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
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
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
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
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
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
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.