The Princess and the Frog

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Post by EricJ » December 24th, 2009, 2:01 pm

Atlantis was also slaughtered by bad reviews, and that during the catastrophic Summer of '01 when everything else was being slaughtered by bad reviews, so audiences tossed another log on the fire.
For comparison, Hercules was written off as a studio disaster for "only" making $99M in its entire June first run, while Hunchback was "disappointing" for only breaking three figures and less than Pocahontas.

Mind you, these were summer movies, while HotR was dropped into the Easter Slot of Death where making $50M requires healthy staying power.
Treasure Planet, of course, had its mid-December run artificially snipped for a $38M total (when Eisner pulled it out of wide release early to offer its head as penance to the Stockholders' meeting)--So we'll never know how much it would have made if it'd been allowed to pick up on school vacation and hang-around January doldrums, like most family movies plan on today.

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Post by Ben » December 29th, 2009, 9:57 am

The important thing with P&TF is that it's rebuilding traditional animation audiences for the big screen. And, critically, the film has been seen as a success even if it's not the B&TB that it technically needed to be. Disney is back on track, at least, and it's been getting good props for going back to its roots.

What's sad is that Alvin 2: A Steaming Pile Of Poo has already beaten P&TF's take. No-one was ever going to decide the future of Disney's hand drawn films after just one...it's the next two that really count - three strikes and they're out.

Still, we still have the international release to come, and it was cheaper budgeted at just over $100m so it's not an out and out failure by any means, given that anything over half that amount was a goalpost they needed to cross (and some expectations suggesting that anything over $23m would have been seen that there was a market for such films if they got the subject matter right).

The big one to watch will be Rapunzel. If the same kind of film does so much better simply because of the CGI appeal, then no-one can say that the audience hasn't spoken. :(

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Post by Jake » December 29th, 2009, 2:58 pm

Ben wrote:The big one to watch will be Rapunzel. If the same kind of film does so much better simply because of the CGI appeal, then no-one can say that the audience hasn't spoken. :(
Unless, of course, it's a better film with better word of mouth. I liked "The Princess and the Frog", but it was definitely a disappointment. Compare the animation with something like "Tarzan". Compare the music with any film from their 90's renaissance. People are likely to be charmed by the movie, but what they're telling their friends and family is, "It's cute, but it isn't as good as 'x'." Which doesn't motivate anyone to see it, at least in theatres. Personally, I've seen it three times, and am happily seeing it a fourth time tonight. I'm trying to do my part in supporting 2D animation, but if this was their very best effort, we should all give up now.

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Post by surfnspy » December 29th, 2009, 3:13 pm

I think the grosses are going to be a problem for future 2-D.

It's at 63 now and may get to 80 after the New Year's weekend after which it might make it to the mid-90's. (Since it has been out so long and has a very low per screen average, it will lose a huge chunk of screens, Friday the 8th and by the 15th, will be all but gone from theaters as new movies take up screens.)

SO, let's say it does 95 and does the same internationally.

Let's be generous and say it cost 100 to make.

And the world-wide marketing is 70 million.

SO, the actually take for Disney is 190.

LESS the distribution fees, theater take, of about 90.

SO, Disney gets 100 in cash.

LESS the cost to make it, 100.

Now Disney is at 0.

Less those marketing fees, 70.

That puts Disney in the hole 70 million dollars.

Okay, DVD. Fair enough.

Perhaps they will get 50-60 million from DVD.

Still, in the hole.

And I hear toy sales are solid. So maybe a bump there.

Still, this is not generating the kind of cash that Iger demands.

And as we know, he's tough about making money these days. Ask Dick Cook.

I am sure there have been some interesting conversations with finance/Iger/Lasseter in the past few weeks.

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Post by EricJ » December 29th, 2009, 5:14 pm

surfnspy wrote: SO, let's say it does 95 and does the same internationally.
Let's be generous and say it cost 100 to make.
(let's write twelve other lines)
And then it comes out on video, and we remember...we all liked it. :)

Disney business history tends to be ephemeral and changing with the times--
I can't find anyone today who'll believe me that "Hercules" was a flop in theaters (the biggest one to date for the studios, in fact)...Just as Walt today would never believe you if you were to tell him that Alice, Peter Pan and Fantasia were now three of the most popular movies for the studio.

There might be some hemming and hawing over "Should we make another one?" back and forth for the short run, and then "Rapunzel" comes out, and everybody loves it again, lather, rinse, panic, repeat.
The point is, a bona fide financial flop gets Monday-morning-quarterbacked as to whether it deserved its fate ("Land of the Lost" was not particularly seen as a "martyr" of the summer rush, in retrospect)--And although some, like with "Cars", might defensively try to revision history after the fact just to justify their industry-religious faith in numbers ("No, really....Guess they didn't like the script or something, that PROVES it was a piece o'crap!"), real folks know it's reputation that makes the sequel.

Compare it to Disney shutting down Studio Ghibli in the US after Princess Mononoke, and then suddenly in love with them again after Spirited Away won the Oscar:
Neither one particularly made more money than the other, but one made them look a little better than the other, in their obsessive studio-image quest for our mass love and affection....And P&tF got it.
Avatar got teenagers and all Alvin ended up with was boring ol' money.

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Post by Locall » December 29th, 2009, 7:04 pm

And to be honest, Princess isn't doing THAT bad... it's sitting at 66 million atm, it costed 105million to produce, normally a film should deliver double the production costs to make a profit, which is 210million, if Princess is a succes overseas it could easily be profitable when the DVD and Blue-Ray's are released.

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Post by Ben » December 30th, 2009, 2:02 pm

Let's not also forget that Disney animation is timeless. P&TF has a very profitable future in TV and video reissues. They could package this up in a number of ways over the next 20 years in various collections or lines we haven't even thought of yet. And films - especially of this nature - generally find more of an audience on home video.

Surfnspy makes a lot of very good points Eric...trust you to be so rude.

I must ask, Surf, seeing as you're about in this neck of the woods again and we're talking Disney princesses (of a fashion), is there any news on an Enchanted reissue yet? Rumor has it there's a lot of supplements and a commentary from Kevin that were held back from the initial DVD and BD. Obviously a reissue tied in for a sequel would be the natural way to get us to buy it again (darned double dipping) but word on that seems to have gone quiet. What's up with the franchise? Is there more Enchanted on the way either by sequel or more feature-packed disc release? :)

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Post by estefan » December 30th, 2009, 3:03 pm

I wouldn't want to see an Enchanted sequel. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely loved Enchanted and I constantly find myself watching my DVD copy of it every couple of months, but it's more of a stand-alone film. I mean, what can you do? Have Giselle dealing with real-life marriage and childbirth? That would just re-hash the "fish-out-of-water" theme of the first one and also veer it into adult territory (though closer to the original draft from a decade ago).

Though, apparently, both Amy Adams and Patrick Dempsey have said they wouldn't mind doing a sequel.

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Post by Dacey » December 30th, 2009, 4:01 pm

An "Enchanted" sequel has been in the works since before the movie was released, unless I'm mistaken.
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Post by eddievalient » December 30th, 2009, 8:47 pm

That's all well and good, but I agree with Estefan. What would be the point? The villain was defeated, everyone lived happily ever after, the story's over. The only good exception to this general rule I can think of is Shrek 2, but that was a one in a million, lightning in a bottle fluke. I doubt Disney would have the same success, creatively or financially.
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Post by surfnspy » December 31st, 2009, 1:56 am

hate to get off topic.

briefly--enchanted sequel IS in development, but not near production at the moment. So really, not much to say on the topic.

I would love to share the original animation storyboards with the original menken song. Fun stuff. I don't even know if Kevin has seen any of it.

BUT don't want to veer off topic on the PatF thread or we all get busted!

PatF is actually doing brisk biz this week. So far 3 million plus days on mon and tues. Very good. 100 million domestic seems unlikely still. Those who are thinking hit/flop in black and white terms are not seeing the real problem. If it was a flop, there wouldn't even be a discussion. There would not be another. Conversely if it was at 130-150 going into the new year, another 2-d pic would be a near certainty (depending on script/etc. obviously.) PatF is in that gray area where it is going to lose money in the short term and much wrangling and hand-wringing will be done to decide if it was worthwhile. True, the reviews are good, but believe me, good reviews get you a pat on the back, but that's it. A financial miss, is a financial miss and very problematic at a studio where there have been so many costly failures the chairperson lost his job this year.

Let's hope for the sake of the industry Disney isn't too discouraged. The real shame is that they can't figure out how to contain costs--why can't they figure out how to do these things for half the price?

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Post by EricJ » December 31st, 2009, 1:58 am

surfnspy wrote:hate to get off topic.
briefly--enchanted sequel IS in development, but not near production at the moment. So really, not much to say on the topic.
Where it is/isn't in production depends when they were talking about a sequel--
Originally, "Enchanted' was trying to clean up the embarrassment of one of Eisner's Orphans, and they were hoping to last-minute rewrite it into their pro-Princess marketing and throw it out on whatever mercies of the audience they could...
Then, when all the mainstream audiences unaware of its history gushed "Aww, it's so cute and it likes old-fashioned Disney!" Disney pulled a Sally Field and said we liked it, we really liked it, and planned to give it all the things you give a Popular movie, like lots of marketing and sequels and stuff.

...Whew. Glad that bit of defensive impulse has passed.
Disney is back off its crutches and merchandising its own princesses again (BO or not, girls now all know who Tiana is, which is more than can be said for Tarzan's Jane), and don't need to rely on whether we'll be seeing Giselle at Disney World in the future, so things have cooled down a bit.
Maybe a live-action direct-video or made-for-network movie to legally clean up some story treatments they were "going" to do, but the moment's come and gone and the one movie has done the job it was made for.

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Post by estefan » December 31st, 2009, 10:12 am

I'm not too worried about the future of hand-drawn animation at Disney. John Lasseter has said that hand-drawn animation will continue no matter what. Heck, they just recently canceled King of the Elves, which was a CGI film and The Snow Queen has been brought back into production.

And looking on the bright side, while The Princess and the Frog is unfortunately not quite making Beauty and the Beast dollars, at least it's not performing ala Treasure Planet or Home on the Range and sinking like a stone. To me, you can't really compare it to the Pixar films since their brand name has surpassed that of Disney, whose works have been rather hit-or-miss these past number of years. The studio's last really big hit was Lilo & Stitch (over seven years ago!).

Disney has always had these up-and-downs. Pixar is quite new, so they have gotten to that point yet. I love Pixar, don't get me wrong, but it will reach a time when they produce a dud critically and commercially and like Disney, they will need to work hard to bring their audience back again.

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Post by EricJ » December 31st, 2009, 12:00 pm

estefan wrote:Heck, they just recently canceled King of the Elves, which was a CGI film and The Snow Queen has been brought back into production.
Dang. KotE didn't sound absolutely compelling (modern wisecracking spin on fantasy?), but couldn't have been too worse an audience disappointment from its title--
"American Dog", "Gnomeo & Juliet" and the Broom Movie of 100 Titles deserved to be shut down and "Scaredy Cat" didn't, but can't think where KotE ranks on that thermometer.
And looking on the bright side, while The Princess and the Frog is unfortunately not quite making Beauty and the Beast dollars, at least it's not performing ala Treasure Planet or Home on the Range and sinking like a stone. To me, you can't really compare it to the Pixar films since their brand name has surpassed that of Disney, whose works have been rather hit-or-miss these past number of years. The studio's last really big hit was Lilo & Stitch (over seven years ago!).
I wouldn't compare it to Treasure/Home, since those were the days when anti-Eisner had reached bottle-throwing fever pitch, audiences had hypnotized themselves into believing the two movies Deserved What They Got, for not being "Lilo & Stitch" and changing the industry--And why the post-Katzenberg studio had the selfish clueless gall to still make movies in '02-'03, instead of laying down and dying to let Shrek take over the rest of the industry like we wanted it to--That'll show 'em! Make 'em lose some MORE money!

In P&TF's case (and having Avatar and chipmunks steal its poorly-released December thunder), I'd creatively compare it more to Bolt:
Disney finally taking a long-delayed project out of a troubled part of their history (ie. the Stainton CGI takeover), taking it back under the new studio re-dedication and, while it might not be one of "the classics", making something old-style good out of it...IF ONLY IT HADN'T BEEN FOR THAT @#(&%#%!! TWILIGHT!!!!!!!!! :evil:

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Post by eddievalient » December 31st, 2009, 9:43 pm

EricJ wrote:IF ONLY IT HADN'T BEEN FOR THAT @#(&%#%!! TWILIGHT!!!!!!!!! :evil:
Finally, something Eric and I agree on. Twilight is, without the tiniest smidgen of doubt, the absolute worst thing to happen to American pop culture within my lifetime. I cannot find the words to express how much I hate Twilight and anything to do with it (what, the guy sneaks into her room to watch her sleep? That's not romantic, that's something a psycho stalker would do).

Back on topic, if Marvel can make their animated films for $3-5 million apiece (the animation's not feature quality, I know, but Ultimate Avengers wasn't far off), why did PatF cost $100 million to make? Where did all that money go? Couldn't they make a perfectly good film for half that? Hollywood in general spends way too much on their movies. If they only realized that they don't always have to spend $100 million, a failure wouldn't hurt so much. A perfect example of smart budgeting is this year's Friday the 13th. It cost $20 million and made that back the first weekend. The suits could learn something from that.

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