Activity: Participating in or organising an event types › Participation in conference
Paper Title: Challenging the “Disney Formula?” Parody and Generic Hybridity in the Marketing of Lilo & Stitch (2002) and Enchanted (2007)
Parody and generic hybridity in Disney’s promotional materials will be the focus of this paper. In the early 2000s, Disney’s reign over mainstream animation was significantly challenged. Pixar successfully distanced itself from genres typically linked with Disney, such as the fairy tale and the musical, while DreamWorks irreverently mocked what Jack Zipes terms the “Disney formula” – cheerful characters, naïve tone, and narrative predictability. I argue that Disney’s subsequent approaches to genre and to its own “formula” were notably altered as a result. Using films such as Lilo & Stitch (2002) and Enchanted (2007) as case studies, my paper will observe Disney’s generic shifts through the lens of the films’ “intertextual relay,” paying particular attention to trailers. Following from Steve Neale, who underlines that the “intertextual relay” plays a key role in generating labels and expectations, I will investigate how such promotional materials participated in the reworking and updating of the “Disney formula” and its associated genres. Building on Rick Altman’s concept of “polygeneric strategy”, I suggest that Disney trailers foregrounded the films’ hybridity, re-mixing plot elements and themes from science fiction and romantic comedy – genres supposedly unexpected in a Disney film. This generic distancing was accompanied by a strong parodic stance, with comical re-stagings of iconic scenes from the studio’s own canon. Combining a genre-sensitive framework with a focus on the films’ intertextual relay, this paper also explores how generic hybridity and parody helped promoting the studio and the brand – selling “Disney” as much as its films.