Wednesday, June 27, 2007

"The Disney Screening Room"

I'll get right to it kids... The idea? A theater called "The Disney Screening Room," a single screen that only plays the classic Disney animated films. Playing each film for a run of two weeks to a month at a time.

I am always surprised by the number of people who sit and watch the clips from the various Disney films inside the lobby of the Animation exhibit in California Adventure. Adults and kids alike will watch for 20 minutes or more, the kids usually dancing to their favorite songs! It's captivating seeing these classics on the Big Screen, and most kids, and even some adults have never had the chance to see them on the big screen.

If done with the "Disney-Touch" it could be more than just a theater. It could be the experience of seeing a movie with all the glitz and glamour of Hollywood circa the 1930's, similar to the El Capitan theater today. Complete with a vintage marquee, old fashioned box office, velvet curtains, and some old newsreels and Disney shorts played before the film. Only the original movie poster artwork would be displayed (and available for purchase.)

I can see the Disney Screening Room fitting in well either inside the parks or out. But I think it would be best outside the park as part of DownTown Disney- but separate from the existing AMC theater. Allowing guests of the hotel, or locals who are there for DownTown Disney, but not necessarily for the parks, easy access. And for the people in the park it would be a great way to get away from the crowds and off their feet for a welcome break.

The operational goal of the theater would not be to solely make money per se (I can hear the "higher-ups" coughing as I write this) It would be more about offering a unique opportunity and less about profitability. Admission should be kept below normal movie ticket prices. And as Mr. Lasseter knows, the back end profitability will be made up in the quality of the experience and ultimately the return of the publics confidence to what the Disney name has to offer.

That said, there are other ways to "make money" while not diminishing the quality and integrity of the experience. In the lobby I would add a specialized shop offering various one-of-a-kind merchandise related to the films. I have a lot of complaints about Park merchandising (to be discussed in future posts) so I would be very selective. Here are some ideas:

-As mentioned above, reprints of the original movie posters and development artwork available for sale. Similar to the "Art on Demand" feature at the Disney Gallery.

-Corresponding the screenings to the DVD releases that are coming out of the vault and offering limited edition DVD's with covers that have original artwork and are ONLY available at the Disney Screening Room!

-High end reproductions of the original animation maquettes. This would be a similar idea to the Disney Classics sculptures, but a separate line. Images courtesy of Masked Avenger Studios:

Since John Lasseters' arrival at Disney one of his main goals has been to bring back the heart and warmth that was the Disney name. The idea of "The Disney Screening Room" fits in well with this aim. Allowing both young and old the charm of seeing their favorite Disney classics on the silver screen.


garymyers said...

Hey Drew,
I think you've got something with this idea. I took the family to stay at the Grand Californian back in March. There was a few times we found ourselves camped at the back end of the lobby watching some old Mickey cartoons on the tv back in the corner. The kids were happy to stay there forever. My wife and I got to kick up our feet for a while and watch some good cartoons...
I think putting something like that around Downtown Disney would be cool. People would feel like they are experiencing something unique (and free) and they'd have an opportunity to buy some things not available anywhere else. I think it'd give it another distinction over a place like CityWalk, and give them a feeling that it's more than just a shopping destination between the parks.

rehallag said...

This is a great idea.

Big screen, great sound. It would be unique for today.

linklewtt said...

I LOVE this idea! I would love to be at Disneyland or DCA and just wander over to Downtown Disney and catch Beauty and the Beast on the big screen or Snow White. The below normal movie ticket price is a must. Great idea!

Anonymous said...

As one of those who can sit through 5 cycles at DCA Animation Studio I think this would be a perfect addition to the "Walt's California" renovation at DCA.

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