Friday, September 08, 2006

Disney in 1959

John McElwee's blog Greenbriar Picture Shows always has something interesting about Hollywood film history. He's done a two part entry on Disney's releases in 1959, looking at the films from the point of view of theater owners and box office revenue.

I hadn't remembered that Disney released Sleeping Beauty as a road show. That kind of release meant higher ticket prices and a very slow roll-out. Sleeping Beauty was released in January and didn't make it to North Carolina, where McElwee lived, until August. That's quite a difference from how films are released these days. It may also account for Sleeping Beauty's poor box office performance. The higher prices alienated many theater owners and the slow release dissipated any buzz that Disney created for the film on his TV show.

You can read part 1 here and part 2 here.

1 comment:

Michael Sporn said...

Hi Mark:
In 1959, there were nothing but slow-opening roadshows. Most films opened at one major theater and would slowly develop over time. SB opened at Radio City Music Hall, at premium prices, and took several months, even in NYC to move onto other theaters.

This pattern was the case until 1962 when UA realeased 10 films - one at a time - into hundreds of theaters at the lower prices. (Maybe 20 in NY and its boroughs.) Among these ten were Dr. No and To Kill A Mockingbird. It was a success since the film could better capitalize on the initial advertising. The new way of movie distribution was born. This turned into a science with The Deep.