Mary Poppins

December 22, 2018, 6:44 AM

Have booked to see 'Mary Poppins Returns' on Christmas Eve. They have lots of times showing at the cinema, but I am somewhat surprised how few seats are booked up over the next few days, i'd say the screens are 95% empty - I thought it would be a BIG hit. Unless a lot of people just turn up without pre-booking. Am also reading reviews about the music/songs being very unmemorable. Has anyone seen it yet?

Replies (12)

December 22, 2018, 8:19 AM

We saw an advanced screening two days before it opened. It's absolutely a classic Disney film. Ms. Blunt is spot on. The soundtrack is gorgeous.

Edited: December 26, 2018, 11:53 PM

Its made almost $50 million now. Disney movies, and family friendly movies in general are not generally what people feel they have to go see right away. The theater I was in on Christmas Day was nearly full. And there was another theater right next door playing it as well. It will do fine.

December 27, 2018, 6:42 AM

Critics are naturally comparing the new film with the original. It made me wonder how the original 'Mary Poppins' would fare in today's market?

December 27, 2018, 10:49 AM

I really enjoyed the movie. It looks amazing. The performances are great. The music is lovely. The animated sequence is delightful. Great supporting cast with terrific cameos. I just wish I'd left the theater feeling like I'd seen a movie and not a collection of stand alone musical numbers. The plot is thread bare (must find that piece of paper) and many of the songs do nothing to progress the story. The mark of a great musical in my mind is one where the music explains motivation and moves the story along. These numbers are wonderful on their own, but do little to advance plot. The original movie is very similar in that way.

December 27, 2018, 11:49 AM

@Rob McCullough: I concur with most, but not all of your thoughts. I think the song "A Conversation" definitely tells the story, pushes the plot and interweaves nicely with the lovely "The Place Where Lost Things Go".

December 27, 2018, 3:29 PM

@TH: Right, as I said, "Many of the songs do nothing to progress the story". The two you mentioned are exceptions. I wish there had been more. I think the producers got wrapped up in the wonderful score the composers were giving them and lost track of the book and how important it is for the two to work hand in hand. Still - it's a toe-tapping good time. I just wish there had been more story. "The Places Where Lost Things Go" got to me and tears were flowing.

January 8, 2019, 10:06 AM

We just saw it this weekend and loved it. But what I loved most about it is the vintage feel. You just don't see Disney films like this anymore and it was certainly a throwback to a childhood favorite. I don't feel as though they damaged the good name of Mary Poppins as naysayers claimed would happen. It certainly was much better then when Rusty Grizwald took HIS kids on vacation!

Edited: January 8, 2019, 11:47 AM

I do find it interesting that Disney continues to find success in remakes, and is doubling/tripling down on recycling their catalog. In fact in 2019, Disney will have just a single theatrical release based on material/IP that's truly new (and even that is based on a book series). Their 2019 schedule consists of Captain Marvel (sure, it's a new character, but still part of the MCU), Dumbo (live-action remake of the animated classic), Avengers: Endgame (MCU), Aladdin (live-action remake of the animated classic), Toy Story 4, Lion King (pseudo-live-action/CGI remake), Artemis Fowl, Frozen 2, and Star Wars IX. That's THREE (yes 3!!!) live-action remakes of Disney classic animated films (after three over the past 4 years), FIVE sequels, and Artemis Fowl.

I know Disney has had tons of success with their recent formula of sequels, remakes, and reboots, but you can only go to the well so many times before people grow tired of the same old shtick (do we really need Toy Story 4 or Will Smith trying to match the brilliance of the late Robin Williams??). Mary Poppins Returns has done decently, but was not the box office hit Disney needed it to be to end the year on a high note.

Edited: January 8, 2019, 5:28 PM

Russell, I think Disney will continue to go to that well until it dries up.....they are having too much success.

While Mary Poppins isn't this huge box office smash, it is doing quite well for a film of its type. (and showing longevity 3 weeks into its release). Plus, it is getting an award push amid it positive critical reviews. I think this film is considered a solid success from Disney's standpoint.

The past year, Disney made box office history (again) with 7B+ global haul. It's the second time in history any studio has done this (and the first time was also by Disney in 2016). Add in the Fox acquisition & I can't see them changing their blueprint anytime soon. They are currently the most successful movie studio by I'm sure they will continue down the same path of recycling their catalog until the money says otherwise.

I will say, however, one of the interesting things about their catalog is.....even though they primarily consist of sequels, remakes, reboots, creatively, they all FEEL different. Tim Burton's Dumbo appears to have a completely different tone than Guy Ritchies Aladdin. By diversifying the creative direction each of these remakes have, it allows them to come off completely different to audiences.

Audiences are already fans of these characters & franchises & will turn out in droves at the theaters. (i.e why Toy Story 4, although there probably isn't a creative reason for it to exist is being released)

January 9, 2019, 8:17 AM

Clearly Disney is being justified in doing these by breaking records year after year, and with the original productions struggling to gain traction (Wrinkle in Time and Coco most recently), I don't begrudge Disney's desire to play it safe and to continue to strike a blazing hot iron. However, I do wonder if they have a plan if fans eventually tire of these assembly line productions. Disney is going to be deeply tapping their IPs to generate content for their streaming service with 2 Star Wars series and at least a half-dozen Marvel series already announced, so at some point they will reach a point of saturation. The box office numbers suggest that we're not there yet, but I think the performance of Solo suggests that we're getting pretty close. Remember, it was the sequalification during the late '90s and '00s that caused Disney to precipitously drop, likely forcing the purchase of Pixar (and later LucasFilm and Marvel). Disney appears to be using the same formula they tried at the end of the Eisner era, they are just using it on a larger number of IPs. The difference is that I don't think there's a way for Disney to simply buy their way out of the hole if it gets too deep this time.

Edited: January 9, 2019, 4:49 PM

I'm sure, like most studios, they have a Plan B (& C, D, E.....). These studios have been around for decades & have had varying success & failures throughout different eras. It's not realistic to think Disney will stay on top for ever. Most studios are one IP or franchise away from taking the number 1 slot. I'm sure Disney is aware that the tide could turn 5 or 10 years down the road & will adjust accordingly (because they wouldn't really have a choice)

In terms of Solo, the underperformance was a result of over saturation, too much too soon (4 Star War films in 3 years....vs 6 in 28 years) After the results, they wisely admitted the error & canceled the other spinoffs.

I agree, they will continue to strike while the iron is hot, but I think because they have so many "entrees on the menu"......a few failures here & there (Solo, Wrinkle In Time) aren't enough to derail them.

Marvel & Star Wars, if handled correctly, will continue to draw audiences for years to come. They may not be the huge pop culture stories they are now.....but there will always be a young (& young at heart) fans that will turn out for "superhero adventures" & space adventures. Remaking the animated catalog MAY have a shelf life, but honestly, I think that depends on the quality. This is a bit different because the original fairy tales doesn't share a technically, they are all stand alone stories & wouldn't necessarily suffer the same way another IP would if audiences tire of it.

A live action Pinocchio would have zero in comments with say a live action Nightmare Before Christmas (which would come with a built in fanbase). The only things these things have in common is they were animated Disney films. Some may be more action oriented, others may be full on Broadway style musicals.

I'm with you on the fact they will continue to strike while the iron is hot......I just think they may be able to weather this a little longer simply due the diversity of all their IP's....Pirates is being rebooted & the long awaited Jungle Book could jumpstart their park based movie slate (Even though misfires like Tomorrowland occurred)

Finally, I think quality outweighs much of the other aspects. Even their output is quality....audiences will continue to come out.....regardless of how long the IP has been churning along.

January 10, 2019, 2:00 PM

RM: Mary Poppins Returns has done decently, but was not the box office hit Disney needed it to be to end the year on a high note."

I Respond: Why did Disney "need" it to be a box office hit? After riding a $7B year in 2018, where was this great need?

RM: "I do wonder if they have a plan if fans eventually tire of these assembly line productions."

I Respond; For those scoring at home, that would be two "ifs" in one sentence.

RM: "Disney is going to be deeply tapping their IPs to generate content for their stream ..."

I Respond: Along with new content and the Fox catalog.

RM: "The box office numbers suggest that we're not there yet, but I think the performance of Solo suggests that we're getting pretty close."

I Respond: Uh-huh ... See you in 2025.

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