Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Disney's Animated Characters, Nostalgia Drives the Creation of Live Action CGI Film and Television

A long time ago, well maybe 25 years ago I remember my friends and I scooping up, and competing for who had the most Disney movies on VHS.  They were a part of my childhood, I was brought up during the era of The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King.  This era was known as the Michael Eisner/Jeffrey Katzenberg era, when Disney's animation came out of a depressed time to dominate once again.  Katzenberg knew the power Walt Disney had, and wanted to bring the classic nature of Disney animation back, and he did.

Jump to 2010, and the live action CGI version of Alice in Wonderland (2010) is released.  The film was a mess, but audiences showed up in droves all around the world.  Alice in Wonderland (2010) was the second highest grossing domestic film of the year making 334 million dollars.  Allice doubled her fun in the foreign markets making 691 million, for a combined gross of just over 1 billion dollars.  Pretty amazing.

Just a little over a year later ABC, which is owned by Disney created the television series Once Upon a Time, which uses characters from Disney animated films like Snow White, Ariel, Peter Pan, and many wicked counter parts to bring to life more childhood memories for people in a live action CGI manner.  The show is currently in its third season, and has spin-off which was released this September entitled Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.  The original Once is its in third season.

Universal jumped on board creating Snow White and the Huntsman in 2012, focusing on the connection between Snow, and the man who was supposed to kill her.  In that same year 20th Century FOX released Mirror Mirror with a focus on the relationship between Snow and the Wicked has seemed to put a lot of focus onto Snow and her relationship with the Wicked Queen with a more humorous twist. Both films missed the mark creatively, although Huntsman was much better thanks in large part to Charlize Theron, and was more successful at the box office. Huntsman was an action packed blockbuster, which made 155 million domestic, and 241 million foreign, the film also has a sequel in the works.  Even with Julia Roberts Mirror Mirror could not find its footing in the domestic box office, it only made 64 million, and 101 million in foreign markets.

Walt Disney Pictures is back in the game, and they adeptly picked the focus of the title of their next live action action rebirth to be Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty.  With the trailers release today, there is hope that Angelina Jolie can bring the dark fun she typically brings to roles, and make some more money for the "Mouse House."

These movies, and television shows all come back to nostalgia, bringing this current millennial target demographic their favorite things from their childhood.  A big part of that childhood was animated Disney films ranging from the classic Snow White to the more recent Lion King.  Todrick Hall who started out on American has even been tailoring many of his fantastic videos around these classic Disney characters, see his recent rendition of an adaptation of the "Cell Block Tango" which he adapted to the "Spell Block Tango" (see video below). Nostalgia is a driving force, and not only brings back the fond memories of childhood, but helps connect generations within different forms of new media.

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