‘Princess and the Frog’ May Be Last Tune for Disney
Is the singing over at Disney?
Think of Jiminy Cricket warbling “When You Wish Upon A Star.” Or Angela Lansbury and her friends toasting “Be Our Guest” from “Beauty and the Beast.”
Well, those days may be a thing of the past. I am told that Disney Animation has put the kibosh on Alan Menken’s planned “The Snow Queen,” from the directors of “Tarzan.”
The reason? “The Princess and the Frog” was a disappointment, insiders say. Even though it was nominated for an Oscar and got pretty good reviews, “P & F” is considered a bust in Toon Town.
According to sources, several things hurt the movie. Not the least of which was the word “Princess” in the title. “It scared off the little boys. Only girls wanted to see it,” says an observer. Without boys, “P & F” was more “Little Mermaid” than “Aladdin.” Even the Randy Newman score wasn’t enough to entice fans of movies like “Transformers” or even “Cars.” (What happened, I often ask, to the Randy Newman who wrote “Sail Away” and “Baltimore”? Remember “Nilsson Sings Newman”?)
With “P & F” taking in just over $100 million domestically, and just about breaking even, Disney animation insiders have more or less decreed ‘no more musicals’ for the foreseeable future. “Snow Queen” isn’t the only animated film to get scratched, but it’s the most visible project since it was more or less announced last fall.
Adding to the Disney drama will be the release — we hope — of “Waking Sleeping Beauty.” A documentary about Disney’s glorious run of animated hits from 1984-1999, and how Pixar changed the drawing game, was shown at film festivals last fall. Screenings begin March 15 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.’If “Snow Queen” is really dead, “WSB” will seem all the more poignant.