Disney Places High Hopes, Small Bet On 'Prom'

  April 29, 2011-Walt Disney Studios tries a new concept with this weekend’s theatrical release of Prom—a family-friendly coming-of-age youth film.
   The $8 million film, among the first to be put into production by studio Chairman Rich Ross, is a more mature take on teen life than the High School Musical franchise he oversaw during his tenure at Disney Channel,” says a Los Angeles Times story. “But in adhering to the family-friendly Disney brand, Prom omits the naughtier aspects of the big night, specifically drinking and sex. Some question whether this chaste portrayal will ring true with the teen audience the studio is courting.”
   The LA Times article by  Nicole Sperling and Dawn C. Chmielewski says pre-release movie research indicates girls as young as 12—who are too young to go to real-life school prom social events—will be in the film’s opening weekend audience. With a no-name cast, Prom is a "high concept" film where the premise is its biggest draw.
   Prom has the feel of a TV movie—that’s not a knock but an observation. It’ll be interesting to see how cinema audiences react. This exercise seems reminiscent of TV-executive-turned-Paramount studio chief Brandon Tartikoff making its first release in 1991 the inexpensive and formulaic All I Want For Christmas—which also had a feel of a TV movie. That holiday film turned out to be profitable, despite weak box office, although it started off the Tartikoff era with a thud.
   Looking film value besides cinemea release, films like Prom might be a hard sell for any studio's pay TV output deals, where more sophisticated fare is valued because it appeals to adults who are the core audience of such TV services.
For full text, click links below: this website is searchable via searchbox at center left of homepage:,0,7962128.story