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LAT: Disney Restyles Rapunzel to Appeal to Boys

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the title Tangled isn’t the only thing being changed about Disney’s production of Rapunzel – it’s repositioning the film to attract a male audience.

From the article:

The makeover of “Rapunzel” is more than cosmetic. Disney can ill afford a moniker that alienates half the potential audience, young boys, who are needed to make an expensive family film a success.

Concluding it had too many animated girl flicks in its lineup, Disney has shelved its long-gestating project “The Snow Queen,” based on the Hans Christian Andersen story. “Snow Queen” would have marked the company’s fourth animated film with a female protagonist, following “The Princess and the Frog,” “Tangled” and Pixar’s forthcoming “The Bear and the Bow,” directed by Pixar’s first female director, Brenda Chapman, and starring Reese Witherspoon.

Since the release of its first movie, “Toy Story,” in 1995, Pixar has uniformly featured male leads in its films, including Buzz and Woody; Mr. Incredible, the middle-aged superhero in “The Incredibles”; and Lightning McQueen, the stock-car star of “Cars.”

Disney’s Tangled open on December 10th, 2010. Below is the latest teaser:

  • Lala-Marin

    I had been wondering when they were going to just come out and say that The Snow Queen wasn’t going to happen. And the demographics game again? Really? Does it really matter whether the lead character is male or female if the story is entertaining? I’m a girl, and I’ve never had a problem with Pixar films. Conversely, my older brother loves Beauty and the Beast (film and musical), and has never been ashamed to admit it. What-are they trying to tell us that kids today are too stupid to look past any of that? Honestly…

  • Not much of a teaser, didn’t see any characters whatsoever. Guess we’ll have to wait til something more solid is ready to show.

    As for the whole young male audience situation, it seems as though it took a long while for Disney to look in that direction….even though Pixar has been doing a nice balance of entertaining the male audience they’re looking to please. If they change it just for that, and it doesn’t make the story better, it’s not a risk worth taking. Not to me at least.

  • Daev

    So, more fart jokes it is, then!

  • Campbell

    The more I see of this movie the stranger the plot seems and am lost at this point. I’m in permanent “wait and see” mode. I still like these occasional production images though. That’s good stuff.

  • So apparently Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast don’t feature female protagonists?

    Also as a young boy growing up in a rural working man’s town I can safely say it was very hard to go see a Disney movie. Especially past 13, your too old and a boy. I’m just saying Disney doesn’t make it easy for young boys to like animation. I think the only reason I really got into animation was because of anime (which is strange considering now I hate it) because it was offering something that Disney wasn’t willing to offer. Something for older boys.

    Even when Disney tried to make something for older boys like Treasure Planet and Atlantis they both flop because boys are too embarrassed to be caught seeing a Disney movie. It’ll take more than just changing the name of Rapunzel to get boys in the theater. If they are really targeting boys they’d have better luck releasing it under miramax, because the moment a guy sees the white castle he instinctively rolls his eyes for the next princess movie.

    I know this may seem sexist but really if you asked the average guy who knows nothing about animation he will want nothing to do with Disney. Which is what makes adult animation such a hard sell because when the average person thinks of animation they think Disney.

  • ECJ

    If they really want make Rapunzul appeal to boys all they have to do is not sanitize all of the darkness and violence from the original tale.
    The Prince gets his eyes gouged out by magical thorns as I recall.
    Boys will love it!

  • Caspar the friendly executive

    A really gutsy version of the Snow Queen could have appealed to girls and boys too. The title character isn’t a princess, she’s a really nasty villain _ and whilst the hero IS a girl trying to save her corrupted brother the whole feel of the original story is closer to The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe (which it partly inspired) than a typical fairy tale.

    Quick Sellick and Gaiman, seize the opportunity!

  • FR

    Films one could say were slanted “for boys”:

    Quest For Camelot
    Yankee Irving
    Osmosis Jones
    Iron Giant

    Good, bad or indifferent, none made money.

  • Nick is right. Boys don’t want to see animation when they can see real skin and real things get blown up in a regular movie. They’ll go if they have a cover story, like “my parents made us go” but on their own, never.

    Too many damn princess movies killed the boy market. They’re just not into it.

  • Jeff Polizzi

    I miss the title logo that Disney made for Rapunzel. I love the animation that Disney made for their next Grimm fairy adaption, but I would not count on the title change from Rapunzel to Tangled. I find that title, “Tangled,” disrespectful to not only the Grimm Brother’s title, but to Walt Disney as well. Because that is not what Walt Disney would do when he adapts fairy tales into animated movies. Just because fairy tales that have girlish titles does NOT make it a girlish story. Those people, who complain about fairy tale titles being too girlish, need to understand that those story titles being too girlish happens to be written by MEN before we are even born. Also, they need to understand that they do not write stories just for girls or boys, they write for families to enjoy, learn, and love. I even love the title logo that Disney created for “Rapunzel,” and now they want to change it to “Tangled?” That title does not make any sense, and it is misleading. If they ever do change the title from “Rapunzel” to “Tangled,” I would find Disney’s next CG movie a flop. But, if they leave the title, “Rapunzel,” the way it is, and the title logo that Disney created, then I would have high confidence that Disney’s next CG movie could be a huge success. So I say to Disney, “In the name of Floyd Norman, a retired Disney and Pixar animator, and Walt Disney’s ghost, I demand that you change that dreadful title back to “Rapunzel” at once, or else you will all become a disgrace to Walt Disney forever. And you will fall to DreamWorks Animation forever more.” Those boys need to “Dig a Little Deeper (according to the song from “The Princess and the Frog”),” on the story, and accept the title that is girlish, don’t matter what the name of the story is, especially when it is written by two famous MEN, The Grimm Brothers. Also, Walt Disney arranges the synopsis to make fairy tales more interesting than typical. In fact, Disney does it all the time, including, “The Princess and the Frog.” I have no problem with the movie, I give that movie infinite A+, and Dr. Facilier is a fun villain, evil, but fun. However, some stories with girlish titles could be girlish according the synopsis, IF Disney made it too girlish. If I ever want to adapt a fairy tale, I would stick with the title and create a better synopsis. Through Disney’s experience on fairy tale adaptions, especially with girlish titles, they are ALL family, not just for boys or girls. That is what makes Walt Disney special. In fact, I bet Walt Disney doesn’t care about people complaining about titles being too girlish, as long as he puts up a good movie for fairy tales with girlish titles, like, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” he will become successful like he is and forever will be.

  • BoMenja

    The mouse house is officially out of the game of making good movies..they might as well buy out the Federal Reserve, they’re good at buying stuff, and that’s a guaranteed money making deal; Literally.


    Lucky for Disney that the current management wasn’t around a couple of years ago or they might have shelved a girl titled movie that just made 116 million this past weekend.


  • Johnno

    I never had a problem watching Disney films as a boy… And are we forgetting Alladin? The Lion King? Great Mouse Detective? And tons of others based on Disney’s TV characters from Mickey Mouse to Donald to Chip & Dale? Well, more boys are turning towards anime now, and anime does have a lot of good stuff that is very appealing despite low production quality.

  • Kristjan

    I wonder what Uncle Walt would say over this.

  • Donald C.

    Disney marketing will screw it up. Again.
    I don’t think they even know HOW to market to boys anymore.

  • We have to wait and see !!

  • Boys really rule the world of cinema don’t they? How very sad.

  • If they just make Rapunzel nude they’ll have no problem getting boys into the theatre.

  • Brian Reynolds

    Eons ago in the ’60’s and into the ’90’s, I remember there was very little being done for girls in television. The theory was, that girls would watch “boy shows”, but boys would not watch “girl” shows.

    I also remember reading that RKO wanted to market “Snow White” as a romance or a love story because if they marketed it as a fairy tale, it would bomb. Walt Disney apparently said that he’d put over a million dollars into a fairy tale and that’s how it was going to be marketed. I seem to also remember that one made a lot of money. To have ended up the top grossing film to that time, EVERYONE had to have gone, regardless of gender and maybe even age.

  • Ben

    It’s more of an animatic than a trailer and not doesn’t exactly look official but it gives you a much better idea of what Tangled is going to be like…


  • Boys will like it because Rapunzel is HAWT!
    (Purposely Dumb Comment)

  • Kyle

    Another fine example of “analysis paralysis” by corporate drones. Instead of focusing on creating a great story, appealing characters and fantastic animation, they worry about demographics, psychographics, focus groups, polls and a lot of other mostly worthless analysis. Eventually what gets produced is dumbed down, boring and heartless. These vampires won’t rest until they suck all the life out of this film.

  • squirrel

    I really wish they would not judge how a film with perform by WHAT GENDERS watch it! That is just dodging what truly makes a film great…. but of course, we know what REALLY controls the industry right? … $.

  • hannah

    Funny, Miyazaki films do pretty well, and they all seem really female oriented.

  • purin

    My cousin went through a phase of being too cool for cartoons as he grew up. We recently watched TLM together and he did appreciate it. When my sister wanted to see PATF, one boy in her class kept saying it was a baby movie and every movie Disney makes is for babies, which actually spoiled our plans of taking her classmates out to the movies.

    It’s going to take a lot more than just making a movie more “boyish” to get boys to not be too manly for animation. Besides, insert rant about male characters and boys’ movies being”general” while female characters and girls’ movies being “for girls,” having to open up the WITCH animated series with a shot of a male character so boys wouldn’t automatically change the channel, sexism on the rise, etc.

    On the other hand, part of this is due to a hole Disney dug itself into: A combination of weak feature movies and cheapquels and too heavy a focus on a specific type of young girl. Insert rant about Disney Princess, the face of Disney for Girls since 2000. It’s not wise to overuse very expensive and labor-intensive properties in a franchise designed to be grown out of very quickly to graduate to pop stars before anyone notices.

    Funny, anime really took off in the 90s, and is huge with both sexes and a variety of ages, but few people stateside can really tap into that audience and interest, it seems. Disney, at least, failed miserably (insert rant about the success of manga-inspired WITCH and how Disney USA totally screwed up its localization).

  • “Please, Rapunzel Rapunzel let down your hair
    So I can climb up and get into your underwear”

  • Scarabim

    **A really gutsy version of the Snow Queen could have appealed to girls and boys too. The title character isn’t a princess, she’s a really nasty villain _ and whilst the hero IS a girl trying to save her corrupted brother the whole feel of the original story is closer to The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe (which it partly inspired) than a typical fairy tale. Quick Sellick and Gaiman, seize the opportunity!**

    ^I agree totally. The Snow Queen is a fantastic story. It was animated by a Russian company years and years ago; I saw it on TV as a kid, and I’ve never forgotten it. It was freaking amazing. Surely Disney could “plus” it with a really good adaptation…although, from what I’ve read, Disney was trying to turn it into the old prince-princess schtick, and that’s why it got shelved, because it was too close to the hackneyed princess formula Disney has turned into a joke (which is one reason why Princess and the Frog was extremely derivative and boring in my view). But if Disney would do a *faithful* adaptation of the Grimm story, it could truly kick butt. Unfortunately, Disney’s movie division is now run by the too-precious “High School Musical” guy, so all we can expect is regurgitated formula, I guess, and BABY formula at that.

  • jic

    “Does it really matter whether the lead character is male or female if the story is entertaining? I’m a girl, and I’ve never had a problem with Pixar films. […] What-are they trying to tell us that kids today are too stupid to look past any of that? Honestly…”

    The perception is that Pixar movies are unisex and suitable for all ages, while Disney movies are for pre-teen girls. This is unfair, but it’s the reality that Disney has to deal with. Stupid doesn’t really come into it, it’s an image problem: boys would probably like a lot of these movies if they saw them, but they wouldn’t even think of going to a movie that’s ‘just for little girls’.

  • JC

    It feels more like a Dreamworks film than a Disney film…

  • lampshade



  • Kris

    Having female leads is awesome, but Disney did kind of dig itself a hole with the princess movies. Even as a young girl, I thought The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast and, in fact, all movies with a female lead were “for girls.” I don’t think there’s any way to angle Rapunzel so it doesn’t seem like a female-targeted movie.

    I’m not sure when fairy tales in general became “girls’ stories”–they’re pretty brutal!–but maybe Disney should give them a rest after this and adapt something else. The Lion King was monumentally successful at least in part because of the source material (Hamlet). I’d love to see Disney adapt more Shakespeare or maybe some weirder material, like Viking epics or something.

  • jic

    “Funny, Miyazaki films do pretty well, and they all seem really female oriented.”

    Has a Miyazaki film ever made even $20M in its US theatrical release? Do many children even go to them in English-speaking markets?

  • Vzk

    Japanese productions tend to be way more sexist than anything made in the US. Most titles are officially divided by either “for boys/men” or “for girls/women.” Reading, watching, or playing something intended for the opposite gender-demograhic makes you a pariah.

  • Greg Ehrbar

    Disney has always been best when it stayed true to itself — make the best movie you can and it will work for you. “Up” was about an old man, but it wasn’t solely for old people. It was just a great movie.

    That said, historically Walt did sometimes have a problem with demographics, though the term had not yet been invented. “Pollyanna” made Hayley Mills a star and won her a special Oscar. The film was excellent but it not a big success and the title was blamed as it sounded too sweet and sticky for boys. Walt still made the film that he and David Swift wanted to make, however.

    “The Snow Queen” animated feature was released in 1959 by Universal as a dubbed feature with Sandra Dee and Tommy Kirk on the English soundtrack. Art Linkletter appeared in a live action prologue. The feature was produced by Soyuzmultfilm in Russia and it was seen frequently on TV in the ’60s and ’70s and is now only available in low budget DVD (I’ve been looking for a high quality issue for years). I was looking forward to seeing what Disney artists would do with it.

    I wonder how many theater goers, when they ask for tickets at the box office, will ask for “Tangled” or “Rapunzel?” Sometimes the attempt at renaming obvious things is lost on the public, who usually call things what they are.

  • Refreshingly devoid of “tude”.

    Maybe this won’t be so stupid after all.

  • Nick

    there are a lot of factors that make Disney movies unattractive to boys. John K has a post on how every male protagonist in recent Disney movies look like (and I am quoting John) “gay underwear models.” Design wise, color wise and story wise they don’t appeal to the boys. All of the protagonists with the exception of Simba, are extremely passive and rarely physically take care of things themselves. If they want to make something for boys then they should look at art that will appeal to boys like Frazetta. Just don’t do Fire and Ice because we all know how great that was.

    The only time a Disney “boy” movie did well was The Lion King, and I think that had more to do with the fact that the characters were animals not humans and therefore anyone could imagine to be them. And I do agree an epic Snow Queen would be freaking sweet.

  • So Disney is making movies backwards now? Marketing is determining where the story goes and what the title is? It’s all about the packaging? Of course, that’s why I buy Cinammon Toast Crunch, because of that awesome box with the cartoon chefs. No. It’s because it’s one of the best tasting cereals out there! Perhaps the creative direction of the studio being determined by where they think they’ll make the most money might have something to do with a sub-par showing at the box office. Disney should take a long, hard unbiased look at all areas of “The Princess and the Frog” and evaluate how they could have made this movie better. And I’m gonna go out and get some sweet tasting Cinammon Toast Crunch!

  • R1

    “Having female leads is awesome, but Disney did kind of dig itself a hole with the princess movies. Even as a young girl, I thought The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast and, in fact, all movies with a female lead were “for girls.” I don’t think there’s any way to angle Rapunzel so it doesn’t seem like a female-targeted movie.

    They most certainly weren’t “for girls”, although of course girls enjoyed them.

    If there were any validity to that, Mermaid, Beast etc would NOT have been huge blockbusters. They were absolutely NOT “female targeted” and further were made by guys, no pandering. They WERE fairy tales, but had both a modern adult sensibility and 9usually) Howard Ashman.

    But the films came out so long ago now, and the later DTV “sequels” and HUGE ancillary push in the parks with the incessant emphasis on Princesses and tea parties and dresses for little girls to wear when meeting Snow White etc etc etc is what poisoned the well of public consciousness and turned the great features of the 90s into “little girl movies” in people’s memories.
    I saw Mermaid with a packed audience at the Cinerama Dome about a week after it opened. It was a late show and it was filled with people in their 20s and up-“regular” people, not animation fans or kids and parents.

    Frog had a lot of other problems having nothing to do with “girl” issues.

  • Erin

    Reminds me of this observation from the Nostalgia Chick regarding females in media.
    The funny thing is there’s a lot of comments below from (what I assume to be) a majority male audience arguing that this needn’t be the case since a lot of Japanese media features female leads. And when this media is imported into the US, it’s very popular even though it has female leads. Many of them cite Sailor Moon as a beloved anime by many young boys.
    Unfortunately it’s going to take some bold moves on Hollywood’s part to really push that female leads can attract male viewers; this is a prime example of how women are somehow a deviation from men, and the deviation is expected to enjoy mainstream male-centric media. But men and boys aren’t expected to partake in female-centric media. Then again, media for women tends to be rather stereotyped, so I can’t entirely blame the assumption, but that’s the fault of writers not writing their female characters like people rather than “I love chocolate and shoes and shopping” female stereotypes. Anyone can get turned off by that. I get turned off by that and male stereotypes even (the “I’m macho and love farts and fights and sexing it up”).
    But what really intrigues me about marketing decisions like this is that they have little bearing on the actual history of Disney. Were previous Disney films with female leads, and there’s a LOT of them, so boring to men? Is Sleeping Beauty or Snow White any less classic for featuring women? Men played ancillary or sidekick roles in many of these. Eric in the Little Mermaid had few expressed goals other than “I want to find the girl who I met on a beach”. Other Disney princes had even less going for them, barely having a speaking role at all (just a MacGuffin for the female lead to dream of). Now I wouldn’t argue this is an intelligent way to write any character, but again the films didn’t exactly suffer for not being strictly ABOUT those men.
    I’d like all the characters to be well written, not because “marketing said so”, but because it’s a solid writing principle.

  • Watching that trailer it’s really hard to believe that Lasseter has a stronghold over the creative content coming out of Disney, especially the animation studios.

    The trailer was absolutely lame, no other words for it. Keane’s dream of what the movie should be died long ago, and now so has my desire to see it. The idea of a prince who loves himself is boring and not funny, and been played to death. A snappy pop music beat in the trailer, and an emphasis on slapstick humour isn’t what this film should have been.

  • Pez

    Disney should just make girl movies. no one else makes quality girl cartoons. The problem is in the marketing.

  • Nick

    I think marketing demographics have a lot to do with a films success. Look at the Iron Giant, it was a box office flop because they were trying to market it the wrong way. Instead of marketing it as a story about a boy who just found something that most boys dream about they marketed it as just toilet jokes.

    As for Sailor Moon being popular to boys let’s look at the demographics there. Sail Moon was popular with prepubescent boys. A sexed up female superhero attracting little boys who were just starting to notice the opposite sex. I think story didn’t have much to do with Sailor Moon’s success with boys.

    And with other animes like Princess Mononoke have you ever talked to someone outside of the animation industry about it? Majority of people in America don’t even know who Hayao Miyazaki is.

    The truth of the matter is there are movies targeted to women and to men. That may be sexist but the truth of the matter is when you’re working with big money statistics are taken into account. If a movie has better chances with men than with woman it’ll be targeted to men and vice-versa.

    A good example when you went to see a romantic comedy did you see previews for Avatar? When you went to see Avatar did you see previews for Valentine’s Day? No? Because Avatar was mainly being advertised to guys than to girls. That doesn’t mean that if you’re a woman you can’t like Avatar or if you’re a guy you can’t like Valentine’s Day. It simply means that in the gamble of entertainment execs use the numbers to figure what is the best bet.

  • Thomas Dee

    Just…so…sick of…Disney fairytale princesses…

  • Thomas Dee
  • djjuice5

    To hellohue.

    I don’t think John Lasseter really gives a crap about Disney’s in house movies and he sure as hell isn’t going to let a disney film surpass a pixar one. He only took the job of overseeing them to keep the parasites, um i mean “creative executives” away from Pixar. In my opinon Disney really doesn’t deserve to have Pixar. It’s only out of dumb luck pixar agreed to be bought by Disney at the last second because unlike Micheal Eisner, Bob Iger had half a brain and realized without pixar carrying them they were screwed.


    Kind of hard to market to boys and pander to parents who are afraid that a violent cartoon is going to permanently damage their precious child’s brain.

  • mrscriblam

    i would hate to work for disney

    it seems like everything they make outside of pixar is made specifically to generate an audience, rather than to just entertain one.

  • Marc Baker

    You make a good point, Nick. I could understand why most people these days are turned off by Disney these days. The female protagonist is much easier for them to market than the male protagonist. Heck, i admit to seeing ‘Little Mermaid’, and ‘Beauty & The Beast’ years ago, and enjoying the qualities they had besides their female leads, but as i got older, i began to get the same attitude that the most people felt about Disney, but i wanted to learn more about this phase. Disney has had plenty of male protagonists in years past. Aladdin is one good example. Yet, Disney’s core characters like Mickey, Donald, and Goofy never get much recognition, and i think characters like them can appeal to male audiences if done right. (Yes, they can be more than just ‘babysitters for kids’. They were once theater attractions.) Also, something like ‘Ducktales’ could appeal to all kinds of people. From my own observation, i would assume that teens, and young adults turn to anime because it offers certain things that Disney steers clear of most of the time. These same young adults also turn to comics, and animation based off of them. Like the DCAU related offerings from Warner Bros. Heck, ‘Gargoyles’ was Disney’s answer to those shows, and that’s one property that could go over very well with boys. disney just hasn’t figured out how to market to people beyond the female audience, and they never seem to look back at how they did things in the past to find any answers.

  • Saturnome

    About the Miyazaki,
    I think it’s worth pointing out they’re VERY popular in France. Most people aged 20-something grew up with them (instead of classic Disney!) and are very familiar with these films. How did they marketed them I don’t know, but maybe people just liked them.

  • Shelving “Snow Queen” now is probably the stupidest thing Disney’s executives has done to the animation department since abandoning hand-drawn. So what if H. C. Andersen’s fairy tale has a girl protagonist? The thing they’re afraid of is that it will be too close to the worn-out princess formula – and if Disney could just adapt the story faithfully there would be no risk of that. Gerda, the leading girl embarking on a dangerous journey to find her best friend Kaj, is a strong, brave character. In some ways she reminds me more of Mulan than of your typical Disney ‘princess’, i. e. Snow White, Cinderella etc. But even comparing it with other Disney features seems unneccery, because “The Snow Queen” is a beautiful, unique fairy tale all in itself. Which is why this could be a beautiful and unique film. Please, Disney, bring it back to the hand-drawn production line and do it right.

    By the way, Scarabim, where did you read that Disney was “trying to turn it into the old prince-princess shtick?” From what I’ve read, idiot executives simply shelved the film because it had a girl in the starring role and because ‘queen’ in the title could send out unfortunate princess associations. But if this prince-princess version really was gonna happen, then I’m almost glad they didn’t go ahead and make it right away…

  • Inkan1969

    Appeal to boys?

    What are they going to do? Have Rapunzel do a lot of fanservice shots?

  • Scarabim

    I agree with Marc, Disney has shamefully neglected its core characters, like Mickey Mouse. Why is it making a Muppet movie but there’s no word on a movie starring Mickey? Especially since Disney HAS been successful in marketing the mouse to boys via one of the most male-centered products out there – video games. Kingdom Hearts is enormously successful. Why isn’t a film based on that being planned? Epic Mickey is another Mouse-centered game coming out soon, but you know what – I’d bet that even if it’s very successful, no movie will be forthcoming. Because Iger is a dunderhead, apparently. The Muppets core big on Youtube and they get a movie. Mickey scores big in actual sales and dollars for the company, and he gets zilch. And I’d rather watch Mickey than a fad that died out 30 years ago any day. What the eff is Iger’s problem?

  • purin

    John K can be so genius in his insight from time to time, but most of the time he’s such a grouchy old fart.

    “Gay underwear models,” indeed!

    Girls and women live their entire lives relating to characters who are almost always in some way providing fanservice and having an arbitrary romantic relationship, and nobody notices it because we’re so darn used to it!

    What a crotchety old myopic… *insert John K rant*

    Besides, an adaptation of the comic book Rapunzel’s Revenge would be an ideal general-audiences, something-for-everyone Rapunzel adaptation, don’t you think?

  • victoria

    Why is everything about boys, If we’re gonna be sexist like Disney would’nt one assume girls are more likey to shop and spend money?

  • JMatte

    @ Scarabim
    Funny thing is, Kingdom Hearts is also wildly popular with the female demographics. Let’s not go into details as to why, that would be a whole other discussion. Mickey has a REALLY small role in it, so he is not the main point of interest. I don’t know if I could call that good marketing to revitalize a character, but it’s better than nothing.

    Sad to hear about Snow Queen. I vaguely remember seeing the Russian version years ago. The original source had enough material to provide a whole lot of inspiration, even to change the “princess” formula they now seem to shy away from.

    Sometimes, marketing rub me the wrong way. By trying to capture a specific demographic audience, be it age or gender, they limit themselves. When the story and characters are fun, everyone finds something in it for them.

    Or maybe I’m just an odd one. Ever since childhood, marketing directed at girls never did anything for me (and I am a girl).
    I’m not seeing a movie because it is a princess movie; I just want a good, fun story.
    Just my little p.o.v.

  • lampshade

    Kingdom Heart’s designs are extremely niche, they’re not even for the general female audience, just the ones that happen to like the kitschy cute and awkward designs.

  • Anna

    yes Disney, lets make this more boys-friendly, thus alienating the girls some more!

  • Barney

    Great story and characters = Great movie
    Should Disney not focus on FAMILY entertainment?
    Searching for excuses why Disney Animation has failed in the past few years doesn’t fix the problem. What about admitting the fact that Disney Animation is still stuck in the 80’s and the 90’s?

  • Sherrie

    Why do they feel like they HAVE to market to boys? Female oriented franchises have made a lot of money (Sex and the City, Twilight) without having to focus on a male audience.

    OR they could just make a good all around movie that anyone, regardless of gender would want to see (like Miyazaki or Pixar).

  • Pedro Nakama

    The real problem is that this film has been in development for years and it’s not going to make any money even if it’s a big hit. So management wants it to have the broadest appeal possible.

    And it’s sad that Disney had to buy Pixar 5 years ago because they forgot how to make animated films and Pixar was just making films the way Disney used to.

  • Caspar the friendly executive

    The Snow Queen story has been told, retold and remained popular for well hundred years now becasue there’s something epic and powerful and mythic about it. Trust the story. Trust the story. They’ll still be telling it decades after Disney’s execs have moved on to other jobs, convinced that they saved the studio from the flop that they’d have created from messing with it in the first place.

  • droosan

    CHICKEN LITTLE, MEET THE ROBINSONS, and BOLT all featured male leads.

    THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG is the first feature since WDFA’s ‘merger’ not to do so.

  • Yes but chicken little, meet the robinsons, and bolt didn’t do very well in the box office.

  • Mac

    Disney could make better animated movies (though I did think Princess and the Frog was very good myself), but it is true that they have a little girl stigma attached to them now which does affect the box office takings. A few of my friends said they wanted to see Princess and the Frog before it came out, but they never actually went when it did (I took someone to see it, but was embarrassed when I bought my ticket).

    Has anyone else noticed that ALL the announced upcoming animated features from Disney and Pixar films are in some way feeding an existing franchise? ‘Princess and the Frog’ added a much wanted black princess to the Princess franchise. “Rapunzel’ will add a -fun-to-comb long haired character to the Princess franchise. The new Winnie the Pooh will obviously feed that existing franchise. Then there’s Toy Story, Cars and Monsters Inc sequels. Plus, almost immediately after “The Bear and the Bow” was first announced, it was revealed that the heroine from that movie would become part of the Disney Princess franchise.

  • Guy

    Who cares about any of this? No matter what, it’ll be the same thing we’ve seen dozens of times only maybe now the rendering will look a little better maybe.


  • If they just make Rapunzel nude they’ll have no problem getting boys into the theatre.

    Hey, a little nude scene is a good idea! And to appeal to equal opportunity, they can have Rapunzel burp and fart, too! ;)

    Yes but chicken little, meet the robinsons, and bolt didn’t do very well in the box office.

    At least BOLT got very high critical acclaim, and I thought it was Disney’s best CG animated film, hands down. (It was deservedly nominated for Best Animated Film Oscar.) MEET THE ROBINSONS had mixed reviews, and CHICKEN LITTLE was just crap with good art direction.

  • Erin

    I think the little girl stigma isn’t just about their princess line. Did CartoonBrew have a post up about how Toon Disney was changed to Disney XD in order to appeal to boys? They’ve turned the main Disney Channel into a teeny-bopper centric channel with a strong emphasis on conventional female characters. You can’t push princesses and Hanna Montana and then do a 180 and pitch yourself as the manly man show. You risk alienating the audience you’ve grown and confusing the macho boys who wouldn’t otherwise care.
    Of course this could be just marketing and equal time was given to both protagonists, or even more for Rapunzel. And that would be an understandable move since I’m not entirely sure the original story could’ve held an hour plus movie.

  • droosan

    @Nick .. yeah, that was kind of the entire point of my comment. ;)

  • TServo2049

    I have an out-of-left-field idea for a film with a male protagonist. Sure, it’s only been 5 years since the last Banderas film, but I’ve sometimes wondered, how about an 2D animated Zorro film?

    I’ve always imagined a more Bruce Timm Batman-esque look, a little bit of anime sensibility, albeit done in full Western animation style (but NOT falling back on that tired Bluth/Dreamworks school of human character designs – no pretty boys or so-called “gay underwear models”).

    No songs, no talking animal sidekicks, no lame scatological attempts at comedy. Definitely would be rated PG. Serious tone, dark mood, lots of night scenes. Actual violence, albeit comic-book type violence, including blood (of course, not enough to go beyond PG; think Batman: Mask of the Phantasm). Make it something that boys 8-14 would want to see, yet not mindless or watered-down DisneyXD-style ‘tween stuff.

    I’d imagine the score being some sort of Hispanic-fusion orchestral score; I can hear Spanish guitar in my head.

    No celebrity stunt casting, only the actors who are capable of the part; a Pixar approach if you will. Actually, an idea; try to cast as many Latino/a cast members as possible, for that “authentic” sound, and to draw Hispanic-American audiences; bonus points if they are bilingual and can also voice the Spanish version, which might lend star caliber to the Latin American release campaign. (Maybe even a “niche” release of the Spanish version in the U.S., in places like L.A.?)

    I guess I’m rambling, but I think it’d be a cool idea, and something that would ACTUALLY appeal to boys.

  • Rooniman

    Disney has offically hit rock bottom.

  • Jeffrey Gray

    Another idea: A Mickey feature based on the Gottfredson and Barks stuff. Three Musketeers was OK, but I’d prefer something with no songs and lots of action. And the Phantom Blot.

    Sadly, this is something that probably wouldn’t work now that Wayne Allwine is dead – unless they find an amazing replacement voice, I almost don’t want to see anything new with Mickey.

  • Jeffrey Gray

    Actually, now that I’ve heard Bret Iwan’s Mickey, I do want to see him do the spunkier, much less bland Gottfredson/Barks Mickey…

  • Isidro25

    ^What Jeffrey Gray has said a MILLION times. Except that Barks’ works with Mickey was limited to the art of a single story which he didn’t write.

    I always have wondered…Disney loves to adapt fairytales and other stories, bring ’em to the animation world….Yet, no love for Disney’s rich library concerning comic books?

    With right marketing, they could make loads of cash by creating a Gottfredson animated series. Same goes for an adaptation of Barks’ Ducks adventures. Don’s voice is the only problem in such an idea, but I’m sure they could find a way around that. Also, the best comics from other artists, American or not. So much potential there, hundreds of quality stories available already, yet nothing comes out of it…With “Ducktales” being the great success it was, it’s only logical to take that in account.

  • Erin D

    I suppose I have mixed feelings about this film. Feelings that will be resolved when I go see it. First the name: One the one hand I don’t particularly mind Disney trying to broaden their demographic by changing the name and having the lead male just as an important character. Disney has been trying to do the latter for its past several “Princess” movies if you’ll note. Both Tiana and Naveen had character development in The Princess and the Frog. As did Mulan and Shang in Mulan. (This being said it these are children’s movies and character development is a loose term.) On the other hand I rather doubt it will work like they are hoping. The fact is no matter how you twist it Tangled is going to be the story Rapunzel. And it is societal conditioning that makes it so most boys won’t want to see a fairy tale. Not necessarily they won’t see Disney (let us not forget The Lion King, Hunchback, Hercules, etc.) just they don’t want to see anything with a princess locked in a tower. Shrek (I know its Dreamworks not Disney) is an obvious exception but that was the story of an ogre and therefore must be the exception to the rule. My hope for the movie is that Disney stays the course and keeps their basic ideals and feel about them. I don’t want to see this movie trying to copy Shrek. It will turn out poorly. The beauty of Shrek was that it was original and charming with its irreverent take on the classic fairy tale world. The subsequent sequels and the knock offs were less heartwarming because they were trying so hard to get the same monetary reaction. It is idealist of me but I want Disney (or their movies anyway – I’ve written off the channel) to remain pure in a sense. Using humor and silliness to teach kids things in a non preachy way. Not an entire film of Fart jokes for the sake of farting. Again idealist, but hey that’s what Disney taught me.
    The other thing I worry about is the art. I love the old 2D stuff. It is what I grew up on and I think it is less gimmicky than though new 3D style (and much less gimmicky than the 3D glasses required style). But I understand that the market has changed and people think a normal 2D movie is low budget and therefore bad. So I’ll accept it. Grudgingly. But even then only on the condition that they don’t do stupid things with it for the sake of showing the audience how cool and advanced they are. People tend to forget that movies and cartoons are an art form and sometimes you need to take a step back and take out the unnecessary elements.

  • Mady

    Ok. Get this. Remember that story about hansel and gretel? Well Disney should do a funny animated thing. Also haunted my little bro who was 5 at the time loved it he still likes it now. Ever since Waly Disney died. He was a man of brilliance. My grandmother got to shake hands with him. As a Hispanic-American woman who loves Disney (before it got corupted) I belive you should stick to a a normal and traditional fairy tale of Rapunezel. She could be hispanic. But. I’m also a kid I think you should give up the girly stuff and do comedy GIVE DISNEY A CHANCE!!!