Saturday, April 30, 2011

Where Are Today's Aladdins and Lion Kings?

Movies in the Disney vault are only available for sale on DVD at limited times. For instance, if you want a copy of Lion King or Aladdin, you'll have to buy a second-hand copy or one at a huge premium (list price of $50 on Amazon).

No new films have entered the vault since Lion King, in 1994. Why? Some theories:

1) Today's movies are just as good. The Princess and the Frog and Mulan are just as awesome as Cinderella or Beauty and the Beast, but today's entertainment market is so saturated that these movies don't have the network effects of movies in decades past and thus aren't considered classics.

2) Today's movies are worse. You could blame this again on market saturation: Disney nows that a Lion King-esque movie released today wouldn't make much money, so they don't bother creating it. Or maybe there's a greater emphasis now on animation instead of music and overall quality.

3) All the good new Disney movies are Pixar projects (Toy Story, Up), and thus perhaps aren't subject to the vault? The existence of these movies probably refutes my second theory.

4) My view is skewed by being someone of my generation, who will always hold a higher opinion of movies I was exposed when I was young (I notice that I also tend to deify Padres players of my childhood, who by any objective standard were average or worse). Maybe Disney's decision-makers fall victim to the same fallacy, and The Princess and the Frog will become vault material once today's children rise up in the ranks.

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