Disney roars again

by Jaley Cranford, editor

As I walked into “The Lion King 3D” at 9:30 p.m., I assumed that anyone who wanted to see the animated flick was fast asleep in their Cinderella or Batman pajamas. I was wrong. A theater full of people in their twenties awaited me.

Disney has long been known as an innovator of entertainment and it appears that the animation giant has done it again. After the film generated more than $357.8 million in 1994, Disney decided to rerelease the classic cartoon hit.

Disney is marketing 3D in a brand new way. Not only are new movie-goers welcoming Simba into their homes, but nostalgia drags twenty-somethings into a theater for a cartoon lion and his singing friends. As the theater resonated with approximately 100 college students singing “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” I realized that Disney might be onto something.

Disney blogger John Frost said that Disney retried the 3D film world after it merged with Pixar in 2006. After getting off to a rocky start with the over-promotion of “Chicken Little” and “Bolt,” Disney began to market 3D flicks in the same ways as its 2D classics. Frost continues that Disney’s marketing of 3D films has been reduced since the huge push for “Chicken Little.”

Regardless of how much money is spent on the marketing or promotion for the film, “The Lion King 3D” and other rereleased classics are big money-makers for the Disney corporation. However, many people see this rerelease as a lazy and exploitive move by Disney.

In a UK film blog, Jeremy Kay attacks the choice as one that tries to make the most money with the least amount of effort.

While Disney is not reinventing the wheel by bringing “The Lion King” back to theaters, the corporation is generating serious revenue. CNN reported that the flick grossed more than $29.3 million in its opening weekend.

An Entertainment Weekly article brings up another important observation. According to the article, “The Hangover” sparked a run of 8 R-rated raunchy comedies. Maybe Disney rereleasing “The Lion King 3D” to such overwhelming success will spark a new film revolution.

With the film world going back to classics to generate revenue, maybe we will see more 3D remakes of movies. With flicks like “Footloose” bringing older movies to new generations, 3D adaptations of older movies may be an easy way for movie companies to make money without new content.

The only problem: how do you market a rerelease without critical questions about the integrity of the film industry being raised? I’m not so sure, but I do think Disney will figure it out and keep audiences of all ages in theaters.

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6 Comments

Filed under The Industry, Trends

6 responses to “Disney roars again

  1. Katie Brazeal

    Disney got it so right the first time around; it is sad that they are accused of being lazy for rereleasing classics in a new way. Personally, I feel that Disney is anything but lazy. Then again, I am a happy consumer and not a competitor.

    Even still, I certainly hope that The Lion King was only the beginning. I know that my friends and I sat around after TLK’s release and talked about which Disney classic we hoped would be next. Aladdin got my vote! I do not yet have children of my own, but I cannot even begin to image the joy of introducing your child to the magic that you experienced in your own childhood while you re-experiencing it for yourself.

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  3. Rachel C

    If anyone successfully markets old releases Disney will be the one to do it. I think they will run into problems because their recent movies have been criticized by the twenty-something generation for not having the same “magic” as the older ones. They will be accused of being lazy, but there is a way they can help fight the accusation. They can make new movies that are the quality of the old ones and stagger the release dates.

    I am a huge Disney fan so I am hoping that they will start a new trend!

  4. Jeff Polizzi

    If Disney kept, “The Lion King,” in theaters for a month than just for two weeks, it would become the first traditional animated movie to gross over $1 billion worldwide since, “Toy Story 3,” became the first computer animated movie to gross over $1 billion worldwide.

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