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  1. #1

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    Kiss your Disney Princess goodbye, boys...

    Shades of The Great Mouse Detective...

    Disney restyles 'Rapunzel' to appeal to boys

    With 'The Princess and the Frog' coming up short at the box office, the studio retools its next animated feature to lose the girly taint.

    L.A. Times
    March 9, 2010

    Disney is wringing the pink out of its princess movies.

    After the less-than-fairy-tale results for its most recent animated release, "The Princess and the Frog," executives at the Burbank studio believe they know why the acclaimed movie came up short at the box office.

    Brace yourself: Boys didn't want to see a movie with "princess" in the title.

    This time, Disney is taking measures to ensure that doesn't happen again. The studio renamed its next animated film with the girl-centric name "Rapunzel" to the less gender-specific "Tangled."

    ...The studio's marketing campaign will amp up the role of the dashing Errol Flynn-styled male lead to share the spotlight with the golden-haired namesake of the classic Brothers Grimm story. Hints of swashbuckling action are already being leaked online.

    "In our film, the infamous bandit Flynn Rider meets his match in the girl with the 70 feet of magical golden hair," wrote the film's producer, Roy Conli, on Disney Animation's Facebook page. "We're having a lot of fun pairing Flynn, who's seen it all, with Rapunzel, who's been locked away in a tower for 18 years."

    ...However, some in the Disney animation community think the name change is misguided.

    Floyd Norman, a retired Disney and Pixar animator, lampooned the new name with a cartoon on his blog that depicts Rapunzel in her tower brandishing a machine gun and declaring "Rapunzel Salvation: This Is Not a Princess Movie."

    "The idea of changing the title of a classic like 'Rapunzel' to 'Tangled' is beyond stupid," said Norman, who worked on films including "Mulan" and "Monsters, Inc."

    "I'm still hoping that Disney will eventually regain their sanity and return the title of their movie to what it should be. I'm convinced they'll gain nothing from this except the public seeing Disney as desperately trying to find an audience."

    Rapunzel isn't the only Disney princess to have a boy problem.

    Concluding it had too many animated girl flicks in its lineup, Disney has shelved its long-gestating project "The Snow Queen," based on the Hans Christian Andersen story. "Snow Queen" would have marked the company's fourth animated film with a female protagonist, following "The Princess and the Frog," "Tangled" and Pixar's forthcoming "The Bear and the Bow," directed by Pixar's first female director, Brenda Chapman, and starring Reese Witherspoon...

    For anyone who still thinks Disney Consumer Products isn't calling the shots at Animation, the complete stomach-churning text is here.

    "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


  2. #2

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    Re: Kiss your Disney Princess goodbye, boys...

    I still think my theorem from before is proven true here, yet again..

    The Walt Disney Company is no longer about producing high quality products and and providing Guests with a magical memory. Its one and only mission now is to make as much money as possible, in any way possible, no matter the cost; and it no longer matters what must be sacrificed to make that all-important dollar.
    In this case, the quality of a Disney film is being compromised and retooled to pad the merchandise sales of the film's characters. The subject matter of a Disney film no longer matters, as long as it sells t-shirts, DVDs, dolls, or whatever the monkey horde can dream up.


  3. #3

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    Re: Kiss your Disney Princess goodbye, boys...

    So, a major Hollywood studio is allowing marketing and merchandising potential to influence its artistic movie making decisions?

    Shocking, I tell you. SHOCKING!

    Why do you so-called purists always raise your hands in righteous indignation every time Disney does something to make money? They're a huge, international, multimedia giant. It's what they do--and they've been doing it for decades. It's no longer Walt's little company that could. Hasn't been for over 40 years. Time to get over it.

    Do I think "Tangled" is a poor choice of title compared to "Rapunzel"? Certainly. But at least it's not as egregious as "The Great Mouse Detective" was compared to "Basil of Baker Street."

    And then again, it's only a title. "The Great Mouse Detective" as a film was clever and entertaining and became a significant stepping stone to the resurgence of Disney animation in the 1980s and 90s. Without it, there is no "Little Mermaid" or "Beauty and the Beast."

    So, if calling "Rapunzel" "Tangled" puts more butts in seats and sells more action figures, so what? My first question is still going to be, "Is the movie any good?"

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but Hollywood is about making money. If you want artistic integrity, go to Sundance.

  4. #4

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    Re: Kiss your Disney Princess goodbye, boys...

    Quote Originally Posted by disneytim View Post
    Why do you so-called purists always raise your hands in righteous indignation every time Disney does something to make money? They're a huge, international, multimedia giant. It's what they do--and they've been doing it for decades. It's no longer Walt's little company that could. Hasn't been for over 40 years. Time to get over it.
    Try busting your smug butt on an animated film for years, then have Consumer Products pull this kind of crap on you and the crew.

    Guaranteed it'll wipe that smirk off your face.


    "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


  5. #5

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    Re: Kiss your Disney Princess goodbye, boys...

    Gotta agree with disneytim. Who really care that much about just a title.

    What's most important is the story. And certainly their are other things that go into attracting a wide market. Remember back 10 years ago, a new Disney animated movie was to have been titled "Kingdom of the Sun" - Great title . . . and after reworking the story, the new title is given a horrendous name "The Emperor's New Groove". Really one of the worst titles of any Disney animated movie, BUT the movie did well at the box office, despite the lack of promotion of the movie. So a title alone is NOT going to make a difference.

    And Disney did attempt some animated features that would have some appeal to boys, which included Emperor's New Groove, Treasure Planet, Atlantis, Tarzan, Meet the Robinson's, and Brother Bear. Of those, only Tarzan was a really big success.

    And it should be mentioned that even though a movie doesn't sound like it will appeal to boys, like a story about a little girl being raised by her older sister, and adopt an alien as a pet, really doesn't sound like it has much appeal to boys, BUT it did, thanks to Stitch. And the movie was a success.

    Now, I have to ask, is it REALLY THAT suprising that boys are not attracted to movie that focus on romance, and princesses??? And is this something that Disney just NOW discovered??? Disney has been making BILLIONS off of the princesses, and just who is that market, is it BOYS??? Heck no! It's girls. Similar with the Disney Channel, the programming misses much of the boys market, so they are trying to refocus their 2nd cable channel to boys programming.

    As far at the title of this topic "Kiss your Disney Princess goodbye, boys...", Disney isn't kissing ANY princesses goodbye, anytime soon. Not when the princesses merchandise continues bringing in billions of dollars. They are only shifting around priorities on which stories they are placing priorities on, and that continually changes, too. Disney doesn't ALWAYS place a princess in every single one of their movies, nor do they need to. But there will be more new Disney princesses in tne future, and more new female characters. So NO ONE has to say goodbye to the princesses.

  6. #6

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    Re: Kiss your Disney Princess goodbye, boys...

    Beat me to it Mr Wiggins. Of course if I started this thread no one would respond!

    I hate to say this, but I think our culture has changed significantly to where Disney no longer nas a choice. I said it even before this article, Princess and the Frog would have been much more successful if Disney de-emphasized the Princess aspect.

    This does not mean that Walt's classic princess movies have lost their value. They will always remain classics. But our times have changed and tastes have changed.

  7. #7

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    Re: Kiss your Disney Princess goodbye, boys...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Wiggins View Post
    Try busting your smug butt on an animated film for years, then have Consumer Products pull this kind of crap on you and the crew.

    Guaranteed it'll wipe that smirk off your face.

    If I'm working on a project for years that doesn't make any $$ then I'm not going to be working on the NEXT project (and the next, and the next, etc).

    This is the way of the world. I can't tell you how many times I've spent 6, 8, 12, 18 months on a project only for it to get changed at the last minute or wiped out completely. It happens. It's happened at Disney before (Emperors New Groove anybody?). Maybe not for the same reasons, but it HAS happened, and it worked out for the best.

    Are you going to tell me Walt didn't like $$ now too?


  8. #8

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    Re: Kiss your Disney Princess goodbye, boys...

    The print version of that LA Times article had the Floyd Norman Rapunzel Salvation cartoon which the online version does not.

    However, after doing some research, I found this link to not only the Rapunzel Salvation gag but much more from Mr. Norman. gag wall

  9. #9

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    Re: Kiss your Disney Princess goodbye, boys...

    well then why is it that Pixar can create odd ball stories and not have to scramble and panic just to try and cover every part of the market? they're confident in their stories, of course there are changes, but for the most part it seems like their ideas stick to the heart of their quality. critics said Up won't appeal to kids b/c it's an old man and such, Up was pretty darn successful, there's no surprise there. as far as product marketing for that film, i'm not sure how it's doing. Pixar knows what they're doing, but Disney animation seems like it's so worried about making any wrong move that it cripples their creative flow and turns it mediocre just so it can appeal to a generic audience. Pixar understands quality, and it shows in every film.

    it feels like Disney animation is not confident in their own product, and that's sad. if you're not confident in your stories then of course it's going to be interpreted badly. they can do great, they proved it in The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast, but they need to stop being afraid. i too hate the title Tangled, but whatever, let them do their own thing. if it helps succeed, then let Disney pat themselves on the back, if it doesn't, then they'll realize it and continue to be nervous all over again on the next project, fearing they'll screw it up.

  10. #10

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    Re: Kiss your Disney Princess goodbye, boys...

    Doesn't Disney realize that this is their own doing? It happened before with all the direct to DVD crap. People stopped caring about going to the theater for a Disney film if they can just get a lousy DVD movie for cheap. Add on that the theatrical films weren't any good to that and you end up with the death of 2D animation at Disney a few years back.

    Disney has been pushing their Princesses to death lately too. Taking films like Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast etc.... all films that are great for ALL AUDIENCES and gearing them specifically to girls.


    The trailer for The Princess and the Frog was also pretty lousy in my opinion. I ended up loving the movie but the trailers did nothing to get me excited.


    Same will go for Rapunzel... i mean Tangled. It has to be a good looking movie, but you also need a title that resonates! Rapunzel IS the name of the fairytale. Disney is unwise to lose that. They could definitely try to connect with the boys market better but do they really need to change the title to do so?

    This is just obsurd.


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  11. #11

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    Re: Kiss your Disney Princess goodbye, boys...

    We still haven't seen Princess and the Frog, and we would go and see everything Disney would come out with. We even saw Chicken Little in the theatre.


  12. #12

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    Re: Kiss your Disney Princess goodbye, boys...

    Quote Originally Posted by Coheteboy View Post
    Doesn't Disney realize that this is their own doing? It happened before with all the direct to DVD crap. People stopped caring about going to the theater for a Disney film if they can just get a lousy DVD movie for cheap. Add on that the theatrical films weren't any good to that and you end up with the death of 2D animation at Disney a few years back.

    Disney has been pushing their Princesses to death lately too. Taking films like Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast etc.... all films that are great for ALL AUDIENCES and gearing them specifically to girls.
    Bingo.

    And for those who think this is just a title change, it ain't, folks -- it's a content skew as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by sir clinksalot View Post
    Are you going to tell me Walt didn't like $$ now too?
    Please. The idiocy of Disney's move isn't about making money vs. making art, per the knee-jerk (and off the point) reaction of disneytim's strawman post. And it isn't about Iger vs. Walt.

    It's about making money by making films as if you know WTF you're doing as film makers and film marketers -- not a bunch of blind sheep driven by a Consumer Products Division that's stampeding after the currently hot demographic.

    "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


  13. #13

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    Re: Kiss your Disney Princess goodbye, boys...

    A movie has it's title changed during production?! That's never happened before!

    Disney has enjoyed the short term profits of DTVs and the Princess line but is now suffering the long term consequences of brand mistrust and lower box office receipts. Getting public opinion to change will not be easy, but Disney has to try at some point and de-emphasizing the Princess aspect of the story may be the best way to encourage current audiences to give it a chance.

    Is Tangled the best title? I don't know, I haven't done the market reseach. However I'd be more insulted if Disney made a shoddy movie called Rapunzel than a great one called Tangled.
    I like The Happiest Millionaire. What's wrong with that?

  14. #14

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    Re: Kiss your Disney Princess goodbye, boys...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Wiggins View Post
    It's about making money by making films as if you know WTF you're doing as film makers and film marketers -- not a bunch of blind sheep driven by a Consumer Products Division that's stampeding after the currently hot demographic.
    Is that Chief Creative Officer, Pixar and Disney Animation Studios John Lasseter, and Ed Catmull, president of Pixar and Disney Animation Studios? Really?

    Here's some thoughts on the subject from The Animation Guild Blog:

    I got news for the big corporate thinkers. "Princess" on the movie posters isn't the reason the feature underperformed ...

    Boys had no problem going to see Little Mermaid. And they didn't have any reluctance watching Princess Jasmine fall in love with Aladdin.
    Consider another Disney hand-drawn feature: You can't get much more virile and manly than a cartoon entitled Hercules, can you? Yet the muscled Greek God performed at about the same level domestically as TP&TF ($100 million) when it came out a dozen years ago.

    I would submit that both pictures had great stuff in them; both contained fine animation, zesty settings, solid voice acting and music. But based on box office, neither connected with the public the way Mermaid or Aladdin did, because the pieces didn't jell in the same way the Disney animated features came together in the first half of the nineties.
    more at:
    TAG Blog: Cliched Corporate Thinking
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  15. #15

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    Re: Kiss your Disney Princess goodbye, boys...

    ALIASd, as much as I'd like to think the reason Frog didn't do so well was because it wasn't that good a movie, the box office totals of New Moon and Transformers 2 suggest that quality does not always relate to performance.
    I like The Happiest Millionaire. What's wrong with that?

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