It's Better To Go Cartoon
Mandy Moore cleans up in 3D, trumping Christina Aguilera's skimpy show
Mandy Moore's movie is trouncing Christina Aguilera and Cher's Burlesque. The Disney animated 3D Rapunzel tale Tangled (starring Moore) raked in $69 million over the supersized five-day Thanksgiving weekend compared to Burlesque’s embarrassing $17.2 million.
Even more troubling for Burlesque?
The musical romance cost $55 million to produce, ranking as one of the most expensive movies to date from Sony Screen Gems. It was an unusual film for Screen Gems to make in the first place considering the studio typically focuses on less costly horror film and thrillers. (Hostel and Resident Evil come to mind.)
So what went wrong with Burlesque? First, the critics bashed the film, with Rotten Tomatoes giving it a rotten 34 percent like-it rating (compared to Tangled’s 88 percent approval). There is good reason for those numbers, too.
Burlesque's plot is basically Coyote Ugly combined with Britney Spears’ Crossroads. An innocent small town girl (a laughable role for the “Dirrrty” X-tina) wants to make it big as a singer and, voila, a star is born! Apparently all a woman wants to do is dance in (or on) a bar in a skimpy outfit.
Tangled saw its budget exceed $260 million and spent a troubling six years in production. However, its popularity may stimulate Disney Animation Studios. which has been overshadowed by Pixar and DreamWorks in the past few years.
If the film does well enough it could revive the princess-movie genre, which Disney executives previously said they were putting on hold. Tangledis also the first Disney film to feature a white princess since Beauty and the Beast. (We’re not counting Enchanted because it was only half animated.)
The Disney movie approaches the female lead with surprising freshness. What was once a story of a helpless damsel locked in a tower with some gross rando climbing all over her hair becomes a tale of empowerment. Rapunzel abducts bad boy Flynn (voiced by Zachary Levi) and uses him to escape.
However, don’t get too excited over the girl power. The change was no doubt part marketing ploy.
Disney expressed worry that the emphasis on princesses might deter young boys from seeing the film. In order to market the film to both boys and girls, they changed the film's name from Rapunzel to Tangled to emphasize Flynn Rider, the film's prominent male character.
Some criticize the title change as a desperate marketing strategy. Floyd Norman, a former Disney and Pixar animator, said, "The idea of changing the title of a classic like Rapunzel to Tangled is beyond stupid. I'm convinced they'll gain nothing from this except the public seeing Disney as desperately trying to find an audience.”
Justin Chang of Variety compared it to changing to the title of The Little Mermaid to Beached.
Disney defends itself by reiterating the importance of the male costar, explaining that calling the movie Rapunzel would be like naming Toy Story just Buzz Lightyear. Disney is doing something right to pull such numbers the same weekend a new Harry Potter movie debuted..