Hey, remember the Black Hole and Tron?!
For those that may not know, I was born and bred as part of the Disney Collective. From 1972 till 2001, I ate, drank, walked, smoked, and thought Disney. They paid my salary, the paid my parents’ salaries, everything I had in my life was because of the Disney success story. Many of you that are reading this may not have been born when things at Disney were not so ‘secure’. If you have spare time between Final Fantasy XIII, Red Dead Redemption or the Twilight “Saga”, you may want to find a copy of Storming the Magic Kingdom in your local used bookstore, or Amazon.
In February of 1984, I was lucky enough to sit in the Ballroom of the Americas at Walt Disney World’s Contemporary Resort for the Annual Walt Disney Productions (what the Walt Disney Company was called back then) stock holder’s meeting. There, Ron Miller, son-in-law of company founder Walt Disney, was premiering a film, Splash, for the stock holders. Why was the then CEO (Ron Miller would not see the end of ’84 as the company’s CEO) so worried about stockholder opinion regarding their new movie? Well, after the Black Hole and Tron, two ‘adult’ oriented Disney films, completely BOMBED, the decision was made to create Touchstone Pictures. This decision would be Ron’s greatest legacy with the now Walt Disney Company (WDC). Back in the 80′s and 90′s, WDC was really worried about it’s ‘image’. With Touchstone Pictures, then later the Hollywood Pictures and the aquisition of Miramax, WDC was able to create a layer of protection between itself and its ‘edgier’ productions.
So there are 2 set-up paragraphs for what, Mr. Snackpants? Well, last night, Katie McAwesome and I sat through Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (don’t get me started on the fact that a movie based on a video game, needs a seperate video game tie-in). While seated in the theater, it finally hit me that the huge Disney castle logo was emblazened on the front of a PG-13 film. This was not the first time… all three of the previous Pirates films were PG-13, but it would have been much, much harder to mask such a well-known Disney property (“Pirates of the Caribean” was the last attraction Walt had direct control over). Prince of Persia was an Electronic Arts property, no previous Disney tie-in at all, but now the company has come full circle. When PG films were unsuccessful for the company, they needed a veil of protection to keep shareholders happy and stock prices up. Now that they have successful PG films, the Disney castle logo is emblazened at the front of the film… to keep shareholders happy and stock prices up. The question I have now… when will we have the first R rated film with the Disney logo attached to it… and will anyone really notice?