The end of this month, the latest Pixar feature hits your neighborhood multiplex. Early reviews are ecstatic, but one of the media themes out there now is: "It's about a rat in Paris with a hard-to-spell title, so it's gonna be a tough sell..."
I think the "hard sell" meme is supplanting the corporate media's usual "It was hurt by the animation glut," as witnessed by this other Variety piece:
In a summer of easy-to-market sequels, "Ratatouille" isn't based on a pre-existing franchise, its lead character isn't already known by auds, no A-list stars provide the voices of the characters (preventing the studio from pushing them out on the talkshow circuit), and there's the hard-to-pronounce name.
On top of all that, the movie's not even fast-food friendly -- mainly because the lead's a rat and scrambles around a high-end French restaurant. It's also facing some serious competition with "Transformers" and the next installment of "Harry Potter," both of which are expected to drum up family business.
I'm betting that the picture is going to do just fine amidst the stampede of giant, marauding robots (didn't Brad Bird do that one already?). And I'm betting that it plays through the end of the summer and makes Disney a potful of francs.
The Mouse House, unlike Time-Warner a few years back, knows what it has in the latest Brad Bird picture and is promoting it.