Sunday, September 13, 2009

D to the 23rd Power

Comic-Con has inspired the Big Mouse.

... [Disney's D23 convention] can easily be considered a success in its first year, having sold more than 20,000 tickets to mostly die-hard fans who wanted first looks at toons like "The Princess and the Frog," "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time," "Rapunzel," "A Christmas Carol," "Alice in Wonderland," "Tron Legacy" and "The Sorcerer's Apprentice."

Disney also used the confab to unveil Double Dare You as a toon production label with Guillermo del Toro to produce scarier animated pics; "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" as the title of the fourth swashbuckler in the franchise, to bow in 2011; "The Cheapest Muppet Movie Ever Made" for the return of the Muppets on the bigscreen; and a 3-D revamp of the "Star Tours" ride.

When I was a lad, Disney was far and away the studio who knew how to reinforce its brand on multiple platforms and multiple venues.

Crafty, far-seeing Walt was the first big-time Hollywood producer to jump with both feet into television, taking the plunge in 1950, when other studios were trying to ignore the upstart medium.

Disney advertised its films and television shows at its theme parks, touted the parks on its network shows. Every other major player was slow to catch up.

Disney fell behind the curve in the seventies and early eighties, but now its once again getting aggressive with all the new delivery systems, platforms, and big-time conventions. With D23, there were only a few minor flies in the rich, moist ointment:

The convention center’s main floor appeared to lack some of the magic Disney is known for. There was an absence of costumed characters roaming around taking photos with attendees. Booths seemed small and cramped versus the large, inviting displays on hand at Comic-Con ... [T]he overall ticket price ... may also have kept attendance levels lower than hoped. Single day adult tix went for $37, while four-day passes were available for $111 and $81 for children. Two days would have covered a four-day pass to Comic-Con, where every studio is pushing their wares.

The House of Mouse will no doubt iron out the kinks as it goes along. It almost always does.

(Reuters take on the Disney extravaganza is here.)


Anonymous said...

"The Cheapest Muppet Movie Ever Made"?? I can *kinda* see that as a half-hour TV special, but as a full-length movie people are required to pay for? Bad move, Disney. But the return of Pirates and "Princess and the Frog" look like winners. It was a fun event, but man was it dead on some days. I wonder if Disney has eroded fan loyalty with some of its questionable moves (like buying muppets and superheroes it had no hand in developing)?

Steve Hulett said...

Buying Pixar hasn't hurt Pixar ... or Disney.

Anonymous said...

But Pixar creates its own characters in-house, as did Disney in its Golden Age. (Or else it bought the rights to characters created by others and remade them into the Disney Version). It just seems weird - and to me, off-putting - when Disney buys Spiderman or lesser properties like the Muppets. I don't think Walt Disney would have done anything like that. It just seems more in the Disney spirit to create characters, not buy them. Seems so damn...corporate. And very Eisner (ugh).

Anonymous said...

I don't think Walt Disney would have done anything like that.

This might have escaped your notice, but Walt's dead.

Disney isn't a small animation studio anymore. It's a hungry conglomerate.

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