Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Make other plans, little ladies.


Disney Will Stop Making Princess Movies Because Boys Think They're Icky, by Tim Grierson, Yahoo! Movies.


On Wednesday, Disney will be releasing "Tangled," the studio's 50th animated film. You might think that this would be cause for celebration, but from recent stories in the Los Angeles Times and New York Times, it appears that Disney Animation is in the midst of a major freak-out/reinvention. The main takeaway from these articles was that Pixar guru (and Disney Animation bigwig) John Lasseter is in the midst of reviving Disney's slumping non-Pixar animation projects. Oh, and he's done making movies about fairy tales and princesses.

"They may come back later because someone has a fresh take on it," Lasseter's Disney Animation co-chief Ed Catmull told the L.A. Times, "but we don't have any other musicals or fairy tales lined up." One reason is because the studio is fearful of alienating young boys, who supposedly won't see something like last year's "The Princess and the Frog." The other reason, frighteningly, is that young girls consider themselves too cool to want to be princesses.

[ . . . ]

Lasseter insists that these changes at Disney are all for the good and that people should give him and his team time to work their wonders. But still it's hard not to be completely depressed by these developments. It's not that we're clamoring for a slew of new "princess movies," but it seems like Disney Animation is now trying to chase trends rather than focusing on just making good movies.


Great idea, Mr. Lasseter. Eliminate the types of franchises that built the Disney brand for almost a century, including a multi-million dollar phenomenon that jettisoned your competitors to make as many knockoffs as possible.

Are boys really that valuable that you need to forsake your core audience in a desperate attempt to attract male attention? Boys and male characters are already overrepresented in children's media (you can read the ongoing research at the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media). They don't need another media empire pandering to them, especially not at the expense of girls however controversial Disney Princess stories may be.

For more discussion:

Disney Swears off Princesses, by Melissa Silverstein, Women and Hollywood.

It's the End of the Disney Princess Fairy Tale, But It Ain't Happily Ever After, by Suzanne Reisman, BlogHer.


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