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.


The concerning future of the tentpole Studio strategy

2014 tentpole releases


The film industry has long been standing on a schizophrenic system also known as the tentpole system. Production and marketing costs have skyrocketed and tentpole movies have starting budgets of $200 million that can reach absurd sums of money as have the two most recent Pirates of The Caribbean movies that both costed more than $300 million to be made.

But Studios see a return on these investments, right? Well, ideally, yes, but it isn’t so easy. You’d be surprised to know how little of the box-office money actually make their way back to the studio and then we have to add to that the demise of the DVD business, which once accounted to half of a movies source of investment return, and the enormous effect piracy has on diminishing exploitation revenues. It’s a tough time to be trying to make a profit on movies.

The Studios response to the increase in production costs and fragmented audiences has been to put in place a system that produces less movies a year and bets on huge, tentpole movies to hold the fort. These huge movies not only have to make a profit to pay themselves off but also offset any financial shortcomings other movies from the Studio’s slate might have suffered.

Such a huge bet has to be as safe as possible. That’s why we barely see anything original being made anymore, it’s mostly the usual Superhero fare, the everlasting franchises or the book adaptations. Those come with a loyal audience from the start and diminishes the risks. But it also accounts for a very homogenized and quite boring offer for the movie-goer.

Earlier this week Doug Creutz released a report entitled “Memo to Hollywood: You Can’t All Be Successful Doing the Same Thing”. In it he noted that the numbers suggest we are on a downward shift in theatrical demand and that there’s a clear convergence to nearly identical film franchise strategies at the major studios which risks “damaging the ecology of the business and accelerating already existing negative secular trends.” Tricky business.

Want to know more? Check out this Hollywood Reporter article on the subject.

What’s your take on the future of the tentpole system?