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Aladdin (2019)

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Jake Lipson, Nov 2, 2017.

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  1. Message #1 of 109 Nov 2, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 10, 2018
    Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Producer

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    [​IMG]
    Title: Aladdin (2019)

    Tagline: Choose Wisely.

    Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Music, Romance

    Director: Guy Ritchie

    Cast: Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Will Smith, Marwan Kenzari, Nasim Pedrad, Billy Magnussen

    Release Date:

    Runtime: 0

    Plot: A live-action retelling of the 1992 Disney film of the same name.


    I realized while creating the thread for The Lion King's 2019 remake that, as far as I know, the new Aladdin doesn't have a thread either, so I thought I'd go ahead and create that one too.

    Aladdin (#1) and The Lion King (#2) are my top two favorite films of all time, so I feel very protective of them and care a great deal about them being remade correctly. Like I said in the TLK thread, my feeling is that the remake is not strictly necessary from a creative standpoint, but, since Disney is going to do it anyway in the name of money, I've already gotten over that. There's no reason that the remake can't be good, and I hope for the best and am generally excited about it. Beauty and the Beast didn't need to be remade either, but was handled with respect and care and tuned out to be pretty great, in my opinion, especially considering the large margin of error looming over such a project. So, I hope they will aim for a similar result with Aladdin, and if we get something resembling Beauty and the Beast in terms of quality level, I'd be good with that.

    Even though it is already shooting, the roles of Iago and Abu have not been filled for the remake yet. Even though I really like him, I could see them cutting out Abu -- they did for the Broadway show to nominal effect -- but Iago is a much larger role than Abu, and they did keep him in the Broadway show (albeit as a human, not a bird), but regardless, it's difficult for me to imagine an Aladdin remake in which he is not present. He would likely be a CGI character, so an actor wouldn't need to be on the set, but still. Twice is a pattern, and it appears Disney is either messing with or being unclear about their sidekick villains in their remakes, and I just really wish they would clear that up. I'm not opposed to change if there is a good reason for it and do hope the new film tries something new, but these are beloved characters and we should know what's going on. I'd rather know ahead of time if they've cut these characters out than be rudely surprised when I enter the theater.

    The other thing about Iago, specifically, is that because he is a bird, he doe not have to be cast in a particular ethnicity. Disney 100% rightly decided that it was important for Aladdin to have an ethnically correct cast of actors mostly of Middle Eastern descent, which is exactly what they should be doing -- but as a result of that, the cast is also mostly unknowns, which means they lack above-the-title name drawing power. As it stands currently, Will Smith as Genie is the only name actor in that entire cast. Because Iago is a bird and will almost certainly be a computer-generated character, that means they can cast almost anybody to play him. Crudely speaking, it doesn't matter if they give the part to a famous white guy, or anyone else they might want. So, in addition to the fact that Iago in the 1992 film has a rather large part, if they keep him, they can cast another big name who would be able to lend his celebrity status to the film's marketing, which is not something they're going to get from anybody else in there except Smith as things stand now. So they have every reason to find somebody big and famous to play Iago.

    Moving on, I also think it's bizarre that both of these films are currently slated for summer 2019 -- Aladdin for Memorial Day and Lion King in July -- and whether it's smart to release them both so close or not, that is what they are currently saying they are going to do. I think it is clear that the audience overlap for those two titles, based on back-to-back '90s animated musical blockbusters, is essentially 100%. They will eat into each other's grosses, de-eventize each other and both make less money than they would if they were playing in separate years, or at least seasons.

    This year, when it was two months old in May, Beauty and the Beast was still doing $3-4m per weekend and demonstrating great legs because the film was well-liked and people kept seeing it again and telling other people to go see it. If The Lion King opens in July 2019 after Aladdin opens in May, I don't think that will be the case for Aladdin. Aladdin's grosses will more or less stop dead in their tracks when Lion King arrives, since everyone's attention, from fans to families to Disney's marketing and booking people, will be shifted to Lion King, and Aladdin will lose screens and momentum when Lion King arrives (not to mention that Disney also has '90s nostalgia blast Toy Story 4 in June in between the two remakes.) And yeah, Aladdin will make a lot of money before Lion King opens -- but in terms of total gross potential, I don't think there is any question that both films would make less than they would if they came out at different times. Beauty and the Beast would have been less of an event film if the inevitable remake of The Little Mermaid had materialized right on its heels in May this year, for example.

    So, I think it would be smart of Disney to move one or the other so that they're not within spitting distance of each other, and wouldn't be surprised if they do eventually come around to that decision. In their initial announcement of the Memorial Day date for Aladdin, they actually said that it is the "untitled Disney live-action fairy tale #2" movie that they had originally slated for December 22, 2019 -- and December would have been fine for it after a July Lion King, because TLK would have been out of theaters and on Blu-ray by then. But then Colin Treverrow was fired off Episode IX, and J.J. Abrams came in and obviusly needed to dely the film to December (from its original Memorial Day spot) in order to have time to rewrite it from scratch before he shoots it. So, Aladdin got shuffled up to May from December to fill the vacancy in Disney's release schedule created by the reasonable Episode IX move. I get why Disney wants to open a movie on Memorial Day 2019, so the reason for this move makes sense in an isolated world, but in relation to the preexisting presence of Lion King in July, I think something has to give somewhere. Or at least, if it doesn't, they'll be leaving money on the table from both films, and when has Disney ever wanted to do that?

    I think that's all I've got right now, but look forward to discussing the movie more as we approach and reach its release.

    Your thoughts?
     
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  2. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I wouldn't be surprised if one or both get moved -- there are so many things that could happen between now and Summer 2019, from production delays to additions to the schedule. Disney might shuffle something around on the Marvel side and then reshuffle the Walt Disney Studios releases afterwards. I think at this point, it's about holding the spot with such big sounding titles that no other studio will dare claim a stake to that date. Then, when it gets closer, they can move stuff around without ceding the date to anyone.

    Disney has been a master of box office chicken lately - they always win. It was a big deal when Warner tried to get the Captain America: Civil War slot for Batman V Superman, and on paper, Batman and Superman are the biggest superheroes, but Warner in the end blinked, moved the movie earlier, and Disney won the day twice, first by keeping the date, and second by outgrossing their competition.

    But if everything stayed as it was, I'd be really surprised to see both of those movies coming out in the same summer. On the other hand, maybe Disney could do something clever like double featuring them, or offering discounted tickets to Aladdin when The Lion King opens up to boost the gross - you never know.

    To make an overly cynical joke, Disney has been experimenting with charging more for the very first screening of a movie (if you wanted to see Beauty And The Beast's first showing, or Thor 3's, or The Last Jedi, you have to pay somewhere between $30-40 instead of a standard ticket price) and I think this is just the beginning of that kind of thinking. Maybe by the time Lion King comes out, Aladdin will have gone from an outrageously priced ticket to a normal admission :D
     
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  3. Message #3 of 109 Nov 2, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2017
    Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Producer

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    On the subject of the event pricing, Josh: it's working for Star Wars, but maybe not quite as well for Thor. My local AMC IMAX theater had scheduled the fan event thing for 6pm in pre-sales, but must not have sold very many tickets. Today, it has been converted to a regular-priced showtime at 7pm in the same auditorium, and the 6pm fan event one is not on the schedule (although my local Cinemark is still doing it at 6pm in their xD screen.) Whether it will work for Aladdin is an open question -- and I hope you're wrong about the large price increases, but fear you may well be right.

    You might also have a point abut Aladdin being a placeholder on the Memorial Day date for the time being. I would be surprised if Lion King moved out of summer 2019, since they seem to consider that one their biggest bet for that summer, but would not be at all surprised if Aladdin were eventually to go elsewhere. It's also worth noting that, while Disney has always aggressively programmed both the first weekend of May (in 2019 with Avengers 4) and Memorial Day (in 2019 with Aladdin, currently), the films they have put in the Memorial Day slot have been much less successful of late (Pirates 5, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Tomorrowland, Prince of Persia, etc.) than their typical blockbusters elsewhere on the calendar. Whether that is coincidental or not is up for debate.

    Disney also currently has the Tim Burton Dumbo remake in late March 2019. I still think it's foolish to put Aladdin and Lion King anywhere close to each other, but if they insist, I think Aladdin would be better off in the March spot, like Beauty and the Beast was, which would result in a June Blu-ray release if they follow the pattern. Then, it would essentially be out of theaters, except maybe second-run dollar places, by July when Lion King were to arrive. And while Dumbo certainly will be a big movie for Disney, I don't expect it to be quite on the order of Aladdin and Lion King in terms of directly going for the same audience, since Dumbo is an older film being redone and is not a big '90s throwback musical. It also just doesn't seem as big as these two titles.
     
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  4. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    Disney is a huge proponent of what TravisR calls "release date voodoo" - the idea that if a movie did well, there must be something intrinsically magical about that date that made the movie a success. It's ludicrous, of course, but The Last Jedi was moved from a May to December release date specifically because of how well The Force Awakens opened in that timeslot.

    Disney has been enjoying success with their "live action" remakes coming in the spring - in addition to Beauty And The Beast, The Jungle Book and Cinderella also debuted in that March/April window. So I wouldn't be at all surprised if one of those movies ends up shifting to that spring period that Disney seems to have settled on for these remakes.
     
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  5. Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Producer

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    Tim Burton's Dumbo remake is already in the spring release date widow for 2019 that Cinderella and Jungle Book used. My point in my previous post is that if they insist on having one of these on Memorial Day, moving Dumbo to Memorial Day and putting Aladdin in March would create more distance between the two (effectively) '90s musicals, and Dumbo is likelier to be a smaller grosser than those two.

    July for The Lion King is the one where Disney doesn't really have a pattern of releasing tentpole things there -- it is in the "Nolan/Potter Slot" where The Dark Knight and Rises alternated with several of the later Harry Potter films, and which WB most recently used for Dunkirk. But WB doesn't have a massive tentpole there for 2019, so Disney put Lion King there, probably as a reflection of their belief that Lion King will be significantly bigger in the summer, and that is the one that I would be surprised if they move.
     
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  6. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I keep forgetting about Dumbo. Personally, I think three "animated to live adaptations" from the same studio's pool of classics in the same year is overkill. They might end up killing their golden goose.
     
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  7. Message #7 of 109 Nov 2, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2017
    Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Producer

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    I agree with that, too, Josh, but that wouldn't be the first time Disney has done such a thing. Remember when The Lion King 3D reissue was such an unexpected-by-Disney (but fully expected by me) smash hit back in 2011? They quickly scheduled 3D reissues for Beauty and the Beast (January 2012) , Finding Nemo (September 2012), Monsters, Inc. (December 2012) and The Little Mermaid (September 2013.)

    None of the first three performed anywhere near as well as Lion King had. They were all widely available on Blu-ray and DVD at that point, and the Pixar ones at least run on cable regularly (I remember flipping through the channels in mid-June and seeing Finding Nemo on ABC Family/now Freeform, not even two full months before its theatrical re-release.) So, it was obvious to me that those were never going to do as well in a reissue situation as Lion King did, which by the time of its return had been out of print for several years, wasn't shown on TV much or at all, and was extremely difficult to find for purchase. People were excited to see that film again precisely because it had been unavailable and was ripe for rediscovery on the big screen with a new generation of kids. But why should parents pay to take kids to Finding Nemo in the theater two months after seeing it for free on television?

    But Disney didn't consider those factors. Their conclusion was that people were tiring of the re-releases. They didn't think they de-eventized by scheduling three in one year. They did not think that maybe they should do this with library titles that aren't already in current circulation. No, they just decided to abandon the operation altogether, cancelled the theatrical re-release of Little Mermaid 3 and simply dumped its conversion on Blu-ray since it was already done with nothing else to show for it.

    I think that A) if they had kept the reissues to one a year to make them a special event and B) if they did it with titles that were unavailable prior to the re-release, they would still be making money and they could probably still be doing it this year even. Like Lion King had been in early 2011, The Little Mermaid had been out of print for a number of years by the time of its scheduled 2013 theatrical re-release. Its previous DVD release was in 2006 and that had been taken out of print years ago, and again, it didn't air on TV with any frequency during he out-of-print period. So, I contend to this day that if they had stuck with the theatrical run, the return of The Little Mermaid would have been seen by the public at large as a special event, and it would have easily behaved much more along the lines of Lion King's reissue gross than any of the other titles. They left money on the table by not doing this.

    But I'm just a fan thinking logically who wants to see these films succeed in a theatrical setting, so, you know, obviously I don't know as much as Disney's crack marketing team. My point is that they killed the 3D theatrical re-release thing by doing too many at once, also. I don't think the remakes are in danger of actually stopping being made, but I do think they will certainly reach lower heights than Disney would like if they pump out too many in a given time period.

    The Lion King and Aladdin are as beloved as Beauty and the Beast, for sure, but they won't both do $500 million if released two months apart. If one was in 2019 and the other 2020 as an annual event, then they would both be able to perform to their maximum potential. But, as usual, Disney is thinking about a short-term gain in the large box office grosses these will both generate in 2019 (and Dumbo, also), rather than the long-term view of keeping the remake brand fruitful and anticipated by fans for years to come.

    And the May 2019 Marvel movie is Avengers 4. And 2019's Pixar release (in their now-customary June slot, in between the two '90s musical remakes) is Toy Story 4. And at Thanksgiving they have Frozen 2 from their own animation division. And then Episode IX in December. 2019's gross receipts for Disney films will be astronomical with this lineup.

    But what about 2020 Year-over-year, what will they possibly have to compete with that incredible lineup? Guardians of the Galaxy 3, Indiana Jones 5 (supposedly) and...what? They seem to need to balance out the schedule. If they keep all of these films in 2019, it may be huge, but it will also likely be seen as lopsided when 2020 rolls around and they can't match themselves.

    Also, actually, there are at least four remakes/reimaginings for 2019, if you also count the Untitled Christopher Robin Movie, which is opening August 3 I believe, oddly two weeks after Lion King. That one seems like Disney's version of Hook in that older, depressed, work-obsessed, wife-ignoring Christopher Robin will be revisited by CGI Winnie the Pooh and friends in order to fix his life. I think that is one of the most depressing premises I have ever seen, and nobody wants to see a grown-up depressed Christopher Robin dammit. But, they're doing it.

    And: Mulan, which was on the schedule for November 2018, has been delayed to an unspecified date in 2019 per the recent D23 Expo release dates graphic. That one seems to be taking longer to come together, so it wouldn't surprise me much if it rolled to 2020.
     
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  8. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    Jake, the point about the 3D releases dying off was exactly what I was thinking about when I was typing that earlier comment about these live action releases potentially being too much of a good thing. There are just so many entertainment choices right now, and the novelty can wear off quickly. We've seen from the massive success of Beauty And The Beast that there's an audience for well-done remakes that expertly play on nostalgia. We've also seen, from the complete failure of remakes like Flatliners, and the declining box office of recent sequels and remakes like Disney's own Alice Through The Looking Glass, Pirates 5 and Fox's X-Men franchise, that just because something used to be a smash hit does not guarantee that it will remain so in perpetuity, and that there can be too much of a good thing.

    I love the original Lion King and Aladdin so much that I almost don't want to see these remakes. I've only seen the Jungle Book one so far, though I also have a copy of Beauty And The Beast lying around that I keep meaning to get to. So I'm not completely opposed to them, but they're not an automatic sell to me.

    I think you're absolutely right about the Lion King's theatrical 3D release being successful for a multitude of factors, and I agree with you on what those were. That was one that I was very happy to go see in the movie theater, and it was really a thrill to see it on the big screen again for the first time since my childhood. It was especially fun seeing it, in a mostly sold-out auditorium, with kids that were about the age I would have been when I first saw it. They knew the movie, but they had almost certainly never seen it on a big screen or with an audience before. It was special. And I think if Disney had waited longer between re-releases, and timed them with bringing old titles out of the vault for disc sales, they could have had something that worked long-term.

    When I was a kid in the 1980s, that seemed to be how it worked. Disney movies would play theatrically during revivals. When the theatrical revival was over, the home video would be released for the first time, and then we'd go out and buy that. But I don't know if my parents would have brought me to see things like Peter Pan and Snow White if we had had it at home on VHS. I remember one of the selling points for seeing Snow White in theaters during that either late 80s or early 90s reissue was that it had never been on home video before, so it was our first chance to actually see the movie at all.
     
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  9. Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Producer

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    The Snow White re-release was in 1993 with the video following in 1994 (remember when things actually had theatrical legs and long windows between theater and video releases? Now, Beauty and the Beast had legs because it played for two months.) That was my first experience with Snow White as well.

    I'm with you on loving Aladdin and Lion King enough to be iffy about the prospect of the remakes. I don't really think they need to be done at all and would be just as happy with a theatrical re-release of each of them every seven years or so. (Since Aladdin had its planned IMAX release cancelled for equally stupid reasons by Disney, it actually hasn't had a theatrical release at all since its original one in 1992, which was 25 years ago this month.)

    But arguing about whether they need to happen is pointless because, well, they are happening. So, I've gotten beyond my "I don't want to see this" phase because, let's face it, I will, and I care very deeply about them being done well, and even if they end up sucking, I'll be too curious not to see them once so that I can say I gave it a fair shake.

    I will say that I loved the new Beauty and the Beast. It's not on my all-time favorites list like the original is (at #4), but it was about as good as a remake of that could possibly have been. And yet I can still watch the original film without the knowledge of the remake seeping into it too much. I think part of this is that these will always be seen as "the remakes of Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin and The Lion King." Whatever happens with the future versions, enough time has passed and enough people have taken the originals into their heart that the place of them in cinematic and cultural history is indisputable. The new ones may be good -- great, even, if we are wildly lucky -- but regardless, they will always be the remakes that came after when Disney went on a remake blitz and had to remake everything in its catalog because they just can't get sick of the word remake remake remake.

    So, why not enjoy the new ones for what they have to offer? They're here....but the originals are here to stay, first.
     
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  10. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I'm sure I will eventually see them. For me, it's really going to come down to how good the trailers are, if they compel me to want to pay to see them in IMAX 3D (which I assume they'll be released in) or whether it seems like something that can be backburnered until disc or streaming. So they're not fully on my radar yet, but I'm not opposed to seeing them. I'm just not leading the "camping outside the theater waiting" brigade on these!
     
  11. Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Producer

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    I'll be lining up for the first (regular price) showing of each. If they're good, I'll want to be able to celebrate that. If they're bad, I'll want to know what the hell has been done to my favorites right away. And then I'll want to discuss them here. It's a point of pride for me that I know what's going on (which is also why not knowing what's up with Bonzi, Ed, Iago and Abu is annoying as hell to me.) I'm sure the trailer will inevitably excite me until the films gets here anyway, and then they will be judged on their merits, which I hope end up being significant. But I can't imagine a situation where I wouldn't want to be there at the first screening (barring the overpriced fan event crap.)

    The first normal-priced Last Jedi is an hour and a half after the fan event one, which is not even the whole length of the movie, so the people who are okay paying near $30 for a ticket won't eve be out of their screening before I go in. That's where the buck stops for me -- but otherwise, these are my two most anticipated films of 2019 for better or worse, and I'll be there as soon as I can do that for a reasonable price.
     
  12. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    This one's probably going to be a bit more controversial than the other Disney live action remakes, both because of the setting and because it's the first one where the majority of the human characters aren't white people of western European descent.

    There's already been controversy over some of the casting, since Naomi Scott is of Indian and British descent instead of Arab descent. And then there are those arguing that the entire cast should be ethnically Chinese since the original Arabian folkstory the 1992 movie was based on was set in China.
     
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  13. Message #13 of 109 Nov 8, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2017
    Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Producer

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    THR has an interview with Naomi Scott. Some of what she says gives me pause.

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/aladdin-star-naomi-scott-is-reinventing-jasmine-shes-a-multidimensional-woman-1055350

    I haven't got a problem with Scott doing the role. I also haven't got a problem with new things being done in the remake. But I do sort of have alarm bells going off because she's saying that Jasmine is now a multidimensional woman. Does that imply that she was not one in the original? Because she totally was, and getting married wasn't her priority, it was her dad's. I hope this idea that the remake needs to rip things down isn't pervasive, because there is nothing inferior about the original film, especially with regard to Jasmine's character, who remains a highlight of it. So while new elements are fine with me, the old ones ought to be respected, as well.
     
  14. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Lead Actor
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    I can only hope that this occurs. In fact, I hope Disney ends up slaughtering it, not just killing it. The faster this trashing of their animated classics ends the better. When I first heard they were planning a live action remake of DUMBO, I thought it was one of the dumbest ideas to ever come out of what passes for a brain in Iger's head. I still, think it is one of the dumbest ideas for a "live action" film ever, followed by TLK.

    The flop of the upcoming live action remake of "Aladdin" will, I hope, finally end these garbage remakes.
     
  15. Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Producer

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    I know we disagree on this point, but I seriously doubt that the remake of Aladdin will flop.

    I do agree that Dumbo is unnecessary, but the storyline details that have come out on that one don't sound like they have anything in common with the original, other than both being about an elephant with big ears. Since the story has completely changed, it will probably be easier for me to accept it s a separate thing (and, if they are going to do something to exploit the brand, better a remake than the sequel they were planning in 2001.) Anyone remember this?

     
  16. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    I agree, Jasmine was no Sleeping Beauty waiting for her Prince to rescue her. She was a fully realized character.
     
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  17. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    Yeah, whatever a person's view on the live action Disney movies is, the performance of the previous ones means it's a near guarantee that Aladdin won't flop. I'd argue that it's probably the safest bet outside of a Marvel or Star Wars movie.
     
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  18. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    And, I think, for better or worse, we can't really act surprised by any of this. Disney famously said in a call with their investors, and it may have even been in press releases as well, that they were moving to a new business plan of producing only tentpoles. This was years back, possibly even before they bought Lucasfilm, and maybe even predating their purchase of Marvel. The early and mid-2000s were filled with Disney making smaller family films that ran the gamut from being modest hits to outright flops, and while they were certainly capable of producing good movies, they seemed like a studio without a strategy, and I questioned why some of those titles were being greenlit, particularly if they seemed similar to another title put out by the same studio that didn't do well a year or two ago. I don't necessarily agree with that decision, but since it's been made, they've been pretty consistent with it.

    The question that I think could be reasonably asked is: did Disney see the writing on the wall that theatrical exhibition was dying, that home media purchases were drying up, and notice that giant event movies that demands to be seen on the largest screens and that have maximum re-watch value by featuring familiar and likeable characters and stories that are easy to revisit (both in theaters and at home) seemed to be less susceptible to that decline? Or, is the Disney "tentpole-only" strategy training audiences not to go out to see small and medium-sized films, thus becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy? It might be a little of both, but I tend to think that Disney saw where the business was going ahead of everyone else and acted accordingly.
     
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  19. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Lead Actor
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    Really. you guys think "Aladdin" won't flop when the whole show was nothing more than a showcase for Robin Williams's comedic timing and talent as a voice actor and impersonator. Right. I guess hope really does spring eternal. Also, I guess no one has heard of the saying that past performance is no guarantee of the future.
     
  20. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I think the way the movie business is set up this day is that all of the real money comes in the opening weekend, so audience opinion doesn't really matter anymore - movies just don't have legs. Most titles now get one week in premium auditoriums and then get shuttled to the smaller auditoriums that lack features like 3D, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, laser projection, reclining seats, etc., and once that happens, the film's release is generally over. Now, Disney is able to use their muscle to get better terms on their titles, so it's usually two weeks on a Disney title in one of those types of locations rather than the one week most other titles get.

    The original film came out something like 25 years ago, and when it did, not everyone saw it in its opening weekend. I'm sure most of the theaters showing it were at maximum capacity, but movies placed on fewer screens, and the logistics of showing film prints meant that it wasn't nearly as easy to add extra screenings as it is today. Back then, people could be shut out from opening weekend, and then word of mouth could make a difference for how it played in its second week. But today, though some screenings will sell out, theaters will keep adding additional screenings and they will fulfill the majority of the demand in opening weekend, which is when the movie will be both critic-proof and audience-proof. It could turn out to be absolutely terrible, but I don't think that will affect opening weekend grosses one bit.

    Beyond opening week, who knows; maybe it'll have legs like Beauty And The Beast did. Maybe it'll fade away a little quicker (but by no means overnight) like Cinderella '15 and Jungle Book '16 did. But I just don't see an outright flop for Aladdin. It'll be heavily marketed towards little kids, who will eat it up. And more importantly, it'll be heavily marketed towards the parents of those kids, who were kids themselves when the original first came out.

    I think Dumbo is actually going to be a harder sell. Tim Burton has been on a cold streak lately. Alice In Wonderland was a critically derided crowd pleaser that made a fortune, but absolutely no one came out to see the sequel. Dark Shadows was a flop, Frankenweenie was a flop, Big Eyes was a flop, Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children was a flop. The name "Tim Burton" doesn't move the needle right now. The script is credited to Ehren Kruger, who most recently wrote the last three Transformers films - which tells me that it's extremely unlikely that it will open to good reviews. Dumbo isn't as well known or beloved by today's families as Aladdin and The Lion King are, and Tim Burton's signature weirdness has grown stale for many.

    Simply put, most parents with young children that would be the target ages for these remakes have direct connections to the original Lion King and Aladdin films that will likely carry over and, combined with their kids enthusiasm for the new Disney movie, should make them some of the safest big openings ever. I think Dumbo could be successful, but I think it could also easily open like the Alice sequel did.
     
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