In a move that should have progressive minded parents across the country and the world cheering, Disney last week said that they would no longer be producing fairy tale movies, and folks that means no more princess movies.
No more big pink dresses, no more tiaras, no more waking up from long sleeps to find the man of your dreams standing there ready to sweep you off your feet.
Hooray, yeah. I hear all the parents sighing in relief of their daughters being set free from princessdom.
But there is one catch to this move.
It probably means that we will see very few if any films about girls coming from Disney and Pixar which are both under the same umbrella.
Now Pixar isn’t known for it’s girlcentric movies. Here’s what the website looks like. Do you see any girls?
Pixar actually has its first girl centric film — Brave — slated for June 2012. But that film is already steeped in controversy over the firing of the first and only female Pixar director, Brenda Chapman.
The Disney chiefs believe they need to think beyond fairy tales to be competitive in the future. I totally agree. I for one would be psyched to never see another princess movie again. But, these guys have a shitty track record of making films about women. Lots of this conversation about princess movies flopping began after the release of, The Princess and the Frog (with Disney’s first black princess.) According to “Hollywood” the film underperformed having made $104 million domestically and $162 million overseas for a total of $267 million on a budget of $105 million (not counting print and advertising.) That doesn’t sound like a flop to me.
And now we have Tangled, which opens tomorrow being gender neutralized so that boys will feel comfortable going to see it rather than just all those little girls. And to top it off the marketing is focused on the male co-star:
In the age of mega-franchises when movies need to appeal to a broad audience to justify a sizable investment, Disney discovered too late that “Princess and the Frog” appealed to too narrow an audience: little girls. This prompted the studio to change the name of its Rapunzel movie to the gender-neutral “Tangled” and shift the lens of its marketing to the film’s swashbuckling male costar, Flynn Rider.
It’s like they are saying shhh don’t tell anyone this movie is about a girl.
The part that pisses me off the most is that Disney of all places, is totally playing into this perverse cultural construct that boys won’t go see movies about girls and girls will go to movies about boys. If boys won’t be encouraged and challenged (even though I have no idea why it is such a challenge) to see a movie about a girl how the hell do we have any hope for the future of women in film. It should be all of our jobs — including the filmmakers — to show that this is not true, because really, guys, is this the world you want your daughters and sons growing up in?