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Last month we reported to you that Disney decided to change the name of their upcoming animated feature from Rapunzel to Tangled, but we never really knew why. The news came from a Facebook update by the film's director, Roy Conli, and seemed to glide quickly over the fact that the name of the film was now Tangled.
I was just in the Disney World Parks last week and noticed inside of Disney Hollywood Studios there were still promo posters for this film hanging up that read Rapunzel, which gave me reason to believe it may have been a last minute reactionary decision to change the name. Turns out, that's exactly the case.
The Los Angeles Times did some poking around down at the Mouse House and uncovered the information that Disney changed the title because they wanted it to appeal to more boys. Right, because the title Tangled screams out fun for boys like Star Wars or Spiderman does. Apparently the people over at Disney blamed the box office disappointment The Princess and the Frog on the fact that boys were turned off by the word "princess" in the title.
Ed Catmull, president of Pixar and Disney Animation Studios said "We did not want to be put in a box. 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." It seems Disney is trying hard to capture the interest of more boys, which also explains their recent acquisition of the Marvel Comic universe.
Disney also seems to be hoping to ape the success of Pixar, whose films like Up have attracted boys, girls and adults alike, and have $700 million worldwide grosses to show for it. Princess and the Frog, on the other hand, made only $222 million globally-- Catmull explains, "Based upon the response from fans and critics, we believe it would have been higher if it wasn't prejudged by its title.”
We're not the only ones who think this is ridiculous, of course. Floyd Norman, a retired Disney and Pixar animator, lampooned the new name with a cartoon that depicts Rapunzel in her tower brandishing a machine gun and declaring "Rapunzel Salvation: This Is Not a Princess Movie."
"The idea of changing the title of a classic like Rapunzel to Tangled is beyond stupid," Norman told the LA Times. "I'm still hoping that Disney will eventually regain their sanity and return the title of their movie to what it should be. I'm convinced they'll gain nothing from this except the public seeing Disney as desperately trying to find an audience."
Is that the case here? Is the title change a symbol of the lack of confidence the Disney Company may be having with this project and the potential of capturing a large audience? I have said it once and I will say it again…it will never be like it was in the old days when they had the genius of Walt guiding their way.