Big brands don’t always translate into great products.
I’ll never forget getting burned by Adam, the “revolutionary” computer product born from the minds at Coleco.
In 1983, ColecoVision was the hip home video system, so naturally I made sure Santa Claus brought me an Adam home computer system for Christmas.
Days later, Santa returned it for “store credit” when I realized it didn’t work as advertised.
And then there’s Disney, which in 2016 essentially dominates Hollywood. The Disney brand isn’t new, but its stranglehold on the film industry has never been so solid.
The company oversee the Marvel Studios universe, “Star Wars,” more than its fair share of animated smashes (“Zootopia”) and, of course, Pixar.
Let’s start with “Star Wars.” It’s one thing to have pockets so deep you can write a $4 billion check to George Lucas to assume control of the dormant franchise. It’s another to faithfully nurture the property, reveal piece by piece its first new film in more than a decade and then bring joy to millions with the finished product.
Disney is currently in production with Episode VIII in the saga. But up first — “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” The December release is a new tale taking place before the events of the original “Star Wars.”
Would anyone like to bet it’ll flop? I won’t.
And what about a fifth “Indiana Jones” installment? Disney owns that property, too, and chances are it’ll crush the box office competition.
The company’s Pixar release, “Finding Dory,” should be another commercial round-tripper, too. It might struggle to match “Captain America: Civil War.” The Marvel Studios’ smash, under the auspices of Walt Disney Studios, may be the summer movie to beat, both critically and commercially.
Just compare “Civil War” to “X-Men: Apocalypse,” a Marvel film made outside of the Disney studio system. It’s apples and kumquats.
Disney takes good care of its products. The film division hires top talent in front of and behind the scenes. Hiring J.J. Abrams to direct “The Force Awakens” wasn’t necessarily the best choice. But Abrams showed he could dust off an old property (“Star Trek”) and bring it to a new generation of fans without damaging the brand.
Other studios might be content to grab some quick cash from existing properties. Disney sees the long game.
Of course, no company is perfect.
The new Disney film “Alice Through the Looking Glass” is a fine Exhibit A. It’s a soulless enterprise trading in on name recognition and a starry cast.
No matter. Disney has more films coming our way. And, chances are they’ll connect with audiences in ways that will delight ticket-buyers today … and in the future.