Disney’s ‘Cinderella’ opens to an impressive Global debut and confirms lucrative Fairytale trend

Women prove yet again that they can drive box-offices – ‘Cinderella’ was this past weekend’s box-office lead as it outperformed it’s already high expectations and grossed $70.1 million domestically and a massive $132 million globally – $25 million of which in China alone.

The opening weekend audience were 68% female, 66% families and 31% under the age of 12. The movie, that cost $95 million to produce, is well on its way to being highly profitable since it still has yet to open in many major international markets. This is a particularly impressive victory given that the movie wasn’t led by a big start, to the level of Disney’s past fairytale adaptations names like Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, and wasn’t available in 3D.

The movie’s success comes to confirm Disney’s Fairytale strategy where the giant has been investing in live-action blockbuster adaptations of classic tales as we’ve seen before with ‘Maleficent’ and ‘Alice in Wonderland’.  Also already announced for the near future are ‘Dumbo’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast’ adaptations.

Could Princesses be the new Superheroes? The female audience is largely discredited as to it’s box-office power but the landscape might be changing. It’s particularly interesting to note that both ‘Cinderella’ and ‘Thor’ were directed by Kenneth Branagh and the Disney Princess has outperformed the Marvel Superhero in it’s opening weekend.

The Wrap recently did an interesting article regarding the two distinct tentpole trends. In their experts opinion, the Princesses won’t beat the Superheroes anytime soon. Their main argument is that Superheroes have the advantage from coming from a serialized source material that lends itself to new adaptations whereas fairytales are singular antiquities that would make sequels feel inorganic.

Also listed as reasons is the wider, four-quadrant gender appeal of the Superhero fare – men and women, above and below 25 – versus the female dominated audiences of the Princesses and some other, more arguable reasons as fairytales being constricted by accuracy to the originals and lack of dialogue currency.

The issue’s development remains to be seen but, so far,  as long as there’s fairytales to be adapted Disney will continue to make bank on them.

Do you think the Superhero fare is getting old and something new is coming along? Let us know in the comment section.

China surpasses U.S.’s box office for the first time

After showing great results in 2014 with 34% box office growth (versus a 5% decline in the U.S.’s box office in the same period) China is starting 2015 with even bigger numbers. In February, the country’s box office surpassed the U.S.’s for the first time with a whopping $650 million, making the giant the biggest box office market in the world. The growth trend, that has been under Hollywood’s radar for long, is largely reinforced by these news.

A few interesting facts about the Chinese film market:

  • The Chinese State regards foreign films as propaganda and controls the amount of films that are exhibited with yearly quotas;
  • Only 34 foreign films per year can use the lucrative revenue-sharing model and 14 of those must be 3D or IMAX films;
  • Chinese cinema admissions grew by 236% since 2009;
  • Ticket prices grew 268% since 2009 and keep increasing;
  • In 2012, China overtook Japan to become the world’s second biggest film market, behind only the U.S.;
  • Chinese cinema screens have increased by 886% since 2004;

The censorship system has long been a major challenge for north-american Studios to break into the Chinese market. Not only is the number of allowed pictures per year very limited but the rules as to what sort of content is permitted are very unclear and restricting. China seems to be slowly trying to balance this policy with its efforts to grow their film industry though and has announced that they will start looking into clarifying the existing laws and possibly add new legislation regulating the movie and TV industry.

The censorship and quota rules are in place to culturally protect the socialist ideology in the country and are a big remainder that China is still a communist nation despite its capitalist endeavors. Rules or not, China’s should set a firm hold on the first place sooner than later, especially given the hinted relaxation of the censorship rules in the future and ever-growing screens numbers.

What do you think about the Chinese market protection? Could a system like this strengthen national film industries in other countries or is the price in freedom of access too high?