In part 1 of this series, I detailed how Disney would need to sell well over 70 Million tickets in order for the first Chronicles of Prydain film to be financially successful. I also broke the potential audience into three categories:
1. Fans of the Prydain books
2. Fans of the Disney animated movie The Black Cauldron
3. Non-fans (people who have neither read the book nor seen the movie or are impartial to, or dislike them)
In this post, I am going to look in depth at the first of these three audiences, fans of the Prydain books.
First, let me state that of the three audiences, this is my favorite. It is the one that I am a part of. It is also the one that I got to know the best while I was making the Lloyd Alexander documentary. While it is certainly not the largest of the three groups, and will not even come close to accounting for the 70 Million ticket sales that Disney needs, I am going to explain why it is so crucial to the financial success of the film that Disney satisfy this group.
In order to take a closer look at the fans of the books, allow me to share some statistics that reflect on this group.
These statistics give an overall sense of the size and geographical location of the fanbase. As I made the “Lloyd Alexander” documentary, I was amazed at the positive response I received from Alexander’s fans. I was contacted by people from all the four corners of the earth who in one way or another had been influenced by Lloyd Alexander’s books. This graphic shows each of the countries from which a fan of Lloyd Alexander has reached out to me via e-mail, phone, or other social media sites.
|(The countries in red represent the locations from which I have been contacted by Lloyd Alexander fans)|
It is also interesting to me, how many people have been influenced by the Prydain books, and have gone on to become authors, artists, or other people of great influence themselves. This list includes, but is not limited to:
- Neil Gaiman (Author)
- Reid Garrett Hoffman (Entrepreneur)
- Jennifer Holm (Author)
- Shannon Hale (Author)
- Justin Kunz (Artist)
- Clare Dunkle (Author)
Based on the statistics that I’ve shared, it’s obvious that this group will not single-handedly account for the 70 Million tickets that would need to be sold. As a matter of fact, they probably won’t even come close. So why should Disney care about satisfying the fans of the books? This is the group, that more than any other, that if they are pleased with the film, will want to come back and see it again. Many of them will see it 6 or 7 times if it meets their hopes and expectations. This group will get their friends and families to go with them. This group already loves these stories, and they are already passionate about them. This group will blog about the movie, tweet about the movie, talk about the movie and share their opinions regardless of what they think about the film. This is an important group for Disney to satisfy.
Now that we’ve examined why Disney needs to satisfy the fans of the books, let me give my opinion on what exactly needs to be done to do that. My answer is a simple one: make the stories as true to the books as possible. Now, I recognize that there are changes that would need to be made while translating the stories from book to the big screen. However, the feel of the world needs to remain consistent, and the characters need to be true to the characters in the book. If this happens the majority of these fans will be pleased with the end result.
I would also argue that the most likely way for the films to capture the magic of the books, is for them to be made by people who are already fans of the books. Not everyone involved needs to be a fan of the books, however, as much as possible, finding a talented director, producer, writer and artists who are passionate about these stories is going to be crucial. This will help ensure the films have the same magic that has captivated generations of readers across the world.