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  1. #1

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    Disney counts on year-end films

    Mouse counts on year-end bait After quiet year, Disney banks on high-profile pix
    By DAVID S. COHEN for Variety

    Employee orientation at the Walt Disney Co. starts with some word association. "What comes to mind when you think of Disney?" asks the trainer.
    "Wholesome" and "family," the new Mouseketeers typically say. It's unlikely, though, that many of them blurt out "blockbuster."

    On the Walt Disney StudiosWalt Disney Studios side, the Mouse has tended to keep its head down. In recent years, it's mostly gotten out of the big-star tentpole business. Its execs avoid the limelight and its marketers like to keep expectations "realistic," which is often a euphemism for "low."

    All that is about to change.

    Coming off a quarter when the studio lost more than $250 million and a fiscal year when Disney's entertainment revenues plummeted, the company is getting ready to unspoolunspool a succession of highly visible titles that could put Disney back on top of the box office charts.

    Starting next month and continuing through the summer at least four Disney releases will arrive with tentpole-style expectations:


    "Chicken Little," the studio's CG bid to re-ignite in the animated feature market that it dominated for decades;

    "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," a bid to launch a "Lord of the Rings"-like franchise;

    "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," the first of twin sequels that are costing upward of $400 million; and

    PixarPixar's "Cars," the seventh release from Steve"Midas" Jobs' toontoon studio.
    Even Disney's "little" releases for the next few months have high visibility.

    Touchstone's "Shopgirl" is getting awards buzz and its Christmas release "Casanova," from helmer Lasse Hallstrom, may have kudos potential as well.
    full article http://www.variety.com/article/VR111...3&cs=1&s=h&p=0
    "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006

  2. #2

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    Re: Disney counts on year-end films

    Here are some very encouraging Narnia words from Harry at AICN:
    http://www.aintitcool.com/display.cgi?id=21505
    "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006

  3. #3

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    Re: Disney counts on year-end films

    Looking into my crystal ball:

    Chicken Little is the weekest link here...

    Narnia will likely be huge...

    But I have been wrong before...
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  4. #4

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    Re: Disney counts on year-end films

    Narnia will be huge as long as it's been done well - word of mouth will drive it if it's a good production.

    Pirates will do at least decently, based upon the strong fan base and the production quality. As long as the story doesn't totally suck, in which case all bets are off.

    Chicken Little might not flop, but it'll come close. It certainly won't do the level of business you expect for a "Disney" animated feature. Think Dinosaur here.

    Cars hasn't even really begun its promo, but based on Pixar's history, it'll probably be surprisingly great too (I wasn't too excited by the Incredibles either till I saw it). Pixar is well on its way to being as strong a brand in animation as Disney or Warner Brothers.

    I haven't even heard of the other two, which means they're probably the same factory produced dreck the rest of the industry is putting out. But since I really don't know, I cannot make predictions. I'd at least need to see how they're promoting it.

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  5. #5

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    Re: Disney counts on year-end films

    Quote Originally Posted by Morrigoon
    Narnia will be huge as long as it's been done well - word of mouth will drive it if it's a good production.
    It isn't just word of mouth, this movie has been much talked about even before production... I would say just so long as the "making of" pre movie footage matches peoples expectations, Disney will infact find a great turn out...

    Chicken Little, will not fair as well from the same process... People have been talking about the film, but not really saying good things... So the brand name is hobbled before it hits the theatre...
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    Re: Disney counts on year-end films

    I think CL will do great. I saw Wallace and Grommit today (which is a horribally boring movie btw) and everyone seemed to love the preview for CL. Something about a dancing chicken that gets people mesmerized. Everyone was laughing during the whole thing.

    I also think Narnia and PotC will do great. Although the Cars will fair okay (around $180-200m), I don't think it'll match the other Pixar films.

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    “You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.” - Walt Disney

  7. #7

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    Re: Disney counts on year-end films

    I read that Chicken Little has been shown to some test audiences, and the reviews and feedback have been surprisingly good. I mean really good. Most are saying that it is probably Disney's funniest film to date. It is not meant to dazzle or amaze in terms of look, but just be a really good solid and entertaining film. and audiences so far have been really liking it.

    I have a feeling it will do pretty good. As long as this film does well and has audiences liking and feeling for it. Most people I know don't know anymore more about chicken little than the other CGI flicks coming out within the next year, so the average movie goer is not like us Disney fans plucking the film's feathers before it even gets released.

  8. #8

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    Re: Disney counts on year-end films

    That isn't what I got out of the movie trailer responce out of the last couple of months...

    I have heard tremendous responce to Narnia... Very little responce to CL... Unfortunately it looks like just another CGI film... I think it is wearing on audiances... I also think this is the real reason why the big push for 3D recently...
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    Re: Disney counts on year-end films

    well, this was from test audiences watching the entire film, not the trailers.

    hey, the trailers don't do much for me either, except for the latest one with runt (the pig) using the vending machine.
    but I am still excited for the movie. this is a big turning point at the moment, and I am excited to see how it will play out.

    the press for the movie now is nothing. most people don't even know about it, at least where I am.

  10. #10

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    Re: Disney counts on year-end films

    The benefits of calendar shopping:
    C.L. opens November 4, it is the only family film, not counting The Legend of Zorro (opening the week before on 10/28) or Dreamer which opens the week before that. Everything else is adult fare such as Jarhead and The Weather Man, and limited releases. Plus it will have a shorter running time than most of it's competitors, which translates to more showtimes and more potential $$$. And with kids involved, more repeat business and merchandising opportunities.

    The film should also benefit from audience goodwill with young, friendly and very recognizable TV/film star Zach Braff "starring in" and more importantly upfront - promoting it. Previous films such as Dinosaur and Home On The Range had D.B. Sweeney and Roseanne....

    ^ALL good things for Walt Disney Pictures, etc.
    "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006

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    Re: Disney counts on year-end films

    Can't wait, Crazy Legs and I will be checking this out tonight !
    Last edited by ALIASd; 10-11-2005 at 08:46 AM.
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  12. #12

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    Re: Disney counts on year-end films

    I am so extremely jealous, you don't even know. I can't wait to see Shopgirl. That book has stuck with me. It's a really good, realistic little story. I just love it. I hope the movie is true to the book....it was so simple and perfect the way it was.

    I get annoyed with year-end family movies. Where were all the family movies during the summer when we had nothing better to do?? We saw Madagascar a few times. It's not like they're releasing Chicken Little to win an Oscar....why not release it during the summer? Because of Valiant (still haven't seen it)? We have SO many movies for families coming out Nov-December again.....there's no time and money for all those year-end movies. Gosh, that's when I'm holiday shopping, I don't want to plunk down $50 for our family to see an okay family movie in December. Last year was the same way! Ugh.

  13. #13

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    Re: Disney counts on year-end films

    I'm sure it has something to do with counter-programming to all the adult fare and competition for screens during Academy qualification and nomination season. Plus closer to the end of the year means more school holidays and provides for more seasonal merchandising messages and shopping.
    "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006

  14. #14

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    Re: Disney counts on year-end films

    Quote Originally Posted by stinkerbell
    I get annoyed with year-end family movies. Where were all the family movies during the summer when we had nothing better to do?? We saw Madagascar a few times. It's not like they're releasing Chicken Little to win an Oscar....why not release it during the summer? Because of Valiant (still haven't seen it)? We have SO many movies for families coming out Nov-December again.....there's no time and money for all those year-end movies. Gosh, that's when I'm holiday shopping, I don't want to plunk down $50 for our family to see an okay family movie in December. Last year was the same way! Ugh.
    I agree with you here...

    The End of Year Family movie is somewhat problematic, and may not maximize yearly profit margin... It seems to me that summer family films can have the DVD out by Nov/Oct in time for holiday sales...

    If you open a family film durring the end of year time, folks are looking for BO as being the main driver plus maybe merchandizing...

    The exception to the rule is a big francize, I would think... Something like LOTR, or Harry Potter, or even Narnia which could have market staying power over the course of a full year...

    Chicken Little I don't think warrents this merrit... And I am ok if it is just me who thinks this way...
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    Re: Disney counts on year-end films

    As it were, Chicken Little was initially supposed to come out on June 25th of this year and Cars was supposed to come out the day CL is currently coming out. As it turned out, Cars needed more work (especially after the bad response to the trailer) and was pushed back to summer of next year. The moved CL to Cars' former spot to give it a better chance at becoming a blockbuster. When you release a film in the summer, two things can happen to it. It can either A) Become a blockbuster and make unthinkable amounts of money, or more likely B) Bomb because of all the surrounding competition. Personally, I think Disney made the right decision by taking it out of June (it would have opened against Episode III, War of the Worlds, Madagascar and all the other early summer films.
    “You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.” - Walt Disney

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