View Full Version : When did people start expecting so much?

02-28-2003, 11:44 AM
I'm reading the TP/JB2 thread with interest after taking my two kids to see TP at the weekend. Sitting there watching the awe on my 4yo boy's face (big pirate fan), I wondered why this film had tanked so badly. It occurred to me, if this movie had been released in the early 80's, it would have been hailed as a marvel, and would probably have performed amazingly.

Is the action-adventurer genre as done by Disney in TP and Atlantis failing because it's target audience now expect so much more? Compare your average 9 yo from 15 years ago with your 9 yo of today. Have they lost the wonder? Have we progressed so far in terms of entertainment (video, computer games, computer animated shows) that they cannot enjoy the simplistic anymore?

02-28-2003, 12:06 PM
Is the action-adventurer genre as done by Disney in TP and Atlantis failing because it's target audience now expect so much more? Compare your average 9 yo from 15 years ago with your 9 yo of today. Have they lost the wonder? Have we progressed so far in terms of entertainment (video, computer games, computer animated shows) that they cannot enjoy the simplistic anymore?
It is my belief that TP did not perform as well as many had hoped because the animated action genre is just not appealing enough to a wide enough audience to make it a blockbuster. Even 15 years ago I think the audience such a film would have appealed to would have limited it's box office take. When it comes to TP, I hear a lot of disappointment in the fact that it didn't do better, but I can't say I've heard a lot of criticism of the animation itself. Story line and subject matter make a huge difference, and TP's just didn't stike a cord.

02-28-2003, 12:27 PM
IMHO it also was a bad timing issue. With Harry Potter II and Two Towers coming out around the same time, very few people really paid it much attention.

Walt's Frozen Head
02-28-2003, 01:04 PM
I believe there are many factors in this sort of equation... but I usually focus on two of them, because they were factors within Disney's control.

The first problem was the release date... originally, TP had been scheduled to be a summer action flick, and Lilo and Stitch the holiday family film. TP's production problems are nigh on to legendary at this point, and Disney flip-flopped the dates.

I think both films would have performed better than they did, had they stuck to the original scheduling.

The second part... I don't think it's possible to overestimate the chilling effect of Disney themselves coming out six days after Treasure Planet opened and basically telling the world "this movie is at least $80 million less good than we've been saying it was."

Yeah, there're a lot of other factors involved, but these two inhibitors are particularly bothersome because they come down to Disney shooting themselves in the foot.


02-28-2003, 01:14 PM
I don't think it's possible to overestimate the chilling effect of Disney themselves coming out six days after Treasure Planet opened and basically telling the world "this movie is at least $80 million less good than we've been saying it was."
I know you aren't speaking to me. Heck, I don't even know if you can see this. However, I just want to clarify (not discuss, rehash, argue, speculate, etc., etc., etc.....................)

Are you saying that you believe that TP had "legs", as they say, but Disney cut them off at the knees? You can tell a lot about some films by their opening weekend/week. Others are harded to guage as they might have a slow opening but could possess "legs" and not drop off that sharply from their opening, as many films have been known to do. If you believe that TP would have been such a film, what is your basis for that opinion? Just curious, and I won't ask any more questions of you.

Another Voice
02-28-2003, 01:32 PM
It's all about the story.

No technology or wonderous filmmaking can rescue a bad script - 'Final Fantasy' was the first full length photo realistic CGI movie, but sank without a trace because it had an awful story. Yet 'Ice Age' had fairly low end animation but characters people loved; it was a hit.

'Treasure Planet' had a weak story and an unintersting background (different does not mean good). So people stayed away. It is really that simple.

And 'Monsters, Inc.' went up against both a 'Lord of the Rings' and a 'Harry Potter' movie as well, but did alright. Movies don't compete against each other at the box office unless they have very similar story lines (like the two volcano or metor movies a few years ago).

Wade Shrader
02-28-2003, 03:56 PM
This is similar to a thread I posted last week. I really don't have a reason to why it did not do as well, but I would agree with the timimg of the release. It would have taken one of Disney's best to compete with Harry Potter and Two Towers.

That being said, my family loved this movie (myself, wife, 5 year old triplets - 2 boys and a girl)! We all loved it! I thought the characters were unique, and we liked the story line. And the animation was incredible!

Call me simple, but I thought this was a great Disney product, and I'll be buying the DVD the day it comes out.

02-28-2003, 08:28 PM
Seems to me that what has changed is the immediate thumbs up or thumbs down films get now days from film critics and by reading opening weekend box office figures.
There isn't as much chance for word of mouth to filter through a target audience to encourage attendance. Now it's either a hit or a miss 24 hours after it's released and that initial impression stays with a show for it's run.
I know it's a catch-22 situation--when you're spending millions upon millions to make a movie and customers are spending upwards of $50 per family just to see the darn thing-- we may have created a no win situation for most movies, especially the family genre that Disney was champion of.

Sad, but would Lion King even make the same impression if it was released today??
Just a sign of the times.

Enjoy the movies your family wants to and listen less to the critics!

:earsgirl: :earsboy: :earsboy: :earsgirl:

02-28-2003, 08:43 PM
My 3 yr old DD loved Atlantis and we had to "rush" to see TP in the IMAX before Lion King was rereleased. It was awesome in the IMAX format and my DD loved it. I was also dissapointed that it didn't do any better in the theater than it did. It is sad that there aren't many "good" movies that you can take your kids to withouth covering their eyes and plugging their ears for par of the movie.

Another Voice
02-28-2003, 09:11 PM
"There isn't as much chance for word of mouth to filter through a target audience to encourage attendance."

Actually that's not correct.

Word of mouth is still the driving factor for a movie's long term box office take. Marketing gets people into the theaters the first weekend, but friends get people in the second. Look at all thsoe moives which lose more than half their audience the second weekend. That's purely the result of word of mouth as well.

And reveiwers have very, very little impact. Look at how many reviews labled 'Minority Report' as the best film of the summer (and it lost it's openning weekend to 'Lilo and Stitch') or who gushed over 'Gangs of New York' (which fizzled). And how many Oscar nominated films have lines around the block?

A little film like 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' opened with zero marketing in April. Yet it increased its box office weekend total every week. It's highest grossing weekend was Labor Day - all those weeks it was building on word of mouth. That little film is closing on $250 million at the box; it's still playing in theaters even though it's been released on home video.

I know it's rough to see a movie you like not do well financially. Believe me, it's a lot rougher to watch a film you've worked on not do well. But that's still no reason to rush around finding reasons to blame all those "stupid" people who didn't see it or didn't love it as much as you did.

02-28-2003, 09:35 PM
I did not get to see TP as my brother and family took my DS 12 and DS7 to see it. But they came back all excited and really loved it. I think part of the problem is that children expect so much more because of video gaming, etc. Like other posts said, it's sad when a movie like this does not do "well" because there are so few that you can take your kiddos to. We recently went to see Daredevil. Definitely not a little kids movie. The critics also seem so much at the ready to analyze and downplay a movie such as TP. Sad. Too many factors involved these days to make a movie a hit.

02-28-2003, 11:22 PM
I think AV is hinting to us.

Let's ask ourselves why Lilo, Atlantis, and TP all had adventure and/or space themes, but that Lilo did the best.

Story and heart.

I loved Atlantis and TP, but for the same reason I like roller coasters, for the adrenalin rush, and for the whiz bang! ideas.

Atlantis had the language and the cool gadgets, and the retro look and feel. TP had the cool special effects and the cool pirate theme.

So let's ask ourselves...why exactly did Lilo beat 'em? Because Chris Sanders and Dean DuBois seemed to pour their heart into the fillm, and it showed. It didn't seem to be based on whether or not it would make a great marketing campaign or a toy for the Slappy Meals.

03-01-2003, 06:17 AM
I'm baffled that the reasons given for TP tanking is a poor storyline. Isn't it true to say that 'Treasure Island' is considered one of the classic stories of our time? Isn't the storyline the same or would the movie have performed better as a pure remake of TI?

My original point was less a critique of TP and more an observation that what will satisfy an audience has changed. I definitely think the goalposts have been moved over the last 15 years. Is it a case that the movie studios are hiding poor storylines behind wicked animation, or is it that exposure to this higher standard of technology in everyday life has jaded the palates of our young?

I'm not talking about our toddler/preschooler market- we all know if you wrap a present up in colorful enough paper, they'll lap it up.

I'm talking about the elusive pre-teen action adventure demographic. Perhaps they now want to watch movies like Spiderman or Daredevil (with the inherent violence), and movies such as TP or Atlantis are considered 'too baby' for them. I've seen moms on other boards mention that they didn't bring their 7 year old to TP because he himself felt he had outgrown cartoons.
Seven years old..... outgrown cartoons .:eek

I know I'm overgeneralizing here, but I wonder does anyone else feel this way? How would the big hitters of yesterday perform on today's stage being judged by today's audience?

03-01-2003, 06:42 AM
You know, it baffles me, too. I'm going to be honest here - I don't think that I've ever read Treasure Island. If I did I was young enough to forget it. Having said that, I was really impressed with how the story of treasure planet stuck to the key plot elements of the story that I have seen in two live action versions of Treasure Island (the disney version and a more recent Australian version). In fact, I thought that they did an excellent job of tightening up the story and picking up the pace as compared to those live action versions. One of the things I enjoyed about it was mentally comparing it to the live action versions, and it came out ahead, to me.

I really liked the story. I tried watching the ice age movie twice, but I couldn't stay awake through it either time. I am not sure why anyone thinks it had a good story - it seemed to me to be a pretty basic traveling buddy thing, with a big guy and a little guy. I thought it was sufferingly lame. Let's see Emporer's New Groove was funny, Road to El Dorordo wasn't very good but the gay allusion stuff was funny, but this one didn't stand out to me. It was like Fox said "Dreamworks is doing a traveling buddy movie set in historical S. America, Disney is doing a traveling buddy movie set in historical S. America, and Disney is also doing a dinosaur movie...let's do a traveling buddy dinosaur movie, only not use dinosaurs..." I also thought that the animation wasn't that great. A lot of people must have liked the shorts with that squirrel thing trying to get the nuts because they kept making them, but they didn't seem that funny to me really.

I liked the story of Treasure Planet though - a young guy finds a father figure and then is betrayed by him, goes from being angry young guy to a hero. I thought it was good. I think some people were annoyed by the martin short robot, and so say the story was bad, but it didn't bother me. On the contrary, I thought it was an interesting way to match the marooned Ben character from the original story. I even sort of like the music they threw in to try to attract the tween girls.

I also thought it was visually striking. I have heard an argument that adventure is a format that doesn't transfer to animation, because you know it isn't real and so never really feel tension worrying about the characters (Princess Mananoke, Vampire Hunter D etc. besides, I guess). I don't buy that though. I sat through XXX on the flight over here and I never felt any tension for any of the characters in the adventure situations. It didn't feel any more "real" than any animated movie. I thought the action depicted in treasure planet was thrilling and exciting in its visual impact (e.g., the flying surf board thing). I thought that the animation was as striking as anything from Fantasia 2K really. And Princess Mananoke for that matter.

I also think that treasure planet was hard for a lot of people because they couldn't get over the idea of old looking ships in outer space; that never bothered me, it was obviously fantasy - I enjoyed it. But then I liked Atlantis OK too, I thought dinosaur was visually stunning, and I laughed out loud to Emporer's New Groove, so I'm probably just an idiot. I guess Disney should put more focus into girls 3-8 and boys 3-6 and have more jungle book 2s. I don't know.

In American culture currently, there is a point of view that animated movies, and disney movies, are for little kids. And so older kids want to break away from that. Over Christmas I was watching TV with a cousing who is a 13 year-old-girl. A commerical for the Beauty and Beast DVD came on and I asked her if she wanted it - of course not, she liked it when she was a little kids but was far too old for it now. Later a Monter's Inc dvd commercial came on, and she admitted that she really liked Monster's Inc. I think the computer animation / traditional animation is sort of covarying with it. Tweens see computer animation as cooler, and traditional animation as more suited for younger kids. A lot of adults are the same way. There are many who have a young kid they will take them to most any G rated animated movie because it is kid's stuff.

03-01-2003, 07:59 AM
I don't think I'm expecting too much of any Disney film. The only thing I hope for is it will hold my childs attention through at least 75% of the film and keep me awake for about 90%. I chose not to take my kids to see TP because I didn't think it would do either of the above. Not because it was not well animated or didn't have a good story line but simply because I don't think my kids were the primary target audience. I have 3 children 5,4 & 2. They are more interested in a movie like JB2 which has childish characters they can relate to and a story line even they could follow. I do think when my kids are older a movie like TP would be something they are interested in because they have been raised to love almost all things Disney.

I have a sister who has 2 children 14 & 9 who have no interest in ever seeing a Disney animated film because they would consider it babyish. They were raised differently from my children with more video game influence and definitely less trips to Disney. I think that does make a difference.

03-01-2003, 08:12 AM
I think that maybe our kids have changed. Someone else's remark about what a 13 wants to see now sparked a thought. I Was in my late to mid teens when the Lion King was first released along with Alladin and the Little Mermaid. I remember going on a date to see Beauty and the Beast and I loved it. It might be that the computer games are more realistic also. I played pack-man when I was growing up and it didn't look very realstic to me, but I loved it. I do believe times have changed.

03-01-2003, 04:50 PM
Isn't it true to say that 'Treasure Island' is considered one of the classic stories of our time?
Yes. It isn't that Treasure Planet (Treasure Island) isn't a good story, it is just that it isn't a very good story for an animated feature.

03-01-2003, 05:07 PM
It's a peer thing too with teenagers.
I have a DS 15 and DD 13 and although they wouldn't be caught "dead" accompanying me to a theatre to see TP or Monsters Inc, for example, they insist we purchase the video when it comes out.

:earsgirl: :earsboy: :earsboy: :earsgirl:

03-01-2003, 11:32 PM
I have to wonder if it is the ready availability of DVDs and tapes as well. My friends kids have seen the age appropriate Disney movies (oldest is 4) to death. I know I wouldn't have had (and didn't have!) an interest in seeing a full length Bugs Bunny movie. Disney, on the other hand was only available in theatres when I grew up ...and all the way through the Little Mermaid/Lion King/Beauty and the Beast era. Once all those movies hit tape and people bought them...I think it took some of the mystery away.

That said...the Lilo & Stitch story line interested me...Treasure Planet did not. Sailing ships in space was just too offputting. I could have dealt with sailing ships that flew through the air on another planet...but space?

Beyond that...there are SO MANY movies out. And to have a blockbuster you have to appeal to everyone...not just kids. Movies are coming to the point where they have more in common with the best seller lists for books rather than their prior blockbuster performances. You aren't competing just against Harry Potter and LOTR...you are competing against the video stores, the cable channels, the computer AND video games. People are going to see the superhero genre now because they read them as kids and want to see them translated to screen. I give the genre 3 years max...probably less and then some other format will be hot. Disney would be best served to try and figure out what the next best thing will be rather than trying to hitch on to the action adventure format.

03-03-2003, 08:12 AM
Any animated feature film today must attract a larger demographic than Treasure Planet targeted in order to be successful. If the focus group is child/young teen, you have to appeal to the accompanying adult as well or they may be inclined to influence their child in another direction. The only other way you will draw the audience is if the child is so enamored by the advertising they beg their parent to take them.

Lilo and Stitch did better because it "seemed" to the uninformed public to be a more enjoyable film in terms of comedy. This will attract the older teenager and many adults as well. Most parents will resign themselves to sit through a "cartoon" for their children as long as they have a convincing reason that it will be worth their time and money.