In addition to Toy Story 3, Disney is planning the release of a new animated film based on a famous storybook princess (like their most recent movie release The Princess and Frog) and have set their sights on Rapunzel. But, because The Princess and the Frog didn’t do so well at the box office, Disney has decided to retool the Rapunzel story to make it more boy-friendly (cuz, that’s where the money is? Really?). The film will now be called Tangled and will focus on a swash-buckling male hero … because, apparently, an animated film about a girl with long, flowing hair is not something that boys want to see at the movies:
Disney is wringing the pink out of its princess movies. After the less-than-fairy-tale results for its most recent animated release, “The Princess and the Frog,” executives at the Burbank studio believe they know why the acclaimed movie came up short at the box office. Brace yourself: Boys didn’t want to see a movie with “princess” in the title. This time, Disney is taking measures to ensure that doesn’t happen again. The studio renamed its next animated film with the girl-centric name “Rapunzel” to the less gender-specific “Tangled.” 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. “We did not want to be put in a box,” said Ed Catmull, president of Pixar and Disney Animation Studios, explaining the reason for the name change. “Some people might assume it’s a fairy tale for girls when it’s not. We make movies to be appreciated and loved by everybody.” So Disney is taking no chances with “Tangled,” positioned to take advantage of holiday family moviegoing when it opens Nov. 24. The studio’s marketing campaign will amp up the role of the dashing Errol Flynn-styled male lead to share the spotlight with the golden-haired namesake of the classic Brothers Grimm story. Hints of swashbuckling action are already being leaked online. “In our film, the infamous bandit Flynn Rider meets his match in the girl with the 70 feet of magical golden hair,” wrote the film’s producer, Roy Conli, on Disney Animation’s Facebook page. “We’re having a lot of fun pairing Flynn, who’s seen it all, with Rapunzel, who’s been locked away in a tower for 18 years.” Flynn Rider, of course, is nowhere to be found in the original “Rapunzel” story. In the Grimm tale, a prince riding through a forest is enticed by Rapunzel’s sweet singing and climbs up the tower where the imprisoned girl is reachable only by her golden tresses. The prince is hardly the boastful swordsman type, let alone a charming rogue. And in Disney’s latest version, the demure princess is transformed into a feisty teen. Disney hopes the introduction of the slightly bad-boy character will help it tap the broadest possible audience for “Tangled,” emulating the success of its corporate sibling, Pixar. Pixar’s movies have been huge hits because they appeal to girls, boys and adults. Its most recent release, “Up,” grossed more than $700 million worldwide. “The Princess and the Frog” generated considerably less — $222 million in global ticket sales to date. “Based upon the response from fans and critics, we believe it would have been higher if it wasn’t prejudged by its title,” Catmull said. In rethinking “Rapunzel,” Disney tested a number of titles, finally settling on “Tangled” because people responded to meanings beyond the obvious hair reference: a twisted version of the familiar story and the tangled relationship between the two lead characters. However, some in the Disney animation community think the name change is misguided. Floyd Norman, a retired Disney and Pixar animator, lampooned the new name with a cartoon on his blog that depicts Rapunzel in her tower brandishing a machine gun and declaring “Rapunzel Salvation: This Is Not a Princess Movie.” “The idea of changing the title of a classic like ‘Rapunzel’ to ‘Tangled’ is beyond stupid,” said Norman, who worked on films including “Mulan” and “Monsters, Inc.” “I’m still hoping that Disney will eventually regain their sanity and return the title of their movie to what it should be. I’m convinced they’ll gain nothing from this except the public seeing Disney as desperately trying to find an audience.”
I totally agree with Floyd Norman, this idea to retool Rapunzel IS “beyond stupid”. Since when does Disney think their Princess movies need to be saved by making them appeal to boys? Hello!! Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, Mulan … I mean, the list of Disney films that focus on classic princesses is almost endless! NOW they want to make these movies appeal to boys? In all seriousness, WTF? is wrong with the Disney folks? I, too, hope they come to their senses and stay the course and put out a movie that will at least resemble the original story. This is Walt Disney, for Pete’s sake … they practically created the Princess business! Don’t ruin this classic tale … please?! Help me out people … is this not the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard in your life?