Why ‘Big Hero 6’ is a Big Deal
I’ve written previously on the the advances that Disney has made in recent years with regards to their movie-making as well as business plans. Being possibly the biggest fish in the animation pond, the people at Walt Disney Animation have made some good choices (most of which can be tied to the great decision-making skills of newer CEO John Lasseter). Disney as a larger company, however, has also made some interesting and impressive jumps. The most recent one that comes to mind, for me anyway, is their acquisition of Marvel.
While it may boggle some minds as to why one of the world’s biggest animation companies would want one of the most successful comic book companies, this is just smart. In fact, it’s probably one of the smartest moves that Disney has made since they merged with Pixar years ago. When you see a good thing, you go for it.
Everyone knows that Marvel has had a great deal of success over the last few years with their series of superhero films. Iron Man, Thor, and all of the other Avengers have not only succeeded in their own individual films, but rocked the box office in The Avengers film as well. They have shown that superheroes, while not a new genre, are definitely box-office worthy. Animated adaptations of other superhero stories have also proven to be successful (especially the half-hour animated programs, or even direct-to-video animated films based on DC characters, like Son of Batman). Knowing this, it’s only logical to assume that the best animation company in the world will have the chance to do even more with its new acquisition, including the multitudes of characters and story lines it now has access to in the Marvel bible.
The first testing of the waters has already begun. Disney has been working for the last little while on their new film Big Hero 6, which is going to be an animated film based on the Marvel characters. The original concept of Big Hero 6, as conceived by Marvel, involves secret government operatives, a team of state-sanctioned superheroes, a boy genius, a dangerous enemy intent on slaying millions, and a robot built out of a dead father’s memories. Sounds very typical of comic books.
But, this is Disney. And if there’s one thing Disney does well, it’s create a bond not only between characters, but between the characters and the audience. So instead all the moving pieces so typical of comic books, Disney has decided to focus on one relationship in particular: that of a teenage boy genius named Hiro, and his faithful robot creation Baymax. Disney has gone on record to say that while they did use the main concepts of the story and characters, they still did some reinventing of their own along the way.
Should the film be successful, this then becomes another successful avenue for superhero films to be made. But what if it isn’t successful? What if diehard fans find issue with the idea of Disney’s heartfelt adaptations, rather than the original, more gritty stories.
But here’s the big question: what if audiences are just tired of superheroes? Only time will tell, but Big Hero 6 is going to be the first line cast into the box office pond. With any luck, it’ll succeed in catching something.
Big Hero 6 comes out in theaters November 7th.