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  • History Repeating Itself?

    I have a feeling that, once again, history is going to repeat himself. Disney has been coming up with a few flops lately. Cars 2, Prince of Persia, Mas Needs Moms. I know that they have also come out with some good movies too like Muppets, Tangled, but I the fact that Disney barley had a presence at the awards this year kinda indicates that history might be repeating itself again. It did in the 40's, it did in the 80's and it might do it again. Anybody else get this feeling?

  • #2
    Re: History Repeating Itself?

    Disney's good has been good. All the "bad" ones I have failed to see.
    I think their marketing sucks. As I've only seen their praised movies because of good word & usually it's on DVD by the time.
    Whether the movie is good or bad, I just have zero interest in watching Disney movies when based off the trailer. When I think about it, John Carter looks like a great movie. But I just have no interest in watching it. But I have no idea what it could be besides marketing, they need to give their movies more of a presence.

    I think Cars 2 was a financial success though. Love Princess & the Frog, Tangled, & Muppets so I have faith in them.

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    • #3
      Re: History Repeating Itself?

      I tend to agree, but every studio has their ups and downs. Disney has been down this road a few times and I'm sure they will bounce back just like before, however some things need to drastically change:

      1) Disney simply cannot be forking out a quarter of a billion dollars for a movie... any movie. For $250 million dollars the studio should have been able to produce 2 John Carter movies... and don't get me started on the Lone Ranger... $200+ million for a western!?!?!?!?!?! The studio needs to tighten its belt.

      2) Enough with the girl-centric nonsense Disney. For decades Disney was synonymous with family entertainment and produced high quality entertainment that could be enjoyed by everyone. Disney clearly geared certain TV and movie productions specifically at target audiences. For the boys the studio produced shows like "Zorro" and "Davy Crockett," meanwhile the girls enjoyed films with Hayley Mills or TV shows and movies featuring Annette... there was something for everyone both young and old. However over the last 15 years or so Disney has become decidedly girl-centric. From promoting the "Disney Princess" films to the tweenie girl garbage that permeates the Disney Channel, Disney appears to have decided one half of the demographic is not important. Just walk into any Disney Store... mostly Disney Princess stuff. Disney needs to get off their butt and produce a quality adventure show for the Disney Channel.

      3) try to remember this whole thing started with Walt and a Mouse. it would be nice to see a Mickey animated short before a movie. I thought Disney was on the right path with the Goofy short a few years back, but it appears Disney is simply satisfied with Toy Story shorts as a fall back.... Hey, here's a wild idea... How about an animated musical film featuring Mickey and the Gang. I think Disney would be surprised at how well it would do.

      Yancy

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      • #4
        Re: History Repeating Itself?

        I think Disney is suffering from two problems.

        The first is that they have become a numbers driven company instead of one that strives for creative greatness. I know some of this is changing with John Lasseter's role, but one man can only do so much in such a large company. Until they get back to where it's all about story, this will be an issue. Fortunately, some people, like John, get that.

        The other problem is their marketing department is running scared. They did a masterful job promoting Tron Legacy, and the movie let them down, which caused a lot of turmoil. Now it seems like they are afraid to really sell a movie, because if it flops, they shoulder a lot of the blame.

        Do I think we're headed back to another dark days, like the 80s? No. I think Disney has to many solid properties and to much diverse talent to fail outright. There will be some misses, as they figure out how to best make things work, but there is no way Pixar, Marvel, and Feature Animation are going to become as irrelevant as Disney did back then. Disney just needs to find who the right people are to steer each aspect of the process and they will be a force to recon with, once again.

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        • #5
          Re: History Repeating Itself?

          I just finished reading the part of DisneyWar which chronicled the studio's financial turmoil of the the 1980s, and it's a little eerie how similar today's mistakes are to then. In the early 80s, Disney only released very major, expensive films, typically only one a year or so. Despite that these films were heavily funded and even technologically groundbreaking, the head of Disney at the time, Card Walker, insisted that the marketing budget should be kept down and that the movie could sell primarily by positive word of mouth. Such films included the Black Hole, the original Tron, and the Black Cauldron. All of these films were major financial failures, and almost brought the company down.

          When Michael Eisner joined the company in the mid-80s, he forced the studio to focus only on smaller, much less expensive movies, and to release several a year instead of just one (side note: John Carter is the only Disney-branded live-action to be released tis year). This was a strategy he used to bring Paramount major success, and only when he brought it to Disney did they finally become profitable and save themselves from the threat of hostile takeover. Perhaps Disney would be wise to pursue this strategy again.

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          • #6
            Re: History Repeating Itself?

            There's another problem I see here. Disney is afraid of committing to too many projects. They've tightened their belt into just a few "tent pole" films a year. Well... if you put all of your money into ONE film, your risk of failing goes sky high.

            What they aren't doing enough of, are smaller pictures that are GOOD but don't break the bank. Stories that are compelling or fun for entire families. Where's the next Parent Trap or Freaky Friday?


            What they're also not doing very well is really understanding what their market is and how to sell a film properly. The floundering Prince of Persia probably hurt John Carter more than we'll ever know since they both look very similar.


            With the age of the internet, they're less confident as ever. They need to just believe in what they're making and don't be afraid to spend. You gotta spend money to make money and with the case of John Carter, they squandered millions by not marketing it properly.



            I also see a problem with their branding. By not saying "Walt Disney Pictures", they're telling everyone that this is "DISNEY" and... well... frankly, I think it makes the company look bad when they do that.


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            • #7
              Re: History Repeating Itself?

              What an interesting convo - thanks for starting, 999.


              Mark - I, too, am in the midst of reading "Disney War," and I agree that Eisner's strategy of "singles and doubles" may be what they need to go back to. "Singles and doubles" refers to Eisener's strategy that "not every film needs to be a home run," and to concentrate on solid stories while watching budgets. This would allow them to make the types of family friendly films that Cohete talks about, and would also allow them to get less girl-centric (completely agree with you, galandro).


              Part of the problem is that I doubt the Disney Corp as a whole thinks they have a problem. While John Carter caused a $200 million write-off, it barely made a dent in the stock price, and with the Avengers, Brave, and soon Wreck-It Ralph and the Great and Powerful Oz coming out, they are most likely sitting tight and waiting to recoup their losses in another quarter.


              While Disney may not have a financial problem, they definitely have a leadership problem. I was really reminded of Disney by this recent NY Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/24/op...ef=davidbrooks I really think Disney needs to focus on what they can do that's new, not just what they can do that's better than others. We can probably think of hundreds of reasons why Walt was a great leader, but one of the key reasons was that he was always looking for what was next and new - first color animation; then full-length animated features; then live action; then theme parks; then an entire city. Disney needs that kind of thinking again.


              I do not agree that it is going "downhill" in general. Every generation of films had their issues. Pinocchio didn't make any money thanks to WWII starting; Alice in Wonderland was reviled by the critics; and Black Cauldron stunk but was followed by two moderate sucesses, and then of course the late 80s/early 90s "Katzenberg era" that was so successful.


              Also worth noting is that even the "bombs" create loyal fans. Sure, I loved the classics as a kid, but I also LOVED Candleshoe, Natty Gan, and Shipwrecked. And when's the last time you saw D23 give those "classics" some love? I guess my point is that even the movies we may not like are creating a new generation of fans.

              Loved reading all of your thoughts, please keep them coming!
              “Walt Disney is a thing, an image that people have . . . I drink and I smoke and there are a lot of other things I do that don’t fit that image. But that image stands for something, and you don’t have to explain to people what it means.”Walt Disney

              Follow me on Twitter at WaltsMartini for Disney Happy Hour at any hour!

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              • #8
                Re: History Repeating Itself?

                Originally posted by WaltsMartini View Post
                What an interesting convo - thanks for starting, 999.


                Mark - I, too, am in the midst of reading "Disney War," and I agree that Eisner's strategy of "singles and doubles" may be what they need to go back to. "Singles and doubles" refers to Eisener's strategy that "not every film needs to be a home run," and to concentrate on solid stories while watching budgets. This would allow them to make the types of family friendly films that Cohete talks about, and would also allow them to get less girl-centric (completely agree with you, galandro).


                Part of the problem is that I doubt the Disney Corp as a whole thinks they have a problem. While John Carter caused a $200 million write-off, it barely made a dent in the stock price, and with the Avengers, Brave, and soon Wreck-It Ralph and the Great and Powerful Oz coming out, they are most likely sitting tight and waiting to recoup their losses in another quarter.


                While Disney may not have a financial problem, they definitely have a leadership problem. I was really reminded of Disney by this recent NY Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/24/op...ef=davidbrooks I really think Disney needs to focus on what they can do that's new, not just what they can do that's better than others. We can probably think of hundreds of reasons why Walt was a great leader, but one of the key reasons was that he was always looking for what was next and new - first color animation; then full-length animated features; then live action; then theme parks; then an entire city. Disney needs that kind of thinking again.


                I do not agree that it is going "downhill" in general. Every generation of films had their issues. Pinocchio didn't make any money thanks to WWII starting; Alice in Wonderland was reviled by the critics; and Black Cauldron stunk but was followed by two moderate sucesses, and then of course the late 80s/early 90s "Katzenberg era" that was so successful.


                Also worth noting is that even the "bombs" create loyal fans. Sure, I loved the classics as a kid, but I also LOVED Candleshoe, Natty Gan, and Shipwrecked. And when's the last time you saw D23 give those "classics" some love? I guess my point is that even the movies we may not like are creating a new generation of fans.

                Loved reading all of your thoughts, please keep them coming!


                Very insightful/thoughtful post! Thanks for your contribution!


                Visit my mice chat toy shop!
                http://micechat.com/forums/merchandi...oy-shoppe.html

                Track Disney Animation Presence in the Theme Parks Worldwide!
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                • #9
                  Re: History Repeating Itself?

                  Cars 2 isn't really a flop, just not as well received as other Pixar films.
                  WALTER ELIAS DISNEY COMMUNITY OF TOMORROW- WEDCOT

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                  • #10
                    Re: History Repeating Itself?

                    Originally posted by lionheartkc View Post
                    I think Disney is suffering from two problems.

                    The first is that they have become a numbers driven company instead of one that strives for creative greatness. I know some of this is changing with John Lasseter's role, but one man can only do so much in such a large company. Until they get back to where it's all about story, this will be an issue. Fortunately, some people, like John, get that.

                    The other problem is their marketing department is running scared. They did a masterful job promoting Tron Legacy, and the movie let them down, which caused a lot of turmoil. Now it seems like they are afraid to really sell a movie, because if it flops, they shoulder a lot of the blame.
                    If marketing did a masterful job of marketing Tron Legacy, then they did their job and have nothing to apologize for. If a film fails to meet expectations, then it's more than likely that it's the FILM's fault, NOT marketing.

                    A great film will generally succeed, even with poor marketing. But a bad film will rarely succeed, even with outstanding marketing.

                    The only way that marketing can be the blame for a film's failure is if the whole film concept was based on a marketing idea from the start.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: History Repeating Itself?

                      Originally posted by bfdf55 View Post
                      If marketing did a masterful job of marketing Tron Legacy, then they did their job and have nothing to apologize for. If a film fails to meet expectations, then it's more than likely that it's the FILM's fault, NOT marketing.

                      A great film will generally succeed, even with poor marketing. But a bad film will rarely succeed, even with outstanding marketing.

                      The only way that marketing can be the blame for a film's failure is if the whole film concept was based on a marketing idea from the start.
                      I completely agree. To use "Disney War" as a source yet again, the author cited that the studio was less than enthused about the Sixth Sense, and later about POTC movie (can you imagine?!?) But both movies went on to be huge thanks to good old fashioned word of mouth and slow but steady praise from the media.
                      “Walt Disney is a thing, an image that people have . . . I drink and I smoke and there are a lot of other things I do that don’t fit that image. But that image stands for something, and you don’t have to explain to people what it means.”Walt Disney

                      Follow me on Twitter at WaltsMartini for Disney Happy Hour at any hour!

                      Comment

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