Tuesday, February 26, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 101



After 'happily ever after': Are sequels of Disney classics made for almighty dollar?

By Geronimo Rodriguez
Daily Cougar Staff

Walt Disney Pictures will release a sequel to its 1950 animated classic Cinderella today. The fairy tale, titled Cinderella II: Dreams Come True, can
be found on both DVD and VHS.

Photo courtesy of Disney Enterprises

Prince Charming and Cinderella return in Cinderella II: Dreams Come True, which is being released on DVD and video today.

Another one of Disney's sequels found itself debuting on the silver screen just last week when James M. Barrie's Peter Pan was followed with Return
to Neverland.

Next year, The Jungle Book II will hit theaters when creators resume where the 1967 original ended.

While Disney sequels have been done before with direct-to-video sequels for Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, Lady & the Tramp and
The Little Mermaid, this current streak has sparked some resistance from critics and filmgoers alike.

Whether or not to resurrect classics is the question that looms over these films.

Some may find this idea to be just another way for both Disney and Hollywood to make money. The children who grew up reading those golden-bound
stories in bed are the same people who would most likely be opposed to these sequels.

These feelings about the commercialized business tainting stories that are considered children's classics are not far off, however.

CNN.com reported that the follow-ups cost less than $15 million to produce and earn more than $100 million in video sales and rentals.

The modest budget is given to the television animation department, where thriving animators study the original films to add little details to characters in
the sequels.

For studio heads and marketing advertisers, these guaranteed profits are irresistible. And if those children who are now in their 30s and 40s refuse to
buy a ticket or rent the movies, Disney's ultimate goal would still be intact.

Is every film purist going to sit down with a 5-year-old to explain how Disney has corrupted the purest stories of all time?

Are those words of wisdom going to keep that same child from being hypnotized by elaborate posters or those enthralling trailers that run at the same
time as a favorite cartoon?

Better yet, what children don't get what they want when they tug at their parents' pant legs with those droopy eyes and pouted lips?

Marketing executives have thought long and hard about every aspect involved with selling these sequels, but when a film's potential for profit is aimed
toward children, advertising becomes almost failsafe.

Producers of these animated sequels never even worry about questions that arise when non-animated films are followed.

The characters don't have to grow, and the writer and director don't have to create an appealing "back story." The sequel's plot doesn't even have to be
better than the first.

So long as Cinderella is still her charming self and Peter Pan still refuses to grow up, critics and fans won't delve into the plot much more.

As for those film purists, their cries are heard but that's about it. Save petitions and protests for when Miramax is funneled money from its parent
company, Disney, to produce films that don't fall in the sequels or classics category. Most of its films have become more market-driven and less
artistically daring for audiences looking for quality films this is far more detrimental to filmmaking.

And while many filmgoers believe sequels should never be made for any film, classic or not, the creators of the films in question aren't attempting to
overshadow the classics. The producers haven't even gone as far as digitally enhancing the images from the previous films to the point that the
original characters are altered or unrecognizable.

A better story line wouldn't even upstage the classic films. Remember, the stories are classic because of the time they were made and what they meant
to children.

If producers intended to supersede the originals, wouldn't they shell out more than $15 million?

Would they even attempt such a feat?

Maybe re-inventing someone else's ideas isn't too bad when everyone knows the original's classic status isn't in jeopardy.

Besides, it's all for the kids; the classics are for the kids at heart. Disney and Hollywood will have their way unless thousands of children don't get theirs.

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