Treasure Planet loses a treasure

I read in a Los Angeles Times story about this debacle that the release date was written in stone more than a year ago, due to contractual agreements with a certain hamburger retailer. So Disney was not in a position to strategically place the movie to achieve minimum competition from Potter and Baggins.

That said, there were also admissions from Disney marketing executives that the movie was poorly supported, from a marketing standpoint.

Apparently, the concept fro the film was presented by a pair of hot young producers who had been responsible for The Little Mermaid, as well as several other high-grossing Disney animation features. It was their brainchild, and their pet project, that just kept getting put off, until they eventually, in contract negotiations got themselves a guarantee that they would be allowed to make the picture. Jeffrey Katzenberg hated the whole notion from the beginning, and had stood in its way as long as he headed the division.

Speaking from my own heart, I hate the whole notion of this picture, myself. There’s no valid reason why Disney animation couldn’t have just done the story straight. The live-action version of the story back in the day was a fine movie. Putting it out in space somewhere is as stupid as making, say, Gilligan’s Planet.

Oh, wait.

I’m not so sure about the latter. Mononoke would have flopped hard with a larger distribution, but I think Spirited Away has the chops to do far better than the almost-nil marketing allowed it to do.

Mononoko clearly wasn’t fit for a mass audience, and I agree that Spirited Away had at least potential for a breakout hit, but it’s timing wasn’t right for Disney. To release it right when they were gearing up for Treasure Planet (which no matter how weak the return is they didn’t just dump it) meant that SA couldn’t get the marketting focus. Kind of a shame, really, since I think if they had sat on it for another year they could have found a better place on their release schedule for it. Oh well, Disney just wasn’t in a risk taking mood with animation this year…

One should note that Mononoke was Miyazaki’s highest grossing film to date, and holds, or held the BO record in Japan. The problem, as always, is that serious themes in animation without cute sidekicks & music hasn’t quite been accepted in the U.S. This has inspired a thread in my mind. I will now go post it.

Held. Titanic bumped Mononoke down to number 2 on Japan’s top Box Office lsit.

I think I hear the sound of 3 million geeky anime fans committing mass seppuku.

Actually, I believe Spirited Away bumped the Big Boat movie, so 3 million are spared.

Box Office update for those interested:

Most of the weekend projections on the sites I frequent are in. TP is being projected at 3.5-4.0 million for the weekend. This will likely be the last weekend it spends in the top ten. It has not done particularly well during the week, lagging behind SC2. A mere three week stint would be astonishingly short for a major Disney release.

Spirited Away should have been in theaters longer. I had finally convinced my family to go see it when it ended its run. Also, if Disney had just advertised it at all they would have believed me when I told them how good it was. Oh well.

Treasure Planet… what can I say. I don’t know if it is a terrible movie or not. The reviews I have seen were marginally positive. But there is just something about it that sickens me. I literally felt sick when I saw the trailer. I also hated Atlantis very much, and Treasure Planet looked even worse than that.

The numbers for those who want them. Spirited Away made $230m in Japan. Titanic made $225m. This from IMDb.

Hooking up with McDonalds was a mistake. Any film hooking up with Maccers is instantly identified with kiddie film.

One of my favorite bits from the movie was when the Dr. pointed to the crescent moon and right where the shadowed portion of the moon should be was a couple stars. I saw that and gave a quick klaxon, “Wrong!” And then they zoom in and it’s not a moon but a crescent shaped space port. That made me a lot more lenient towards any other unscience they used. All of which made this film to me, just as fine as Lilo & Stitch. I especially liked that they gave us a puberty ridden protagonist burdened by a bastard of a father.

And I didn’t mind at all that they took a previous story and simply changed it’s place. Indeed with 51 results for Treasure Planet in the IMDb I’m reminded of a review of “The Four Feathers” at CNN which pondered why there was a need for yet another remake of the story. Although what’s really interesting is there’s already been a Treasure Island in Space. L’Isola del tesoro