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India’s largest video streaming service, owned by Disney, breaks Safari compatibility to fix security flaw

Hotstar, India’s largest video streaming service with more than 300 million users, disabled support for Apple’s Safari web browser on Friday to mitigate a security flaw that allowed unauthorized usage of its platform, two sources familiar with the matter told TechCrunch.

The incident comes at a time when the streaming service — operated by Star India, part of 20th Century Fox that Disney acquired — enjoys peak attention as millions of people watch the ongoing ICC World Cup cricket tournament on its platform.

As users began to complain about not being able to use Hotstar on Safari, the company’s official support account asserted that “technical limitations” on Apple’s part were the bottleneck. “These limitations have been from Safari; there is very little we can do on this,” the account tweeted Friday evening.

Sources at Hotstar told TechCrunch that this was not an accurate description of the event. Instead, company’s engineers had identified a security hole that was being exploited by unauthorized users to access Hotstar’s content, they said.

Hotstar intends to work on patching the flaw soon and then reinstate support for Safari, the sources said.

The security flaw can only be exploited through Safari’s desktop and mobile browsers. On its website, the company recommends users to try Chrome and Firefox, or its mobile apps, to access the service. Hotstar did not respond to requests for comment.

Hotstar, which rivals Netflix and Amazon Prime Video in India, maintains a strong lead in the local video streaming market (based on number of users and engagement). Last month, it claimed to set a new global record by drawing more than 18 million viewers to a live cricket match.

India’s largest video streaming service, owned by Disney, breaks Safari compatibility to fix security flaw

Hotstar, India’s largest video streaming service with more than 300 million users, disabled support for Apple’s Safari web browser on Friday to mitigate a security flaw that allowed unauthorized usage of its platform, two sources familiar with the matter told TechCrunch.

The incident comes at a time when the streaming service — operated by Star India, part of 20th Century Fox that Disney acquired — enjoys peak attention as millions of people watch the ongoing ICC World Cup cricket tournament on its platform.

As users began to complain about not being able to use Hotstar on Safari, the company’s official support account asserted that “technical limitations” on Apple’s part were the bottleneck. “These limitations have been from Safari; there is very little we can do on this,” the account tweeted Friday evening.

Sources at Hotstar told TechCrunch that this was not an accurate description of the event. Instead, company’s engineers had identified a security hole that was being exploited by unauthorized users to access Hotstar’s content, they said.

Hotstar intends to work on patching the flaw soon and then reinstate support for Safari, the sources said.

The security flaw can only be exploited through Safari’s desktop and mobile browsers. On its website, the company recommends users to try Chrome and Firefox, or its mobile apps, to access the service. Hotstar did not respond to requests for comment.

Hotstar, which rivals Netflix and Amazon Prime Video in India, maintains a strong lead in the local video streaming market (based on number of users and engagement). Last month, it claimed to set a new global record by drawing more than 18 million viewers to a live cricket match.

‘The Simpsons’ and Deadpool celebrate the completion of the Disney-Fox merger

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All your Fox are belong to us.

At the strike of 12:02 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Disney officially completed its takeover of 21st Century Fox.

The mammoth $71 billion acquisition includes Fox’s film and television units, plus its 60 percent stake in streaming giant Hulu, among interests in other businesses. 

As the acquisition kicked in, Marvel star Ryan Reynolds celebrated the Disney-Fox merger on Twitter.

“Feels like the first day of ‘Pool,” he wrote, with an image of his onscreen counterpart Deadpool sitting in a Disney-labelled school bus. Read more…

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Hear a brand new song from ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ in latest trailer

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There’s a dolphin in the bath and a brand new song in the latest trailer for Mary Poppins Returns.

As everyone’s favourite magical, singing nanny, Emily Blunt takes the lead in a new original track for the Disney sequel, called “Can You Imagine That?” and teased in a clip released Monday. 

Directed by Rob Marshall, the film features all new original songs by Broadway stalwarts Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, and a musical score by Shaiman.

The teaser also appears to feature a few aesthetic throwbacks to Poppins classics like “Jolly Holiday” and “Chim Chim Cher-ee,” but foregrounds the original track. And many, many dolphins. Read more…

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Dave Bautista might not return to ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’

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The ousting of James Gunn from the third Guardians of the Galaxy film has left Dave Bautista incensed.

In an interview on Saturday, the Hollywood star — who plays Drax — told The Jonathan Ross Show that his future in the third film of the franchise is in doubt.

“It’s a bittersweet conversation. No, it’s a bitter-bitter conversation, because I’m not really happy with what they’ve done with James Gunn,” he said. 

“They’re putting the movie off. It’s on hold indefinitely. And to be honest with you, I don’t know if I want to work for Disney.” Read more…

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Disney won’t change its mind on James Gunn and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’: report

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James Gunn will not be coming back to Guardians of the Galaxy.

As first reported by Variety, Disney and Marvel will not reinstate Gunn as director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, despite significant pressure from stars of the film and the public.

The decision reportedly came following a meeting between Gunn and Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn. Sources told Variety the meeting was “civil and professional,” but Horn stood by his decision despite the push for Gunn to be given a second chance by him and his agency. Read more…

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Disney tech smooths out bad CG hair days

Disney is unequivocally the world’s leader in 3D simulations of hair — something of a niche talent in a way, but useful if you make movies like Tangled, where hair is basically the main character. A new bit of research from the company makes it easier for animators to have hair follow their artistic intent while also moving realistically.

The problem Disney Research aimed to solve was a compromise that animators have had to make when making the hair on characters do what the scene requires. While the hair will ultimately be rendered in glorious high-definition and with detailed physics, it’s too computationally expensive to do that while composing the scene.

Should a young warrior in her tent be wearing her hair up or down? Should it fly out when she turns her head quickly to draw attention to the movement, or stay weighed down so the audience isn’t distracted? Trying various combinations of these things can eat up hours of rendering time. So, like any smart artist, they rough it out first:

“Artists typically resort to lower-resolution simulations, where iterations are faster and manual edits possible,” reads the paper describing the new system. “But unfortunately, the parameter values determined in this way can only serve as an initial guess for the full-resolution simulation, which often behaves very different from its coarse counterpart when the same parameters are used.”

The solution proposed by the researchers is basically to use that “initial guess” to inform a high-resolution simulation of just a handful of hairs. These “guide” hairs act as feedback for the original simulation, bringing a much better idea of how the rest will act when fully rendered.

The guide hairs will cause hair to clump as in the upper right, while faded affinities or an outline-based guide (below, left and right) would allow for more natural motion if desired.

And because there are only a couple of them, their finer simulated characteristics can be tweaked and re-tweaked with minimal time. So an artist can fine-tune a flick of the ponytail or a puff of air on the bangs to create the desired effect, and not have to trust to chance that it’ll look like that in the final product.

This isn’t a trivial thing to engineer, of course, and much of the paper describes the schemes the team created to make sure that no weirdness occurs because of the interactions of the high-def and low-def hair systems.

It’s still very early: it isn’t meant to simulate more complex hair motions like twisting, and they want to add better ways of spreading out the affinity of the bulk hair with the special guide hairs (as seen at right). But no doubt there are animators out there who can’t wait to get their hands on this once it gets where it’s going.

ESPN’s new streaming service will launch in the spring and be called “ESPN Plus”

 Today on Disney’s Q3 earnings call CEO Bob Iger gave a preview of ESPN’s upcoming direct to consumer streaming service. The announcement comes after another disappointing quarter for ESPN, with decreased ad revenue and higher programing costs compared to the prior year. The service will be called ESPN Plus, and live inside a new app that will be launched by the sports… Read More

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Nemo and Friends SeaRider Opens at Tokyo DisneySea

Disney fans here have been much preoccupied with the retheming of “Tower of Terror” to “Guardians of the Galaxy—Mission Breakout” at Disney California Adventure, and the opening of Pandora at Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World. On the other side of the planet at Tokyo DisneySea (one of the best Disney parks in the world—ask anyone who’s been there, or just look at a photo below) the latest attraction to open is “Nemo and Friends SeaRider.” The new ride, which opened on May 12, replaces one of the park’s 2001 opening day attractions, “Stormrider.” That ride was kind of like a bigger version of “Star Tours,” but not nearly as good. You could see the seams all over the large screen, thus destroying the illusion that you were supposed to be looking out a large observation window at the front of a new type of plane. Said aircraft was designed to drop a “fuse” into the center of a hurricane which immediately dissipates it. The ride was not the best thing Walt Disney Imagineering has done, and it usually had the shortest line in Tokyo DisneySea, about 20 to 40 minutes in a park where two- and three-hour lines are the norm.

They just fixed it by redoing the entire thing with an overlay from the film Finding Dory. There are many Disney park enthusiasts who bemoan the conversion of a ride with an original storyline and characters to that of an Intellectual Property (“IP”) which Disney owns. Personally, I don’t care as long as the ride is good. And from all reports “Nemo and Friends SeaRider” is good. As in the film Fantastic Voyage (or Disney’s own ride “Body Wars” which had a propensity to make its riders barf), you enter a vehicle, in this case the SeaRider, which is then magically reduced in size. Thus you are able to participate in the frolics with Nemo, Dory, and the other anthropomorphized undersea critters.

What surprised everyone on opening day is that there are at least two, and likely more, different films and ride sequences, making subsequent visits a necessity (at least for the Disney-infected, such as myself),

So take a looksee! 

Via Disney and More.

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This dad makes the most amazing Disney princess costumes for his daughter

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This is one dad that’s definitely making his daughter’s fairytale dreams come true.

Nephi Garcia, a father of three, is snipping and sewing his way to Instagram stardom, with incredible Disney costumes he makes for his kids.

From Belle to Snow White, he’s pretty much got them all covered.

Image: designerdaddy/instagram

A post shared by Nephi Garcia (@designerdaddy_) on

His dresses don’t just look incredible, they actually transform. Check out his version of Belle’s village outfit, that with a rip, turns into the iconic yellow gown that she wears to dance with Beast. Read more…

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'Rogue One' retold with Lego is amazing, but skips all the grim parts

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The success of the Lego movies proves that we’re eager to see our favorite films retold in toy form. That’s why a new Lego short replaying the plot of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was a welcome surprise this weekend. 

But despite the video’s attention to detail, some hardcore fans noticed that this Lego version of the film left out all the grim (spoiler alert!) deaths that litter the human-populated version of the film. 

Instead, the short Lego version of Rogue One ends with our two heroes securing the Death Star plans — and everyone is happy (and alive). The. End. 

It’s an ending more in line with Disney’s approach to kids, a choice some parents might appreciate. However, the soft touch, deathless ending underscores some of the awkward fits between Disney and its darker franchises when it comes to staying true to a franchise’s fan base and not veering too far from the kid-friendly territory Disney is known for.  Read more…

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Disney cuts ties with PewDiePie, YouTube’s top star, over anti-Semitic clips

PewDiePie Disney has cut ties with YouTube’s most popular star after he posted a series of videos featuring anti-Semitic clips and messages. PewDiePie has 53 million subscribers on YouTube, is part of original content network YouTube Red, and is affiliated with Disney’s MakerStudios brand, where he has his own network. But that latter relationship is now over after the Wall Street… Read More

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