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迪士尼翻拍不断,最好赶快习惯

Mathew Katz 2019年05月27日

翻拍和重映已成为迪士尼业务的重心。

2019年迪士尼有四部主打怀旧牌的真人翻拍电影上映,上周末的新片《阿拉丁》便是其中一部。迪士尼希望票房大卖,好让股东们满意。

今年迪士尼翻拍电影数量比旗下另两大赚钱机器——漫威和《星球大战》系列还要多。而之前作为主力作品的动画片方面今年只有两部新作:《玩具总动员4》和《冰雪奇缘2》。

翻拍和重映已成为迪士尼业务的重心。自2010年蒂姆·波顿拍的真人版《爱丽丝梦游仙境》上映后已推出一系列真人化电影。票房统计网站Box Office Mojo的数据显示,老动画片真人化电影的全球票房总收入已经超过53亿美元。尽管之前的《小飞象》表现不佳,但分析师预计即将上映的新片成绩会很不错。关键原因?怀旧。

“肯定会掀起怀旧情绪。”BoxOfficeReport网站的丹尼尔·加里斯表示。他预计瞄准暑期档上映的《阿拉丁》和《狮子王》票房都将大卖。两部电影均是根据迪士尼佳作爆发时期的动画片改编,在20世纪80年代末和90年代,动画部门制作的影片接连爆红。而且当年这些片子票房就很好,也是第一批发布家庭录影带的电影,很多影迷可以看很多遍。

“这些电影之所以能激起怀旧情绪,部分原因是很容易能看到。”加里斯表示。

不过加里斯认为,《小飞象》的粉丝本来就不多。1941年原版电影票房仅为160万美元,早几年上映的《白雪公主》票房曾经高达6600万美元。2019年翻拍版的票房刚刚超过3.39亿美元,如果不是制作成本高达1.7亿美元,票房也不算太糟。

《小飞象》票房远不如2017年真人翻拍的辉煌时期老电影《美女与野兽》,该片预算1.6亿美元,全球票房高达12.6亿美元。《美女与野兽》充分体现了千禧一代对经典老片的怀旧之情。根据《综艺》杂志(Variety)报道,首周末观影人群的两大主力分别是26至34岁的千禧一代和12岁以下的儿童。

“去看电影的是什么人?绝大部分是千禧一代。”视频评论家林赛·埃利斯表示。她制作了一条针对迪士尼的视频,片中主要表达了对《美女与野兽》翻拍版的厌恶,口号是“不好意思,我就是讨厌这部片子!”该视频的浏览量已经达数百万。

迪士尼辉煌时期的电影问世时,千禧一代还是孩子,现在可以带着孩子去看自己以前喜欢的故事。

“没有孩子的千禧一代肯定会去看,因为片子迎合了他们心中怀旧的情绪。”埃利斯说。“即使是看《狮子王》,也像是‘哦,这是我以前喜欢的片子,就是现在加了碧昂丝。也挺好的。’”

千禧一代小的时候对媒体的消费方式,与父母和看《小飞象》的一代明显不同。有了录像带,他们可以一遍又一遍地看经典电影,背歌曲,诙谐的台词铭记在脑中。辉煌时期也发行了一些经典影片例如《奇幻森林》,意味着千禧一代也能反复观看迪士尼的老电影。这或许可以解释为何2016年《奇幻森林》翻拍版的总收入能接近10亿美元,毕竟20世纪90年代的原版录像带一直跻身畅销榜前列,榜上其他影片包括《阿拉丁》、《美女与野兽》和《小美人鱼》。《小飞象》都没有挤进前十名。

“千禧一代对童年看过的内容感觉非常亲切。到现在仍然在看。”埃利斯说。“千禧一代可能是小时候拥有体验良好且值得反复观看的内容的第一代人。”

迪士尼正在指望用这种强烈的怀旧情绪来吸引观众。埃利斯说,怀旧的力量十分强大,电影甚至不必拍得很好(水平比不上原作都行),也能收入丰厚。

“只要重拍一遍就行。”她表示。“看看《美女与野兽》,音乐跟原作一样,其他也差不多。动画片和新版电影并没有明显区别。”

尽管该片在票房上表现出色,但评论界褒贬不一。烂番茄网站上2017版《美女与野兽》支持率为71%,而原作“新鲜度”高达94%。

“看起来《狮子王》会一个镜头不改地重拍。”埃利斯补充说。他还指出,1994年原版中为木法沙配音的詹姆斯·厄尔·琼斯将在翻拍版中给同一角色配音。

虽然加里斯不愿说具体的预测数字,但预计《狮子王》将是“年度最卖座的电影之一”。抛开怀旧因素,其实《狮子王》之前就已经证明其票房价值。1994年原作是当年票房第二高的电影,如今还有碧昂丝等全明星配音演员助阵,估计所有年龄段的粉丝都会蜂拥而至。

《阿拉丁》也很有可能大卖。《综艺》杂志报道,初步跟踪调查显示,首周末该片的美国票房可能至少达8000万美元。

由于《阿拉丁》的多元化演员阵容和中东故事背景,加里斯很看好全球大卖。2016年的《奇幻森林》翻拍曾经是印度有史以来票房最高的好莱坞电影,迪士尼似乎也希望能在利润丰厚的电影市场上再获成功。

“不管《阿拉丁》的美国票房表现如何,在国际上一定成绩不错。” 加里斯说。

迪士尼仍然有庞大的动画片储备,可以进一步挖掘翻拍为真人电影。2020年将推出真人版《花木兰》,还有《奇幻森林》续集。但公认为动画王国的迪士尼推出的原创动画电影越来越少。

沃特·迪士尼动画制作公司的最新一部非续集电影是2016年的《海洋奇缘》。皮克斯的最新原创电影是2017年的《寻梦环游记》。在2021年和2022年将上映的电影中,迪士尼列出了四部未公布名称的真人电影,两年里每年只有一部动画。

如果迪士尼继续翻拍比原创动画多的趋势,最终可能陷入找不到怀旧IP可拍的境地。

但可能也不需要。

“我觉得迪士尼在想‘也许不需要新IP?也许每10年左右重新包装一次之前的IP就行。’”埃利斯说。之前迪士尼一直采取该策略,原版上映几十年后,迪士尼在影院重新上映了经典电影《白雪公主》。

加里斯说,迪士尼可能更进一步:给翻拍片制作原创续集。

“有些翻拍片确实可能会有续集。”他表示。“严格来说也属于原创。”

2016年的《爱丽丝梦游仙境2:镜中奇遇记》是2010年波顿拍的《爱丽丝梦游仙境》续集,虽然票房不佳,但迪士尼还是要尝试重拍战略,今年秋天将推出《沉睡魔咒2:恶魔夫人》,由安吉丽娜·朱莉继续出演主角。该片是基于1959年《睡美人》翻拍的《沉睡魔咒》续集,2014年《沉睡魔咒》全球票房7.58亿美元。加里斯表示,如果票房不错可能有更多续集。

迪士尼还可以依托新的流媒体服务,为《小飞象》等粉丝群更小众的老电影找到新去处。举例来说,11月由泰莎·汤普森和贾斯汀·塞洛克斯主演的《小姐与流浪汉》翻拍就将在流媒体平台Disney+首映。

不管在电影院里还是电影院外,迪士尼都非常了解如何利用人们热爱的角色赚钱。之前就有过实践。辉煌时代期间,迪士尼就开始制作大量直供录像带的续集。《阿拉丁》、《狮子王》和《大力士》等电影的续集主要由独立公司或迪士尼电视动画公司制作,成本大大降低,最终制作中均有体现。

埃利斯认为,直供录像带的电影带来了不错的利润,但也有代价。此类制作导致令人尊重的迪士尼品牌有所贬低。如果迪士尼仍然不惜代价采取翻拍策略,也可能发生同样的情况。

“过度饱和或者不赚钱都不会导致翻拍作品失败。”她说。“一旦开始让人感觉很廉价而且削弱品牌,才说明失败了。”(财富中文网)

译者:冯丰

审校:夏林

Disney is hoping to grant its shareholders’ wishes by delivering another box office hit with last weekend’s Aladdin, one of four live-action nostalgia-based adaptations set for 2019.

The remakes make up more releases than the studio’s other two big money-making franchises, Marvel and Star Wars. The Mouse House is only releasing two animated features, previously a significant part of its business, in 2019—Toy Story 4 and Frozen 2.

The pivot to remakes and reimaginings is big business for Disney. Since the current spate kicked off in 2010 with Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, remakes of older animated features have grossed more than $5.3 billion worldwide according to Box Office Mojo. Even though the most recent remake, Dumbo, underperformed, analysts expect upcoming releases to be big business. The key ingredient? Nostalgia.

“Nostalgia definitely comes into play,” says Daniel Garris of BoxOfficeReport, who expects significant box office numbers from Aladdin and The Lion King, both coming out in time for the summer movie season. The films are based on originals released during the Disney Renaissance—a period in the late 1980s and 1990s where the studio’s animation department cranked out hit after hit. Those movies performed well in theaters and also were among the first to have prompt home video releases, meaning fans could watch them again and again.

“We’re nostalgic for these films in part because they were a lot more accessible for us,” Garris says.

Dumbo, Garris argues, never had a huge fanbase. The 1941 original grossed a mere $1.6 million, compared to Snow White’s $66 million at the box office a few years earlier. The 2019 remake has made just over $339 million so far, which wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for a sky-high $170 million production budget.

Dumbo’s ticket sales are a far cry from 2017’s Beauty and the Beast—also a remake of a Disney Renaissance movie—which grossed $1.26 billion worldwide on a $160 million budget. Beast shows the power of millennial nostalgia for that era’s films: the two largest demographics groups who saw the movie opening weekend were millennials aged 26 to 34 and kids under 12, according to Variety.

“Who is seeing these movies? Millennials, overwhelmingly,” says Lindsay Ellis, a video essayist and author whose videos on Disney—including one expressing her dislike for the Beast remake with the slogan “Thanks, I hate it!”—have millions of views.

Millennials were kids when the Renaissance movies came out, and now they’re taking their own kids to see the stories they loved.

“But childless millennials will absolutely see this because it hits that nostalgia thing in their brains,” Ellis says. “Even with The Lion King, it’s like ‘oh, it’s that thing I liked—but Beyoncé is in it. Which makes it good.’”

As children, millennials consumed media much differently than their parents or the Dumbo generation. Thanks to VHS tapes, they could watch the Renaissance movies again and again, memorizing songs and burning witty lines into their brains. The Renaissance period also saw the home release of classics like The Jungle Book, meaning millennials watched older Disney movies on repeat as well. That might explain why the 2016 Jungle Book remake grossed nearly a billion dollars—the original was consistently a top-seller among video releases in the 1990s, along with Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and The Little Mermaid. Dumbo didn’t even crack the top-10 list.

“As a generation, millennials have retained this intense affinity for their childhood media. They still watch it,” Ellis says. “Millennials might have been the first generation that had decent enough childhood media that it’s worth revisiting.”

Disney is banking on this intense nostalgia to draw audiences. The power of nostalgia also means that the movies don’t actually have to be good (or even as good as the originals) to make a ton of money, Ellis says.

“I think they just need to be remakes,” she says. “Look at Beauty and the Beast, it uses the same music and everything. There’s no appreciable difference between the animated movie and the new movie.”

Even though the remake performed well at the box office, the critical consensus on the remake was far from unanimous: the 2017 Beast has a 71% favorable rating on Rotten Tomatoes compared to 94% “certified fresh” for the original.

“The Lion King looks like it’s going to be a shot-for-shot remake,” Ellis added, noting that James Earl Jones, who voiced Mufasa in the 1994 original is reprising the exact same role in the remake.

While he wouldn’t share concrete predictions, Garris expects Lion King to be “one of the biggest films of the year.” Along with the nostalgic draw, Lion King has proven box office value: the original was the second-highest grossing film of 1994. It also features an all-star voice cast including Beyoncé, whose fans of all ages are expected to turn up in droves.

Aladdin is also a likely hit: early tracking surveys show the movie will probably make at least $80 million domestically over its opening weekend, according to Variety.

Garris additionally expects Aladdin, with a diverse cast and Middle Eastern setting, to break out globally. After The Jungle Book remake became the highest-ever grossing Hollywood film in India in 2016, Disney seems to be aiming for similar success in the lucrative movie market.

“Regardless of how Aladdin does domestically, it’ll be huge internationally,” Garris says.

Disney still has a huge back catalog of animated features to mine for live-action films: there’s both a Mulan remake and a sequel to the Jungle Book remake set for 2020. But the company, still thought of as an animation powerhouse, is releasing fewer original animated movies.

Walt Disney Animation Studio’s last non-sequel film was Moana in 2016. Pixar’s most recent original film was Coco in 2017. In a schedule of upcoming releases, Disney listed four untitled live-action films slated for release in both 2021 and 2022, along with just one animated feature for each of those years.

If the studio keeps making more remakes than original animated features, it could eventually run out of nostalgia-heavy intellectual property to remake.

But it may not need it.

“I think Disney’s thinking ‘well, maybe we don’t need new IP? Maybe we just need to repackage the IP we have every 10 years or so,” Ellis says. Disney has relied on that in the past, re-releasing classic films like Snow White in theaters decades after the original release.

Garris says that could go a step further: with original sequels to the remakes and reimaginings.

“Some of these films could get sequels,” he says. “That would be original, technically.”

Though Alice Through the Looking Glass, the 2016 sequel to Burton’s billion-dollar-grossing 2010 Alice in Wonderland remake, underperformed, Disney is trying the sequel-to-remake strategy again with this fall’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. Angelina Jolie will reprise the title role after 2014’s Maleficent—based on 1959’s Sleeping Beauty—grossed $758 million worldwide. If that does well, Garris says we can expect even more sequels.

Disney could also find a different home for remakes of older movies with a smaller built-in fan base—like Dumbo—on its new streaming service. For instance, a Lady and the Tramp remake starring Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux will premiere when Disney+ launches in November.

The company knows how to make money on beloved familiar characters, both in and out of movie theaters. And it’s done it before: in the middle of the Renaissance era, Disney began to produce a glut of direct-to-video sequels. The sequels to films like Aladdin, Lion King, and Hercules were largely produced by a separate studio or Disney’s television animation studio and had significantly lower animation costs, which showed in the final production.

The direct-to-video movies made a healthy profit, but they came at a price, according to Ellis: they cheapened the sacred Disney brand. The same could happen if the studio pursues a strategy of remakes at all costs.

“What does the remakes in won’t be oversaturation or if they stop making money,” she says. “It’ll be when it starts feeling cheap and starts degrading the brand.”

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