Thinly veiled as a puff piece in which Walt Disney Studios marketing has opted to turn to a veteran consultant to handle the marketing for the fourth installment of the immensely popular Pirates of the Caribbean series, Kim Masters for The Hollywood Reporter has offered a rather scathing piece which hits WDS right where it counts — below the money belt.
Extensively quoting producer Jerry Bruckheimer who has already seen two movies flounder this summer via Disney (although if we were all to be honest, neither were tremendously well received by critics as readily evidenced by RottenTomatoes.com), the article quickly points the finger at WDS Chair Rich Ross and Marketing chief M.T. Carney (whose initials quickly became the butt of several internet jokes immediately after being appointed given the established track record of the Studios). Bruckheimer is non-direct on the matter, only delicately connecting the dots between his critical failures and the marketing campaigns which he points out are plotted eight to twelve months in advance, ‘between the regimes’ in this case. He also notes that bringing in consultant Valerie Van Galder was the Studios’ idea, not his.
The article does go on to burn Carney further over the admittedly very questionable tagline for The Sorcerer’s Apprentice – i.e., The Coolest Job Ever, using anonymous sources reportedly close the film’s production while offering a rather insightful second-hand quote from director Jon Turtletaub.
Oddly enough, the article fails to mention the Studios’ successes since Dick Cook was ousted from his position as head of the Studios. Clearly marketing isn’t the weakest link here if the studio were able to become the first in history to produce two films reaching in excess of $1B in box office sales worldwide within the same year (both of which outperform the Bruckheimer films on RottenTomatoes.com for what it may or may not be worth). Marketing goes a long way, but word of mouth is still the number one source of referrals and all the commercials and iPhone games in the world aren’t going to improve the quality of the actual product.
Check out this new just-released trailer for the F/X driven The Sorcerer’s Apprentice from Jerry Bruckheimer and Walt Disney Studios.
Dave (Jay Baruchel) is just an average college student, or so it appears, until the sorcerer Balthazar Blake (Nicolas Cage) recruits him as his reluctant protégé and gives him a crash course in the art and science of magic. As he prepares for a battle against the forces of darkness in modern-day Manhattan, Dave finds it is going to take all of the courage he can muster to survive his training, save the city and get the girl as he becomes THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE.
Oscar-winning costume designer and Tim Burton cohort Colleen Atwood provides a personal tour and insight for some of the costumes featured in Alice in Wonderland from Walt Disney Studios in this video. The video also features sketches and lots of behind-the-scenes footage from the making of the film.
Starz Entertainment, LLC, and Disney-ABC Domestic Television, a division of The Walt Disney Company, announced today the signing of a new, exclusive long-term licensing agreement for theatrical releases from The Walt Disney Studios through 2015. The previous output agreement was set to run through 2012. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
The deal extension provides Starz with exclusive pay TV rights to exhibit theatrically released Walt Disney Studios live-action and animated feature films, including those from Marvel Entertainment, on its Starz, Encore and MoviePlex linear channels, and its related on-demand and IP-based services, both in standard and high definition. Walt Disney Studios theatrical releases in the agreement, in addition to Marvel, include pictures produced under the Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Disney-Pixar, Touchstone Pictures, and Hollywood Pictures labels. Theatrical releases from DreamWorks Studios and Miramax Films will not be licensed to Starz under the new agreement.
Janice Marinelli, president, Disney-ABC Domestic Television, and Bill Myers, Starz Entertainment president and chief operating officer, announced the agreement on behalf of the companies.
“Disney and Starz have been partners since the launch of the flagship Starz premium channel back in 1994, and we are pleased to be able to extend our very successful relationship,” said Marinelli. “With this long-term extension, Starz’s subscribers will continue to experience the magic and excitement of our Walt Disney Studios motion pictures,” she continued.
Myers said, “Commercial-free movies from Disney have always been a cornerstone of our programming and will remain so for years to come even as we add original series to our movie mix.”
Myers noted that Starz has been a leader in making use of new technology to allow subscribers to enjoy programming in more convenient ways. “This agreement secures our ability to meet the needs of current and future subscribers in a fast-changing media landscape,” he said.
Walt Disney Studios animated movies and live-action feature films coming exclusively to Starz in 2010 include: Up, The Princess and the Frog, The Proposal (starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds), G-Force, Old Dogs (starring Robin Williams and John Travolta), Hannah Montana: The Movie, Alice in Wonderland; and Race to Witch Mountain.
Disney at the Movies: Ant-Man Marches Forward, Mater Goes Away, DW Goes to Town, ‘Secretariat’ Renamed?
The Disney domain elves were hard at work yesterday, registering every possible combination involving the words ‘the movie.’ Many appear to be titles that Disney will distribute for DreamWorks, but others are literally screaming out future (or current) Disney projects.
Alphabetically speaking, ANT-MAN-THEMOVIE.COM comes first. Immediately rumored to have been the first Pixar project since the acquisition, Stan Lee mentioned last month on his twitter that Marvel was moving forward with the project which had been in the works for some time.
Also it appears Tow Mater is having some thoughts about exploring the final frontier. Lunar Mater (LUNARMATER.COM), Moon Mater (MOONMATER.COM) and Right Stuff Mater (RIGHTSTUFFMATER.COM) have all been registered. We also have Mater PI (MATERPI.COM) and Investigator Mater (INVESTIGATORMATER.COM) so it appears some new Cars Toons may be on the way.
Today’s image as we continue to count down the number of days until the official release of the TRON Legacy trailer is that of Sam Flynn (Garret Hedlund) upon arrival at his father’s abandoned arcade. In the still, Sam takes a moment to ‘reflect’ on the recent news that his father may still be alive… somewhere.
Walt Disney Studios will be releasing a new image from TRON Legacy each day every day this week via its Facebook page in honor of the first trailer being released in theaters on Friday.
The first image was released today and features the exterior of the long-neglected Flynn’s Arcade as it stands today. Looking around the streets however, it appears that the economy has not been kind to anyone and the lone person — who just so happens to be Kevin Flynn’s son, Sam (Garrett Hedlund) — probably has no real idea as to what he’s about to get himself into.
Walt Disney Studios has just begun airing a new television commercial for Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. In addition to much of the footage previously released, the new tv ad shows a bit of footage from ‘the real world’ towards the beginning of the film in which Alice must face her fate shortly before spotting a well dressed rabbit.
TRON is, I say with no shame to speak of, one of my all-time favorite films (it’s so me and Al Gore will always have something to discuss). So when Walt Disney Studios decided to revive its viral campaign a second time (the first being San Diego Comic-Con’s reincarnation of Flynn’s Arcade) and combine it with my hometown, I was at the ready.
It all started when Flynn Lives, a grassroots campaign of members unknown, published what was almost immediately identified as a binary clock counting down to February 24 at 11 am ET. Apparently ENCOM CEO Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) had gone missing twenty years ago and hadn’t been heard of since, but the organization is certain Flynn is alive and is doing whatever it can to bring his cause to the nation’s attention.
As the countdown continued, a list of 25 cities worldwide appeared below the clock. Then at 11 AM ET on February 24, the cities were each listed alongside a numbered grid and — throughout the day — cities would become active, requesting than a volunteer operative go to a designated location revealed only when the city opened up (an arcade) and be the first to locate a contact in a FLYNN LIVES tshirt and pass along the secret phrase. In return, the operative received a nylon TRON wallet containing newspaper clippings about the campaign, three TRON trading cards (which then translated into the numbered mosaic of a new image from the film) and a Flynn’s Arcade token.
It was then revealed that a special IMAX event would be taking place earlier today with limited tickets simultaneously becoming available at 9 PM GMT for five cities: Los Angeles and New York in the United States, Toronto, London and Sydney. Based on the audience size, I suspect no more than 50-75 tickets were available (each being a +1), so I was fortunate enough to secure one.
Entering the IMAX theatre (the 8-story tall one in New York), we were handed our 3D Glasses and a free FLYNN LIVES tshirt and found our seats. Shortly after 10 am ET, the lights dimmed and the trailer unceremoniously began. And now, the review/spoilers:
Shortly after arriving in the Underland, Alice re-acquaints herself with the Cheshire Cat after a chance encounter with the bandersnatch, a horrible beast that has an appetite for destruction (and virtually everything else).