How to Train your Dragon

Features, Shorts, Live-Action and Direct-To-Video
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Post by Ben » September 30th, 2009, 8:30 am

While it has to be said that American Dog really did feature some unique designs and would have been a very big departure from the Disney Studios, I also heard that there was some questionably adult humor being talked about. Everything about this project screamed great visuals, scattershot plot/dialogue.

I can understand why it had to get restrained and re-trained (geddit?), especially with Lasseter the new boy on the block and not wanting two or three potential "flops" blotting his initial debut features (hey, looks like that happened anyway, even if Dick Cook took the blame!), but I'd have loved to have seen an early version or indeed a completed Sanders vision for the movie.

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Post by estefan » September 30th, 2009, 9:21 am

Switchblade Sister wrote:I don't think "Bolt" is the greatest movie ever made, but everyone agrees it's a helluva lot better than american dog.
That's kind of difficult for everyone to agree, since the large majority of people in the world never saw American Dog.

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Post by ribbedebie » September 30th, 2009, 10:04 am

^
^
adult humor? In a Disney movie? NO WAY. 8D

But back ontopic - How to train your dragon... I bet I would've liked this movie five years ago, as I was nuts about anything dragon-related. Ah well!

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Post by EricJ » September 30th, 2009, 12:00 pm

Ben wrote:I can understand why it had to get restrained and re-trained (geddit?), especially with Lasseter the new boy on the block and not wanting two or three potential "flops" blotting his initial debut features (hey, looks like that happened anyway, even if Dick Cook took the blame!)
Uh, the "flops" Disney specifically complained about were all on Cook's live-action watch, and some comments even made it clear to distinguish the LA output from WDFA.
As for Lasseter, um...remember why Meet the Robinsons came out in March?--Namely, because the studio thought it was doomed to instant failure under Stainton's version, and wanted to sweep the corpse under the rug so no one would notice?
but I'd have loved to have seen an early version or indeed a completed Sanders vision for the movie.
Sorry, I still can't watch Mulan without wondering, "Okay, just WHAT the heck is that puppy doing there??"

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Post by Ben » September 30th, 2009, 2:07 pm

Um...Bolt (which looked like animation to me last time I looked) and G-Force (which has been heavily trailed as an animation with live-action release and is certainly being pushed as such in the home video marketing) were both titles mentioned, and you don't need to be great at reading between the lines to add Meet The Robinsons in there as it wasn't exactly the kind of breakout hit that might have been more celebrated. It was released in March to give it more of a chance, if anything, which one wouldn't call trying to sweep under the rug.

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Post by EricJ » September 30th, 2009, 2:44 pm

Um...Robinsons got the SAME March/April Slot of Death that Disney reserved for "Home on the Range", and for the exact same last-minute reshoot-jinx reason.
And the fact that it still survived it profitably is testament to how far Lasseter could pull the end result out of the fire.

And if we're talking about Bolt...okay, now I want to go out and club some MORE Twilight fan-teens with baseball bats.
"Quantum of Solace" at least deserved what it got from November Twilight competition, but Bolt fans tend to hold a little bit more of a grudge. :x

(Basic back-on-topic point is: Lasseter knew what he was doing, and that includes giving an undisciplined loose-cannon his heave-ho.)

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Post by EHH123 » September 30th, 2009, 4:01 pm

Any guesses for a release on the full trailer?

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Post by Dacey » September 30th, 2009, 4:54 pm

EricJ wrote:And if we're talking about Bolt...okay, now I want to go out and club some MORE Twilight fan-teens with baseball bats.
Wow. Harsh.
EricJ wrote:Um...Robinsons got the SAME March/April Slot of Death that Disney reserved for "Home on the Range", and for the exact same last-minute reshoot-jinx reason.
That's why "Monsters Vs. Aliens" made $200M, right? It also came out in March.
"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift--that is why it's called the present."

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Post by EricJ » September 30th, 2009, 5:07 pm

Um, wrong as to "why" (it also came out this year, had 3-D in it, and had the breakout curiosity value of being a Dreamworks That Doesn't Suck), but tell Disney that.
Their use of Easter vacation as a theatrical Sarlaac pit for "troubled" pushed-back animation projects dates back a few years by tradition, even when the "victim" eventually gets good audience word of mouth anyway, and hangs on for two or three more weeks of business than estimated.

But, like Bolt, Robinsons and Lilo, the boardroom can still retroactively write sleeper-hits off as "failures" when they fall outside the Venn diagram of "Unbroken string of flops" that the studio strategically wants to portray.
Last edited by EricJ on September 30th, 2009, 5:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by Ben » September 30th, 2009, 5:09 pm

Yeah Eric...you kind of shoot that argument with those parallels. I mean, Robinsons was March, and Range was April. Right next to each other but different in release terms, especially with their competition at the time.

Good point WJ...several movies recently have made good "coin" in their March releases, which seems to be turning into a good "pre-summer" month. Also remember Horton last year, also March.

Yeah, get that March release month...terrible for animated movies, right?

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Post by EricJ » September 30th, 2009, 5:23 pm

THINGS. CHANGE.

Back before Treasure Planet, every studio wanted Thanksgiving for their family film, and Christmas-Day week was a ghost town for studios to sneak out their failures while the critics were on vacation--
After Treasure Planet, studios caught on that parents don't want to go to more than two mall-plex movies during Black Friday, that they wanted to wait for vacation-week cabin fever, that it wasn't the smartest idea to pull your family movies out before Dec. 26th, and EVERY studio starting fighting over a Christmas Day family release date like jackals.
And then "Enchanted" (which was still considered a "troubled" project with the change of regimes and storylines) got the Thanksgiving sabotage so it might leave quietly, became a hit, and now studios love Thanksgiving again....At least until Twilight sank everything else last year, and now studios are afraid of November again. (Unless it's a teen movie.)

If you think that's confusing, just try figuring out March/April's image:
First, Easter vacation was considered a ghost-town week while everyone was in school, and you'd get one week of family business at best...Then "300" started the practice of pitching big teen/college tentpoles to Spring Break kids (at least, that was what "Watchmen" thought), and now every studio with a sci-fi movie wants March-April.
So, Jeff K., who was Desperate Enough To Try Anything, thought he'd get a piece of this new market he'd read about, try not putting one of his movies in May or November Rush for a change, just happened to put out a freak Good movie (it won't happen again, folks), and now studios will likely be rushing their CGI's into Easter vacation. (Even if not just for being the only new mainstream-studio thing on the menu since Christmas.)

Point is?...It wasn't that way back in '04.
(You remember, the month Disney was also trying to jinx-bury "The Alamo", and HotRange and Alamo ended up mentioned in literally the same sentence in so many analysts' anti-Eisner/death-of-animation columns, you'd think the two had been a double feature?)

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Post by Ben » September 30th, 2009, 5:36 pm

Gawd he thinks he knows so much!

The truth is "<I>nobody knows anything</I>"! They look at the release schedule and work out the next available slot. Enchanted got November very intentionally, as it set out to rekindle the audience's love affair with Disney princesses that worked so well in that slot in the 1990s.

And it's clear Jeff K put Monsters Vs Aliens out in March so as to not be anywhere near anything else <I>and</I> attempt to pick up that Horton audience from the previous year. He was lucky that DWs was coming off the back of Kung Fu Panda (um, another "freak Good movie"?) and Madagascar 2 (an audience favorite even if it wasn't very good) and was riding on a wave of healthy audience recognition, a very good trailer and, in the event, a fun enough movie that got repeat business (and was the benefit of the current 3D craze).

Things do change...but no-one can release a movie and know it's going to be a hit. It's all guesswork (and, by the way, it used to be late September/October when the studios released their weakest product, but hey, that's changed too).

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Post by surfnspy » September 30th, 2009, 5:54 pm

The spring release date is all about spring break folks.

Spring break=kids are available to go to the movies.

These days it is a little more complicated--some schools have two weeks, some start earlier, but in general, it begins one or two weeks before easter sunday.

Do a little research on boxoffice mojo and you'll see.

I will say, however, if you release a movie ON easter weekend, that is throwing the movie away since easter weekend is a terrible weekend for family films (all that egg hunting I suppose) and the day after easter all kids are back in school. (Watch daily boxoffice drop off on monday for any of the spring releases.)

Again, do the research and the patter will be quite clear.

Dragon is coming out in the spring because shrek is coming out in the summer. It's that simple.

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Post by estefan » September 30th, 2009, 6:20 pm

EricJ wrote:Lilo, the boardroom can still retroactively write sleeper-hits off as "failures" when they fall outside the Venn diagram of "Unbroken string of flops" that the studio strategically wants to portray.
Didn't the studio consider Lilo & Stitch to be a major hit for them? I mean, why else would it inspire a television series, direct-to-video sequels, a Walt Disney World amusement park, an anime series and countless other bunch of merchandise that still sell even years after its release. Considering the disappointments they experienced Atlantis and Dinosaur, $140 million isn't too shabby for what was a relatively cheap film for Disney. And I also recall the summer of 2002 being an incredibly crowded time for family films.

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Post by Ben » September 30th, 2009, 8:34 pm

Yep Estefan, L&S was regarded as a hit for the Studio. It was made for a lot less than a WDFA-LA feature and made quickly and without many troubles either. The idea was always to merchandise Stitch and create a Disney version of Pokemon, with the previous 625 experiments, and the sequel, episode compilations and the anime series were all towards those goals.

Thanks surfnspy...yep, the spring break kid/family audience is what I was getting at in my post. And proving that when a movie is released doesn't really make much difference is how the Disney films are staggered internationally. The UK, for instance, doesn't usually get a November US release until the spring break, while Pixar's Up, for example, came out months ago in the US but is just getting its UK release in a couple of weeks (in time for - guess what? - a school break).

So even with these changes in schedule, Robinsons still only did so-so business because it was so-so film; Up will very likely do the megabucks it has done elsewhere. True that different territories can affect things, but a good movie is a good movie and a mediocre one will not sustain word of mouth. It's very rare for an international release not to mirror its domestic release...the numbers may well be different, but the general acceptance by an audience is similar.

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