Monday, October 26, 2015
Poll: What Is DisneyToon's Mystery 2019 Release?
As many of you may know, The Walt Disney Studios extended their release slate earlier this month...
The new slate houses a peculiar picture... An untitled DisneyToon Film. It's currently slated to come out April 12, 2019...
The big question that went through our heads: What is it? What could it be?
A little background... DisneyToon Studios - who for many years were behind the company's direct-to-video sequels - seemed like they were facing some rough seas not too long ago. There were reports of massive layoffs, and both of their main franchises are now goners. The Tinker Bell series began life in 2008, but its last entry (Legend of the Neverbeast) was released on physical/digital formats earlier this year. The other series was Planes, which was going to be a DTV series much like Tink, but then that got upgraded to theatrical status. The first Planes went over quite well domestically and internationally. Planes: Fire & Rescue, however, did not meet Disney's expectations despite the fact that the film did triple its small budget. (Marketing costs? Specific expectations? I don't know anymore...)
I'm kind of puzzled as to why Disney never bumped Tinker Bell up to theatrical status. Is it because the first few entries were DTV and they figured that audiences wouldn't see something that they saw as DTV-quality on the big screen? (The Tinks cost roughly $35m while the Planes movies cost $15m more) These films were always given theatrical releases in various overseas territories, because a good amount of animation done on that level often goes theatrical in non-US territories. (I mean, if something like Foodfight! could get a theatrical release in the UK and other countries, anything pretty much goes!)
Disney ended the Tink series for a reason, and it's the same reason Planes got bumped up. The home media market isn't what it used to be, so Disney probably feels the need to abandon straight-to-video titles and make everything theatrical. So that begs many questions...
Is the release a new Tinker Bell film? I'm going to say "big maybe". Perhaps Disney will reconsider the series, because if I remember correctly it was supposed to continue after Neverbeast. Perhaps they'll bump the budgets up a bit...
I doubt it'll be sequels to the classics, as Lasseter put the kibosh on those for a reason. (Tink, being more of a spin-off, arguably does not count but that's another debate for another day.) Frozen 2 and Wreck-It Ralph 2 will be primetime WDAS productions.
DisneyToon was once set to do a Phineas & Ferb film that Mandeville Films would collaborate on, but it faded away in summer 2013. That same summer, show co-creator Jeff "Swampy" Marsh said the film was "on hold". Jim Hill said a few months back that a script was written for the film. But since the series ended (and on a high note, I've heard) earlier this year, I doubt a film gets made at this point...
Maybe it'll be a film based on a current Disney TV Animation show. Gravity Falls is probably the best candidate here, given how it's progressing. The studio has been on a real roll lately with other well-received and well-made shows, like Wander Over Yonder, Star vs. the Forces of Evil, The 7D, Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero, and many more. I'd say they're on top again, the best they've been since maybe the early 2000s.
Theatrical animated movies based on animated shows are apparently tricky, because only a few films of that kind have succeeded. The Simpsons Movie is the biggest grosser, for obvious reasons. Next in line is the first Rugrats movie from 1998, which arguably opened when the series was at its peak. Its sequel did decent business as well, but future Nickelodeon movies outside of the two SpongeBob movies didn't fare as well. Cartoon Network gave it a try with The PowerPuff Girls Movie in 2002, but it appears they'll be trying again with an Adventure Time movie. The Regular Show movie on the other hand was a TV/direct-to-video event. The first Pokemon movie was pretty good-sized here back in 1999, when Pokemon was all the rage with the mainstream (and every time I tell some non-gamer/non-pop culture follower type that Pokemon is still a thing and is still highly successful, their minds are blown), the sequels didn't do as well.
Beavis and Butthead Do America and South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut were successful for what they were, but not big gross-wise.
I guess the challenge is this: Don't make what is essentially a 90-minute episode of a TV show, something you can watch on TV for free. The Simpsons Movie took that mentality and gave it big send-up in the opening sequence. The team behind The Rugrats Movie, despite the fact that the movie opened when the show was a phenomenon, were wise to beef up the budget and animation quality, and also raise the stakes a bit. Hey Arnold! The Movie on the other hand was meant to be a TV special, while the real movie (a.k.a. the "jungle movie") never got made due to Nickelodeon's muck-ups.
At the same time, if it's a family-friendly show you're dealing with, make the movie something the parents will like too. If it's only going to appeal to the kid viewers, whose gonna take them and buy the tickets?
Many current animated TV shows have sizable adult/young adult/teen fanbases, some of Disney TV Animation's shows are fine examples, such as Gravity Falls. There's Adventure Time on Cartoon Network's end, and SpongeBob appeals to tons of people. Let's also not rule out Avatar: The Last Airbender/The Legend of Korra. Should they make another sequel series, a movie may not be out of the question. (Paramount Animation was considering a Legend of Korra movie back when they fired up.)
Then again... This film could be based on one of Disney's classic animated shows.
We know that DuckTales is getting a full-on reboot in 2017, so maybe it's a DuckTales movie? While the first and only DuckTales film (Treasure of the Lost Lamp) was no blockbuster in 1990, it's fondly remembered by many people who are around my age.
If not DuckTales, what about Darkwing Duck? In this day and age of superhero movies pounding the box office left and right, a Darkwing Duck movie would be ideal. Plus, there seems to be more interest in the character these days. Aside from us 80s/90s babies, it could be argued that kids today are becoming more familiar with the Disney Afternoon shows and their characters. Darkwing Duck is actually a good-sized part of Disney Infinity for example, ditto the DuckTales gang and world.
Or heck, maybe they'll surprise us with a Gargoyles movie! Okay, probably not...
If this untitled 2019 release won't be any of the following, then I guess the last option is... An all-original film.
I think that DisneyToon could probably get away with experimenting more, since they can spend roughly $50 million and make a movie that looks as good as Planes: Fire & Rescue. Maybe they should be the ones to make a 2D animated film, a small $50 million-costing film that does super-well and convinces the Disney brass to let Walt Disney Animation Studios finally make another traditionally animated film. But that's a pipe dream, I apologize...
Maybe they can make a feature-length Mickey Mouse movie for theaters. Lasseter-era Walt Disney Animation Studios was at one point set to make a Mickey movie, when Disney veteran Burny Mattinson pitched an idea four years ago. It seems like that feature went nowhere, but maybe it did. DisneyToon also made a DTV Mickey feature 11 years ago, Mickey, Donald and Goofy: The Three Musketeers. There have been multiple attempts to make a Mickey movie over the decades, the earliest ones dating back to the early 1940s. In my personal opinion, a theatrical Mickey Mouse film should be made by Walt Disney Animation Studios, not DisneyToon. No ifs, ands, or buts.
So what will it be? A new Tink? A film based on a recent animated series? A film based on a classic animated series? An original film? Or a Mickey Mouse film? Sound off below and cast your vote in the poll!
3% of you said a new Tinker Bell film.
8% of you said an original film.
17% of you said a film based on a classic Disney animated series.
26% of you said a Mickey Mouse film.
41% of you said a film based on a current Disney animated series.