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'Mary Poppins' returns, as studios raid their vaults

If the original "Mary Poppins" was released today, plans would already be underway for a sequel, perhaps a t...

Posted: Dec 18, 2018 6:29 PM
Updated: Dec 18, 2018 6:29 PM

If the original "Mary Poppins" was released today, plans would already be underway for a sequel, perhaps a trilogy. But the movie that came out in 1964 was left alone, until now, freezing Julie Andrews' portrayal of the magical nanny in amber for more than a half-century.

"Mary Poppins Returns" ends that when the long-deferred sequel premieres December 19, reflecting the current reality for any hit property, old or new. Simply put, nothing with that sort of loyal following will be allowed to sit dormant anymore, and there's a naive "Get off my lawn!" quality to complaints from those who fervently wish it weren't so.

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Walt Disney Company

So Disney's animated classics? Let's try live-action versions, like the upcoming "The Lion King," whose trailer lit up the Internet. Classic TV shows? There's always room for more -- either with the original cast, a la "Will & Grace," or a new one that might bring a fresh twist to the action, say, in terms of gender or race, like "One Day at a Time."

A beloved character has reached the end of his or her story? No problem. There's always room to go back and meet them when they were young.

Of course, the imperative to milk "intellectual property" for all it's worth comes with risks, foremost among them braving the thickets of nostalgia and high expectations that surround new chapters or rebooted versions of familiar names.

While "Mary Poppins" is a somewhat unusual case -- magical nannies don't age -- it nicely encapsulates the balancing act that current studio calculations require. And it comes at a singular moment for the company behind it, Disney, which is aggressively raiding its vaults and seeking to breathe new life into signature titles -- a practice that has been largely rewarded but has proven something less than foolproof.

To its credit, Disney and its Lucasfilm unit acknowledged that they might have been overfishing the "Star Wars" waters after their latest stand-alone effort, "Solo: A Star Wars Story," fell short of box-office forecasts. Never mind that the movie was actually pretty good, a number of contemplated launches were put on a slowdown pattern.

That was just a blip, however, in a "Star Wars" galaxy that's teeming with life, including new movie franchises and programming intended to drive subscriptions to Disney's planned streaming service.

On the flip side, Warner Bros. and director Bradley Cooper found surprising life in another version of "A Star is Born," roughly 80 years after the first graced the screen. HBO, meanwhile, began actively working on a "Game of Thrones" prequel to soften the blow of losing its most popular series, determined to avoid any significant lapse in Westeros-set drama.

Inevitably, a few conspicuous failures yield questions about whether it's time to hit the brakes on remake/reboot/revival mania, contemplating where the limits are on audience appetites.

Yet the truth is that these venerable properties are seen -- with considerable justification -- as the solution to a marketing problem. In a world crawling with options, consumers don't have to be educated about "Mary Poppins," "Dumbo" or "The Lion King," which means studios don't have to work as hard to sell them.

Everyone seems to have their own personal "Nope, that's going too far" threshold. Those reactions occasionally surprise the Hollywood hierarchy, such as the "You ruined my childhood!" backlash -- small, but absurdly vocal -- that greeted an all-female "Ghostbusters," a fun movie in its original guise, but not exactly on a par with "Citizen Kane" or "Casablanca."

Acting as if it's sacrilegious to think of iconic movies and TV becoming fodder for spinoffs and expansions is understandable, but it ignores the pressure to stand out amid modern saturation of content and media. As long as studios keep struggling with how to break through that clutter, expect many more "Returns," happy or otherwise.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 312608

Reported Deaths: 7221
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21429257
Hinds20256414
Harrison17776308
Rankin13539278
Jackson13395246
Madison10051217
Lee9956173
Jones8364163
Forrest7633152
Lauderdale7215240
Lowndes6359144
Lamar620286
Lafayette6162118
Washington5320133
Bolivar4796132
Oktibbeha460398
Panola4545104
Pearl River4495145
Marshall4387103
Warren4368120
Pontotoc419372
Monroe4089133
Union408776
Neshoba4028176
Lincoln3939110
Hancock376686
Leflore3484125
Sunflower335290
Tate331684
Pike3290105
Scott314873
Alcorn310768
Yazoo310269
Itawamba299377
Copiah295865
Coahoma293979
Simpson293788
Tippah287268
Prentiss278560
Marion268680
Leake264973
Wayne262241
Grenada259985
Adams259882
Covington256281
Newton246961
George246748
Winston226981
Tishomingo225067
Jasper220748
Attala214273
Chickasaw207057
Holmes188672
Clay184654
Stone181433
Clarke178179
Tallahatchie177840
Calhoun169532
Yalobusha162936
Smith162034
Walthall133745
Greene130233
Lawrence128223
Noxubee126834
Montgomery126742
Perry126038
Amite123442
Carroll121628
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis106932
Tunica104626
Claiborne102130
Benton99025
Humphreys96133
Kemper95628
Franklin83323
Quitman79616
Choctaw75818
Wilkinson66830
Jefferson65428
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 528784

Reported Deaths: 10913
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson762251516
Mobile40864804
Madison34569501
Tuscaloosa25646451
Montgomery24264585
Shelby23355246
Baldwin20993306
Lee15800168
Calhoun14457312
Morgan14250279
Etowah13796352
Marshall12166222
Houston10506280
Elmore10017205
Limestone9935150
Cullman9617193
St. Clair9584237
Lauderdale9397238
DeKalb8813185
Talladega8183175
Walker7205279
Autauga6910107
Jackson6793110
Blount6621135
Colbert6282134
Coffee5491115
Dale4810111
Russell437938
Chilton4244111
Franklin423882
Covington4105117
Tallapoosa4004150
Escambia392675
Chambers3545123
Dallas3536150
Clarke350360
Marion3092100
Pike309177
Lawrence299698
Winston273572
Bibb259763
Marengo248564
Geneva247075
Pickens233559
Barbour230256
Hale221776
Butler215469
Fayette211962
Henry188544
Cherokee183845
Randolph179241
Monroe176240
Washington166839
Macon158649
Clay153356
Crenshaw151657
Cleburne148341
Lamar141234
Lowndes138453
Wilcox126528
Bullock122941
Conecuh110028
Perry107526
Coosa106828
Sumter104132
Greene92234
Choctaw60324
Out of AL00
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Hi: 74° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 74°
Columbus
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Feels Like: 74°
Oxford
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Hi: 71° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 70°
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Feels Like: 70°
A frontal system will finally leave our area and high pressure will move into our area gradually overnight and on our Wednesday. This will mean much drier air will replace the moist and unstable air that we have had for the last several days.
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