‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ Gets 4K Mention on iTunes, Suggesting Disney’s 4K Holdout May Be Ending

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has received a card on the iTunes Movies storefront that encourages users to watch the film in 4K HDR on the Apple TV 4K, suggesting that Disney's 4K video holdout on iTunes may end soon. The change comes after news in September that Disney would be the only major Hollywood studio not supporting 4K versions of its films on the iTunes Movies store, including Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars movies.

Right now, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 appears under the "Now Available to Rent" section of iTunes with a new "Watch It in 4K" card, but when you tap through to the movie's page it's still listed as HD-only as of writing. As such, the mention could be an error, or the first hint at more Marvel and other Disney movies imminently gaining 4K iTunes support.


Spider-Man: Homecoming is another Marvel Studios movie -- a studio which Disney owns -- that's in 4K HDR on iTunes, but it has been 4K since it released on the digital storefront in September due to the distribution rights of the film being owned by Sony, not Disney.

For now, it appears that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is the only Disney-related film with a hint of having imminent 4K support on iTunes. Other newly released Disney films, including Cars 3 and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, don't have mentions of 4K support anywhere on iTunes yet. Apple's 4K iTunes films are priced at the same point as HD versions -- $20 -- and if you previously owned the movie in HD, Apple automatically upgrades it to 4K HDR without requiring additional payment.

If Disney does begin a wider rollout of 4K support across its iTunes film catalogue, it will be joining 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate, Paramount, Sony, Warner Bros., and Universal Pictures in backing the 4K video format on Apple devices.

(Thanks @vash_maxwell!)

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Disney Confirms Upcoming Streaming Service Will Include Marvel and Star Wars Films

In early August, Disney revealed that it plans to pull all of its movies from Netflix and launch its own streaming service in 2019. Users were understandably curious as to which Disney-owned brands that might include, particularly once Disney CEO Bob Iger referenced the company's interest in potentially branching off Marvel and Star Wars into their own, separate streaming services.

Today, Iger cleared up any confusion by confirming Marvel and Star Wars films will be available on the upcoming Disney-branded streaming app (via Deadline). Current films in these franchises on Netflix -- like Doctor Strange and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story -- will be removed from Netflix and arrive on the Disney platform when it launches in 2019. It's still unclear at what point between now and 2019 Disney will begin removing these films from Netflix.


Last month Reuters reported that Netflix was in "active discussions" with Disney to keep Marvel and Star Wars films on the popular streaming platform, but it appears those talks have now fallen through.
Films from Marvel and Star Wars that now go to Netflix will move to Disney’s planned ad-free direct-to-consumer streaming service, CEO Bob Iger said today at an investor gathering.

“We’re going to launch big, and we’re going to launch hot” by late 2019, he told the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2017 Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference.
The outcome for Marvel and Star Wars TV shows was not specified, but Iger said that the Disney streaming app "will have the entire output of the studio — animation, live action and Disney including Pixar, Star Wars and all of the Marvel films,” potentially including television content. Right now, users can watch Marvel and Star Wars TV shows on Netflix including Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Last month Iger confirmed that Disney "has no plans" to remove any of the Netflix-owned and created Marvel series from the service, including Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Defenders, and The Punisher. These original Netflix shows were formed under a separate deal from the one created in 2012, meaning they'll continue to be Netflix original shows for the forseeable future. Iger said Disney is even potentially willing to license even more Marvel characters for future shows.

On the Disney branded side of things, the app will include four or five "mostly live action" original movies, as well as four or five original Disney TV shows. Besides the new content, the service will of course also house the company's back catalogue, spanning nearly 500 films, 7,000 episodes of television, and "thousands" of short films. Neither Disney nor Iger has mentioned the subscription cost for the service yet, but the CEO said a price will be coming "in the months ahead."


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