By Miscellaneous | | March 9, 2010 |
By Miscellaneous | | March 9, 2010 |
Despite making millions off of a merchandising craze based around its princesses, Disney has decided that the royal signifier simply doesn’t work for its movie titles. And not only does the studio blame the term for the disappointing box office for The Princess and the Frog — which would have earned more money as is save for the fact that the word “princess” turns off young boys — but it’s using paralleled logic to explain the decision to retitle an upcoming animated feature from Rapunzel to Tangled.
Last I heard, John Lasseter claimed that the film isn’t really an adaptation of the classic fairy tale and so calling it “Rapunzel” just didn’t make sense. I like that reason far better than the new statement that “Tangled” is supposed to be more gender neutral than “Rapunzel.” I know, not a lot of guys are into hairy girls the way Mo’Nique’s husband is, but I also don’t think anyone is making such kinds of connections anymore than they’re making links to The Peanut Butter Solution.
Disney exec logic: “Oh, no that movie isn’t very popular and it’s about people whose hair won’t stop growing. We can’t call our movie ‘Rapunzel’ because that title is synonymous with someone with an uncanny amount of hair. Never mind that our film really is about a person with really long hair. We’ll fool everyone with our new title, which sounds like a thriller and not like something kids will see at all!”
Well, I know I was not like most boys, but I can honestly say I had a Rapunzel fantasy at a very young age. But, whatever, rather than attempting to market to those few others who might also have a thing for Crystal Gayle or Splash-era Daryl Hannah, go with a name associated with being stuck in a web and spiders and Spider-Ma … oh, I think I get it now.
Here’s what the rest of the blogosphere thinks of Disney’s reasoning:
“Rapunzel”? What is that, a WNBA team or something? Get out of here with your “Rapunzel.” Read the sign. This clubhouse says “No girls allowed.” Dudes, lets all go see Tangled and then hit up a strip club. Guys night out!
Here’s what I don’t get. The name Rapunzel doesn’t immediately sound like a girl’s name, so if you know the name Rapunzel, then you know it because you’re familiar with the classic fairy tale. And if you’re familiar with the classic fairy tale, then you know it’s about a dude who rescues a girl with very long hair from the tower she’s been trapped in for years and years. So why would boys not want to see the film if it’s called Rapunzel if they already also know that there’s a pretty cool dude in there too? I just don’t get it. Besides, aren’t the kids going to see the trailer … and isn’t the trailer going to show them that there’s a — wait for it — girl in the movie?
That’s the same rationale that got Disney’s in-development project The Snow Queen canned (on account of the difficulty of renaming it Snow: Monster Truck Explosion, we presume).
A good movie is a good movie. Pixar could name their next project LADY FRILLY PINK PANTS and if it was well done, it would still be a smashing success like all their other films. I think Disney’s just making excuses here.
So now, instead of sounding like a princess movie, it sounds like a Lifetime movie about a murdered salon owner. Fantastic. […] Oh, and I might mention that Alice In Wonderland recently made a fair amount of money on its opening weekend as well, despite not being called Hatter!
Disney may have learned the wrong lesson from the lackluster performance of Princess and the Frog. For one thing, was it really the premise of the movie that turned kids off, or the fact that it was a hand-drawn animated picture being sold to a generation raised on the digital animation of Pixar? Perhaps it wasn’t a negative reaction to girliness, but rather a rejection of Disney’s old-fashioned taste. Maybe the swashbuckling hero written into the story will work out and draw little boys, but forgive us for being skeptical of the demand for an homage to Errol Flynn in 2010.
What concerns me is the renewed emphasis on marketing, widespread appeal, and profitability. We’ve already seen that Disney isn’t interested in making a sequel to the wildly popular film The Proposal, which grossed $315 million worldwide. Why not? Because they can’t make toys, greeting cards, action figures, or a theme park ride off of it. When you are that focused on cross-platform marketing, I have to wonder how you can manage to keep your artistic integrity intact.
Finally, let me leave you with good reason why your daughters shouldn’t watch Disney Princess movies. Those girls are bitches: