Disney: No More Animated Fairy Tale Animated Features (UPDATED with Disney Response)
The Los Angeles Times reports that after this Wednesday’s release of Tangled, the Walt Disney Corporation will not be producing any new films based on fairy-tales “for the foreseeable future.” The move is the latest in a series of decisions ranging from the cancellation of The Snow Queen and Jack and the Beanstalk feature films to retitling Rapunzel to Tangled and shifting its marketing focus on the princess to the male lead, Flynn Rider. Pixar Animation Studios president Ed Catmull states that fairy-tale movies “may come back later because someone has a fresh take on it,” but states that he and Disney Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter are encouraging less formula and more creativity, adding, “If you say to somebody, ‘You should be doing fairy tales,’ it’s like saying, ‘Don’t be risky.'” The studio’s aim will be to make movies with more universal appeal over the “princess movie” target audience of little girls.
The article also notes changing trends, such as veteran producer Bonnie Arnold (How to Train Your Dragon) noting that their real competition is movies like Iron Man and Transformers, and the loss of traction the “Princesses” concept has had in the wake of toys like the Bratz dolls and, ironically, fare like Disney’s own girl-centric tweencoms.
UPDATED November 22, 2010: An update from Disney’s Ed Catmull has been posted on the Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Facebook page stating:
A headline in today’s LA Times erroneously reported that the Disney fairy tale is a thing of the past, but I feel it is important to set the record straight that they are alive and well at Disney and continue this week with Tangled, a contemporary retelling of a much loved story. We have a number of projects in development with new twists that audiences will be able to enjoy for many years to come. – Ed Catmull