Monday, April 27, 2015

When Will The Marketing for 'Zootopia' Kick Off? [UPDATE]


Zootopia opens in less than a year...

How were the past few Walt Disney Animation Studios films marketed?

First, let's set aside Winnie the Pooh, the sole summer domestic release out of the films released in the last 4 1/2 years. Also, that film's marketing was minimal.

Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen, and Big Hero 6 were all November releases in their respective years...

Let's start with Tangled. What else did Disney release in 2010? Specifically summer 2010? Pixar's Toy Story 3! A teaser for Tangled, with some footage from the finished film combined with stuff that was made specifically for it, popped up before Toy Story 3 in theaters. A full trailer consisting of nothing but footage from the actual film then appeared in September. I guess it was attached to theatrical prints of WB/Animal Logic's Legends of the Guardians, that was one of the only family-friendly films playing at the time.

The same happened with Wreck-It Ralph. The teaser debuted in June 2012, just in time for the release of Pixar's Brave. However, it appeared weeks before that film opened, so it was attached to DreamWorks' Madagascar 3 first. Smart move, both films did great business here. That film's teaser was mostly composed of footage from the actual film, I think there was maybe one clip in it that wasn't used in the finished film, and that was a rather odd scene of Ralph riding on a wave of Cy-bugs while not wearing the Hero's Duty outfit. The full trailer appeared in September, and it was just in time for the 3D re-release of Finding Nemo and Sony Animation's Hotel Transylvania.

So with two post-Eisner hits in a row (rather than moderate successes), what did they do with Frozen? They waited till June 2013 to roll out the teaser, once again. The teaser was composed entirely of footage not meant for the film, it was similar to Pixar's teasers, where they showed a segment that wasn't going to be in the film itself. However, some of the animation of Olaf and Sven in the teaser is used in the film's closing sequence. So, 90% special-made-for-the-teaser? That bit of animation is just in an entirely different setting, that's all. This teaser was attached to Pixar's Monsters University, and the full trailer dropped in September 2013. That would be attached to Sony's Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, however...

Disney went the distance and released a second full trailer in mid-October. They went against the grain a bit. I think that final trailer was what helped the film open so high, too. It was a fantastic trailer to say the least...

The routine seemed to be this: Release the teaser in June so it'll be attached to the latest Pixar film, then debut the full trailer in September when something else that's family-friendly will drop...

Then along came Big Hero 6. Pixar had nothing set for summer 2014 by the time Big Hero 6 entered physical production, so what could the teaser be attached to? Easy, Disney had Maleficent opening at the end of May of last year and DreamWorks was going to open How To Train Your Dragon 2 a couple weeks after that, so they were all set. The teaser was a sequence much like the Frozen one, except some of it is actually used in the film itself. Then out of nowhere, Disney unleashed a full trailer in July, rather than September. This trailer, however, felt like another teaser even though it mainly consisted of actual footage from the film. It was a sequence (Hiro and Baymax at the police station) followed by a montage. Then another full trailer came in September...

Zootopia, unlike these four films, is a March release.

So that begs the question... When will Disney begin marketing the film? When will a teaser drop?

The film is in production right now and I reckon less than a quarter of it is finished, so I don't expect anything to drop during the summer. However, it is possible that a teaser consisting of footage not meant for the film will appear, possibly before Inside Out. At the same time we have to consider the other Pixar film that's coming out this year, The Good Dinosaur.

There is no teaser for that film yet, one wasn't shown at CinemaCon either. I've been thinking that Pixar will have one ready for Tomorrowland next month, but if not, then definitely Inside Out. Disney and Pixar chose to focus on Inside Out only for the past couple of months, plus Disney could get away with starting the marketing for WDAS' fall films in the preceding summers of their respective years. Pixar probably figures that they're all set if they begin the Good Dinosaur marketing campaign in less than two months.

So with that, I don't see Zootopia's teaser coming in the summer... Oh wait, maybe it will... You know what else is happening this coming summer?

D23.

Now I think that's where the teaser will debut, then it will be shown to the public in September. That's right in line with how WDAS usually markets their films, plus Sony Animation has yet another film set to come out that month, Hotel Transylvania 2. It's perfect, really...

Then the full trailer can debut in November 2015, just in time for the release of The Good Dinosaur. Disney could even squeeze another trailer out in January 2016 if they wish.

So basically...

May/June: The Good Dinosaur teaser
August: Zootopia teaser (D23 only)
September: The Good Dinosaur full trailer, Zootopia teaser
November: Zootopia full trailer, Finding Dory teaser

What say you?

UPDATE - 4/30/2015

Footage of Zootopia will be screened at the Annecy Film Festival (alongside Good Dinosaur footage), which will take place from June 15-20th...

So yeah, I'm convinced we'll get the teaser later in the summer...

1 comment:

  1. So far the only marketing item I have found is the "Little Golden Book" which can be pre-ordered from Amazon, though you will not get it until January 16

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