Friday, September 30, 2011

Disney's money machine and Lion King 3-D reigning at the box office

Update: With the success of Lion King 3-D, Disney now plans on releasing more 3-D versions of classics. This further proves that Disney will do anything for money.

When children think of Disney they picture a magical land where their favorite movies are born and, if they are lucky, one day they can travel to Florida and share in the wonderful world of Disney. As we get older and more cynical, Disney is no longer a magical kingdom. Though the cursive in The Walt Disney Company's logo is cute, the company itself is one of the most ruthless around. After all, while it wasn't Disney's idea to kill Bambi's mom, they did decide to whore out the story further with a direct-to-video sequel.

With Patrick Stewart voicing Bambi's father.

The thing of it is, Disney will do anything for money. The very idea of the Disney Vault is just used to create a false sense of urgency for their movies. Not only do they try to make money with their "limited time" DVD releases, they also butcher those classics with direct-to-video sequels (much like the aforementioned Bambi sequel). Again you can't fault a business for making money but the cognitive dissonance between the fluffy Mickey Mouse doll you have and the sweatshops used to make it cheap is astounding.

Note: I do not actually know if Disney uses sweatshops. It was only mentioned for dramatic effect.

I still enjoy Disney movies though. They are charming and enjoyable and we all grew up with them. And there is no movie that represents our generation of Disney movies than The Lion King. Out of all the movies during the Disney Renaissance (lasting from 1989-1999), Lion King was the most appealing to everyone and had the most to say. As a dude, I didn't want to watch singing princesses. But lions are badass. And not just any lions but lions that sound like Jeremy Irons and Darth Vader.

And Matthew Broderick, in his only good role other than Ferris Bueller.

Even with two direct-to-video sequels, a television show based on Timon and Pumbaa's adventures, an award-winning Broadway play, a ridiculously hard Sega Genesis game and countless Lion King scented hand soaps, the film still had class. Lion King is untouchable. Even with 3-D being the soulless, shallow cash grab that it is, Lion King 3-D still sounded amazing. So amazing that I am legitimately disappointed in myself I missed seeing it in theaters.

The Circle of Life alone would of been mind blowing in 3-D (and it would make an excellent alarm clock ring).

Everybody else must of thought so too. In the two weeks that Lion King 3-D was in theaters, it made over $100 million dollars (meaning it made twice as much as Conan the Barbarian). Lion King owned the two weeks it was in theaters and denied Moneyball a number one opening spot. While the inflated price of 3-D tickets could be taken in to factor most 3-D movies' success, the numbers don't reflect that in this instance. The box office was such a slaughter that it proves the release wasn't just a marketing ploy but an event.

See the word sex in glorious 3-D.

Disney is a company fueled by timelessness. It's the only reason they have survived for so long on the same intellectual property. Even Tomorrowland, their amusement park view of the future has a certain timelessness. Lion King, even though it was only released in 1994, is imbued with that very same trait. It was an instant classic that spoke to everyone that watched it. And hopefully, with this much needed success of Lion King's re-release, Disney finds that timelessness again.

Timelessness is sometimes confused with racism.

Aside from Princess and the Frog (which seems to of been made more for selling African-American princess dolls), Disney's animation showing has been incredibly weak. Every movie released since the new millennium has been incredibly forgettable and devoid of the Disney charm. They have depended on Pixar for making new classics ever since but with the release of Cars 2, Pixar has lost some of its luster.

Technically a success, but at what cost?

Hopefully Lion King's success spurs Disney to go back to what they do best, repackage previously existing material and making it appealing to kids. I say this with all the love I can but if The Brothers Grimm could sue Disney they would be rich. Disney's success is built off already existing properties. Even Mickey Mouse is based of Oswald the Rabbit. And they still defend their properties with such ruthlessness they they sued a daycare for a mural they painted of some characters.

South Park may have had a point after all.

Even Lion King isn't bulletproof. Story influences for Lion King range from tribal epics, the Bible and even Shakespeare. One influence that you might not hear is Kimba the White Lion, a Japanese anime series from the 60s. Shots from both movies and some names have been compared and, while some points may be nit-picky, the Kimba people definitely have a point. But all the same, I don't let that give Lion King a black eye. Because Lion King is one of my favorite Disney movies.

Still pretty fishy though.

1 comment:

  1. Let's all join in a chorus of Circle of Love! Good insight into Disney -- its fallacies and its strengths.