Thursday, December 6, 2012
Cleaning The Mess
Several Disney fans had high hopes for what new studio chairman Alan Horn would bring to the table, after nearly three years of misguided mismanagement under Rich Ross. To date, he has worked wonders and is quickly getting Walt Disney Pictures back up from the ground. Sure, under Ross, Disney did score some huge hits and broke a few records, but going against those triumphs (triumphs made possible by Dick Cook) were very bad blunders... Terrible mistakes.
Now that Horn, a seasoned pro, has been head of the studio for quite some time, we've been seeing quite a turnaround. For starters, the acquisition of Lucasfilm and the new Star Wars trilogy. With the massive success of The Avengers, Marvel is going ahead and taking huge risks with projects like Guardians of the Galaxy along with sequels to the previous films that don't sound routine. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is already huge, and it'll get bigger and bigger in the coming years. Phase 2 will live up to the hype alright. Marketing has been better too: Wreck-It Ralph's campaign was effective, the recent trailer for Oz: The Great and Powerful has impressed, and The Lone Ranger's trailer is better than any scrap of John Carter's abysmal marketing.
Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar are going to enjoy many years of success, and Wreck-It Ralph proved to audiences and skeptics that the studio isn't the pale shadow of Pixar that everyone turned their backs on during the disastrous final years of the Michael Eisner regime. Aside from the controversial news and rumors surrounding a Finding Nemo sequel, Pixar has several original and exciting projects in the pipeline. When Lee Unkrich told us not to worry back in 2010, he meant it!
In the first few months alone, quite a few projects have been surfacing: Peter and the Starchasers, Matched, Flight of the Navigator, The Stuff of Legend, Wish List, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day, The Rocketeer, Terra Incognita...
However, I got higher hopes after a recent announcement. Alan Horn has given the go-head to the third film in the Tron series, which Disney did confirm back when Tron: Legacy debuted, but they were very hush hush about it for a while. Tron: Legacy was a hit, not a massive blockbuster, but a modest success nonetheless. A sequel to a science fiction cult classic making $400 million worldwide was nothing to sneeze at, and it did double its hefty production budget. It was deemed a disappointment by the studio, apparently Ross and the gang thought this film would perform like Avatar which is ridiculous. Those who don't know box office very well could even predict that the film wouldn't outdo James Cameron's film. It was a case of an over marketed film, which in the end hurt it.
Methinks Alan Horn knew that Tron: Legacy "failed" due to painfully unrealistic expectations. He probably knows that the fanbase is large and again... $400 million is nothing to scoff at, it was a sequel to Tron for crying out loud! The animated prequel television series Tron: Uprising is currently on, though Disney XD has been airing the recent episodes at midnight. Are they trying to kill the show? Well they can't, but Tron 3 is here to stay.
The whole Tron 3 deal tells me that Horn lives up to his hype. He was the perfect choice for the studio, and unlike Rich Ross, he sees potential in these sorts of projects. He sees things from the right perspective. He probably knows that Tron: Legacy was truly a success at heart, regardless of the budget. He probably knows that John Carter could've been a hit. He probably knows that the marketing under Rich Ross was a sham. This gives fans of Andrew Stanton's adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' legendary sci-fi novels hope, that there will be a sequel to John Carter. Perhaps Horn will see the real reason why John Carter was a box office disaster and will give the franchise another shot.
Just think of what else will come during his tenure...