Sunday, April 22, 2012
The Future of Walt Disney Animation Studios (Part 2)
In part one, I went over Frozen, which is scheduled to be released on November 27, 2013. Right now, this is the only project after Wreck-It Ralph that currently has a release date. Two other projects that are in development right now don't: King of the Elves and a film based on Mickey Mouse.
King of the Elves is based on the short story by Philip K. Dick (who wrote stories that were adapted into films like Blade Runner, Total Recall and Minority Report) about a gas station owner who becomes the leader of tiny elves who are at war with trolls. This isn't a classic fairy tale or a love story, so this could be very interesting. Hopefully it is pulled off in a great manner, and not one that's going to have the critics saying "bowdlerization!" A respectable adaptation it should be, much like the Walt films. Maybe we can see that happen, with Lasseter & co. at the studio. Like Frozen, it will be computer animated, but I still want to see Disney doing more hand-drawn films.
Of course, we don't know what will come next. Who knows what story Disney will adapt, or if they'll do more original works like Bolt and Wreck-It Ralph. They might bring back projects like Mort or old cancelled projects like Fraidy Cat and A Few Good Ghosts. Maybe not, sometimes projects are canned at Disney and show up years later. Walt Disney considered The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast back in the 1930s and 1950s, we got them in 1989 and 1991. Lilo & Stitch was around in the 1980s, but the film came out in 2002. Treasure Planet was thought of in the late 1980s, and we finally got that in 2002. If they don't go back to scrapped ideas (and they have a TON of scrapped projects), who knows what new original projects they will come up.
Right now, Walt Disney Animation Studios' future is somewhat unpredictable. Their upcoming animated film for this year is a "great decider" of sorts. Tangled was a smash, Winnie the Pooh was gap filler (very good gap filler), so now it's down to Wreck-It Ralph. If this film is a runaway success, then we might see Disney green light ambitious projects. We might see more projects being announced. Wreck-It Ralph needs to repeat the success of Tangled and establish Disney as a competitor to the big guns. A poster is already out, so hopefully a good trailer will be up soon. Hopefully Disney markets this thing aggressively, much like they did with Tangled. Another big success is what the studio needs, after having a string of underperformers and flops. Hopefully Wreck-It Ralph will signal a new, successful, ambitious, creative direction for Walt Disney Animation Studios.
We may find out in November...