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.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.
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.