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‘The Marvels,’ The Last Link In The Long Chain Of Marvel’s Commercial Nonsense

Brie Larson won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in the film Room (2015). She also has a handful of other interesting credits on her CV. And yet, the performer — who plays Captain Marvel — is the latest victim of the lack of control that reigns at Marvel Studios, which is plagued by exorbitant budgets, low-quality series and audience fatigue.

The premiere of The Marvels — the sequel to Captain Marvel (2019) — already smells of failure, with box office projections in the United States close to previous disasters faced by the company, such as Eternals (2021) or the third installment of Ant-Man (2023). If, a few weeks ago, it was expected that The Marvels would pull in around $75 to $80 million during its opening weekend, experts have recently lowered the projections to around $60 million… three times less than the revenue for Captain Marvel.

So what’s happening at Marvel Studios? Has Kevin Feige — the company’s president — lost his magic touch?

Every morning since July of 2016, Larson has woken up to furious attacks on social media from Marvel fans railing against her being cast as Carol Danvers… better known by her nom de guerre, Captain Marvel. Still, she managed to prove herself: when she starred in the 2019 film, it earned a total of more than $1.1 billion at the box office. However, the four weeks of additional shooting that she had to do this past summer to complete The Marvels (which began filming in April of 2021 and was supposed to have wrapped in May of 2022) and the continued wear-and-tear caused by sexist attacks have meant that her continuity in the saga isn’t guaranteed.

Iman Vellani (Ms. Marvel), Brie Larson (Captain Marvel), Teyonah Parris (Monica Rambeau), 'The Marvels'.From left, Iman Vellani (Ms. Marvel), Brie Larson (Captain Marvel) and Teyonah Parris (Captain Monica Rambeau), in ‘The Marvels.’ Laura Radford (Laura Radford)

The worst thing is that The Marvels isn’t a bad movie. It brings together three main characters who have charisma. In addition to Captain Marvel, there is Ms. Marvel — the studio’s first Muslim heroine, who, in her daily life, is named Kamala Khan and is a teenager of Pakistani descent from New Jersey — and Monica Rambeau, a family friend of Captain Marvel. When they interact on-screen, they’re a lot of fun. They’re also very convincing in the action sequences.

The script, however, is quite another thing. It’s a bunch of nonsense concocted by second-rate writers from Marvel Studios. The main villain is played by Zawe Ashton, the wife of Tom Hiddleston (best known for his role as Loki). Neither a boring war between the alien races Kree and Skull, nor the fake science that is thrown around in the dialogue are enough to help along the plot. The trio deserved better.

Between the pandemic and the subsequent rush to produce, The Marvels, Thor: Love and Thunder (released in July 2022) and Ant-Man and the Wasp (released on February 17) were filmed simultaneously. The Marvels was shot between Jersey and Los Angeles. The delay has been extensive: after the fourth change to the release date, during post-production, the director — Nia DaCosta — moved to London to begin pre-production on a film based on Hedda Gabler, a play written by Ibsen (although filming didn’t start due to the actors’ strike).

In the promotional tour over the past few days, DaCosta has assured the press that Disney — the owner of Marvel Studios since 2009 — knew she had to move on to the next film, since she had been working on The Marvels for two-and-a-half years. She also claims to have participated in the post-production virtually, from the British capital. But she didn’t do the reshoots, nor has she denied her frustration with the project, as she noted in an interview with Vanity Fair: “It was really great to play in this world (Marvel), and to be a part of building this big world… but it made me just want to build my own world more.”

At Marvel Studios, the filmmaker’s freedom is limited, given the monstrous machinery of the company and the fact that — above all — the post-production (which is loaded with digital effects) can alter the entire plot. The film’s duration — one hour and 45 minutes, making it the shortest-ever Marvel film — and the physical changes observed in some of the actors further emphasize this.

Nia DaCosta, The MarvelsNia DaCosta, during the filming of ‘The Marvels.’Laura Radford (Laura Radford)

At the beginning of 2020, Brie Larson mentioned DaCosta’s name in a text message to her friend Tessa Thompson, a fellow Marvel actress who is also close to DaCosta (and will star in Hedda). Larson thought that DaCosta would be great to direct the sequel to Captain Marvel. The filmmaker — who was only 30-years-old at the time — had directed a contemporary Western co-starring Thompson (Little Woods) and was in the midst of producing Candyman (2021), which would make her the first Black female director to debut a movie in the No. 1 spot at the weekend box office. In fact, The Marvels’ best camera movements are influenced by the style of Candyman.

In the last change that was made to the release date (it was scheduled for this past June),

Marvel Studios took the opportunity to film new sequences, so as to shed some more light on the story. This is according to anonymous members of the team who spoke to various American media outlets. Variety suggests that Larson wants to leave the character behind, after the chaotic filming process and the misogynistic attacks from fans. “[Marvel Studios] put Brie Larson in [a prominent place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe]. I don’t know if Brie Larson was the wrong person for the role necessarily. But the toxic backlash means that Brie Larson doesn’t want to play Carol Danvers anymore,” Joanna Robinson said on The Watch podcast a few weeks ago. And Robinson knows what she’s talking about: she’s the co-author of the book MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios, where she writes that Kevin Feige believes that the saga still has a long way to go.

Teyonah Parris, Monica RambeauTeyonah Parris, as Captain Monica Rambeau.Marvel Studios (Courtesy of Marvel Studios)

Marvel executives — led by Feige — are facing a number of challenges on multiple fronts.

There’s little confidence in The Marvels, box office revenue has gradually been declining across the board and the second season of Loki has made a limited impact on the Disney+ streaming platform.

Jonathan Majors — the great villain in the show — was arrested for assault and domestic violence this past April. His trial is this month. While he assures the public that he’s innocent, his presence as the archenemy Kang the Conqueror in the MCU isn’t confirmed. Meanwhile, the fifth installment of Avengers is scheduled for 2026.

After 32 films from Marvel over the last 15 years (The Marvels is the 33rd), the public may be exhausted of the saga. Overall, the movies have pulled in nearly $30 billion from the global box office. After squeezing out unattractive material to fill the Disney+ platform with content, things got even more difficult during the pandemic, with viewers demanding more series. The company made the decision that, between the Marvel movies, there would always be a related show to watch… meaning that there wouldn’t be a day without Marvel. However, given the massive budgets that the executives are managing (The Marvels cost about $270 million), the pressure to get sufficient financing moving forward is high. One problem is that the projects such as Eternals and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (both from 2021) didn’t attract large audiences.

Feige believes heavily in post-production: specifically, the idea that, with digital effects, you can resolve errors in the script. But with so much material in the works — and with so many delayed release dates — those special effects falter. As pointed out by Variety, due to the rush in Ant-Man and the Wasp, there were at least 10 sequences in which the additions were out of focus. Funnily enough, because of those 14-hour-long workdays (and the success of the strikes held by screenwriters and actors) the special effects technicians finally founded their own union this past September.

From the parent company, Disney, there’s also little positive news. Bob Iger came out of retirement in November of 2022 to once again assume the position of CEO, in an attempt to save the company from financial losses. After a year in the position — and after a summer in which Barbie and Oppenheimer swept the world (neither film belongs to the century-old Disney empire) — Igor hasn’t lived up to expectations. We’ll now have to see if Wish — Disney’s upcoming animated film — can move the new generations.

Brie Larson, Iman Vellani, The MarvelsBrie Larson and Iman Vellani in ‘The Marvels.’ Laura Radford (Laura Radford)

So, given all these issues, was this year’s box office phenomenon — a stupendous $845 million worldwide, for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 — a mirage? Or was it the talent of its director, James Gunn, who now leads the competition over at DC Studios? In a hopeful sign for Disney, Variety is predicting the rebirth of the X-Men, once they’re brought into the MCU. But first, Marvel must decide whether to finally sever all ties with Jonathan Majors. And we’ll also have to see if Deadpool 3 works out, which — due to the actors’ strike — has seen its premier postponed until May of 2024.

There’s also the reboot of Blade, who will be played by Mahershala Ali (although the film, which was supposed to be released this year, doesn’t even have a definitive script yet). Disney has also wrapped some series — maybe they’ll succeed? Meanwhile, other rumors suggest the return of the original Avengers, which would imply the resurrection of Iron Man and Black Widow. However, in times of economic hardship, perhaps the $25 million that Robert Downey Jr. charges per film to play Tony Stark is a bit pricey… something that cannot be solved, even with digital effects.

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Assessing Property Size: What Square Footage Can You Get With The Average UK House Price In Your Area?

Assessing Property Size In The UK

In the United Kingdom, there is a prevailing tendency to gauge the size of residences based on the number of bedrooms rather than square footage. In fact, research indicates that three out of five individuals are unaware of the square footage of their property.

However, a comprehensive analysis conducted by Savills reveals significant variations in property sizes throughout the country. For instance, with the average property price standing at £340,837, this amount would typically afford a studio flat spanning 551 square feet in London, according to the prominent estate agency.

Conversely, in the North East region, the same sum would secure a spacious five-bedroom house measuring 1,955 square feet, nearly four times the size of a comparable property in London.

Best value: Heading to the North East of England is where buyers will get the most from their money

In Scotland, the median house price equates to a sizable investment capable of procuring a generous four-bedroom residence spanning 1,743 square feet. Conversely, in Wales, Yorkshire & The Humber, and the North West, this sum affords a slightly smaller four-bedroom dwelling of approximately 1,500 square feet, while in the East and West Midlands, it accommodates a 1,300 square foot home. In stark contrast, within the South West, £340,837 secures a modest 1,000 square foot property, and in the East, an even more confined 928 square feet.

London presents the most challenging market, where this budget offers the least purchasing power. Following closely, the South East allows for 825 square feet of space or a medium-sized two-bedroom dwelling. Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, emphasizes the profound disparity in purchasing potential across Britain, ranging from compact studio flats in London to spacious four or five-bedroom residences in parts of North East England.

While square footage serves as a critical metric, with a significant portion of Britons unfamiliar with their property’s dimensions, the number of bedrooms remains a traditional indicator of size. Personal preferences, such as a preference for larger kitchens, may influence property selection. For those prioritizing ample space, Easington, County Durham, offers a substantial 2,858 square foot, five-bedroom home, while Rhondda, Wales, and Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scotland, provide 2,625 and 2,551 square feet, respectively. Conversely, in St Albans, Hertfordshire, £340,837 secures a mere 547 square feet, equivalent to a one-bedroom flat.

The disparity continues in central London, where purchasing power diminishes considerably. In Kensington, the budget accommodates a mere 220 square feet, contrasting with the slightly more spacious 236 square feet in Westminster. Conversely, in Dagenham, the same investment translates to 770 square feet. Three properties currently listed on Rightmove exemplify the diversity within this price range across the UK market.

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

2. Lewisham: One-bed house, £345,000

This one-bedroom property in Lewisham, South London, is on the market for £345,000.

The semi-detached house is set over two floors, and has a private patio.

The property is located near to bus links and amenities, as well as Catford train station.

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

3. Edinburgh: Three-bed house, £350,000

This three-bedroom detached house in Edinburgh could be yours for £350,000.

The house, which has a two-car driveway, boasts a large kitchen diner, and is within easy reach of Newcriaghall train station.


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Top 10 Florida Cities Dominate The Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

Top 10 Florida Cities And Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

The Voice Of EU | Florida emerges as a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors, with its vibrant business landscape and conducive environment for startups. Renowned for its low corporate tax rates and a high concentration of investors, the Sunshine State beckons aspiring entrepreneurs seeking fertile grounds to launch and grow their businesses.

In a recent report by WalletHub, Florida cities dominate the list of the top 10 best destinations for business startups, showcasing their resilience and economic vitality amidst challenging times.

From Orlando’s thriving market to Miami’s dynamic ecosystem, each city offers unique advantages and opportunities for entrepreneurial success. Let’s delve into the chronologically listed cities that exemplify Florida’s prominence in the business startup arena.

1. Orlando Leads the Way: Orlando emerges as the most attractive market in the U.S. for business startups, with a remarkable surge in small business establishments. WalletHub’s latest report highlights Orlando’s robust ecosystem, fostering the survival and growth of startups, buoyed by a high concentration of investors per capita.

2. Tampa Takes Second Place: Securing the second spot among large cities for business startups, Tampa boasts a favorable business environment attributed to its low corporate tax rates. The city’s ample investor presence further fortifies startups, providing essential resources for navigating the initial years of business operations.

3. Charlotte’s Diverse Industries: Claiming the third position, Charlotte stands out for its diverse industrial landscape and exceptionally low corporate taxes, enticing companies to reinvest capital. This conducive environment propels entrepreneurial endeavors, contributing to sustained economic growth.

4. Jacksonville’s Rising Profile: Jacksonville emerges as a promising destination for startups, bolstered by its favorable business climate. The city’s strategic positioning fosters entrepreneurial ventures, attracting aspiring business owners seeking growth opportunities.

5. Miami’s Entrepreneurial Hub: Miami solidifies its position as a thriving entrepreneurial hub, attracting businesses with its dynamic ecosystem and strategic location. The city’s vibrant startup culture and supportive infrastructure make it an appealing destination for ventures of all sizes.

6. Atlanta’s Economic Momentum: Atlanta’s ascent in the business startup landscape underscores its economic momentum and favorable business conditions. The city’s strategic advantages and conducive policies provide a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures to flourish.

7. Fort Worth’s Business-Friendly Environment: Fort Worth emerges as a prime destination for startups, offering a business-friendly environment characterized by low corporate taxes. The city’s supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives facilitate the growth and success of new ventures.

8. Austin’s Innovation Hub: Austin cements its status as an innovation hub, attracting startups with its vibrant entrepreneurial community and progressive policies. The city’s robust infrastructure and access to capital foster a conducive environment for business growth and innovation.

9. Durham’s Emerging Entrepreneurship Scene: Durham’s burgeoning entrepreneurship scene positions it as a promising destination for startups, fueled by its supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives. The city’s collaborative culture and access to resources contribute to the success of new ventures.

10. St. Petersburg’s Thriving Business Community: St. Petersburg rounds off the top 10 with its thriving business community and supportive ecosystem for startups. The city’s strategic advantages and favorable business climate make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurial endeavors.

Despite unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and high inflation, these top Florida cities remain resilient and well-equipped to overcome obstacles, offering promising opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs alike.


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European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.


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— By Darren Wilson, Team VoiceOfEU.com

— Contact us: info@VoiceOfEU.com

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