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For a film to be considered a success these days it has to appeal to and be watched by fucking everyone. It’s why the latest films in franchises that were originally filled with hard murder and people being shot in the dick like Robocop and Terminator are now rated PG-13, studios are simply too chicken-shit scared to take a chances on films they can’t market like a Marvel movie. Perhaps the most perfectly distilled example of this kind of cynicism is the time Disney changed the name of a film for no other reason than to market it to boys, and it worked.
As you may, or may not know depending on how fast you scrolled down past the image above, early in development, Tangled was initially going to be called Rapunzel. Hell, there was even a Rapunzel title card released with exactly the same font as the final product, which we’re going to show you right now.
Which made sense because the film was basically a retelling of the Rapunzel fairytale only with more people finding themselves on the receiving end of a 10 hit combo from an anthropomorphic wonder-horse. However, Disney were a little hesitant to market the film as yet another “Disney princess film” due to the fact the last film like that they’d released, The Princess and the Frog had fared poorly against Disney’s original expectations, in part, because it was primarily marketed as a “girls” film which inexplicably had the effect of making boys not want to see it.
To get their hands on some of that sweet, sweet boy money, executives at Disney decided to scrub any reference of princesses from the film’s marketing material by, erm, changing the title from “Rapunzel” to the more gender neutral “Tangled”. That’s literally all the company did to attempt to market the film to young boys as well as girls. They didn’t change any content, they didn’t add explosions and robots, they just changed the title and put Flynn Rider on the poster alongside Rapunzel so that children of either gender had someone they could to relate to in the film. And it worked, with the film being one of Disney’s most profitable until Frozen came along and slapped everyone’s shit sideways by showing boys and girls will watch anything so long as it has a fresh beat.
The decision was of course marred by controversy, with many criticising Disney’s decision to shift the focus from a female lead to sell more tickets. Failing to take into account that Disney would set puppies on fire and shoot them out of a cannon at an orphanage filled with the orphaned siblings of those same puppies if they thought it’d make them money some how. While the move was, to use the proper industry term, “cynical as fuck”, it didn’t change the fact that millions of people went to see it. All because some dipshit working for Disney realised that films that appeal to a diverse range of people, tend to sell more tickets. The ultimate proof of this concept being Fast 7, an action movie about driving fast cars and large men punching each other through tables that grossed a billion fucking dollars, because it also happened to have a cast that basically represented every race, gender and creed.
Sadly although with the release of Tangled Disney realised that they don’t have to market certain things to one gender, it took them a weirdly long time to realise that the real money is in marketing to people of differing genders and race by not just trying to capture that 25 year old white guy demographic who’ll just torrent your movie anyway with their other properties.