No Minister

Hollywood – another bubble world

with 5 comments

It’s not just the MSM who are living in a bubble, as described in yesterday’s post.

No, it’s also Hollywood and it’s really now right up in the faces of Disney executives in the wake of the huge flop that Disney/Pixar’s latest animated movie, Lightyear, has been.

It has earned just over $50 million in its opening domestic weekend when $100 million+ was expected, with an eventual year-long global target being a billion dollars, like Top Gun: Maverick. Instead, as the article points out, it may actually only make $300 million, meaning it will lose as much as it makes.

I’m past the age when I’d take kids to see movies, but Pixar holds a special place in my heart because of all their Golden Age stuff from 1995 to about 2015. I’d heard something about a “lesbian kiss”, which sounded like a big nothing – and is. But the real story is as follows:

The movie’s narrative revolves around the lesbian couple who become pregnant and have a family — to the point that Buzz Lightyear becomes the villain for attempting to complete the [time travel] mission and thereby (somehow) remove the situation in which the couple could come together. Parents were already going to be thrown for a loop when they needed to explain how two mommies can make a baby, the kiss was just Pixar’s coup maximus.

Can I also just say that I find it exceedingly funny that they released a movie that centers around a lesbian couple – and the bad guy is a man who might accidentally erase their relationship… on Father’s Day Weekend.

Geniuses: IN-YOUR-FACE geniuses, because I’m sure that was not a mistake but entirely intentional. A whole storyline that paints Buzz Lightyear as the Evil White Guy trying to break up the cool, interracial lesbian couple! Wow, that’s a twist on the old time-paradox-can-I-correct-past-mistakes concept. It’s a wonder that Pixar didn’t give him an Alabama accent just to underline the message. As that article further points out:

And the only reason they didn’t see this coming is because they’re in such a bubble with who they talk to and where they live that they didn’t even know about the thesis we’ve been presenting here at That Park Place for months. They would have rejected it if they had known, but that they didn’t is enough to show you how insular their lives are.

The cleanup for Disney will be hard. The company is overtaken with a California culture that is wholly separate and distinct from the rest of the country and even most of the western world. What do you do when your studio is filled with people who don’t know how to avoid their core beliefs because their core beliefs are at odds with most of the world?

No company, not even one as big and powerful as Disney, can take successive losses on this scale. Starting with their CEO they’re going to have to crack down on this crap out of sheer financial need. But as noted above, that’s going to be easier said than done given how embedded this all is across both Disney and Pixar.

Disney has lost 8 of it’s top animation directors since Jennifer Lee was made head creative executive there a few years back. She can’t tell a story to save her life, and doesn’t have a creative bone in her body.

Sounds like Kathleen Kennedy’s destruction of the Star Wars franchise. Already there’s another Pixar movie in the pipeline (meaning almost finished), Strange Worlds, that has, as its centerpiece … a romance between two teenage boys.

Yeah. That’ll pack them in.

Even if, by some miracle, they produce a kids animated movie that doesn’t try to pull the same stunts, what parents who refused to take their kids to see Lightyear, are going to trust Disney/Pixar again? The only promotion that might work would be word-of-mouth because nobody will trust the advertising and marketing of carefully edited trailers.

Every entertainment company can produce stinkers of plays, musicals, TV series and films and still survive. But what Disney/Pixar are doing here is stinking up their brands. Business history is littered with examples of outfits that tarnished a brand and could not recover it. Disney is not quite there yet, given their revenue power across multiple entertainment streams, but they’re a lot closer than I ever thought they’d be.

5 Responses

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  1. Original Lightyear voice Tim Allen not cast. Presumably because a Republican doesn’t fit the Disney culture.

    JohnO

    June 27, 2022 at 7:27 am

  2. Most franchises, but especially fantasy and science Fiction franchises rely on suspension of disbelief, this works when story being told being portrayed is both immersive and consistent.

    Comic book publishers used to understand this and certain editors used to be appointed “Continuity Cops” to ensure that the shared universe continued to make sense.

    Disney and and Paramount appear to have forgotten about continuity, or perhaps consciously abandoned it in favour of “the message”.

    Consistency is out the window and if the “creators” can’t be bothered with it then why should the fans.

    In the past our favourite franchises may have have suffered from some poor creative choices, but these could be forgiven if they adhered to continuity, they was the reward for making fans invested in your universe.

    Modern Star Trek and modern Star Wars have devalued their own franchise and because they have to deliver “The Message” it’s consistently rubbish, and more and more fans are walking away.

    There is this notion that you have to see yourself (your race, your sex, your sexuality) on screen (or on the page) in order to identify with the characters and enjoy the product.

    It’s a nonsensical notion, a century of Cinema and 75 years of television have proven that to be false. If we can watch animated mice, rabbits and woodpeckers and enjoy it. if we watch the adventures of indestructible talking cars and ooh and aah over “Baby Yoda” then it’s patently false.

    I went to my son’s book week dress up parade at his primary school (he of course won a prize). Amongst the youngsters was a young Sikh boy who came dressed as Superman. I had seen the lad before and noted that he consistently wore a head covering (normally blue or black), however today it was bright “superman” red.

    Clearly he had no difficultly enjoying the stories and legacy of this piece of culture.

    It’s worth noting that it’s apparently been admitted that the original concept and script for lightyear did not include the gay couple, that part was shoehorned it in.

    ’nuff said.

    alloytoo

    June 27, 2022 at 8:45 am

  3. Some hope for the future….:

    Of course, this isn’t a scientific sample. Far from it. These are young people who love film and who founded their YouTube channels precisely because they’re open to checking out a wide variety of movies. If anybody of their generation is going to give something like Casablanca a chance, it’s going to be them.

    Nonetheless, these YouTubers are children of their time. Like everyone else their age, they’ve been brought up in a society and a culture with values far removed in a number of ways from the values that inform a movie like Casablanca. And yet, watching it, they’re wrapped up in the intrigue, amused by the humor, affected by the music, touched by the love story, and, above all, stirred and deeply impressed by the selfless and noble courage of Victor Laszlo and, in that final scene at the airport, of Rick and Ilsa.

    Tom Hunter

    June 27, 2022 at 12:33 pm

    • In the old days when I went to school I was lucky enough to have an English teacher who tried to instill a love of the classics in us. In then State of the Art VHS we watch such classics as “Tale Of two Cities” with Dirk Bogarde, Great expectations with Sir John Mills and instead of Romeo and Juliet (our Shakespeare for that year) he showed us West Side Story.

      In the era of “First Blood” he gave us a little refinement. (Nothing wrong with “First Blood” mind you, except that the ending deviated from the novel.)

      Recently my eldest son discovered Hitchcock’s Psycho through one of his classes at school, they watched it in a couple of sittings and it was fun listening his misconceptions of where the movie would go prior to him watching the final part.

      alloytoo

      June 27, 2022 at 5:12 pm

  4. Love the comment in response to this one…

    Indeed. We haven’t lived in a polytheistic, warrior-ruled, master-and-slave society for millennia, and yet we’re still reading and appreciating The Iliad and The Odyssey, amirite?

    resulting in…

    It does present problems for some moderns. I remember, back in my college days, studying “The Odyssey” for a classics class and the teacher got very queasy over Odysseus’s slaughter of the suitors. I listened to him talking about this and thought to myself: “Dude, what part of “Bronze Age warrior chieftain” do you not get?!”

    I always liked “The Odyssey” much more than “The Illiad”. I found Odysseus, with his basic motivation of “Great, the war is over! Now I want to get home to my wife!” a much more appealing hero than Achilles and his rampant ego. Plus I liked the fact that Odysseus (“…the man of many ways…”) relied on his wits at least as much as he did on his muscles.

    Tom Hunter

    June 27, 2022 at 9:37 pm


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