Disney’s Tangled defied cynics (including this one) who dismissed it as merely a cheap Rapunzel rip-off, short on laughs and heavy on boring. Tangled opened to just under 70 million dollars during its first five days in theaters this week, crushing both Burlesque (17 million) and Love and Other Drugs (14 million) handily. That’s about twice as much as industry watchdogs expected. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One narrowly beat it out, bringing in 76 million dollars over the same time period. Outstanding reviews no doubt helped, as did word of mouth from pre-release screenings. Higher revenue from more-expensive 3D ticket sales and Warner Brothers’ decision not to release the first part of the new Harry Potter film in 3D didn’t hurt either. I imagine some champagne flowed at Disney HQ when Warner Brothers announced they were waiting for Part Two before unleashing Harry in 3D. I was not invited to that party.
Disney’s next big release is Tron: Legacy, hitting theaters in the United States on December 17th. I have been skeptical of the new Tron since I first heard about it back in 2008. After all, it’s being directed by Joseph Kosinski, whose filmography includes…well…nothing. He’s never directed a feature film. While Legacy does star well-known Jeff Bridges, its other stars, Olivia Wilde and particularly Garrett Hedlund, do not foster a strong following. While the original Tron has achieved nearly unparalleled cult status, there’s a reason Disney is not re-releasing it prior to the sequel arriving in theaters. Time will tell whether Legacy, which clocks in at 127 minutes (the original was just over 90), will have more thoughtful plot development than the first. Popular electronic artists Daft Punk wrote the score for the film. I have the soundtrack and I can say without any hesitation that it’s amazing. If nothing else, Tron: Legacy will be a feast for the eyes and ears. We can just hope the guy that’s best known for his animation for video game commercials is capable enough to direct a film as complicated and potentially groundbreaking as the sequel to Tron.
Walt Disney Pictures has several significant films coming to theaters in 2011, including a slew of sequels. Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 (February 6), Pirates of the Caribbean 4 (May 20), Cars 2 (June 24), and Spy Kids 4 (August 19) are all on the docket for 2011 release. Cars 2 and Pirates of the Caribbean 4 in particular have the capacity to earn a billion dollars each in theaters. I would expect slightly less from the two others, though you never know when Beverly Hills Chihuahua will break out. We’ll also see a reboot of the Winnie the Pooh (July 15) and Muppet (December 25) franchises in the second half of the year. It looks like Disney is relying on tried and true winners rather than betting the farm on expensive new intellectual property. Considering “the economy” and the possibility of more duds like Prince of Persia and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, I guess we can’t fault them. Overall, the end of 2010 and beginning of 2011 are looking like we’ll have some great opportunities to purchase $12+ movie tickets and consume inordinate amounts of saturated fat. We can also hope Disney keeps printing those $10 off Blu-ray coupons.
The June Crowd Calendar should be up in its entirety later today. Technically, it’s been written for a few days, but I try to weed out at least half of the typos before putting it up for mass consumption.