The L.A. Times reports that Disney has changed the title of its forthcoming Rapunzel to Tangled in the interest of distancing the project from its “princess” brand and attracting more boys to theaters. The move comes after last year’s The Princess and the Frog grossed a relatively disappointing $222 million worldwide. In addition to changing the title, Disney will play up the role of the film’s “swashbuckling” male action hero, voiced by Chuck’s Zachary Levi. Though it makes some sense to try to broaden the appeal of the movie across gender lines, it seems like Disney may have learned the wrong lesson from the lackluster performance of Princess and the Frog. For one thing, was it really the premise of the movie that turned kids off, or the fact that it was a hand-drawn animated picture being sold to a generation raised on the digital animation of Pixar? Perhaps it wasn’t a negative reaction to girliness, but rather a rejection of Disney’s old-fashioned taste. Maybe the swashbuckling hero written into the story will work out and draw little boys, but forgive us for being skeptical of the demand for an homage to Errol Flynn in 2010.
Disney restyles ‘Rapunzel’ to appeal to boys [Company Town/LAT]