Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Disney's Mermaid Mistake?

The Mouse has backed off the moving View Master option for The Little Mermaid, and critic Scott Mendelsohn thinks that ain't good.

... One could argue the logic of Disney's surprise cancellation of the planned September reissue of The Little Mermaid. The 3D reissues, which started with The Lion King back in September 2011 peaked to an absurd degree with that blockbuster rerelease. ... Disney obviously thinks that the 3D reissue is an idea whose time came and went at record speed. ...

For 2013, the big female-centric picture is Frozen. [Aside from that], a company that made its billions partially by catering to young females has now set its course for young boys almost exclusively. If you look at Disney's release schedule over the next two years, you'll see a clear pattern. Not only does pretty much every film target young audiences, they are almost exclusively geared toward boys. For 2013 and 2014, Disney has a steady slate of either hardcore boy-centric entertainments (Planes, The Lone Ranger, Need For Speed) ...

I don't know if the House of Walt has made a boo-boo with Mermaid or not, but I sort of know how our fine conglomerates work: They don't really care what demographic they serve if it won't make them money.

Somebody has probably done a dollar-cost analysis and decided that the '89 flick isn't going to be turning a profit in the dimensional format, so why bother? (Maybe they're wrong, but since the 3D version won't ever get released, we'll never know.)

I don't think anybody inside the Empire stopped and said, "Oh. My. GOD. The little girl demographic isn't being well-served by Diz Co.! We must re-think this!" I think it was purely a money call. The company didn't see value in expending dollars on a reformat and re-release, so it ain't happening.

Female moppets will have to make do with Frozen. And look at their DVDs of Cinderella, Snow White, and Tangled.


Unknown said...

If there was one film that should have been rereleased in 3D, it should have been Little Mermaid.

It's classic Disney, and old enough to be called one, unlike Monster Inc, which I still consider to be "new."

Unknown said...

Another thought I had:

You said in your article: ".. I sort of know how our fine conglomerates work: They don't really care what demographic they serve if it won't make them money." While I understand your point, I do not see how money could be 100% of the determining factor here, as both Prince of Persia and John Carter have shown that prestigious "boys-fighting-" type films can and DO disappoint. Even the underrated Tron: Legacy was not a slam-bang win in the eyes of many.

And yet, Disney has taken the opportunity to reduce female-centricity at every given opportunity, from the pointless elimination of Rapunzel's name from her own movie to the infinately-delayed sequel to Enchanted (a film which only cost 85 million, and made almost 360 million worldwide.) Tangled made the studio a ton of money (in both ticket sales and merchandise,) but why has there only been a single television special as a follow up, instead of a theatrical sequel and major theme park presence, expanding the story's fanbase and potential, (which has been done quite effectively with the boy-driven Cars franchise)?

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