Cynical Cash Grabs

So we have two Disney princess threads at the moment. Some comments have centered around them being cynical cash grabs. Which I think is true.

How is THIS cynical cash grab any different from Disney's normal MO? They really like copying things. The new Aladdin feels like a cash grab. So does the old one. The 90s Little Mermaid feels as much of a cash grab as this new one coming.

Even a story that iterates, like Hamlet/Lion King or Snow Queen/ Frozen, are probably more reliant on catchy songs than actual story telling. Which seems pretty cynical to me.

Cynical cash grabs is the standard for movies based on design of Capitalism. So why are these current movirs being decried so much? When does a cash grab transform into a classic?

I think because these ones are repeats. We didn't have a Disney Aladdin before they gave us one, so it feels fresh even if the story is centuries old. The new one is just the old again, but people this time. It's the same issue people take with all those direct to video sequels they did, its just trying to capitalise on your enjoyment of the original: "You liked this thing, so we insist you buy this tangentially connected thing as well!"

To me the cynicism comes from preying off of the misjudged notion that live-action/CGI beats traditional animation, among other things. I have nothing against a remake of The Little Mermaid, or Aladdin, but whereas the original Disney movies actually tried something new (nobody had seen these fairy tales like this before on the big screen), these remakes are completely leeching off of the love and nostalgia the "originals" established, under the guise of 'Look, it's REAL now, ooooowwww'.

It's also become pretty clear now that these new and improved live-action versions pale in comparison, as both the Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin remakes have already been forgotten. Same'll happen to The Lion King, once it's made a gazillion dollars.

When I was a kid I handed in a fiver I found on the floor of Boots. No way did the girl working behind the till (who seemed like an adult at the time but was probably about 17) not pocket that.

Baffle2:
When I was a kid I handed in a fiver I found on the floor of Boots. No way did the girl working behind the till (who seemed like an adult at the time but was probably about 17) not pocket that.

No, that's a clerical cash grab, wrong topic

Palindromemordnilap:

No, that's a clerical cash grab, wrong topic

I don't think it would warrant its own thread. Unless anyone else had similar horrific early-life experiences?

trunkage:
So we have two Disney princess threads at the moment. Some comments have centered around them being cynical cash grabs. Which I think is true.

How is THIS cynical cash grab any different from Disney's normal MO? They really like copying things. The new Aladdin feels like a cash grab. So does the old one. The 90s Little Mermaid feels as much of a cash grab as this new one coming.

Even a story that iterates, like Hamlet/Lion King or Snow Queen/ Frozen, are probably more reliant on catchy songs than actual story telling. Which seems pretty cynical to me.

Cynical cash grabs is the standard for movies based on design of Capitalism. So why are these current movirs being decried so much? When does a cash grab transform into a classic?

Disney's Little Mermaid is 30 years old.

So therefore people that were about 5-10-years-old in 1990 are likely to have 5-10-year-old children now, and they'll be more likely to take their children to see the live action version as an option because they loved the original.

Also why the live action remake of 101 Dalmatians was released about 30 years after the animation. The live ation version that for some inexplicable reason believed that skunks and raccoons can be found in the wild in the UK.

Their creative output is fine, not that it matters as anything they do will funnel money regardless. As long as the end result is of entertaining quality, I couldn't care less from that side of the shore. Am more concerned with their increasing ownership of everything else really.

trunkage:
So we have two Disney princess threads at the moment. Some comments have centered around them being cynical cash grabs. Which I think is true.

How is THIS cynical cash grab any different from Disney's normal MO? They really like copying things. The new Aladdin feels like a cash grab. So does the old one. The 90s Little Mermaid feels as much of a cash grab as this new one coming.

Even a story that iterates, like Hamlet/Lion King or Snow Queen/ Frozen, are probably more reliant on catchy songs than actual story telling. Which seems pretty cynical to me.

Cynical cash grabs is the standard for movies based on design of Capitalism. So why are these current movirs being decried so much? When does a cash grab transform into a classic?

So, this is subjective, but my personal line is this.

Disney and companies like it exist to make money. Making money isn't mutually exclusive with making art. Making art isn't mutually exclusive with taking inspiration from fairy tales, historical figures, or whatever else has come to form the DAC.

However, the Disney live-action remakes have been, in my opinion, mostly cynical cash grabs. Of the three I've seen (Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin), only Jungle Book has bucked this trend in that it felt like its own thing. It took inspiration from the Disney film, but didn't use it as a crutch, and told its own story with its own themes. But the others are just remakes, and remakes that are worse than the films they're remaking. I'm not against live-action films being made by Disney in this regard per se, but if you wanted to make these films, make them different. Make them unique. Make it a different spin on the original source material, don't just make it a by the numbers retread to make money.

Disney has to create something based around its properties every decade or so to keep the trademark/copyright. The complaints about the latest, with ariel being cast with a black woman, appear to be based in racism. I can't for the life of me believe that any of the people that're whinging would actually go watch the movie.

Frankly, if you can't let a little black girl look up at a screen and see herself represented there, well, fuck you, you're a piece of a shit.

trunkage:
are probably more reliant on catchy songs than actual story telling.

Is that what a cash grab means? Are then all musicals cash grabs?

DarthCoercis:
Disney has to create something based around its properties every decade or so to keep the trademark/copyright. The complaints about the latest, with ariel being cast with a black woman, appear to be based in racism. I can't for the life of me believe that any of the people that're whinging would actually go watch the movie..

I don't think that's how it works - you can't "renew" copyright in that sort of way, and they wouldn't need 30 year intervals (more like 120, see spoiler below). A remake might potentially make things trickier, because although the concept of the original might be open to be used, care would have to be taken not to intrude on the newer production.

Agema:
I don't think that's how it works - you can't "renew" copyright in that sort of way

It's not renewing, it's continuing. I'm not 100% sure how it works, I can only summarise a couple of articles I read, but from what I've read a copyright holder needs to actively produce something within a particular intellectual property every so often, or the property reverts to public domain. Disney has to produce some piece of media relating to each of its IP within a certain time frame, or it risks losing that IP. That's why we're seeing live-action remakes of Beauty & the Beast, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid and the Lion King.

CaitSeith:

trunkage:
are probably more reliant on catchy songs than actual story telling.

Is that what a cash grab means? Are then all musicals cash grabs?

Especially The Prosucers.

No, not specifically but Frozen was popular based more on one particular song than the actual story

I mean, it isn't but at least some of the other Disney animated films had soul (Aladin 4: Jafar May Need Glasses bullshit aside). I hate Disney and think they are a bunch of bloodless vampires but there was a time when they were kinda doing original stuff.

When was the last traditional Disney animated movie? Not computer generated. Are we ever going to have them again?

Kwak:
When was the last traditional Disney animated movie? Not computer generated. Are we ever going to have them again?

Princess and the Frog, I believe.

I'm of the opinion that the vast vast vast majority of films we get to "know" (i.e. not completely obscure self-financed pictures) are, at some level or other, cynical cash grabs. That's kind of just the reality of the industry: creators pitch their project to producers/investors, who, 99% of the time, are more interested in making a profit than anything else and are trying to figure out which projects are likely to pay for the many duds that are inevitable in this kind of industry.

It's that same cynicism that also encourages certain seemingly creative decisions, such as director choice, actors, effects, and other various decisions along the way. Each of those items can help the odds of the investment paying off. Blumhouse has a formula for inexpensive horror movies that allow creative freedom for their (often fledgling) directors. Same with comedian-focused comedies shot on the cheep. A movie with Chris Pratt or another big star is a safer investment because people will pay to see them in a movie. Illumination's cartoony CGI versus Pixar's detailed CGI. Tarantino directing anything. All of these are fundamentally questions that get at the heart of the investor question: will it make money or not?

Sometimes that question encourages artistic freedom. Other times, it clamps down on it. it just depends on the investors.

 

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