Disney and princesses: they go together like chocolate and peanut butter, Starsky and Hutch or Coheed and Cambria. You just can't imagine one without the other.
But all you Disney princess fans better get your fill when "Tangled" hits theaters on Wednesday, because Disney has just dropped a bombshell: they're breaking up with princesses, like, forever.
"Films and genres do run a course," Disney/Pixar animation co-head Ed Catmull told The Los Angeles Times. "They may come back later because someone has a fresh take on it… but we don't have any other musicals or fairy tales lined up."
Of course, fairy tales and musicals have been the centerpiece of Disney animation since the company created the very concept of feature length animation with 1937's "Snow White." Since then, the company has become synonymous with characters like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Belle, Ariel, Pocahontas and others. Indeed, Disney has promoted an entire line of Princess merchandise, games, toys and videos, including a Disney Princess website.
All of that? Right in the garbage bin of history.
So why is Disney dumping nearly 75 years of tradition -- and corporate branding? Catmull says that the company is looking to focus on projects that are more challenging for the studio. "If you say to somebody, 'You should be doing fairy tales,' it's like saying, 'Don't be risky,'" Catmull said. "We're saying, 'Tell us what's driving you.'"
In other words, princesses are yesterdays news. Today's news? Well, the L. A. Times article frighteningly draws a comparison between the new programming and Bratz dolls, which in animation terms would be sort of like having Mickey Mouse punch you in the groin 100 times. However you phrase it, though, the decision comes down to the fact that traditional princess films like last year's "The Princess and the Frog" underperform at the box office compared to animated hits like "Despicable Me" and "How to Train Your Dragon" -- both of which have more contemporary appeal to today's kids and both of which, of course, are from Disney competitors.
That's why Catmull and animation co-chair John Lasster have canceled development on fairy tale films like "The Snow Queen" and "Jack and the Beanstalk" in favor of more diverse titles such as upcoming Disney projects "Winnie the Pooh," "Reboot Ralph" and "King of the Elves."
So break out your 40 oz. and pour a little for Pocahontas and Mulan, because the princesses are dead. We're just surprised it was Disney who finally killed them. Eulogies will be held at theaters nationwide beginning on Wednesday; in lieu of flowers, Disney requests that you call your Cineplex and order a ticket for "Tangled" instead.