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Entertainment/Character

Entertainment/Character Roundup

Disney’s Star Wars will see a new film trilogy from The Last Jedi frontman Rian Johnson, separate from the episodic Skywalker saga. The media giant is also planning a new live-action Star Wars TV series for its SVOD service to launch in 2019. Also headed to SVOD are original TV series adaptations of Pixar’s Monsters Inc., Disney Channel’s High School Musical franchise, and something from the Marvel universe.

On top of all this, Disney held talks with Fox to acquire a number of its key assets—including 21st Century Fox Studios, Sky and Star, FX Networks, and National Geographic—CNBC reports. Fox would keep its news and sports operations, broadcast network, and TV stations. The deal would help consolidate the Marvel franchise and boost its offerings for Disney’s new SVOD project. According to 21st Century Fox’s 2016 annual report, the company values its 73% share of NatGeo trademarks at approximately $510 million—pricing the brand at under $890 million. This deal would easily be worth billions.

In other Pixar news, Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif. will be home to a new land, Pixar Pier, featuring four Pixar-themed neighborhoods. The first neighborhood is inspired by The Incredibles and will open next summer with a new inspired roller coaster. The second and third are inspired by Toy Story and Inside Out, respectively, and the fourth will celebrate a collection of guest-favorite Pixar stories, such as A Bug’s Life, La Luna and Wall-E. Pixar Pier is set to debut during Pixar Fest, launching April 13, 2018.

Lip-syncing app Musical.ly is acquired by Chinese internet giant Beijing ByteDance Technology Co. for a reported $800 million. The app has deals to host original shows from studios like Hearst Magazines Digital Media, NBCUniversal, and Viacom. Musical.ly will continue to operate independently.

Emmy-award winning series Trollhunters, from creator Guillermo del Toro and DreamWorks Animation, will get two new interconnected shows. Set in the Trollhunters universe, the trilogy will be called the Tales of Arcadia and includes 3 Below, to be released in 2018, and Wizards, which will debut in 2019.

Niantic Labs, of Pokémon Go fame, has another big augmented reality game in the wordsHarry Potter: Wizards Unite. WB Games San Francisco, a division of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, is collaborating on the new project. (The game will be published through Portkey Games, a recently launched WB label.)

Rovio is doubling down on its collaboration with heavy metal legends Iron Maiden to bring newly introduced mascot Eddie to the Angry Birds Evolution platform.

Cartoon Network partners with the Korean game developer SundayToz for a mobile puzzle game around animated series, We Bare Bears. The free match three-style and city-builder game will launch globally in early 2018.

Mondo Tees announces a new board game division, Mondo Games, which will focus on creating licensed games based on film properties including Jurassic Park and Fight Club.

LEGO’s new “Women of NASA” play set is Amazon’s No. 1 best-selling toy—reaching the stars in just 24 hours following launch.

Grocery chain Kroger introduces its new lifestyle apparel brand, Our Brand. The initial offering will be available for children, young men, juniors, and adults. It debuts at over 300 Fred Meyer and Kroger Marketplace locations throughout the U.S. in fall 2018.

Burberry’s new CEO Marco Gobbetti, reveals plans to transform the British luxury brand into a super-luxe brand, like Gucci and Dior, which have higher prices and profit margins. The fashion brand will spend millions to transform its stores into “temples of luxury” and stop selling its trench coats and handbags through some department stores—expected to negatively impact sales in the short-term.

Target will close 12 full-size underperforming units, located mainly in the South and Midwest. Meanwhile, it’s looking at boosting the number of its small format stores, which “do $500 to $600 per sq. ft.,” according to CEO Brian Cornell who spoke to WWD. The number is small compared to others—Macy’s will shutter about 100 stores this year, Sears Holdings will cut 63 Sears and Kmart units (on top of the 350 store closures it cited earlier in the year), and JCPenney will close 140 units.

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