Saturday, March 13, 2010

Maybe it WAS Disney...

A few posts back I wrote something called "Shoulda Been Disney". In it I referred to both the 101 Dalmations musical, and the recent movie called THE LIGHTNING THIEF. I suggested that perhaps they were both missed opportunities for the Disney company, especially THE LIGHTNING THIEF.

Then, as my son was reading one of the books (they have all but the latest, and the one he was looking at was called The Demigod Files), I noticed that the book was published by...

Disney Hyperion Books! So they DID know about this! They published the books! (Not that I'm seriously questioning whether Disney was aware of the series, just whether they were aware of the potential of the series for entertaining young boys.)

I'm aware that Disney has had opportunities in the past to take on certain franchises and has taken a pass on them. Eisner had his "singles and doubles" theory, where he'd rather have several modestly profitable films at moderate cost, much less risky than taking a swing at a big budget film or franchise and missing. Then he turned around and did just that with several properties. (Almost anything that Jerry Bruckheimer did for Disney fits this category.)

Disney had their shot at the Lord Of The Rings franchise, and decided it was too expensive and too risky. It went on to become one of the more profitable and more critically-acclaimed series of films to date, and instead, Disney scrambled to find an answer, coming up with the Narnia films. Sorry, but even if they have some of the same elements and a built in fan base, they just didn't stand a chance of being what LOTR became. I don't know if Disney ever had a shot at the Harry Potter franchise, but if they did and passed, that has obviously become a mistake, too.

I for one think that these Percy Jackson and the Olympians books would have made for an excellent addition to Disney properties, even in possible future theme park development. And while I don't know the story behind the film rights of these books, it's apparent that they had them in their hands early on.

The Kingdom Keepers won't be the same. They might eventually make for a good movie or tv series, but they won't have the same strength among that 5-14 age demographic for boys.


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