Monday, November 29, 2010

Tangled Does Well, Very Well

From Tangled and Harry Potter 7 face off over crowded Thanksgiving by Scott Mendelson at

Like a combination of Thanksgiving holidays past, it was a combination of Harry Potter holding down the fort against all newcomers, while a Disney animated property broke out of the gate. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part I still won the three-day and five-day weekend derby, but Disney’s Tangled had a smashing debut that set a record for a three-day opening weekend for a standard Disney cartoon (IE – not Pixar). The Disney fairy-tale scored $49 million over the Fri-Sun portion of the weekend and amassed a whopping $69 million since opening on Wednesday. Inflation and 3D price-bump aside (56% of ticket sales were for the 3D version), this best the $42 million opening of The Lion King way back in summer 1994 (which was one of the top-five opening weekends ever at the time). It’s also the second-largest Thanksgiving opening weekend in history, behind the $80 million five-day and $59 million three-day opening weekend of Toy Story 2 back in 1999 (that $57 million debut was the third-biggest ever at the time). The lesson here is a simple one: Disney REALLY should have opened The Princess and the Frog in wide release over Thanksgiving last year.

Considering that Disney’s most recent animated features (Meet the Robinsons, Bolt, The Princess and the Frog) had opening weekends of around $25 million, the opening sprint for Tangled is all the more impressive. I took issue earlier in the year with Disney’s marketing campaign, which tried to make the film look less like a princess empowerment adventure and more like a boy-friendly action picture involving a roguish thief who sweeps Rapunzel off of her feet, but something obviously worked. I don’t have age or gender demo stats yet, but the film scored a very rare ‘A+’ from Cinemascore. That’s genuinely refreshing as A) the film is pretty darn good and B) it is indeed a ‘chick flick’ false advertising be damned.

I still contend that part of the success was about the release date, as Disney was in a better position to treat their 50th cartoon as a prime attraction of the holiday season. They shot themselves in the foot last year, opening A Christmas Carol at the beginning of November, thus causing them to put off the wide opening of The Princess and the Frog until December 12th. Frankly, most of the press attention for The Princess and the Frog occurred on Thanksgiving weekend, when the film was playing in just four theaters. By the time the film went wide, everyone was talking about Avatar.

Tangled opened on Wednesday with $11 million, giving the film a solid 6x five-day weekend multiplier. The legs on this picture are going to be about as long as Rapunzel’s hair (sorry…), and it has a solid chance of becoming Disney’s first traditional cartoon to cross $200 million since The Lion King. And yes, the film looks gorgeous in 2D, so the eventual loss of 3D theaters to The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Yogi Bear, and Disney’s Tron: Legacy shouldn’t be too much of an issue. With numbers like this, I seriously doubt that this is the last we see of the princess/fairy tale genre from the Mouse House.

Just like I said. :) Mendelson thinks like me. Anyway, there is more in the article about other movies, too, and I am anxiously awaiting The King's Speech release here in Nashville which is my other film choice of the season.

Although I am pretty sure I'll be seeing Tangled again, too. A big deal for me who averages only 3-4 movie viewings a year.

So if Disney decides to return to fairy tales eventually (and they will even if not in the immediate future) which one do you hope to see interpreted?


  1. I'm looking forward to Tangled -- haven't seen a movie in theaters in about a year and a half. I'm just going to wait a bit for the crowds to die down.

    I'd love to see the Mayer/Craft version of Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave turned into a movie. The bold Russian colors would be gorgeous on the big screen, and it's my favorite tale of all time.

  2. If they were up for another Animal Bridegroom story, I'd love to see East of the Sun or Snow White and Rose Red (Though that last would be hard to do with the existing Disney pantheon), but almost anything could be fun.

    If they want to bring in the boys, they could try The Water of Life-- a favorite of mine, and the princess's castle and backstory are so mysterious that they could have a field day with that. (Someone needs to remind Disney that Aladdin was about a guy and still gave them one of their most popular princesses.)

    If I may be allowed to sound blasphemous, Deerskin would be an easy one to whitewash to their formula, although they would have to make the prince more interesting. (I'd love to see them do the Armless Maiden, but I don't think even Disney could spin that one. Too bad they won't dare do these things straight up.)

    Or the Baba Yaga stories, as the commenter above said, would be thrilling, or an Indian or Irish folktale could be great fun, or or or...

    I could go on, but the possibilities are endless. =)


  3. watch32 - I have to be honest. I'm a huge Disney fan, so when i first came across the idea for Disney to make a Rapunzel story, I was curious as to how they'd do it. I was incredibly impressed and am now in love with this film. It's quirky enough for children to enjoy, but at the same time there's enough action and dialogue to allow older crowds to enjoy it as well. I loved it. The color and texture of colors were fantastic. I mean, I could honestly sit here and spoil the film for everyone, but I won't. It's definitely worth the watch, so if you have not seen it, I highly recommend it. Even for a Friday night film. Something that I really enjoyed with this film is that, while the story is usually told from the female perspective, the inclusion of a lead male, was impeccable. Rapunzel was evenly matched! Go see it!
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