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Disney’s Rapunzel was renamed Tangled to appeal to boys

The reason Disney renamed Rapunzel to Tangled is simple: to appeal to boys.  After a weaker than hoped for performance by the studio’s last animated film The Princess and the Frog ($103.7M domestic / $222.5M worldwide), Disney decided to rename the film from the girl-centric Rapunzel to the less gender-specific Tangled:

“We did not want to be put in a box,” said Ed Catmull, president of Pixar and Disney Animation Studios, explaining the reason for the name change. “Some people might assume it’s a fairy tale for girls when it’s not. We make movies to be appreciated and loved by everybody.”

More details after the jump.

So Disney is taking no chances with “Tangled,” positioned to take advantage of holiday family moviegoing when it opens Nov. 24. The studio’s marketing campaign will amp up the role of the dashing Errol Flynn-styled male lead to share the spotlight with the golden-haired namesake of the classic Brothers Grimm story. Hints of swashbuckling action are already being leaked online.

“In our film, the infamous bandit Flynn Rider meets his match in the girl with the 70 feet of magical golden hair,” wrote the film’s producer, Roy Conli, on Disney Animation’s Facebook page. “We’re having a lot of fun pairing Flynn, who’s seen it all, with Rapunzel, who’s been locked away in a tower for 18 years.”

Flynn Rider, of course, is nowhere to be found in the original “Rapunzel” story.

In the Grimm tale, a prince riding through a forest is enticed by Rapunzel’s sweet singing and climbs up the tower where the imprisoned girl is reachable only by her golden tresses. The prince is hardly the boastful swordsman type, let alone a charming rogue. And in Disney’s latest version, the demure princess is transformed into a feisty teen.

Disney hopes the introduction of the slightly bad-boy character will help it tap the broadest possible audience for “Tangled,” emulating the success of its corporate sibling, Pixar. Pixar’s movies have been huge hits because they appeal to girls, boys and adults. Its most recent release, “Up,” grossed more than $700 million worldwide.

Head on over to The LA Times for the complete article.

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