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This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at NPR.org/Anthem.


Disney's Frozen remains one of the greatest box-office successes in history. But in terms of impact and influence, it is perhaps most loved and best remembered for one of its breakout songs.

The first rule of Mary Poppins is that you must never explain Mary Poppins.

Perhaps the smartest decision in the sequel Mary Poppins Returns is that it's no more clear than it ever was how, exactly, this nanny floats in. We don't know where Mary came from, how exactly she has relatives given that she seems to have simply materialized from the sky, or whether she was ever a child herself. Mary Poppins simply is.

When Emily Blunt landed the title role in Mary Poppins Returns, she made a conscious decision not to rewatch the 1964 version of the film, which featured Julie Andrews as the iconic nanny. Instead, Blunt dove into the books by P.L. Travers, from which the film had been adapted.

"I didn't want to sort of get compromised by the details of what Julie Andrews did so beautifully," Blunt says. "I knew it was going to be my version of her."

A years-old Disney trademark on the use of the phrase "Hakuna Matata" on T-shirts has stirred up a new debate among Swahili speakers about cultural appropriation.

©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

How many times will you cry watching the latest collection of Pixar Short Films on Blu-ray? Your mileage may vary, but “Bao” opens the program on a strong note, turning on the waterworks with its heartwarming story of a parent’s loving protectiveness, and culture clash. Directed by Domee Shi, the short also represents a step forward in the traditionally male comapny; it’s the first short film from Pixar to be directed by a woman, and, along with “Sanjay’s Super Team” on this disc, one of the first shorts to be helmed by a person of color.

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NOEL KING, HOST:

Well, they've finally gone and done it. They've grown up Christopher Robin.

You of course remember the boy wonder from the Winnie the Pooh series, the eternal six-year-old who loved to romp around the Hundred Acre Wood getting into mischief with his stuffed bear and various other critter friends. He was writer A.A. Milne's own son, immortalized on the page with the original Pooh books in the 1920s, then on the screen in 50 years' worth of Disney cartoons. Does it feel momentous that he's now grown into a humorless, workaholic adult? It does if you're Pooh.

It has been an epic clash of media titans worthy of a blockbuster movie itself like, say, the X-Men — notably a property of 21st Century Fox. And as with any blockbuster franchise, there are already sequels lined up.

The broadband, cable and entertainment giant Comcast announced Thursday that it would withdraw from the field, conceding defeat in its audacious bidding war for most of the entertainment assets of Fox, controlled by the Murdoch family.

Disney has moved one step closer to purchasing a big chunk of 21st Century Fox. On Wednesday, the Justice Department announced it had approved the proposed deal, valued at a total $71.3 billion.

Moviegoers sitting down to see Incredibles 2 are in for a tasty treat in the form of an animated short called Bao. It tells the story of an empty nester who discovers joy — and sorrow — when a steamed bun she makes comes to life.

The story is pulled from the childhood of Domee Shi, who wrote and directed the Pixar film. Shi was born in China and raised in Toronto. She started working at Pixar as an intern in 2011, and now she's the first woman to direct a Pixar short.

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