Just the fact that I had to check the spelling of the film seven times before creating the title of this post isn't a good sign of things to come for Disney and Pixar. Say what you want about this summer's crop of films (they're all sequels to sequels to sequels!), it's sure to go down as one of the most competitive in recent history. According to Jim Hill Media, it's that competition which is scaring the mouse poop out of Disney's marketing department, who are currently sweating bullets over how exactly to go about marketing the next Pixar film, Ratatouille, due out June 29.
Now, you're probably sitting there, saying to yourself: "But Erik, Cars was the second highest grossing film of 2006 with over $244 million at the domestic box office -- why should Disney be worried about how Ratatouille will perform?" Well, while that number is most certainly ginormous, it failed to meet the studio's internal financial projections and could not live up to the bigger figures produced by flicks like The Incredibles ($261 million) and Finding Nemo ($339 million). Add to that the fact that Cars had no real competition for at least six weeks, and you're looking at a combination of luck and positioning which helped it reach $244 million.
On the other hand, Ratatouille will have to fend off Transformers (July 4) and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (July 13) with a plot that revolves around a rat (not the cleanest of animals) who dreams about being a chef (great, a filthy animal who cooks food -- there's a pleasant image). Nemo had no real competition on the animated front, The Incredibles caught us at the peak of the superhero trend and Cars had the massive Nascar audience to feed off of. So, who does Ratatouille turn to? Rat lovers? Heck, Dreamworks' rat flick saw its box office figures flushed right down the toilet -- what's not to say the same thing won't happen to Ratatouille? And then who gets blamed for the Pixar acquisition? And what does that do to Pixar's rep?
And don't even get me started on which toy the kids would rather own -- a sweeet looking Transformer or a stuffed rat with a piece of cheese on its head??