How Hollywood Accidentally Left a Cool Billion on the Table — and You Can Pick It Up.
Disney doesn’t need our help, they have a deep bench. Heck, they got Star Wars and PIXAR and Marvel Characters and Disney Characters, oh and Fairytale Characters, so yeah, Disney is winning.
Walt knew a thing or two about Fairytales. Mickey may have been the face on the poster, but Snow and Cindy paid the bills. Collective unconscious, shared belief, innocence lost, Jung, Freud, Fromm, Bettelheim, Rank, Campbell, Zipes and Carter… the truth is out there.
Every time Disney re-makes a beloved, live-action, public-domain fairytale, they create a Billion Dollars in value. Cinderella crushed. The new Beauty and the Beast trailer is the most downloaded in history.
The teaser for the upcoming Disney live action remake Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson, has broken the record…www.theguardian.com
Done well, these are massive hits. ‘Yuge appetite for fairtytales,’ as the orange goblin would say. The appetite doesn’t end, but the story does. Unfortunately, when it’s over, it’s over.
Too bad there’s no sequel…
Too bad that $1B value stops at merchandise and ancillary…
Too bad there’s no franchise play…
…But what if there was?
Is it possible to create an Avengers-style franchise with beloved fairytale characters?
We’re betting it is.
MCU Phase 2:
Taking a page from Kevin Feige’s playbook, let’s consider existing ‘origin stories’ as official PHASE ONE cannon, sacred and not to be altered. The character introductions have largely been done by studios so we begin our franchise with a TEAM UP, taking place after the ‘happily ever after’ (MCU PHASE 2).
After we wrote the TEAMUP spec, we created four individual spin-offs, giving each main character her own stand-alone film.
Spec #1: The Girl with the Glass Slipper is a stand-alone prequel to TEAMUP. A direct sequel to the Cinderella fairytale, it begins after the shoe fits and introduces Princess Cinderella to the Queen’s ambition. Spoiler alert: What Queen wants her only son to marry a common pauper?
Somewhere between The Noble Lie and The Allegory of the Cave, Plato would be proud.
Spec #2: The Beauty Who Dared Love a Beast is the star of the franchise. While her love turned the narcissist Beast into a man, he remains committed to his human family above all else. When warring kingdoms threaten her beloved forest, will Beauty tame her Beast or will the battle tear them apart?
Beauty and the Beast is a beloved classic. How to go from happily ever after to greatest foe? This heartbreaking story shows the cost of tough choices, sometimes love is not enough.
Spec #3: The Girl With the Red Riding Hood is an exploration of personal responsibility in the face of personal tragedy. A direct sequel to TEAMUP, RED blames herself for leading the wolf to grandmother’s house and for her death. Now grown and damaged, this is a story of redemption and sacrifice as she learns to live for a purpose greater than herself.
The woodsman never came to save her. Oral Red Riding Hood stories lack the English puritanical as well as the French sexuality later added by Perrault. We return to Red as a Jeckyl/Hyde, Dostoevsky Double… ‘With great enchantment…’
Spec #4: The Thief with Golden Hair, 金色的女巫 (Golden Haired Witch) is the story of a young orphan who witnessed the brutal murder of the only family she’s ever known, The Three Bears. Discovering her link to the throne, she sets out to infiltrate and destroy those responsible.
Part ‘Art of War’ and part ‘Autobiography of a Criminal’ this Goldilocks legend is a 14th Century Chinese revenge story.
Spec #5: Untitled Fairytale Teamup; In her quest to overcome her fears and bring justice to the kingdom, Beauty seeks out those beautiful damaged heroines of legend. Only she can assemble a team and balance the dark, warlike energy consuming the seven kingdoms.
TEAMUP gives us four heroines vs. four villains, not including our Nick Fury-esque Fairy Godmother.
The “PHASE 2” Bible:
In addition to the TEAMUP and stand-alones, we’ve complied a 170 page character bible. Psychological breakdowns, character backstory, motivation (internal/external) any/all information necessary to continue a never-ending series of sequels, prequels and spin-offs. Something to hand off to future writers. I’ve written about why your franchise needs a Real Story Bible here:
Bigtime CEO I met last week: “I know all about the bible. We’ve done the bible. We’ve paid half a million dollars for…medium.com
Why Fairytale Princesses?
The business argument is simple, heck, Disney does $5B annually in Princess related merchandise and these are public domain characters…
From Juniper Keithler is 3 years old and wants to be a princess. Her parents aren't thrilled. "It started a year ago…www.bloomberg.com
Beyond good business, we owe this to our daughters. Strong female characters with real conflict — hopefully they‘ll be dressing as warrior princesses for Halloween. Rehearsing for life.
One thing’s for sure; every time a failed franchise goes south, it hurts us all. Our entire industry loses a dollar to gaming or time spent elsewhere. We know we’re in this together, that we have to do better, storytelling has to be better.