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  1. #1

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    What do you think would have happened had Snow White bombed at the box office?

    There is no secret that Snow White was something that would either make or break Walt back in 1937. Snow White is a movie that I think is most responsible for what we see today. Without the success of Snow White there wouldn't have been the other motion pictures to follow and there wouldn't have been Disneyland. As it is, Snow White is one of the biggest box offices smashes and to this day is still among the highest grossing film (adjusted for inflation of course) of all time. Now, we all know some of the classics didn't do all that great at the box office. Pinocchio, Fantasia and Alice in Wonderland are movies that come to mind immediately. But without Snow White how would the Disney company look like today? Would it have existed? Would Mickey Mouse be the character he is today? What about the other movies? Does Walt take on Dumbo and Bambi and such if Snow White failed? Keep in mind this was the first of its kind, an animated full length movie.

    I think without the success of Snow White there is no Disneyland today. There are no parks anywhere. Walt was the one who had the vision and without any extra money or success I can't see Disney being a revered company. In fact, if Walt still dies in 1966 in this alternate universe I really don't think the company exists today.

    So what are your butterfly effect theories without a strong Snow White showing?

  2. #2

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    Re: What do you think would have happened had Snow White bombed at the box office?

    They say Cinderella was also a make-or-break for the company. ("Boys, if Cinderella doesn't make it, we're through.") But yeah, Snow White was the big one. Some people weren't even sure an audience could sit through an hour of color. They said people would run out of theater, screaming. It makes me wonder, would the filmmaking world have shied away from feature length animation forever, or would someone else have stepped in to fill the void?

    Possibly we'd all be going Fleicherland now. Instead of Sleeping Beauty Castle, it'd be Betty Boop's Apartment Building, Storybookland Canal Boats would be themed to Gulliver's Travels, and "a bug's land" would be based on Mr. Bug Goes to Town.

    A few years ago, I made up an alternate history if Eisner had always run the Disney company. In this version he swindled Charles Mintz out of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and then made an endless series of Oswald movies, eventually buying a pre-existing amusement park and plastering it with Oswald cut-outs.
    "Happy Working Song" parody for DCA remodel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-TYESfNTP8&feature=plcp

    Retro Rant Review of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame II" (comedy review of direct-to-video
    Disney sequel):
    Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/user/animagus.../1/q1j7FU8QXu0
    Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/user/animagus.../0/sasNTMDRBLU

    Retro Rant Review of "Home on the Range" (comedy review of Disney movie):
    Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7mC-...feature=relmfu
    Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoUie...feature=relmfu
    Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3Vea...feature=relmfu


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  3. #3

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    Re: What do you think would have happened had Snow White bombed at the box office?

    Well that's the thing, would there even be a theme park in this alternate universe? The bankers thought Walt was nuts when he was asking for a loan for an "amusement park" because as Walt said it "bankers didn't have any imagination." I think it is easy to look back on it now, but who really comes up with an idea to build a theme park out of fairytale animated movies? Would anyone else have thought of that? Disneyland has been the template and the park that everyone has tried to copy but no one has done it, even when the same company goes to Florida to do it. That's the barometer right there. Without Disneyland there is no Universal Studios park. In fact, amusement parks might still be thought of the way they were prior to Disneyland. Shady, dirty, etc. There would be the odd place like Kennywood or Knott's Berry Farms that would still be around because they are so old but there wouldn't be the standard like Disneyland.

    I honestly don't think anyone else thinks of that idea. Even Lillian told Walt not to go through with a theme park because they are "dirty" which led Walt to never skimp on maintenance for the park. This was a man who had an original idea and I think we tend to not give Walt as much credit for being an innovator. It was really a foreign idea. So if those movies don't exist in the 1940s then Walt has no money and no basis to build a park and who would do it instead? Warner Brothers? Well, 58 years after Disneyland they still haven't.

  4. #4

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    Re: What do you think would have happened had Snow White bombed at the box office?

    Walt didn't build Disneyland out of fairytale animated movies. That was a by-product of the real reason the park was built. Namely, it was an expansion of his ideas due to his love of trains and to create a place for families to enjoy this. The fairytale animated movies were kept largely within Fantasyland only. It was the success of Snow White that kept Walt Disney Productions from going bankrupt, but Walt's interests were not only in animated fairytales.

  5. #5

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    Re: What do you think would have happened had Snow White bombed at the box office?

    Quote Originally Posted by DisneyIPresume View Post
    Walt didn't build Disneyland out of fairytale animated movies. That was a by-product of the real reason the park was built. Namely, it was an expansion of his ideas due to his love of trains and to create a place for families to enjoy this. The fairytale animated movies were kept largely within Fantasyland only. It was the success of Snow White that kept Walt Disney Productions from going bankrupt, but Walt's interests were not only in animated fairytales.
    I think you can chalk up a lot of the success to Disneyland coming from Walt's best movies though. Not saying there weren't other non-animated attractions but the base of it started with the movies. Look at the original attractions:

    Peter Pan, Mr. Toad, Snow White, Alice, Casey Jr., Storybook, Dumbo, Mad Tea Party. Afterwards came Pinnochio and Small World. Sleeping Beauty Castle was based on a fairy tale and the movie was being made at that time. It was certainly a big part of it.

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    Re: What do you think would have happened had Snow White bombed at the box office?

    Notice I said a by-product. Animated films were a part of the park but not the reason it was built. Animated films provided much of the content of many of the opening day rides, but there were other areas that did not have to do with the movies at all.

    The park was built because he liked to tinker with toy trains and their layouts, and this kept expanding until he needed a park to put it all into. The fact that he was in the movie industry provided a lot of content, but the direct reason for Disneyland being built was not the movies themselves.

  7. #7

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    Re: What do you think would have happened had Snow White bombed at the box office?

    Quote Originally Posted by DisneyIPresume View Post
    Notice I said a by-product. Animated films were a part of the park but not the reason it was built. Animated films provided much of the content of many of the opening day rides, but there were other areas that did not have to do with the movies at all.

    The park was built because he liked to tinker with toy trains and their layouts, and this kept expanding until he needed a park to put it all into. The fact that he was in the movie industry provided a lot of content, but the direct reason for Disneyland being built was not the movies themselves.
    Exactly right. In pre-Eisner Disneyland, rides based on animated films were confined to Fantasyland. The most famous rides like the Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad, Mark Twain, Autopia, Jungle Cruise, Submarine Voyage thru Liquid Space, Monorail, Adventure thru Inner Space, PeopleMover, Tiki Room, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, It's a Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion, all had nothing to do with Disney animated films.
    "With the acquisition of Marvel and now of Lucasfilm,
    Disney may have finally found the grail. You don't need
    imagination or art. All you need is a brand."

    - Neil Gabler


  8. #8

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    Re: What do you think would have happened had Snow White bombed at the box office?

    I don't want to talk about butterfly effect theories, but I wanted to say something about the financial role of Snow White.

    I had the chance to visit the Disney Archives exhibit at the Reagan Library last month with a friend who works for Disney corporate. Towards the end of the Disney exhibit is a recreation of one of the newer buildings at the Burbank studio, which has representations of the Seven Dwarves as columns holding up the building.

    According to my friend, the reason why the dwarves are depicted holding up the roof is that the movie Snow White was so vital to the fortunes of the company. Without the enormous success of Snow White (and with so much capital invested in the film), the studio would likely have failed.

    I can only conjecture that there would have been no subsequent movies, no television programs, no theme parks, and no global media empire without Snow White's success (I suppose that's my butterfly effect theory, after all).

  9. #9

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    Re: What do you think would have happened had Snow White bombed at the box office?

    True!

    And first and foremost (before it became a place for him to exercise his love of trains, showcase attractions that brought his movies and TV show to life, etc.), the park was simply a response to his desire and dream to build a place that was clean and safe where both children and adults could have fun together. It would be something unlike any of the amusement parks he was seeing around him at the time.

    It was personal for him.

    I'm not sure it's so personal for those who run the operation now.

    That's why I think the further we get away from Walt's vision and dream, the more corporate it will look and feel.

    There will continue to be things added to the park, but that vision that did go beyond the movies will diminish too.

    This is kind of sad because I know that growing up, I loved seeing the movies come to life. But I also developed a passion for certain aspects of history and literature in my visits to the park (among other things).

    I wanted to know who Tom Sawyer was. Davy Crockett. Mike Fink. The Swiss Family Robinson.

    I also wanted to know more about space after visiting Tomorrowland.

    I can honestly say that if the attraction I had grown up with had been Star Tours instead of Mission to Mars, it wouldn't have been as exciting for me. I would have walked away thinking it was a cool white-knuckler, but that's it.

    Mission to Mars had me wanting to learn more about space.

    Likewise, Inner Space got my imagination going too.

    And both of those attractions were, by contrast to Star Tours, simplistic rides.

    Still they were effective.

    I learned a few things about progress in technology in Carousel of Progress, and later I learned more about American music through America Sings.

    My grandparents attended on the preview day of the park's opening back in 1955, and I remember my grandmother later telling me how joyous Walt looked. His dream was becoming reality. She said he was just taking it all in and mingling with the guests. She said he looked like a kid in a candy shop.

    That was Walt.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Wiggins View Post
    Exactly right. In pre-Eisner Disneyland, rides based on animated films were confined to Fantasyland. The most famous rides like the Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad, Mark Twain, Autopia, Jungle Cruise, Submarine Voyage thru Liquid Space, Monorail, Adventure thru Inner Space, PeopleMover, Tiki Room, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, It's a Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion, all had nothing to do with Disney animated films.

  10. #10

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    Re: What do you think would have happened had Snow White bombed at the box office?

    Another question is: even if Snow White's failure had bankrupted the company and halted production on Pinocchio and Fantasia, would Walt have given up?

    When his previous company in Kansas City failed, Walt sent a telegram to his distrubutor that he was "no longer affiliated" with them and was moving to Hollywood.

    And given what we know about him, it seems unlikely that he would have been content to work for someone else.

    Would he have started again with a different company, or maybe a different medium?

    BTW, regarding some of the above posts, I don't think the original intent of the thread was to say that Disneyland wouldn't exist without Snow White because the park is based on animated films, but rather that without the film's success, the fate of the company and Walt's life would have been altered to a degree that they might never have come around to building the park. Nonetheless, I agree that original attractions and ideas always played a large role in Walt's Disneyland.
    Last edited by animagusurreal; 03-04-2013 at 12:47 AM.
    "Happy Working Song" parody for DCA remodel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-TYESfNTP8&feature=plcp

    Retro Rant Review of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame II" (comedy review of direct-to-video
    Disney sequel):
    Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/user/animagus.../1/q1j7FU8QXu0
    Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/user/animagus.../0/sasNTMDRBLU

    Retro Rant Review of "Home on the Range" (comedy review of Disney movie):
    Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7mC-...feature=relmfu
    Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoUie...feature=relmfu
    Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3Vea...feature=relmfu


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    Pratfall the albatross superheroine visits the Carthay Circle Theatre.

  11. #11

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    Re: What do you think would have happened had Snow White bombed at the box office?

    We would not have the Disney empire. However, I do not know how that wuld of damaged the animation industry. Maybe we wiuld not have Universal Studios in the animation business and maybe no Pixar. I guexss we will never know, unless someone creates a time machine and make Snow White bomb at the box office...
    The new Star Wars plot summery:

    Episode 7: Luke discovers that Darth Vader is not his father, and goes on a search for his real father

    Episode 8: Darth Vader is resurrected and goes on Jerry Springer, claiming he is Luke and Leia's father

    Episode 9: Princes Leia is not Luke's sister, making him furious (we all know why...).

  12. #12

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    Re: What do you think would have happened had Snow White bombed at the box office?

    I think that if the studio had closed in 1937, Walt would have picked himself up, dusted himself off, and started all over again.

  13. #13

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    Re: What do you think would have happened had Snow White bombed at the box office?

    Quote Originally Posted by SpacemanSpiff View Post
    I don't want to talk about butterfly effect theories, but I wanted to say something about the financial role of Snow White.

    I had the chance to visit the Disney Archives exhibit at the Reagan Library last month with a friend who works for Disney corporate. Towards the end of the Disney exhibit is a recreation of one of the newer buildings at the Burbank studio, which has representations of the Seven Dwarves as columns holding up the building.

    According to my friend, the reason why the dwarves are depicted holding up the roof is that the movie Snow White was so vital to the fortunes of the company. Without the enormous success of Snow White (and with so much capital invested in the film), the studio would likely have failed.
    .
    I think it's a little more specific than that. Snow White was made at the Hyperion Ave. studios, and the story goes that the profits were used to actually build the studio in Burbank. When the "Team Disney" building went up at the end of the eighties, they (Eisner, architect Michael Graves, etc.) were paying tribute to the origins of the studio, or at least how it got to that location.
    One way a Snow White failure would have affected other areas of movies, is that "The Wizard of Oz" would probably not have been made two years later, or at least, it wouldn't be the "Oz" movie as we know it. They might have ended up with Gale Sondergard as a glamorous witch, had the MGM people not seen the "Old Hag" version of the witch in "Snow White".
    Also, speaking of Universal, the animators were totally influenced by the classic Universal horror movies, especially with those scenes with the Queen doing the transformation, which also was partially inspired by that "Jekyll and Hyde" movie with Fredric March. No piece of art is created in a total vacuum.

  14. #14

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    Re: What do you think would have happened had Snow White bombed at the box office?

    Quote Originally Posted by ttintagel View Post
    I think that if the studio had closed in 1937, Walt would have picked himself up, dusted himself off, and started all over again.
    Walt filed for bankruptcy how many times? Was it six?

  15. #15

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    Re: What do you think would have happened had Snow White bombed at the box office?

    Walt's backup plan was to be the MASTER OF HORROR but thankfully, he never had to go there.

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