shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2015, the emotional story follows four college friends in New York City. Ivo van Hove (Network, Hedda Gabler) is directing the 12-week run at the Harold Pinter Theatre which begins on March 25.

Also starring are Bridgerton’s Luke Thompson, Omari Douglas (It’s A Sin), Zach Wyatt (The Witcher), Elliot Cowan (The Crown), Zubin Varla (Tammy Faye), Nathalie Armin (Force Majeure) and Emilio Doorgasingh (The Kite Runner).

LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 12: Hanya Yanagihara author of A Little Life, at a Photocall for the Man Booker Prize 2015 Shortlisted Authors, at the Royal Festival Hall on October 12, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images)

The quartet of friends is made up of aspiring actor Willem (Thompson), successful architect Malcolm (Wyatt), struggling artist JB (Douglas) and prodigious lawyer Jude (Norton). As ambition, addiction and pride threaten to pull the group apart, they always find themselves bound by their love for Jude and the mysteries of his past.  But when those secrets come to light, they finally learn that to know Jude St Francis is to understand the limitless potential of love in the face of life.

This will be the English-language premiere of the play; van Hove previously staged it in Dutch.

“The book is a kind of a mystery, because it became a huge bestseller,” van Hove told BBC News. “It’s a little bit strange because it talks about cruel things, about a traumatic experience that haunts somebody for the rest of his life.” He also told the BBC that the runtime will be shortened to three hours and 40 minutes.

Sales of the novel were modest following its publication, but word of mouth spurred it to over 2.5 million copies. Ticket sales for the Harold Pinter production are on sale from today. 

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Sam Mendes Casts Johnny Flynn, Tuppence Middleton & Mark Gatiss As Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor & John Gielgud In Hot New Play

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EXCLUSIVE: Sam Mendes has picked Johnny Flynn (Emma, Beast), Tuppence Middleton (Downton Abbey, Mank) and Sherlock’s Mark Gatiss to portray legendary stars Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor and John Gielgud in The Motive and the Cue, a mouth-watering new play by Jack Thorne that explores how acting giants Burton and Gielgud staged Hamlet on Broadway in 1964.

Burton, newly wed to Taylor after their affair on the set of epic film Cleopatra, signed on to play the Danish prince in a fabled production directed by Gielgud in New York.

On opening night in April, 1964, scores of police hemmed in crowds who were as eager to catch a glimpse of Taylor entering the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre as they were to see her husband as the depressed Dane.

Oscar-, Tony- and Olivier-winning Mendes will direct The Motive and the Cue at London’s National Theatre where it will open at the NT’s Lyttelton Theatre in May, 2023. Mendes secured Flynn to play Burton and Gatiss to take on Gielgud several months ago, but his search for an actress to portray Taylor was interrupted due to him launching his acclaimed new film Empire of Light at the Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals.

Taylor was the biggest movie star in the world in 1964, said Caro Newling, who founded Neal Street Productions with Pippa Harris and Mendes. “She was a huge star and so were Burton and Gielgud,” Newling told us.

Mendes and Newling originated the project during lockdown with Newling later turning detective to track down out-of-print books, and archive material about the 1964 Hamlet. Neal Street, the All3Media-owned indie founded nearly 20 years ago, then commissioned Thorne, writer of His Dark Materials and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, to pen The Motive and the Cue — its title is taken from a passage in a soliloquy in Hamlet. The play’s been developed and co-produced by the National Theatre and Neal Street Productions.

Flynn, adept on stage as he is on screen, was marvelous in the original Royal Court and West End productions of Martin McDonagh’s play Hangmen. “This feels like a beautiful story to tell now about why we tell stories and why we revisit certain stories,” Flynn told Deadline in a statement regarding The Motive and the Cue.

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Gatiss, who won an Olivier Best Supporting Actor trophy for his role in Patrick Marber’s National Theatre adaptation of Turgenev’s poignant comedy Three Days in the Country, said he was thrilled to be part of “this terrific company” and “not a little over-awed to be playing Sir John. The play’s the thing, though as someone once said!”

The actor praised Thorne’s “lovely, moving and sensitive piece, which we can’t wait to bring to the National.”

Middleton, recently seen in ITV series Our House and in Downton Abbey: A New Era, has performed in two Off-West End theater productions: The One and The Living Room. The actress will next be seen in feature, The Lord of Misrule. In comments for us, issued through the National, Middleton said that she’s “delighted to be portraying the iconic Elizabeth Taylor,” in her National Theatre debut.

Deadline broke the news of The Motive and the Cue heading to the National back in July and we’ve been keeping you up to date about the celebrated collaboration between the National Theatre and Neal Street Productions over the much garlanded play, The Lehman Trilogy, which is headed for London’s Gillian Lynne Theatre in January starring Michael Balogun, Hadley Fraser and Nigel Lindsay.

Allan Corduner, Ryan Ellsworth, Aysha Kala, Luke Norris, Michael Walters and Laurence Ubong Williams are also in The Motive and the Cue cast revealed by us today.

The play’s creative team includes: production design by Es Devlin; Katrina Lindsay, costume designer; Jon Clark, lighting design; composer Benjamin Kwasi Burrell; Paul Arditti, sound designer; and Luke Halls, video designer. Associate director is Zoe Ford Burnett.

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Newling and Mendes discovered two books: Richard Sterne’s John Gielgud Directs Richard Burton in Hamlet and William Redfield’s Letters From an Actor, both tomes chronicled Gielgud’s dressed-down adaptation of Hamlet and the often differing views Gielgud and Burton had about the troubled Dane.

The underlying rights to both books were acquired by the production. It has emerged as one of next year’s most eagerly awaited new plays.



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