Bolt

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Post by ShyViolet » April 23rd, 2009, 5:58 pm

In my opinion, it wouldn't really have mattered how strong the Disney brand was at the time. There is something about a cultural phenomenon (Twilight/Harry Potter/LOTR) that is very difficult to compete with. Had Ratatouille been released around the time as one of these, the results might have been quite different, and we'd all be here debating on what might've happened (weather the marketing wasn't strong enough, the film was just too original, the competition was too strong... etc). Aside from being a family film, Bolt kinda falls into that teenager/date movie demographic as well.
This is very true, there's no way of knowing how things will go in Hollywood, especially nowadays with so many specific demographics that want different things; teenagers/families/little kids--they all have their own entertainment but at the same time there's lots of crossover. It must be incredibly difficult to come up with an effective marketing campaign for almost anything nowadays, even Pixar films where there's already kind of a built in audience but you do have to play it very carefully. Case in point: WALL-E and Ratatouille both had a challenging concept but the marketing was all over the place; stressing the art film quality of both to critics/adults while the cuddly/cute animal/cute robot angle to kids.

Still, Rat and WALL-E were both great, and they both got the attention they deserved. Bolt, on the other hand, was "fun" and its marketing was mediocre at best. Of course there was Twilight and everything else to consider, BUT, think about the cultural franchises/phenomenoms that the Pixar films had to face:

Ratatouille: It was summertime and already that's a challenge, the kids are out of school and people have time off--and there's so many choices. Ratatouille was also up against films like Spider-Man 3, The Simpsons Movie as well as a host of other films with a built-in audience. It was a film about a rat who can cook and forms a deep bond with a man who can't, and who learns to trust himself and his talent. And yet it still did very, very well.

WALL-E had The Dark Knight. Now THAT's a challenge. A quite surreal animated film that's one-third silent and a lead robot character who is doesn't talk, going up against the Dark Knight and still doing quite well. It's because it was a great film that crossed demographics, and had a marketing campaign that pushed hard.

Pixar films have gotten more original and have an uphill battle every time to campaign it to audiences. And they still do great. WDAS needs these aspects so they can do well too.

The starting point of "Disney can't risk original original films right now" and then not marketing the films right is contradictory in my opinion, and isn't the best strategy to put them back on the map.
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Post by Ben » April 23rd, 2009, 6:29 pm

Good points, well made! :)

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Post by Whippet Angel » April 23rd, 2009, 10:57 pm

WALL-E had The Dark Knight. Now THAT's a challenge. A quite surreal animated film that's one-third silent and a lead robot character who is doesn't talk, going up against the Dark Knight and still doing quite well. It's because it was a great film that crossed demographics, and had a marketing campaign that pushed hard.
WALL E and Dark Knight were released nearly a month apart. I'd hardly call that a major challenge, as the former had plenty of time on its own, and continued to do well after good word-of-mouth (probably the best advertisement there is). Now, imagine the two films opening the exact same weekend. We have no idea what the results could've been, but it's interesting to think about.

You're right about Pixar's strong brand name though. WDAS has a way to go before the studio gets to that level as well. Films like Bolt and MTR are steps in the right direction, and in my opinion are better than most people tend to give them credit for. I can't comment on Chicken Little though. I never saw it, and judging from what I saw in the ads, had no desire to. :P

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Post by Ben » April 24th, 2009, 6:29 am

WALL-E and Dark Knight on the same weekend? The robot would have been made spare parts by the Bat. No question.

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Post by Tyler_Legrand » April 24th, 2009, 11:52 am

Who would win in a fight Batman or Eve

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Post by Meg » April 24th, 2009, 12:04 pm

I think that depends on how much prep time Batman is given.


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Post by ShyViolet » April 24th, 2009, 9:14 pm

WALL E and Dark Knight were released nearly a month apart. I'd hardly call that a major challenge, as the former had plenty of time on its own, and continued to do well after good word-of-mouth (probably the best advertisement there is).
True Whippet...but the thing is, I don't think exact opening dates are, in the final estimation of things, that important to how well a film does. (especially if it's only by a few weeks.) Of course they are one of the major factors, but there's other issues too. (*EDIT: I should clarify that by release date I mean the day/week a film opens, not the season or holiday. I still totally feel that June/Christmas is much, much better than March or April.)

Everything should be done to ensure that a film has enough breathing space, but it's not like: oh, if they had waited one more month, Bolt would have done much better, even with Twilight. It's not an exact science. Twilight was certainly a pop culture milestone, no matter how you feel about it, but it also had extremely good marketing, much better than Bolt had.

About WALL-E and Dark Knight, I think summers are much different because people often don't see a movie on opening weekend, they often wait since there's so many other films to see, plus many people are on vacation. Dark Knight may have been a month after WALL-E, but still...if WALL-E hadn't been hyped as much or no one really knew what it was, it might have played OK for a month and then everyone would have forgotten about it and gone to see Dark Knight. Dark Knight had repeat business and WALL-E did too, because of marketing, and, as you said, word of mouth. (a film's quality determines word of mouth but I think marketing plays a role too.) In the summers, all these gigantic movies have to share the same space and it's hard to really split hairs over the "perfect" time to open, even though it is important.


Ditto Ratatouille. Like WALL-E, very challenging concept that had to go up against superheroes (Spider-Man or Batman, it's an uphill battle) another franchise like The Simpsons Movie, the new Hulk, etc...Ratatouille could have opened a month before or after Spider-Man 3 and it could still have done lousy. The marketing and quality of the film trumps the release date, in the end, I think.
You're right about Pixar's strong brand name though. WDAS has a way to go before the studio gets to that level as well. Films like Bolt and MTR are steps in the right direction, and in my opinion are better than most people tend to give them credit for. I can't comment on Chicken Little though. I never saw it, and judging from what I saw in the ads, had no desire to.
Yeah, people need to hear "Disney" the way they hear "Pixar!" and it will take time to re-establish that. Meet the Robinsons had great moments I thought...you care a lot about Louis and Wilbur. I still think it deserved a Best Animated nom. :wink: On CL, I actually liked it and had a good time watching it, although I realize it was flawed. I do think it's better than it's gotten credit for though. The father-son relationship between CL and his dad was really sweet I thought. :) Partly I also felt that WDAS (then still WDFA) needed as much support as it could get.
Good points, well made!
Thanks Ben! :)
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Post by Locall » April 25th, 2009, 3:52 pm

I don't think Chicken Little or Meet The Robinsons came anywhere near the quality of a pixar film...
I am a huge animation fan, but I thought Chicken Little was horrible, I quite liked Meet The Robinsons but compared to what other animation studios pop out lately it's nothing special and certainly won't let the WDA name rise...

Bolt, is a big step forward for Disney but still isn't brilliant... it's quite forgettable while Disney used to make movies with characters that stayed in the limelight for centuries.

I'm really hoping the return to handdrawn animation will do them good and let them regain the respect they used to have.
(if only they would drop the Hannah Montana and other DisneyChannel-junk)

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Post by Ben » April 25th, 2009, 4:36 pm

I disagree...opening dates, and specifically what else is in the marketplace, are <I>phenomenally</I> important to how a film does in its opening week.

And Bats/WALL-E can't be made as a comparison. Basically a movie has a week to do the bulk of its business, especially with another tentpole coming out the following week. We've seen time and time again that two blockbusters can actually co-exist, too.

But Disney hasn't changed The Princess And The Frog's opening date for nothin'! :)

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Post by EHH123 » May 13th, 2009, 12:47 am

I read that "Bolt" was going to be released in Japan on August 1. So a while ago, I decided to see how they were going to advertise it. This is what I found:
http://www.disney.co.jp/movies/bolt/index.html
I'm so glad that Japan decided to concentrate on the heart of the movie and it seems this isn't the first time Japan has done it's marketing differently from their American counterparts. With "Lilo and Stitch", they decided to concentrate on lonely Lilo rather than manic Stitch.
http://www.clipser.com/watch_video/153318&mvpageno=1 (I don't know if this site is completely safe)

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Post by Bill1978 » May 13th, 2009, 4:33 am

I meant to post this during the initial Dark Knight/WALL-E vs Twilight/Bolt discussion. Was Harry Potter 6's original release date the same as Twilight's?? Cause I have vague recollections that the theory of why Twilight became a massive success is that it tapped into the vaccuum left by the movement of Harry Potter 6. I have to agree in some respects with this thought as before Twilight exploded at the US box office hardly any one in Australia knew about the series and then suddenly all the kids I teach were reading it cause of the success at the box office.

To get this back on track if my thoughts are correct, Bolt would have had no chance of surviving that weekend.

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Post by Ben » May 13th, 2009, 8:59 am

Sounds about right, Bill.

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Post by carlminez » January 22nd, 2011, 9:58 am

My expectations might not have been too high, but Bolt really made this movie for me. The shallow, one-dimensional nuisance known as Rhino, who stands for the comical relief, should appeal to the younger half of the audience. Mittens does have any many witty dialogs, but thats just it, she speaks too much and steals attention in the movie.

Bolt, on the other hand, was perfect. A few-worded, earnest and slightly introvertive character that still manages to be extremely expressive. He single handedly creates this movie's emotional impact and he does so with very few words, stunning mimics and body language.

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Re: Bolt

Post by American_dog_2008 » January 22nd, 2011, 11:03 am

Bolt is one of the best animated Disney movie.

Hey Carlminez where did you get that avatar?

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Re: Bolt

Post by carlminez » January 27th, 2011, 2:10 pm

American_dog_2008 wrote:Bolt is one of the best animated Disney movie.

Hey Carlminez where did you get that avatar?
From the movie :)

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