Disney Trade Show '10


Yesterday I attended the annual Walt Disney Exhibitor's Trade Show, which is a chance for the company to show exhibitors upcoming 'product', as they like to call films, and take the temperature on their slate. I find these events interesting as they give you a good insight into the inner workings of one of the biggest distributors in the UK, and obviously, one of the biggest entertainment companies worldwide. The UK film division is but a small part in a global corporation which has dominated family entertainment for decades.

Recently, Disney has undergone some corporate restructuring, with changes of power at the top and some aggressive acquisitions. Dreamworks studios and Marvel are shiny new items in their baskets, and they were keen to show these purchases off. The Marvel stock, particulary, will provide huge profits for Disney. Their first film from this new brand will be AVENGERS, and subsequently all the sequels and spin-offs from that property.

We had a chance to see some early footage from CARS 2, trailers and 'sizzles' for REAL STEEL, THE HELP, WINNIE THE POOH (my personal favorite), JOHN CARTER OF MARS, I AM NUMBER FOUR, PROM, PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN and of course TRON. Apart from Winnie, none of these releases really excited me at all and really don't belong in any arthouse/indie cinema.

TRON, on which Disney seems to be betting a lot, looks to me like a dud. The 23 minutes we saw are visually impressive, but (like the original) lacks any humour or life in it. There is nothing inherently wrong with that as I admire the original, but I don't see hordes of teenagers coming out for it.

Finally we had a screening of TANGLED (originally titled RAPUZNEL, as it's based on that fairy tale). The film has impressive 3D animation, probably the best I have seen so far (including Pixar's UP and TOY STORY 3) and plenty of witty dialogue and sight gags, but I am really not the target audience for this film. I am not a big fan of the 'canonical' Disney feature stuff (bar the classics from the 1930s-1940s) and the soppy songs just put me to sleep - literally. But it's a classy piece of 'product' and will most likely do very well.