This week, Disney Animation is set to release Tangled, their latest and last fairy tale film. According to the Los Angles Times, the studio has had enough with the “princess movie” genre and are moving on to bigger and better things. This marks a sad day in history for those of us who grew up on these films but Pixar Animation Studios chief Ed Catmull thinks the genre has run its course.
Disney released its first princess movie in 1937 with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, followed by Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, Beauty & the Beast, you get the picture. Fairy tales are embedded in the foundation of the studio just as much as Mickey Mouse. The centerpiece of the Disney logo is a fairy tale castle, as well as the main attraction of all their theme parks.
So who’s to blame for this sea of change? Unfortunately, last year’s The Princess and the Frog marked the beginning of the end for the genre. Out of all the Disney fairy tales in history, it performed the worst at the box office. The studio claims that it didn’t appeal to a wide enough audience, and the majority of those interested in seeing it were only little girls.
The Princess and the Frog’s outcome was what prompted execs to change the title of “Rapunzel” to the more gender neutral: Tangled. If you haven’t noticed, the promos for the film play more like an animated action flick than a fairy tale. While Disney continues to make money off the princesses of the past, they’re going to stick with a broad spectrum of genres for the future. It’s not personal, it’s just business.
What do you think of Disney’s decision to retire fairytale movies? Is it too drastic of a move?