Strange Magic headed to less than magical opening weekend

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Unless a few hundred thousand of you out there are deliberately waiting until today to go see Lucasfilm’s “Strange Magic” in theaters, the first movie of Disney’s 2015 slate will go down as a flop. Despite opening in more than 3,000 theaters, it’s expected to pull in less than $5 million at the box office this weekend. Just barely hanging in the top 10 for the weekend.

This list of reasons for the poor performance are long, it came out of nowhere at the end of last year, it received generally bad reviews, had a very visually similar look to last year’s EPIC, had a very similar plot to last year’s EPIC, it never really communicated the story that would entice kids enough to demand to their parents they see the film, it has a weird name that tells you nothing about the story. We actually gave it a mixed review here on the blog, but thought it worth seeing, especially if you have young ones who don’t mind a few dark moments.

Update 1/26/15: In the end “Strange Magic” ended up with $5.5 million. Current thoughts are that showing it in theaters was part of the deal that Disney struck to buy Star Wars as part of Lucasfilm. Since early screenings were poor, Disney passed it to Touchstone Pictures and limited the marketing budget to avoid losing even more money. The result, Strange Magic opened in 7th place, with possibly the worst pre-screen average for any animated feature debut.

Add the reason you didn’t go in the comments:

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Posted in Animation, Lucasfilm | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Latin Rock Artist Juanes Releases Music Video for “McFarland, USA”

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“McFarland, USA” is Disney’s feel good sports movie of the year. Based on a true story of newcomer running coach Jim White, coming into a predominantly Latino high school. Of course the coach, students, and community have a lot to learn from each other. With grit and determination the unlikely band of runners eventually overcome the odds.

Disney obviously hopes this movie has crossover appeal. They’ve released a music video for the song’s end-titles – Juntos (Together) from Latin music artist Juanes.

The video features a lot of new footage from the movie, mostly of long distance running or training for long distance running (which is featured in the film), but lots of footage of Kevin Costner’s character out in the community as well.

“McFarland, USA” releases February 20, 2015

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Posted in Film | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SeaWorld Orlando invites guests to Celebrity Filled Wild Days

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Okay. They are celebrities in the nature conservation movement, but that still counts. It is true that a visit to SeaWorld Orlando during Wild Days will help guests connect even deeper to the wild and wonderful world we all share. In 2015, the weekend based series starts Jan. 24 and runs through Feb. 8. During Wild Days enjoy interactive shows, up-close animal experiences, and the opportunity to meet those celebrities, including for the first time Bindi Irwin, in the world of animal conservation.

Wild Days Include:

Jan. 24-25: Penguin Lovers’ Weekend

SeaWorld’s Animal Ambassador Julie Scardina returns to host a cool weekend in every sense of the word. Penguin lovers can unite for a refreshingly fun learning experience centered on these feathered friends. Guests will have the chance to meet many amazing animals and hear their compelling stories. Julie will share her story about her lifelong love of animals and the parks’ commitment to wildlife conservation. From 3:30 – 5:30 p.m., guests can continue the celebration at Antarctica: Empire of The Penguin Block Party, featuring a DJ, character appearances and up-close encounters with penguins.

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Posted in Florida Attractions, seaworld | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Magic Kingdom Plaza / Hub Construction picks up pace – January 2015 Update

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The Plaza (or Hub) at the Magic Kingdom is undergoing a major renovation. When it’s down you’ll experience a more garden-like setting with much better crowd control opportunities. Early signals from Disney indicated work on the hub to be done in phases, but they’ve started working on the center of the plaza and show areas in the front of the castle while the new viewing garden areas are not yet complete. That’s good news as it means the project will probably be finished earlier.

In the meantime, we have Walt Disney’s Partner Statue in a box and temporary structures all over the place. That’s in addition to the walls and construction that was already making the hub a bit of an eyesore. Judge for yourself, but it’s definitely on the shy side of magical right now.

The end result of this construction will be a wider area leading from Main Street to the Hub. There will be two garden areas that can be used for fireworks viewing parties, expanded outside seating for Casey’s Jr and some much needed seating for the Ice Cream Palace and Starbucks. Plus the performance area in front of the castle will get a much needed tech upgrade.

Can’t watch the video? We’ve got photos below the jump:

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Posted in Walt Disney World | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Harmony Barber Shop at Magic Kingdom prepares for major refurbishment

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Did you know there was a working barber shop inside the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World? The Harmony Barber Shop was first located on the old Center Street end of the Emporium, but when that was enclosed and turned into more retail space, the barber shop moved to the space between the trolley barn and the emporium and there it’s lived until today.

It’s a popular spot for both guests and cast members alike. A lot of “baby’s first haircut” magical moments everyday and a very unique experience for everyone. It’s the only location my son has ever had his hair cut at.

The good news is the experience is not going anywhere, the bad news is there will be a 6-8 week extensive remodel of the location starting February 15th. The new location should have a better guest flow while keeping the turn of the century Main Street USA look and feel. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it turns out great and none of the great details are lost.

So before it goes under the knife and jackhammer, here’s one last look at the Harmony Barber Shop on Main Street U.S.A.:

Have you ever had your hair cut at Harmony Barber Shop? Did you even know it existed?

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Posted in Walt Disney World | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments