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The marketing was all over the map, but even the first “unveiling” teaser–just Nick & Judy doing a silent-Pixar-short comic bit on a blank background–not only showed us the main characters, but told us the one thing we wanted to know:
It had Lasseter-era humor, and therefore likely some character sympathy as well, so no, it wasn’t Madagascar or Ice Age. Whew.
As for the “themes”, or the “dark tone” or whatever, that’s for the audience to find out, but the FIRST biggest hurdle (which is probably why it ended up in March instead of a prime summer spot) had to be conquered first.
I guess the low expectations are party responsible for the good reviews – and, more importantly, for the fact that people enjoyed the movie. No hyped movie in history has ever lived up to the expectations (because that´s simply inpossible). And the campaign was far less misleading than the one for Rapunzel (i refuse to use the insipid title “Tangled”, which was part of the effort to “mislead” the public. Interestingly enough, “Rapunzel” was deemed ok for most foreign territories…)
I think it was also something that Deadpool, Force Awakens, and 10 Cloverfield Lane has done with marketing.
They didn’t tell people so much about the plot that you knew what would happen going in. How many movies do you know that, just watching the trailers, that you pretty much knew the entire plot? Even the current Superman v Batman has shown so much that most of the plot is known. I was able to go into Zootopia knowing the basics (civilized animals going missing and maybe savage) and didn’t get so much thrown at me in trailers that it was ruined. The sloth gag you see in trailers is only a part of the whole gag so, during that scene, I didn’t feel like I saw it already.
Again, it’s the influence of the Pixar shorts, to tell a funny movie in a self-contained two-minute bit, and leave us with a sort-of grasp of the plot, characters and tone, but still keep all the huggy/serious Lasseter-era surprises.
Just like Zootopia was The Sloth Movie for three months, Wreck-It Ralph was sold with just the support-group scene, Big Hero 6 with just Baymax kicking the soccer ball, Frozen with Olaf and Sven, and Tangled with “Boy meets girl with frying pan” .
It’s from there that Disney has to show us more of the PLOT in increasingly clarified trailers, to make sure we know that Frozen isn’t just a movie about a snowman and a reindeer (while keeping the favorite audience-identified bits still in the trailers and poster), but at least they have something to build on.
I agree Alan! Disney messed up BIG TIME with this one! It all started back at D23 where Disney spent a huge amount of time talking up The Jungle Book and Mona (both at this point I honesty hope will not be the hits that they expected, simply because they gave so little thought to this beautiful film.) And afterwards so little investment was made for marketing and what marketing did take place made many feel this was simply a children’s movie. And even at this point I still hear others say that haven’t seen it that it’s a movie for little kids! We can thank the marketing for that one! I really hope Disney learned something from this and for a Zootopia sequel (I hope) they will present the actual story to audiences rather than its just a bunch of funny talking animals.
Uh…the trailers weren’t misleading at all. None of the advertisements were. Nor did I feel talked down to. The advertising was fun and the social media campaign effective. The animators reached out to the community and did their best to show just how sincere the movies message is. That and I think you’re being too harsh on the minions. They’re meant to be whimsical.
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