Category Archives: Film

Film Trends & Issues on Modern Media Mix

Moana: Disney’s Venture into New Seas, You’re Welcome?

Moana is a Maori and Hawaiian word that roughly translates to “ocean, wide expanse of water, or deep sea.” (behindthename.com). Leave it to Disney to take this translation literally and produce a marketing campaign that was equally expansive and in a sense, deep.

MoanaMoana is Disney’s latest animated feature film to come out riding strong on the so called “Frozen wave” established with the release and success of Frozen in 2013. To ensure this success, the official trailer stated that Moana was “from the creators of Frozen” to provide a credible base for the film to stand on with viewers.

Disney used a variety of marketing tactics from the traditional to pushing the boundaries of what is new. The few that I will be discussing in this post are the traditional posters, trailers, and television spots along with the new Weather Channel backgrounds and full out vessel takeovers. Much like with Tangled, this campaign had a more boy-friendly feel to it. It was filled with more action clips than a more traditional Disney campaign would include.

Firstly, it would not be a marketing campaign without trailers and posters to constantly remind us that the movie is coming. Moana had several posters created to show off the main characters, the setting, and intrigue the audience about the plot line to be followed. In addition to this, a teaser and full official trailer were created to further intrigue audiences about the film.

The recent Olympics in Rio De Janeiro also gave Disney a unique opportunity for this campaign. What better time to advertise then when it’s quite possible the whole world could be watching? Granted it most likely aired in specific markets, but there were still high volumes of audiences. Thus, producing an extended promo was a good call on the part of Disney to ensure maximum exposure with relevant audiences.

Moving on now to the newer and more unique marketing strategies that Disney perused; starting with its frequent marketing partner, The Weather Company. What this company does is offer geotargeted promotions through its Weather Channel App. These appear in the form of branded backgrounds on the current weather screens of its users.

While other movies have used these branded backgrounds, such as The Penguins of Madagascar in 2014 produced by DreamWorks Animation, Moana was the first to use the new animated backgrounds. The backgrounds that users saw were based on the current weather conditions in their area. The branded backgrounds mimicked those conditions and subtly brought them to life.

There is one shortcoming that I can see with this campaign thus far; it was only available in select markets within the U.S. For a complete list of these cities and markets and more information about these branded backgrounds, click here.

One more element was incorporated within this app to appeal to the consumer desire for convenience. The app allowed users to purchase tickets to Moana at local theaters through a specialized website: Moanatickets.com.

A new adventure that Disney took on across the pond, in the UK, was turning an MBNA Thames Clippers’ catamaran into a Polynesian Wayfinder vessel. Thames Clippers provide river bus and cruise services on the Thames River in London. This was MBNA’s first partnership with Disney and with any company on a theatrical release for that matter. The goal was to immerse the customers in the movie and make them inclined to see it.

Perhaps saving their best promotional tool for last at the annual D23 Conference, Disney brought out the big guns to talk about the movie: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who voices Maui in the film. It may come as a surprise, but The Rock can sing ladies and gentlemen. If you haven’t heard his song yet, please watch it below. It will hook you and have you singing for a while. Which leads me to my next and final point.

Marketing and promotion for this film extends beyond everything done before the movie’s release date. Disney has several of its own official YouTube channels, one of which is called DisneyMusicVEVO. Often these channels contain the songs and most popular clips from the animated films.

This serves as a marketing tool in two ways: one to lure new viewers into the theaters by hearing about such songs either from word-of-mouth or by stumbling across the videos. Two to catch repeat viewers who see the video and realize how much they liked the movie and return to see it again.

Disney has produced an impressive campaign to market Moana to a diverse set of audiences, while also returning to its core demographic of young females as it is a female-centric film. Personally, I have not seen the film, but am intrigued to do so since “Your Welcome” has been playing on my computer for multiple weeks now. If you are curious as to how well this campaign translated into dollars for Disney on opening weekend, click here.

What are your thoughts about the movie in general? What aspects, if any, of this campaign drew you in to see the movie? Do you think that Disney went too far in its campaign by taking over a tourist vessel or was it simply a genius marketing move on their part? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Piper Davis

10 Cloverfield Lane: Infecting Fans with Viral Marketing

10 Cloverfield Lane and its predecessor, Cloverfield became cult favorites not only because of the films themselves, but in large part due to the mystery and speculation that accumulated around their respective viral marketing campaigns. Cloverfield of course wasn’t the first film to utilize viral marketing as a way of generating buzz (most people would likely point to The Blair Witch Project for that title), but it’s fair to say that the marketing for the original Cloverfield perfected the strategy.

The first teaser trailer for what would eventually be known as Cloverfield was shown in front of screenings of the first Transformers film. The trailer didn’t even include the title of the film, only a release date. From there, the mysterious journey began. Interested fans soon unearthed several websites connected to the release date and other details from the trailer (none of which can be linked to currently because most were running on an outdated version of flash which is no longer supported by almost all computers.)

Once these websites were discovered and decoded, word spread to various film blogs, news, and entertainment sites. The intrigue around this project grew and grew up until the day it was released. Eventually, the first Cloverfield was produced on a $25 Million budget, and made $170 Million at the box office worldwide.

The first teaser for 10 Cloverfield Lane was released during the super bowl in February of 2016, with a release date showing the film was going to come out only one month later. With its connection to the original Cloverfield, fans of the film knew there was more to the story. They unearthed an official full trailer as well as an electronic correspondence between two of the film’s characters. All of this immense detail was revealed without ruining anything regarding the plot of the film itself. 10 Cloverfield Lane went on to earn $108 Million at the box office on a $15 Million budget.

Utilizing a strategy of viral marketing on the first Cloverfield was an extremely risky move. Cloverfield wasn’t an established brand and had no recognition whatsoever. There was no guarantee viewers would find, or even be interested in finding, the secret websites set up to advertise the film, however both of these films were great successes. Why? J.J. Abrams famously describes his method of storytelling as the “mystery box” where the filmmaker keeps as many elements as secret as he or she can so as to amaze the audience when the mystery is finally revealed. Creating a campaign of viral marketing around a film or other piece of media made with this “mystery box” mentality brings viewers deeper into the mystery itself, often revealing more questions than answers. This makes viewers invested in the story and the film before it’s even released, virtually guaranteeing that their interest will translate into ticket sales.

Cloverfield

We’ve seen since the late 90s that viral marketing can be a great way to cheaply create buzz and excitement around a low budget film through word of mouth and free publicity. With its intricate and interconnected branches of its marketing strategy, Cloverfield and 10 Cloverfield perfected the art of essentially spending as little money as possible for the greatest reward.

Olivia Guns

Nintendo is Switching Things Up: But How Effective is the Switch?

What’s all this commotion about a “Nintendo Switch?” If you live under a rock and haven’t heard yet, the Nintendo Switch is Nintendo’s new gaming console that is both a home console and portable gaming system hybrid, allowing gamers to play games in their homes and on the go.

“Nintendo’s innovative new console lives up to the hype,” according to many websites like Vice. And they’re not wrong. Just look at the first few minutes of Nintendo Switch’s Presentation Reveal! Can you feel all that hype through all those lights, sound and that countdown?

Why is there such a hype for Nintendo’s console in the first place? Nintendo is a strong brand and has a strong fan base. Nintendo has captured the hearts of many gamers from the Nintendo 64, to the Wii, along with many of their iconic IP characters such as Mario and Link. No wonder the Switch looks successful even before its official launch!

There were many rumors about the Nintendo Switch before the official reveal. While that could be bad for the company, one wonders if those leaks were intentional. It certainly helped enhance the already existing hype for the new console. And the rumors were very detailed, stating before any crucial information about the console was officially revealed that it would be a hybrid console.

While the Wii may have been a huge success for Nintendo, its advertising campaign…wasn’t that great. And don’t let me get started on its successor, the Wii U. Even the name of the console itself wasn’t the best.

Nintendo needed to switch things up. Which is why the Switch is so perfect. It’s innovative and what the consumers want! Plus, the product itself works well, many who have already gotten the chance to hold a Switch have stated that it just feels right.

The name itself is clever and works brilliantly. It’s catchy and tells the consumer what the product is all about: switching up the gameplay. Even their advertisement as well as the Switch short animation logo are quick, simple, effective & catchy. You won’t be able to have that little animation and click sound out of your head.

The Campaign Switch!

Nintendo SwitchThe Switch’s campaign itself was fairly simple. It started out with a system reveal trailer that clearly shows what this new gaming system is all about. However, it is missing commentary and other key information such as an official game lineup and release date. The missing information may have been also used to enhance the already high hype surrounding this console.

This trailer was followed a few months later by an official one hour long Nintendo Switch Presentation which aired and was streamed worldwide live. In it, Nintendo officials showed off and explained various features and games that will be coming out the Nintendo Switch.

Many ads were also released afterwards, as well as some airing during the key time frame for American audiences: The Super bowl. Nintendo also uses a lot of social media, especially twitter to let their fans know when and how new information about the new console will be released.

The ads themselves are also well done. They aren’t too confusing, showing what the product is and its potential.

Switch up the timeline?

The most confusing aspect of Switch’s campaign, is it timeline. Why all the wait? Why was the NX (Nintendo’s Switch working title) not revealed at E3 (a summer gaming convention, known for its gaming consoles and games reveals)? Why was the Switch revealed by a short trailer with no commentary and followed with no new information for months until the presentation?

While many people argue that this is a failure of the Switch’s campaign, I see more potential in its reasoning behind it. I believe this timeline was intentional to add even more hype to the console. Since the console was surrounded by a lot of mystery and many fans, this wait made them even more excited and curious for this console. Even when rumors started surfacing that Nintendo wasn’t going to be able to make a console by March 2017 (since there was no new information regarding the console officially from Nintendo for a long time) and that the NX was already dead, everyone was getting their wallets out, excitingly waiting for any new information they could get. Carefully teasing, one by one its fans, Nintendo found a new and innovate way to hype up their new product before its launch!

The Overall Switch?

Overall the Nintendo Switch has a very effective campaign. The product itself works, its ads are simple and clear and the console is living off its hype. What about you? What do you think? Are you excited for Nintendo’s new console? Do you plan on getting it on its release, March 3 2017? Do you plan on getting it in the future? Do you think it will succeed or is it getting to much hype and will come crashing down as a disappointment?

Clara Tosi

Ryan Helps FOX Fix Their F**k Up: The Marketing of Deadpool

It all started with a clip of test footage. In 2011, the fully 3D animated video was leaked online and received massive attention. Of course, it starred the infamous Deadpool, cracking a few jokes and murdering a few bad guys. Fans realized this was definite proof of FOX debating whether or not to make a feature film for the “merc with a mouth.” Finally, after a few years of support and fans climbing up FOX’s ass about the idea, they made their decision.

From the beginning Ryan Reynolds was the man destined to play Deadpool on the big screen. Eventually, the director was announced to be Tim Miller. Of course, Reynolds had portrayed a version of the character before, in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but it didn’t exactly become a fan favorite character. Actually, Reynolds has stated that it was the lowest point in his career. This of course, became Reynolds drive to reinvent the on-screen character that both he, and the fans, wanted.

Eventually the release date, February 12, 2016, was announced, and soon after, the eventually beloved advertising campaign began. Primarily focused around TV spots and online videos, Reynolds and Miller set out to utilize Deadpool’s most unique trait in promoting the film. This, of course, being his tendency to break the “fourth wall,” talking to the audience and constantly throwing around references from the real world. This strategy provided the filmmakers with a very powerful means to entertain their audience, even months before the movie was in theaters.

The first video they created was simply a “trailer trailer,” or a very short video, advertising the release of the full-length trailer. It featured Deadpool, using a deep, narrator-esque voice while sitting in a leather chair smoking a pipe. He addressed the audience, simply informing them of the soon-to-be, full-length trailer.

Aside from the countless, typical trailers released all over the globe, anticipating fans were giving something a little more outreaching. Leading up to the film’s release, FOX produced a couple of “international” advertisements with Reynolds. One consisted of him merely discussing the concept of “Australia Day,” while jabbing viewers with a couple stereotypical Australian jokes, overlaid with a decent Australian accent. Another took place at some sort of Mexican festival, with Deadpool running around frantically, most likely saying some funny shit in Spanish.

A more peculiar addition to the campaign was a pair of PSAs, starring Deadpool of course. In one, he goes on to explain to men how to check their testicles for signs of testicular cancer. In another, Deadpool hands the mic to a female narrator, who explains to women how to check their breasts for signs of breast cancer. This was quite a peculiar way to advertise their product, but it was entertaining and quite hilarious at times.

Whether it was through breaking the fourth wall, breaking international borders, or breaking social norms by telling people to feel themselves up for safety, the creators behind the marketing for this film did a magnificent and entertaining job. The film ended up becoming the second highest grossing, rated-R, film of all time (as of 2016). And was all-around well-received by both fans and critics.

-Josh Comer

 

Why We Went “La La” for La La Land

What made La La Land so successful? Was it the star power of Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone and John Legend? Could it have been the amazing music? Perhaps it was the plot and storyline? As it turns out, it was probably all three.

la la land

It seems that Director Damien Chazelle took note in recognizing that “everyone loves a classic” and took the classical route the whole way, including in La La Land’s marketing plans. While Lionsgate still utilized all advertising platforms expected of movies these days, La La Land did it in a way reminiscent of years ago, nodding to classic film aspects that La La Land references. The quality of the posters speak for themselves:

Of course, it would have been quite the impressive fail had the star power of Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone and John Legend not brought the views in as well. For Chazelle to be lucky enough that Gosling and Stone had wonderful chemistry on set was the cherry on top: La La Land would be a hit.

La La Land was a hit of course, with the combined help of stars, posters, and trailer releases that did great, coming second only to Lion on Facebook likes/followers and official trailer views in the Academy Awards Social Media Competition, and ranking first on YouTube trailer comment growth with flying colors.  (See Here for more of Fanbridge’s charts) To add to their social media success, they also had ranked number one on Instagram follower growth.

A few well-known YouTube stars such as Dodie Clarke and Jon Cozart helped La La Land and shared their own talents with the world with a cover of the hit song “City of Stars” on YouTube.

The hits don’t stop on social media, as the soundtrack took Austin Texas by storm; so much so, that FonsPR decided to re-create “A Lovely Night” dance sequence in honor of the film.

While star power, music, posters and social media are all great for La La Land, it is surely the plot that carries the film full circle. The film was not marketed as a regular modern romance, because it simply wouldn’t have reflected the feel of the film. How perfect that the marketing campaign mimicked that of a 1950’s Hollywood musical! Rather than marketing it as a romance, they focused on the musical theatre element, which brings a comeback sense of nostalgia. What audience doesn’t love to reminisce?

As stated before, they did not ignore social media, however they had to play this strategically since it was marketed similarly to that of an older film. They did this by keeping the posters, pictures and video under the nostalgic lens, keeping the older-film feel (even if it was viewed online). Though difficult, they played this successfully as La La Land quickly became one of the most talked about films online.

The film was initially released in early December, primed for awards season. La La Land doubled its screens (to 1500) the weekend that it won 7 Golden Globe awards. Due to its success, celebrities and press coverage gave La La Land some well-deserved recognition, adding to its success. See here for more details.

The marketing campaign did not end after the release date. While La La Land may have gotten a “Love it or Hate it” response, everyone can agree that such response certainly got people talking. So much so in fact, that Jimmy Fallon parodied the opening scene of La La Land to the opening  of the golden globes. To read more about La La Land’s campaign, see here.

While the film may not be for everyone, there is almost always something that can be found to reach everyone’s liking. Whether it is the actors who brought the public in, the music, the romance or even the vibrant colors, La La Land is a film that won’t be forgotten any time soon.

What were your first impressions of La La Land? Do you think La La Land’s different approach to marketing was effective?

Madison Steffen

Nostalgia: The Secret Ingredient of American Pie

Nostalgia is a Greek word that means, “Pain from an old wound”, and although our American culture has shifted the meaning of the word to a more positive connotation, the pervasiveness of the idea in our culture is influenced by darker underpinnings of things that all of us share. We all want to go back, we all want to be kids again, we all want to share a warm hand on a cool fall day and not worry about the election, ISIS, and the inevitable heat-death of the universe.

nostalgiaThe easiest way to reflect on a simpler time is to let our entertainment do it for us, and certainly the movie landscape of the past five years has done just that. Year after year, the most popular movies are reboots, remakes or sequels of features that came out years ago. The prodigal son of this particular phenomenon is Star Wars, which has, not unlike its main antagonist, been revived from being a burning corpse on the lips of a volcano and resuscitated into a robotic, sterile, and lifeless version of its former self.

nostalgiaEight out of ten movies from 2015 were sequels, remakes, reboots or adaptations from another medium. Comic-book movies dominate, but Star Wars, Jurassic World, Fast & Furious 7, and a Cinderella remake all made the list as well.  This shows tremendous risk averseness and lack of creativity by the major studios. Currently, major tentpole blockbuster releases are the big money-makers, and studios can only afford to put out a handful of these a year, and it helps them fund smaller, independent films (usually under a different studio label). But it seems like studios are missing out on something.

Most of the movies that subsequently produced giant franchises (with spin-offs, merchandising opportunities and fan clubs) started out as films with a medium-sized budget. They were fun, creative, and weren’t afraid to take chances, much like the independent films of today, but they weren’t so small-scale that a silver screen treatment didn’t really do them justice. Who cares if the latest Woody Allen movie is playing in your local theater, watching it at home on your 50-inch display is going to be very much the same experience. 90% of the appeal of the original Blade Runner is seeing it on a huge screen, with the fantastic Vangelis soundtrack filling the giant Dolby 7.1 system. Much of that is lost at home.

Films like Star Wars would never be greenlit in the high stakes environment we find ourselves in today. How are we going to find the next big thing if studios aren’t willing to take a risk on a middle budget thing every once in a while? That’s where the big hits come from. A movie with a $200m budget has to be so focused tested to make sure that it isn’t a failure that by the end you’ve cooked anything that was still alive out of the movie. Sure the new Star Wars looked and sounded like Star Wars, but it was like a Ken doll. At first glance, it’s got arms and legs and hair and a face…but it’s missing the essential element.

nostalgiaBeyond the realm of movies though, this obsession with nostalgia and looking toward the past is influencing our culture in a larger way. The 2016 election has come down to the two most unpopular candidates in the history of American politics, and both of them are throwbacks to varying degrees of time. Clinton has the name recognition of her husband, and Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again” is lifted from an identical Reagan/Bush campaign from the 1980s. I’m absolutely convinced that, while there are many reasons to find Trump (and Hillary for that matter) despicable, there are just as many reasons to understand where a voter may be coming from when voting for him. They are scared at the world changing around them, and their way of life that they’ve known for the better part of seventy years now is eroding. Their defense mechanisms are coming online, and it’s the exact same mechanism that guides us all to the box office when the new Star Wars eventually comes out.

There’s an episode of the Twilight Zone called “Walking Distance”, about a man who gets burned out, and stumbles back into the past, to his childhood hometown. I’d like to end with the closing monologue

Martin Sloan, Age 36, Vice-President of media. Successful in most things but not in the one effort that all men try at some time in their lives. Trying to go home again. And also like all men, perhaps there will be an occasion, maybe a summer night sometime when he’ll look up from what he’s doing and listen to the distant music of a calliope and hear the voices and the laughter of the people and the places of his past. And perhaps across his mind there wil flit a little errant wish that a man might not have to become old, never outgrowing the parks and the merry-go-rounds of his youth. And he’ll smile then too because he’ll know it is just an errant little wish…some wisp of memory not too important really, some laughing ghost that crosses a man’s mind.”

Sam Strajack

Renting Isn’t Dead : DVD Rental Culture in Japan

Do you remember when you would go with your family down to the local DVD rental store and pick out a movie to watch over the weekend? Feels nostalgic, doesn’t it? When’s the last time you’ve rented a physical copy of a DVD? 5 years ago? 2 years ago?

With the rise of Netflix and other streaming services through the internet, it’s safe to say that DVD rental is dying, if not already dead in the U.S. Remember a store called Blockbuster?

Well what if I told you there was a way to relive that time in your childhood and a magical place you could go to to rent out DVDs? No, this place isn’t some museum.

Welcome to Japan!

dvd rentalJapan is a country known for its modern technology. While it does have the latest developments in robotics, some things that are outdated here in the United States of America are still common in the land of the Rising Sun, including renting DVDs! That’s right. In Japan, it’s still very common to go out and rent physical copies of DVDs!

I studied abroad in Japan for one year. While I was there, I was shocked when I realized everyone was used to simply going to a store and renting DVDs in 2015. For me, it seemed as if I had stepped into a time machine, relieving my childhood. I hadn’t rented DVDs in years!

My host family would rent DVDs all the time, in fact they took me to a DVD rental shop several times. I’m not the only one who felt like they were seeing a “living fossil” and like they were “slipping back into [their] childhood.”

dvd rental
Picture of me the first time my host family took me to Tsutaya.

Tsutaya is one of the biggest DVD rental chains in Japan. The two top video chains “account for 70% of all video rental stores in Japan.” Tsutaya has 1,461 stores in Japan (as of the end of December 2013). It also has 7 stores in Taiwan making it a grand total of 1,468 stores total.

Renting DVDs there is simple. All you need, is a membership card. Once you have that you simply go in, choose from a wide selection of DVDs and take home with you your selection for up to a week. Of course, new releases will be more expensive and can only be rented for a few days, but there is a wide of variety to choose from. From old to new, international domestic, you will be bound to find something that peeks your interest to take home with you.

The first Tsutaya opened in Hirakata, the city where I studied abroad, in 1983. They also launched an online service in 1999. Now, a streaming service is available for subscription members as well as mail delivery even though physical purchases, sells and rentals still seems to be more popular.

 DVD Retal

Why is DVD renting still alive and well in Japan? There might be several reasons. First, Tsutaya isn’t just a DVD rental shop. It also sells and buys books, CDs, games and DVDs. It also rents DVDs, books, magazines and CDS (for some reason, video games cannot be rented in Japan). Tsutaya also recently started opening big buildings called T-sites which include Tsutayas and other stores such as tech stores and even apple stores! Tsutayas can be found everywhere including across every block. Some Tsutayas even have Starbucks inside their stores, similar to like some Barnes&Noble in the States.  Tsutaya was even featured in a list of the “20 most beautiful bookstores in the world”.

Another reason might be that Japan is one of the few countries that watches more of its domestic content than imported content from Hollywood. This creates a wider demand for a more varied and larger range of media.

What do you think? Would you go Tsutaya if you ever go to Japan? How would you feel about renting DVDs? Nostalgic? Why do you think DVD rentals are still popular in Japan? What is Tsutaya doing differently than U.S. DVD rental shops did and why or why not is it being effective? Do you think DVD rental would have survived if the same marketing strategies had been implemented in the U.S.? What do you think the future holds for Japan’s DVD rental culture? Do you think the Japanese DVD rental culture will suffer the same fate as in the U.S? Only time will tell.

Clara Tosi

Defective Disney: Corrupting Your Children Since 1937

Disney films portray many dark themes throughout the years, from Snow White to Frozen and Zootopia. Peter Pan captures and kidnaps children to “Neverland”. Neverland being a stand in for heaven, as the true story of Peter Pan is that he is an angel that guides deceased children to their Nirvana. However, Disney can’t put something quite so morbid into their movies! Can they?

disney arielThe Little Mermaid tells girls to change for men in order to get them to love you, and selling your soul is okay, because it’s for love. But she’s just 16 years old, people! In the original tale, Ariel tries to kill the prince in order to regain her mermaid tail. But she is unable to kill him and dies, dissolving into sea foam in the process.

Beauty and the Beast is a beautiful representation of Stockholm syndrome (falling in love with a captor). It also forces the idea for the need for beauty at a young age, rather than beauty is in the “eye of the beholder”. Yes, Belle falls for the Beast despite his appearance, however the lesson backfires in the end because he turns back into a beautiful prince anyways. This Listverse article explains this further.

disney esmerelda

The “beauty takes all” theme is prevalent throughout not only Beauty and the Beast, but many other Disney tales as well. Take Quasimodo and the Hunchback of Notre Dame. He is in love with Esmerelda, yet still does not get the girl because he is not in the image of Disney’s “beauty”. To add to the Hunchback story, there is the disgusting character of Frodo, who dedicates a whole song (Hell Fire) to lusting after Esmeralda. Disney isn’t looking so innocent now, is it?

evil disney

Why is Disney portraying these dark themes? To stay edgy? To Teach children lessons? Or is it to keep the parents entertained as well?

These questions are a bit controversial. While Disney has never come out and explained the answers, we can assume it is a mix of all three, with the answers depending on the particular movie itself. Commentators on Disney from all over the world seem to be unable to agree to the answer.

Perhaps in an effort to stay fresh and edgy, Disney feels the need to push the limits with every movie they produce. There is also the idea of lessons. Alice in Wonderland taught us not to eat random food we find places (more importantly, don’t do drugs, kids!).  Peter Pan taught us to never grow up; an idea Walt truly idolized. Bambi, The Lion King, and Big Hero 6 taught us that life goes on after death (There is an in-depth analysis of these ideas found here). The fluffy-good feeling lessons are endless, even though they may be bursting with sadness as well, which this article articulates.

Lastly, there is the proposed idea that Disney is edgy to keep parents entertained, because really, how many kids really understood Hans’s foot-size joke in Frozen? Surely, that was thrown in for the parents.

Is Disney changing to lighter themes? Or are they simply getting better at hiding the themes?

To be fair, one would think Disney seems to be on the rise for the lighter side. What with the masterpiece that was Frozen, perhaps they have risen above their darker phase? Not quite. While Frozen portrays a strong sense of girl power, they still manage to keep it a little edgy (See Hans’s foot-size joke above).

Inside Out, Zootopia and Big Hero 6 seem less edgy, however they push the lessons to a more serious side. Props to Disney & Pixar for being brazen enough to cover topics like Depression, Social Classes/Racism, and Death/Grieving respectively. Perhaps this is a new era in which the fluff is over, and we start getting serious about educating our children about real problems.

disney bye

If Disney is changing, why are they changing? Are they trying to stay at the top of the game? Or could it be due to a new helicopter-esque style of parenting, making Disney nervous to push its limits? Could it be as simple as to teach children different lessons? What do you think?

Madison Steffen