Monday, January 13, 2014

... And Sometimes Just Irritates Me

Fortune gets the broad brush strokes right ...

... Then came Frozen, based loosely on Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen, an idea that had kicked around Disney since the 1940s. Lasseter, whose first job was at Disney Animation, remembered a series of paintings of a frozen world and dug them out of storage when he came back. "I never forgot those paintings," he says. "They were so incredibly beautiful." Lasseter showed them to Chris Buck, the director of Tarzan, who had left Disney in the dark years, and helped convince him to come back. ...

And then the picture was developed as a follow-up princess movie to The Princess and the Frog, and then it got shelved by the main lot when TPATF under-performed (and hand-drawn features became toxic). Then it got revived, and now it's breaking records. (And selling lots of toys.)

The thing I know about history is, we mainly get the winners' version of how everything happened. That becomes the embossed and validated recitation of events. Except many times, it's not completely accurate. Frozen wasn't this unbroken march from development to release. John Lasseter always liked it, but Chris Buck had barely got the story up on reels when the Top Dogs across Riverside Drive put the project in a closet and locked it away.


Jeremy Darensbourg said...

The REAL reason Frozen got made was cause of of a little Disney film called TANGLED. You think the closet door Frozen was locked in would of even been approached had Tangled did P&tF like boxoffice numbers? I just hope Disney doesn't expect Big Hero 6 to do Frozen like numbers. And as for Zootopia, well you see where i'm going with this.

Kenneth Elliott said...

I find this situation incredibly fascinating and somewhat ironic. I remember the time when Lasseter/Catmull put their foot down and stated forcefully: "NO more fairy tale princess-y movies after Tangled."

...then Frozen made 300 million, and challenged the king himself (King Simba, that is.)

I really wonder if the studio is going to shuffle projects around and/or greenlight more fairy tale movies. There was a brief news blurb about Moana late last year, but nothing since then.

Steve Hulett said...

The next Disney feature is Big Hero 6, the Ron and John feature is several years away.

And Jeremy D. is right. Frozen was reactivated after the returns for Tangled came in.

As for "No fairy tales?" I recall the same dictate from Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg when they came over the hill from Paramount. The new rule didn't last long. They okayed development on The Little Mermaid shortly after greenlight Oliver and Company.

Nothing is Hollywood is ever carved in marble. Everything is scooped out of soft beach sand.

Grant said...

' "NO more fairy tale princess-y movies after Tangled."'

You "quote" them as though it's what they said.

Except Lasseter and Catmull NEVER said that. Facts are just that, and you can't make them up. Please stop spreading lies. Studio management wanted the fairy tales dead, and Catmull and Lasseter fought for both Snow Queen and Jack and the Beanstalk--both on the docket. What they SAID was, at the time--several years agao--that there weren't any fairy tale features in active development. There weren't after Tangled did only fair business (net) at the box office. Tangled's a much better film than Frozen, though. But Frozen cost less, and has made gobs more.

At least they stopped making hand drawn animation and refocused their efforts instead on just making great movies. It's longer lasting and more important, anyway.

Steve Hulett said...

Tangled actually did excellent business. ($591,794,936 -- per Box Office Mojo -- would be "excellent" in anybody's universe.)

It's Princess and the Frog that put up number which scared management off of "Princess" tales. And Grant is right, it wasn't Lasseter or Catmull who shelved an early incarnation of Frozen, but the main lot. (Rich Ross was running the studio at the time.)

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