The Walt Disney Studios have served families with hope, joy, and beauty, during times of darkness from The Great Depression through our current times, as they have told classic stories that stand the test of time with universal themes and ideas. As a result of their persistence in telling stories of Good overcoming evil, they have reaped great success.
Deadline Hollywood, on October 8, reports that The Walt Disney Studios has exceeded its previous record and has crossed the $4 billion mark at the global box, The studio has also had this year its first billion-dollar summer. These results were in part due to the success of its family movies: Avengers: Age Of Ultron, which has earned $1.4B, Inside Out that just crossed the $800M mark worldwide, Cinderella at $542.5M, and Ant-Man still in release with a global take of $410M.
The International New York Times, on October 8, reports on release dates for Disney movies in development: Cars 3 for June 2017, Toy Story 4 for June 2018, and Ant-Man and the Wasp, for July 2018. Recently, Mashable.com has reported that the following Disney well–loved, family movies are being rebooted and developed as live-action musical movies: Aladdin, The Jungle Book, Mulan, Dumbo, Winnie the Pooh, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Tinker Bell, and Chip ‘n’ Dale.
Above: the cast of Disney’s new Beauty and the Beast film, coming 2017.
Radio Times has also reported that Disney is rebooting Mary Poppins as a live-action musical movie. It has been encouraging to see that human actors are prevailing in our current world of technology and robots in current Disney movies to provide human connection and depth of heart. Disney movies The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Magician’s Nephew, have also been in development.
It is interesting to study Walt Disney’s and Walt Disney Studio’s relationships with the Great Depression and WWII. Recently, PBS has covered some of this history in it airing of the history of Walt Disney, his movies, and the Disney Corp. in the documentary series Walt Disney. The LA Times has reported that this series is an entertaining, enlightening look at the visionary.
Walt Disney, the two-part, four-hour documentary shows how Walt Disney was a man of great depth of heart. The documentary reveals how he would have his animators study real human expressions, bodies, and movement as they drew their characters. Walt Disney loved children and families. He cared deeply about reaching the emotions and hearts of his audiences. His own family, children, and children of the world were of utmost importance to him.
When the rest of the country was in the midst of the Great Depression, Walt Disney produced the first full-length animated musical feature Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. This Disney movie helped to lift the spirits of the American public. In the midst of turmoil from without and within and financial ups and downs, Walt Disney and his studios continued to produce feature animated movies: Pinocchio, Fantasia, Bambi, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Wind in the Willows, and Dumbo.
Walt Disney and his studios were also actively and widely involved in using their talents during WWII. Disney’s first Cinderella was released in the post-WWII period. As there was during the Depression and the WWII era, there is a need and hunger today for hopeful, uplifting, family stories in our own dark and dangerous world. As the Disney movies in the past have told classic and universal stories with themes of Love and Good overcoming danger and evil, those kinds of stories and Disney movies are still needed and wanted today.
Written by Dr. Diane Howard, Ph.D. (Performance Studies), dianehoward.com
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