Wednesday, March 3, 2010

2D on the ropes again already?

After the toure de force that was "Princess and the Frog" I really thought it would be a while before the rumblings of a pullback in 2D features would be heard again. You know, like maybe 4-5 years at least?

Apparently studio honchos feel that even though it made $100 million, P&tF was a "disappointment" at the box office. Now the plug has been pulled on "The Snow Queen," what was to be the 3rd 2D film in this nascent renaissance for traditional Disney animation. Much of this is outlined in the story below:

I have read and heard elsewhere that the Winnie the Pooh 2D feature is still a go, but that at this point, nothing else is really in the pipeline. I'm hoping that John Lasseter and other 2D-friendly directors & animators in positions of influence can keep this train on the tracks.

It was absurd of execs to expect Princess and the Frog to pull in Lion King numbers, it was the first 2D Disney film in years, and the first one in almost a decade anyone really cared about. I saw P&tF 3 times in theaters, and at two of those screenings there was cheering and clapping at the climax and as the credits began to roll. I haven't seen audience reaction like that in a Disney 2D film since Lion King. This film is very well loved by those that saw it, young and old alike. Frankly, with the female focus, it's impressive that this film earned what it did, considering a good number of young boys probably opted out. A film like Mulan or The Little Mermaid would have been a better benchmark for BO comparison than Aladdin or The Lion King.

It's important for anyone in any position of influence in the industry to push hard against this sabotage of the rebirth of 2D. Hand-drawn animation was always the primary creative medium of Walt Disney's empire, the wellspring of most of the shows, rides, and other fantasies that were born from the studio. Disney needs to ease in to reintroducing 2D features to today's kids. Older kids and teens probably have a bias against 2D to some extent, but adults fondly remember the magic days of Disney and will definitely pay to renew those fantasies for their children. Let's not give up before we've even started...