Week 10: Art and design in context

The future of Disney debate

For this we got split into groups to look at the arguments on how Disney will change over the years. Our main research was looking at how technology is evolving and how it has helped with the growth of Disney.

Samantha Nielson

“It said it recognizes that the development of new technology provides it with the opportunity and the challenge to make it possible for more people to enjoy its content in more ways, at more times, and in more places than ever before.  As technology rapidly evolves, a new generation of consumers is quickly embracing all it has to offer, and Disney is expected to provide original and compelling content to meet this growing demand. It believes that access to content on mobile is the single largest technology that has impacted the industry and benefited its consumers. It expects to embrace this technology and use it to increase the distribution of content digitally and on other platforms. The third strategy involves expanding its brands and content internationally.”


Bob Iger tells us that none of the studios animation companies was working on 2D, which means there are no plans for future 2d Disney feature films.

“To my knowledge we’re not developing a 2D or hand-drawn feature animated film right now,” said Iger. “There is a fair amount of activity going on in hand-drawn animation but it’s largely for television at this point. We’re not necessarily ruling out the possibility [of] a feature but there isn’t any in development at the company at the moment.”


The company has embarked on a new strategy, reviving and remaking its classic animated films as live-action fantasies.

“While the idea of a feature length animated film was nothing new to foreign countries, and the Fleischers made their own 20 minute short feature the year before, this was the first one to have both sound and color, and had shockingly high quality animation and art productions which blew all of the competition away and still manages to hold up to this day. That and Walt’s simple yet effective story formula—use the characters to define the movie, and not have the plot define the movie. While Snow White was originally derided during production as Disney’s Folly, even by his own wife, when the film unspooled in theaters, it was an instant success, receiving universal praise from critics and audiences and for its time was the most financially successful motion picture ever made. But all was not well, for Disney’s influence was a very mixed blessing for the whole industry. On one hand, it began building on the idea that animation could compete with live action in a way that earlier cartoons could not, but on the other hand, the animation became much, much more expensive and also required much more skilled draftsmen, robbing many animators from previous years of their jobs, due to no longer being able to keep up with the high demands of their studios. Also, almost every studio from the time period—sans Terrytoons—began copying Disney’s works. Soon, everybody, from the Fleischer brothers, MGM’s big budget studio led by former Disney veterans Harman and Ising, to even low budget outlets like Walter Lantz, Van Beuren Studios and the Ub Iwerks studio were trying to ape Disney. Nonetheless, all of these attempts led to dead ends, as those studios only copied the superficial aspects of Disney cartoons—the fairytale-like settings, color and lush animation, but none of Disney’s character or storytelling skills which helped make them such a hit to begin with.”



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