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WIRE Buzz: The Thing composer Ennio Morricone dies. Plus, POW! sells Stan Lee brand

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Jul 6, 2020, 12:34 PM EDT (Updated)

Ennio Morricone, famed Italian film composer, died Monday at the age of 91. According to Variety, he passed away "in a Rome clinic, where he was taken shortly after suffering a fall that caused a hip fracture." The sad news was originally confirmed to ANSA by Morricone's lawyer, Giorgio Asumma.

Enjoying a career that lasted for six decades, Morricone scored some of Hollywood's most iconic features like John Carpenter's 1982 remake of The Thing. A sonic departure from the composer's usual orchestral arrangements, the music created for the sci-fi horror film is notable for leaning heavily into synthesizers and mimicking Carpenter's own style. In addition, the spine-tingling main theme has been compared to the sound of a heartbeat, which ties nicely into the movie's premise about a shapeshifting alien that can perfectly take over and replicate any living organism.

"He’s fabulous and just genius. He didn’t speak English, I didn’t speak Italian — but we spoke the language of music," Carpenter told Rolling Stone in 2014. "I said, 'Fewer notes.' If you see The Thing, the ultimate theme is the result of our conversation: really simple, synth-driven, effective."

Unused tracks for The Thing ended up in Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight 33 years later. It was the project that finally landed him a mainstream Oscar victory after five previous nominations. Morricone is also known for his work on Spaghetti Westerns like Sergio Leone's Dollars trilogy.


POW! Entertainment, the media company co-founded by Stan Lee has sold the late comic book creator's name and likeness to Genius Brands, the companies announced today.

It's an extremely comprehensive deal that grants Genius the global rights to "name, physical likeness, physical signature, live-action and animated motion picture, TV, online, digital, publishing, comic book, merchandising and licensing rights to Stan Lee and his IP creations." 

Moreover, the partnership opens the door for a planned "Stan Lee Universe" made up of over 100 original IPs that fall outside the purview of Marvel/Disney.

“It’s almost impossible to conceive that one mind created all this wealth. The spinoffs alone defy the imagination. From animated television, to toys, apparel, video games, and every conceivable licensed product imaginable, Stan Lee characters populate the screens and retail shelves worldwide," Genius chairman and CEO Andy Heyward said in a statement. "There is no creator who has influenced pop culture and created more successful entertainment. Not even Walt Disney. Over and over, again and again, he created characters and stories that resonated in the hearts and minds of all peoples of all ages around the world, with billions and billions and billions of dollars of motion picture box office, television, and consumer product licensing."

Credit: Genius Brands

"Stan Lee was a one of a kind. So is this asset, Stan Lee Universe is going to be an unimaginable source of blockbuster entertainment for many years to come," added Margaret Loesch, former president of Marvel Productions.

"The spinoff opportunities for Kartoon Channel! alone are mindboggling, including a dedicated Stan Lee Universe program block," continued David Neuman, former president of Walt Disney Television and Chief Content Officer of Genius Brands’ new Kartoon Channel!

"We will be creating a dedicated business and creative unit specific to Stan Lee Universe," finished Heyward, who compared the acquisition to discovering a collection of un-released Beatles songs. "For the millions of Stan Lee fans, we look forward to taking this unique asset and faithfully bringing the characters to the movie screens, to comic books, to toys and licensed products worldwide."

Lee passed away in November 2018 at the age of 95.


Whoa! Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure is receiving a righteous 4K home release later this summer. The most excellent news comes to us via Empire, which broke the news from StudioCanal earlier this morning. Going on sale Monday, August 10, the re-release includes 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD copies of the 1989 classic. You'll also receive a bodacious Steelbook and digital download code.

Check out the trailer announcement below:

And here's the exclusive box artwork drawn by Carlos Dattoli:

Directed by Stephen Herek, Excellent Adventure is the romp that started it all. When their unbreakable friendship hangs in the balance over a history grade, rock-loving slackers Ted Logan (Keanu Reeves) and Bill Preston (Alex Winter) are gifted with a time-traveling phone booth by the mysterious Rufus (George Carlin). Traveling to different historical periods, Bill and Ted meet up with Abraham Lincoln, Socrates, and more to save their report cards and prevent their dads from splitting them up.

A sequel, Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, followed in 1991 from director Pete Hewitt.

The third entry in the series, Bill & Ted Face the Music, is scheduled to arrive in theaters Friday, August 28. That date may change (the film was already delayed once) as a result of the pandemic. In any case, it'll be teased at Comic Con@Home with a panel featuring Reeves, Winter, and director Dean Parisot.


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