Not Just For Kids Anymore
Disney has long been regarded as the company that can cross age boundaries and will stay with their audiences for life. In some instances this is true. All ages can get value from Disneyworld. And the memories of those iconic Disney movies which shaped our childhood will stay with us forever. But how do you bring more mature audiences into the brand’s new offerings?
Disney movies hold a special place in everyone’s lives. Whether you were of the Snow White and Dumbo generation, the Cinderella and Peter Pan generation, the Aladdin and Lion King generation or the youngest demographic who are currently watching Frozen and Big Hero 6, these movies are an iconic part of every childhood. And while those memories remain and encourage the occasional self-motivated nostalgia re-watching, Disney needs to constantly work on targeting these past generations and bring them back to the Disney magic in the wake of many other entertainment competitors.
This is achieved through a multitude of methods. There are the rather simplistic re-releases of classic films in their anniversary years with slightly more vivid colours. There are the holiday re-runs in the movies and on television. And there are the highly successful adaptations to the stage – such as The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and now Aladdin – which invite all generations back into the fold.
Now Disney is adding another string to their bow and branching out into slightly more mature entertainment. (Because there are only so many years that you can get away with watching cartoon movies!)
Cinderella has reappeared in cinemas recently but there is one major difference . . . it is live action. Rather than the animated cartoons telling the story, Disney has invited a whole cast of actors and celebrities to embody the iconic animations and bring them to life in a new form. Starring Helena Bonham Carter and Cate Blanchett among a whole host of talented performers, Cinderella is fighting back into the consciousness of older audiences who grew up with the original animated fairy tale by providing an accessible entry point back into the brand.
This initiative perfectly suits the needs to Disney’s older audience. It takes the original movies that they would love to watch over and over again and removes the stigma of seeing a children’s movie at the cinema. But at the same time it doesn’t exclude children from that equation because the story is still equally accessible to these younger audiences.
Sounds like a win-win to me. And Disney is certainly aware of the limitless possibilities and audience expansion from complementing their offer with some live action products. Into the Woods was a great box office success last year. Cinderella has already grossed over $250 million across the world. And there are already plans in place for a modernised Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson and a whole galaxy of stars.
Taking away the cartoon element, Disney has managed to bring back audiences who already had strong nostalgic feelings for their products but didn’t have an opportunity to engage. There is a reason why they are arguably the most successful entertainment brand around!