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Monday, May 29, 2006

The Future of Disney/Pixar Animation...Marketing Movies Digitally

- Richard Corliss has a piece about Pixar's `Cars' in Time Magazine (he calls it `an instant classic'), which divulges a bit about what's ahead for Disney and Pixar -- perhaps including a return to 2-D animation. Corliss writes:

    ...Lasseter may have an uphill journey: not just keeping Pixar on track (Brad Bird's Ratatouille, about a gourmet rodent in Paris, is next, probably followed by Toy Story 3), but also in steering the Mousemobile back to speed. In 1994, when The Lion King capped a series of animation hits, Disney's bright future seemed as sure a bet as Pixar's does now. Then Toy Story came out, and computer animation took over. Before buying Pixar, a desperate Disney had scuttled its traditional animation unit. Lasseter may restore that. "Of all studios that should be doing 2-D animation, it should be Disney," he says. "We haven't said anything publicly, but I can guarantee you that we're thinking about it. Because I believe in it."

- David Carr's column in today's NY Times is headlined `Studios Turn Thumbs Down on Film Critics.' Studios are looking for new ways of reaching audiences -- particularly online -- that can help them avoid the poison pens of movie reviewers and the need to purchase print ads. Fox Atomic, a division of Fox Filmed Entertainment targeting teens, plans to produce eight movies a year with no accompanying print advertising budget. The Web is a large part of the new strategy. Carr writes:

    In part, Hollywood is taking some hard lessons from the music industry, which saw the threat but not the opportunity that the Web presented. Witness the prerelease excitement over "Snakes on a Plane," the reductively titled New Line Cinema release starring Samuel L. Jackson and a lot of reptiles, which has become a cult classic on the Web months before its August release., conceived by Brian Finkelstein, a Georgetown law student, has had 500,000 visitors and has become a maypole of kitsch and speculation about the movie.

    "It is an Internet meme," said Mr. Finkelstein. "It is funny and very quickly understood, a simple joke with broad appeal."

    The movie, sometimes known as SoaP for short, is benefiting from a huge no-cost push and New Line is doing more than getting out of the way: the company spent seven figures on an elaborate Web site of its own, and more unusually, shot new SoaP scenes integrating some of the suggestions ricocheting around the Web.


  • The difficulty with these viral marketing strategies is that only a couple of them work per year and studios have no idea which ones will become a word-of-mouth hit.

    By Blogger brian, at 8:05 PM  

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