Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Disney Steam Roller

There's a lot of press lately as how unstoppable the Mouse is. How its theatrical releases are all blockbusters.

... This year they’ve got Cinderella, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant Man, two Pixar movies, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Next year they’ve got The Jungle Book, Alice in Wonderland 2, Captain America 3, Zootopia, Dr. Strange, Finding Dory, Disney’s Moana, and Star Wars: Rogue One. 2017 brings Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Star Wars Episode VIII, Pirates of the Caribbean 5, Toy Story 4, Thor: Ragnarok, Spider-Man, and another Pixar film. ...

One of which will (perhaps?) be The Incredibles. ...

This, of course is a big turnaround from the bad old days:

[In 1981, Disney's] animation division was turning out middling dreck like The Fox and the Hound, which delivered a scant $63 million in worldwide sales, according to Box Office Mojo.


Drek or not, the picture made more than five times its cost. The same was true of its immediate predecessor The Rescuers, the first animated feature to inspire a sequel. But it's certainly true that Walt Disney Productions' movie line-up of the late seventies and early eighties was pretty much under-whelming.

Yet dominance in one field or another is never permanent. Remember Microsoft's strangle-hold on desk-top computers' operating systems? (Remember desk-top computers?) How about the big bad car company General Motors? A.T. & T. used to own an official, government-sanctioned monopoly. Nothing is forever, particularly a movie studio's reign at the top.

In the meantime, on the heels of Cinderella's boffo opening, the House that Walt built tees up its next animation retread.

... Disney has dated its live-action fairy-tale retelling Beauty and the Beast for March 17, 2017.

Emma Watson is starring as Belle while Dan Stevens will play the Prince/Beast. Luke Evans will play the role of Gaston. Emma Thompson has joined the cast as Mrs. Potts and Kevin Kline as Belle's father, Maurice. Production on the project, which will include some CG magic, will kick off in May at Shepperton Studios in London. ...

Movie companies have a long history of running good things into the ground. Disney has found that, along with its Marvel, Pixar and Lucas brands, there's big dollars in the companies' old cartoon features. The question is, how long will it take for that particular vein of gold to play out?

When Diz Co. gets around to filming live-action versions of Rescuers Down Under and The Black Cauldron, we'll know we're at (or near) the end.


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