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Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Aquaman: King Of Atlantis’ On HBO Max, A Wacky Animated Continuation Of Aquaman’s DCEU Story

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Aquaman: King Of Atlantis is a continuation of the hero’s DCEU story.. We pick up right after Aquaman (Cooper Andrews) defeated Ocean Master (Dana Snyder) and ascended the throne of Atlantis, the first “surface dweller” to do so. But if you’re expecting Jason Momoa to pop up and flex his muscles — even his vocal ones — you’ll be in for a surprise. This time around, the story is told with surrealistic animation and funny dialogue.

Opening Shot: A bird flies in the sky over the ocean. Then a huge whale flies out of the water, and we hear him go “YEAAAAH!”

The Gist: On his first day, he can’t even get a hang of the fish-shaped throne he’s supposed to sit on. Also, Ocean Master bursts back into the room and challenges Aquaman again. When Aquaman passes on the challenge, he learns from his officious assistant Vulko (Thomas Lennon) that Ocean Master automatically becomes king. Aquaman responds by bashing Ocean Master on the head with his trident, meaning he’s king once again.

Vulko has a long list of boring tasks that Ocean Master left in his wake, but the much more aggressive warrior Mera (Gillian Jacobs) thinks Aquaman should go visit Outpost 4, a town in the kingdom that hasn’t been heard from in 7 years. When he and Vulko go out there, they find that the ocean in the area has dried up. At an oasis, they find a bunch of bandits, and Vulko gladly plays baseball (which she thinks means “bashing the other guy with a bat”) and wields her water club.

They’re led to where the outpost is supposed to be, but all they see is a drill, operated by an ocean junk magnate named Mortikov (Andrew Morgato). He ingratiates himself to Aquaman, but Vulko is suspicious. He eventually sends them hurtling into a water-filled pit, where the remaining members of the outpost are being held. They think they’ve been down there for “like a week.” Despite some initial mistrust, he gets the townspeople to work with the bandits that constantly robbed them to defeat Mortikov and bring the water back. But he’s in for a surprise when he gets back to the castle.

Aquaman: King Of Atlantis
Photo: Warner Bros. Animation

What Shows Will It Remind You Of? The animation style of Aquaman: King Of Atlantis has a style that’s a cross between Steven Universe and something more surreal, like SpongeBob SquarepantsCharacter’s faces go from simple dots and lines in the distance to super-detailed and expressive up close. The vibe of the writing is self-deprecating, sort of “Aquaman meets The Tick.”

Our Take: The reason we know that Aquaman: King Of Atlantis is part of the DCEU  is that James Wan, who directed the film Aquaman, is an executive producer on the project, which was created by Victor Courtright and Marly Halpern-Graser. But it certainly doesn’t look like the Jason Momoa films, nor is it even trying to be. It not only tells its story via sometimes too-surreal animation, but it’s got a self-deprecating streak a mile wide.

Which is just fine with us, because Aquaman is the one superhero that shouldn’t take himself seriously. His powers are that he’s super strong and he telepathically talks to fish. Those are powers that are ripe for jokes, don’t you think? Going back to at least the Super Friends, if not longer, depictions of Aquaman on TV and film have shown him throwing those concentric circles/arcs towards ocean life and that ocean life accepting his outlandish requests to help him defeat evil.

The writers for the show lean into this, with Aquaman supremely unsure of himself as king, and not helped along by the stuffy Vulko and the aggro Mera. The show’s four main voice actors all get the silliness.  At certain points, the surreal nature of the animation tires the viewer out, but the miniseries only consists of three 45-minute episodes, so its story should help make up for the sometimes-dizzying visuals.

What Age Group Is This For?: Even though the show is TV-PG, we think kids 8 and up will be able to enjoy it.

Parting Shot: When Aquaman and Mera come back from the outpost, they see Ocean Master on the throne again. Vulko informs the pair about how long they’ve really been away.

Sleeper Star: Gillian Jacobs makes Mera into a person who just want to bash heads, matching her performance to the animation’s magic energy.

Most Pilot-y Line: The baseball meta-joke is repeated a few too many times, though it might be the case that it’s repeated so much that it stops being funny then comes around to being funny again.

Our Call: STREAM IT. When you sit down to watch Aquaman: King Of Atlantis, prepare to see the oceanic hero in a way you’ve never seen him before. If you can get through the surreal animation style, you’ll find the first episode a funny start to a good story.

Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting and tech, but he doesn’t kid himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, VanityFair.com, Fast Company and elsewhere.

Stream Aquaman: King Of Atlantis On HBO Max

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New York

Crypto firms pay massive price tags to name arenas as sports teams weigh risks

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Cryptocurrency companies are being forced to shell out massive premiums in sports sponsorship deals as professional teams weigh the risks of getting burned — like some of them did during the dot-com bubble. 

Crypto.com, a Singapore-based crypto trading site, reportedly paid $700 million for the naming rights to the Staples Center in Los Angeles for 20 years — more than five times what Staples had paid for the same rights in 1999.

And in March, Bahamas-based crypto exchange FTX ponied up $135 million to rename the home of the Miami Heat. That’s more than triple what American Airlines paid for naming rights in 1999.

Arena owners are able to demand more money from venture capital-flushed crypto firms because they’re relatively unknown names in an unproven industry, experts say. 

“If you want to do a deal with Mercedes Benz, that’s safe,” Columbia University sports management professor Joe Favorito told The Post. “If you go after a nontraditional naming rights deal, you probably ask them for a lot more money.” 

That’s because arena owners remember stadiums named after long-gone tech firms such as Baltimore’s PSINet Stadium and Boston’s CMGI field — both of which had to be re-christened after their namesakes imploded when the dot-com bubble burst in 2001. 

Exterior of the Baltimore Ravens stadium
The home of the Baltimore Ravens had to be renamed after tech firm PSINet imploded in 2002.
Getty Images

“During the bubble, there were companies that bought in on buildings and went bankrupt and that was an extremely disappointing and troubling thing,” said Favorito, who added that scrubbing a defunct company’s name from a stadium can also damage a franchise’s brand and can reduce its appeal to future sponsors.

As a result, crypto firms with unproven track records have to make their offers so big that team owners “can’t take anything else,” according to Chris Lencheski, an ex-Comcast executive who has worked on arena naming deals. He compares the dynamic to the “tobacco premium” that cigarette makers had to pay for sports deals in the 20th century.

Beyond arena naming rights, crypto companies are also spending big on other sports deals. 

Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen on the red carpet
Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen starred in a $20 million ad campaign for FTX in October.
Getty Images

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady and his supermodel wife Gisele Bündchen starred in a $20 million ad campaign for FTX in October, while American crypto exchange Coinbase paid an undisclosed amount to become the NBA’s first-ever “crypto sponsor” the same month.

Crypto.com also paid $175 million in July to plaster its name on Ultimate Fighting Championship posters and merch for 10 years. StormX, a startup that pays out crypto cash-back awards on online purchases, signed a multiyear deal to adorn Portland Trail Blazers jerseys with a logo patch in July.

“These companies are in a mad dash to get their name out there and put their stake in the ground,” said Woody Thompson, executive vice president at sports and entertainment marketing firm Octagon. 

The premium prices venture capital-flush crypto companies are willing to pay for ad space are likely to raise advertising costs across the board, forcing traditional advertisers like car, retail and beverage companies to shell out more money, Thompson said.

“This is what happened with the dot-com boom” he noted.

As lawmakers and regulators debate how to oversee the booming crypto industry, teams and arenas in the Washington, DC, area are seeing especially high interest from crypto companies and other new financial technology firms, according to Favorito. 

“In Washington, the people who are going to games are lobbyists and senators and you want to be front and center with them in their space,” he said. “Nobody’s really talked about the casual lobbying that goes on at a hockey game or a football game.” 

Exterior of the FTX Arena in Miami
In March, Bahamas-based crypto exchange FTX shelled out $135 million to rename the home of the Miami Heat.
Shutterstock / Johnny Michael

Crypto.com, FTX and StormX didn’t respond to requests for comment. Nor did the Portland Trail Blazers, the UFC, the FTX Arena or AEG Worldwide, which owns the Staples Center.

Coinbase spokesman Andrew Schmitt declined to provide details of the company’s NBA deal.

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Vita Vea gets tooth knocked out, seems just fine with that

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Vita Vea was all smiles despite getting one of his front teeth knocked out Sunday.

The Buccaneers’ defensive tackle was shown grinning and pointing to his bloody new gap on the sidelines after he lost a tooth while being blocked by Colts guard Mark Glowinski in the first half.

Vea’s helmet appeared to be coming off before contact — with his facemask rising above his mouth — enabling a direct hit by Glowinski’s helmet into Vea’s face to dislodge one of his teeth.

Vita Vea tooth
Vita Vea had his tooth knocked out by the helmet of Mark Glowinski.
Fox
Vita Vea tooth
Vita Vea didn’t seem too bothered by having a tooth knocked out.
Fox

The replay of the play led to this exchange between Fox play-by-play announcer Kevin Burkhardt and analyst Greg Olsen:

“Oh, he lost a tooth,” Burkhardt said.

“And he’s smiling. That’s the best part. Oh my gosh,” Olsen added.

“Does the tooth fairy come for 26 year olds? I’m just asking. That is unbelievable,” Burkhardt said.

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Manhattan skyscraper snags its own builder as a tenant

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The Spiral is adding a large new tenant who won’t have to ask where the elevators and the bathrooms are when it moves in.

That’s because Turner Construction Company, which just signed a 13-year, 75,000-square-foot lease, is actually building the new Tishman Speyer tower on the far West Side. Turner is the general contractor on the BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group-designed skyscraper with a top-to-bottom landscaped spiral of exterior terraces.

Turner is moving its worldwide headquarters to the third floor of the tower, aka  66 Hudson Boulevard between West 34th and 35th streets. It will relocate from 375 Hudson St. in January 2023.

The deal brings The Spiral’s 2.8 million square feet to 54 percent leased with a year left before it’s completed.

Turner handles $12 billion of construction each year worldwide. Tishman Speyer President and CEO Rob Speyer called the firm  “an incredible partner as we built The Spiral, introducing technology, safety and workforce innovations that make it a new standard for modern office development.”

Turner CEO Peter Davoren said the building “will provide us with an environment that so well defines our vision and the future of the company.”

Construction workers at The Spiral's site.
Tishman Speyer CEO Rob Speyer (second from right), along with others involved in creating The Spiral, signs the steel beam for the topping out of the building.
AP

The Spiral will also be home to COVID-beating vaccine maker Pfizer, the anchor tenant with 746,000 square feet.

Large leases were also signed by law firm Debevoise & Plimpton and AllianceBernstein.

Terms of the Turner deal were not released. Asking rents in the tower have been reported as ranging from $110 per square foot at the base to $225-plus per square foot at the top.

A rendering of The Spiral with the Chrysler Building in the background
AllianceBernstein has also leased space in The Spiral, aka 66 Hudson Boulevard.
The Spiral NY

A CBRE team of Mary Ann Tighe, Rob Hill, Brendan Herlihy and Elliot Bok advised Turner on the deal. Tishman Speyer was repped by an in-house leasing team.


When news broke last week that Chubb signed on as the first tenant at 550 Madison Ave. — a deal that we first forecast three months earlier — observers, Realty Check included, were curious what the lease terms were.

The first tenant at a new development or redevelopment typically gets a more favorable deal than those that follow.

We’ve now learned that Chubb will enjoy 24 months of free rent.

Once the two years are up, the rent will increase in stages from $110 to $140 per square foot on floors 10 to 17 and from $160 to $190 per square foot on floors 36 to 38.


For a street where nobody wants to shop anymore — as lots of off-base media reports claim —  it’s remarkable how the prime stretch of Madison Avenue north of 59th Street continues to draw luxury retailers even as some others move away.

Heidi Klum wearing a camouflage Birkin bag from Hermes
Hermès, maker of bags favored by style-setters like supermodel Heidi Klum, is opening a flagship store at 702 Madison Ave.
GC Images

The newest arrival will be Italian menswear maker Kiton at currently vacant 692 Madison Ave. between East 62nd and 63rd streets. Kiton just signed a lease for a three-level, 3,400-square-foot boutique next door to scarf and bag emporium Hermès — which will soon move into a much larger space at 702 Madison.

“This deal is a true testament to luxury retail in the city,” said broker Marc Sitt of Kassin Sabbagh Realty, who with Dorel Melloul represented the landlord at 692 Madison, the Ezair family.

“With Hermès opening their new flagship, this corridor will be more vibrant than it was in previous years.  We’re happy we structured a lease which made sense for everyone,” Sitt added.

Hermès will soon house its men’s and women’s collections in one building at 702 Madison.  

A building with the Cushman & Wakefield logo on the front
Cushman & Wakefield handled Kiton’s side of the leasing transaction at 692 Madison Ave.
NurPhoto via Getty Images

Kiton is expected to move in next summer. The store will also remain at 4 E. 54th St., a building owned by Kiton.

The Madison Avenue asking rent was $1.2 million per year.

Kiton was repped by Cushman & Wakefield’s Alan Wildes and Ian Lerner. Sitt also credited Kiton lawyer Massimo D’angelo for playing an important role in the deal.

Other recent nearby retail transactions include Celine at 650 Madison Ave. and Balenciaga at 620 Madison.


Prolific architectural firm Kohn Pedersen Fox has renewed its lease and expanded at Tishman Speyer’s 11 W. 42nd St. KPF added 38,000 square feet on the entire seventh floor,  bringing its total in the 1928-vintage building — known for its fine views and abundance of natural light — to more than 100,000 square feet.

The rent started in the low $60s per square foot, sources said. As part of the deal, KPF will enjoy one year of free rent on the expansion floor.

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