Disney EchoEar Grand Mouseter
Joined: April 1992
||Posted: Dec. 10, 2011, 11:31 am
Disney tends to tilt overboard on some things while those things are hot or perceived to be hot, sometimes to point of sensory overload, and has no sense of balance or history about anything else. Sure, I can see and understand if a current movie is out to promote it in the parks with some character meet and greets or a short-term themed area, and if it's popular then promoting it some more. And I can see people have favorite characters, children have favorite characters. But look at the list of what I can think of off the top of my head that any Disney fan can frankly admit Disney is tilting or has tilted at least at some time over the years overboard about:
--They're "Disney" parks, not "Pixar" parks. People adore Buzz Lightyear, Woody, and other movies and characters, yes. Frankly, Pixar's had a long streak of success about this which has eclipsed and surpassed Disney Feature Animation. And yes Disney owns Pixar. Still they are "Disney" parks, not "Pixar" parks.....
--Pooh and Pooh characters overload
--Marvel characters since Disney bought Marvel
--Years ago "Lilo and Stitch" overload about Stitch
--Lately "Duffy" the contrived stuffed teddy bear that Mickey and Minnie went traveling with one time (never happened)
--Lion King overload (not as bad now as it was since the movie came out in 1994, numerous direct-to-videos)
--Pirates of the Caribbean (four movies' worth)
--IMHO too much character dining (which commands higher prices than just a regular nice sit-down restaurant or buffeteria would)
--Character meet and greets everywhere, including in a lot of eateries (see "too much character dining"), which impedes pedestrian flow in some areas and adds to visual clutter
I like or liked most of these things (except the contrived idea of Duffy and Disney owning Marvel) in a basic embracing all of Disney kind of a way and like all things, in moderation. But when you take steps back overload is indeed going on. It gets overwhelming. And I think a lot of families just don't bother to keep up with which cartoon, animated film or CGI film characters to keep up with, and can get confused between another studios films (Marvel's, coming in a few years James Cameron's "Avatar" lands) and genuinely Disney films.
Only the most fanatical of deeply Disney fans care who Oswald the Lucky Rabbit is or was, it's historical significance to The Walt Disney Company (Oswald was a crucial crossroads and predecessor milestone) or to the biography of Walt Disney (also a critical crucial milestone in his life when he lost the rights to the character).
And you have a CEO who on one hand bought the rights back to Disney from Universal not too long ago, yet turns around and wants to not be "tied" so much to Disney's "traditions" or "past" so the company can do and innovate new things for todays audiences. Kinda contradictory right there.
I'd like to see Disney take a lot of steps back, take a breath, reassess and reevaluate, and figure out with all the permanent buildings and lands they already have that are themed already the way they are, what can they do in 2012 and beyond to elegantly appeal to everyone with all the characters they already have and have it make sense rather than a mish-mash
conglomeration or a beat-you-over-the-head-with-it overboard marketing sales pitch they also do.
If they can make Walt's old character Oswald relevant for 2012 or beyond, then go for it!
Here's the key: I believe the old Walt Disney Treasures collection of DVDs, the ones in aluminum tins of rare, historic, niche titles of things, put out a DVD of old Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoons. Scroll down and go to Amazon.com's home video, or go to D23's site and see if something like that could be purchased today. Question: Would you fork the money out for such a DVD then eagerly look forward to meeting and greeting, posing for photos with, getting autographs from, buying merchandise about Oswald? As compared with any other Disney-Pixar-Marvel-Muppets character-movie-merchandising-show of the moment? Would the fact you could meet and greet and eat with Oswald prompt you to buy a ticket and book travel to any Disney park? Or would you be going to a Disney park anyway?
'Cause Disney's not going to create anything unless there's money to be made. It took them years to finally do something with the Muppets after Disney bought them. Duffy is a contrived character for the purposes of selling merchandise in the parks. Everything else stems from the old idea of "Disney synergy" from Michael Eisner's days as Disney CEO. If Walt himself were alive and spry today and still in charge, and he managed to get Oswald back from Universal and be reunited with Oswald, would Walt himself "do anything" with the character after having had successes in "Mary Poppins" or the live-action films or animated film successes?
The answers if you're practical and a bean-counter would determine Disney proceeding or not in one direction, the answers if you revere Walt Disney and his biography and business rationales while he was alive and find ways to make the character relevant for 2012 and beyond audiences would determine a different direction. Do you want to make a profit on this and make a statement to your shareholders, or just do business from the heart?