Those Frozen Posters and the Curse of The Modern Blockbuster

A few weeks back, some images escaped onto the internet purporting to be for the next film in the Disney cannon, Frozen. They were quickly disavowed but the company nonetheless made an effort to rescind the impossible from the public’s mind. Here are said Frozen posters for informative purposes:

Disney_Frozen Poster A

Disney_Frozen Poster B

Disney_Frozen Poster C

The entire saga raised a number of questions but the true answers to them are rather straightforward.

Why Were They Disavowed?

The posters were disavowed for the simple reason that they are unofficial. While the posters do exhibit traits previously linked to the film (such as the title design), as a whole, they are not officially sanctioned by the Disney company. The studio is therefore obliged to distance itself from them, but there’s is more to it than that.

Poster trademarks is something that’s been talked about here on the blog before, and with these posters, there is very high possibility for confusion among the public. This is especially so given that the posters feature two characters that could easily be thought to be from the film. Trademark law requires holders to defend or face losing them. In that respect, Disney cannot simply let them slide because it could underpin future litigation.

Why Were They Even Released Then?

That, we don’t know. Cine 1 is based in Argentina, and we can only speculate wildly how they a) got the poster designs at all and b) would post them for any reason besides attracting publicity for themselves. Either way, it’s a fishy background to the entire affair but does not dilute the fact that it got a lot of people talking about the film.

So Where Does The Curse of the Blockbuster Come Into All This?

Where the curse of the blockbuster comes into this is that Disney were also duty bound to stifle the public’s interest in the film at this point in time. Why? Quite simply, they’re not finished selling the current one yet.

Yes, Wreck-It-Ralph comes out on DVD in March and as successful as that film was, it doesn’t do the Walt Disney Company much good to start flogging the new one before they’re done with the old one.

The curse of the modern blockbuster is that it makes money in precisely defined, extremely short periods of time. They have a few weeks at the box office before being pushed out on home media a few months later. The former brings in some money, but the real dough is (and has been for many years) in the latter. Disney simply cannot, through sheer necessity, ignore this period.

As a result, it will continue to devote any and all resources to Wreck-It-Ralph in the coming weeks. A distraction such as the posters above represents a significant problem with that strategy. It thrusts into the minds of the public who are constantly demanding new things and serve as a shocking reminder that yes, Wreck-It-Ralph is a done and dusted film while Frozen is so new and sparkly, we haven’t even seen any animation yet.

This bodes poorly for Disney, so they swing into crisis mode and attempt to stop it while they can. That’s not a bad thing, but it does reinforce the fact that studios like to dictate the publicity for their films despite the fact that the internet is an unwieldy beast that eats such control for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In the case of Frozen, the internet is clearly very hungry

The Alternative?

Back in December, we were given a single, concept sketch in an official capacity but then, nothing. Why do it then if there was nothing to follow? Disney may have been better off waiting until after Christmas before beginning to periodically (and predictably) releasing stuff. Independent animator Elliot Cowan is doing precisely that on his twitter feed; posting artwork from his feature film on a regular basis as he completes it. Disney could have handled this better; here’s hoping it’s a once-off event.
Just when should a studio start releasing artwork? Let us know with a comment!