Making Money Off of Happily Ever After

And so, dear readers, we meet again. Spring Break is over, and I cannot emphasize enough how much I really don’t want to be here right now. In case you’re wondering how my Lord of the Rings marathon went, it went extremely well. Those were twelve beautiful hours. I also saw On the Town on Broadway, which was amazing, and got into my study abroad program of choice. It was a pretty fantastic week. I’m sorry; I’m just trying to distract myself from all of the sadness of not-Spring Break.

I also saw the new Cinderella movie over break. I really enjoyed it, partially because it was actually quite good, and partially because I’m a huge romantic. It was well-acted, with beautiful costumes and a perfect ending. I also liked it because of my deep and undying love for Robb Stark, and so I was very happy to see the actor who plays him, Richard Madden, be alive and well and really fine. (Side note: I have also decided that the perfect date is a romantic swing date in a secret garden, preferably with Richard Madden in period clothes.)

I bring up Cinderella because there seems to be a craze lately for revamped fairy tales. This new cultural obsession is perhaps not as widely publicized as the vampire fad of the late 2000s (ugh), but it’s there nonetheless. Looking back, it’s clear to see there’s a pattern of fairy tale retellings hitting the big and small screen in recent years. Of course, there are some truly awful offerings, such as Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. But there are also some very good redone fairy tales from the past few years, notably Tangled and, of course, Frozen. (Tangled is better than Frozen. Fight me.)

Of course, the above two movies are animated. But Disney seems to have found a working formula when it comes to making fairy tale based movies: market them to families rather than a specific niche audience. Vampire stories of late have been generally targeted towards teenage girls, and the bad fairy tale movies I mentioned previously also sort of fit into that target viewership. But the animated films are accessible to everyone, especially little kids. Isn’t that who fairy tales are made for, anyway?

So Disney applies the family-friendly formula to a live action movie, and voila, you have a money-making juggernaut that will still appeal to romantic nineteen year olds like me who have ridiculous crushes on the lead man. In 2017, we’re going to see a live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens of Downton Abbey. (I’m a bit nervous about that one, because Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie and nothing can live up to it.) And let’s not forget the inevitable Frozen sequel, which will doubtless include misunderstandings leading to crazy hijinks.

Fairy tale stories have also found success on the small screen. Once Upon a Time is full of characters such as Snow White and Prince Charming, and is relatively entertaining as long as you suspend all disbelief. Grimm, which I also watch, because I watch everything, gives old fairy tales a police procedural spin. (That show’s actually super great, I recommend it.) We are living in a fable ascendant world, and I bet you didn’t even notice it was happening.

This realization leads us to ask a few questions: will Disney make a live-action companion to everyone of its original classics? Will we have to sit through the eighth Frozen sequel when our kids are little? Seriously, how do I watch so many damn TV shows?

Of course, I have no answers to any of these questions. It’s just something interesting to think about while I avoid doing my actual homework. Welcome back to campus and Jumbo Beat!


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