Michael Davis is an artist, writer, mentor, and entertainment executive. He writes,
"What a GREAT movie!" said the daddy.
"Fantastic!" replied the mommy.
"No it wasn't!" stated the kid.
The kid was around 6 or 7, 8 years old at the outside. She was not having any of mom and dad's mutual admiration society. I, being me, bust out laughing at the kid's reaction.
The kid being a kid, she doubled down on her observation once she realized I was laughing at what she said. "It wasn't very good!" She said with a toothy grin, gazing at me, clearly looking for another score. I obliged with an even more robust torrid of laughter.
"What's so funny?" Toothy asked me. Before I answered, I gave the parents a Can I talk to your kid? look. The last thing I wanted was some overprotective parent thinking I had candy and a puppy in the back of my van just waiting for the next kid I would get a milk carton ad for.
They smiled their approval and I answered, "You, I think its funny you didn't like the movie but your mom and dad did."
"It wasn't very good!" Toothy grinned at me. I didn't think that was funny, so I didn't laugh but should have. Not getting a response from me, she began to skip in circles and repeat, it wasn't very good, over and over. Her grin seemed to morph into a cross between what Elvis did with his lips and Jack Nicolson's Joker smile. For a moment I thought she was going to ask me if I'd ever danced with the Devil in the pale moonlight with blue suede shoes.
Remembering why I never wanted kids, I said my goodbyes.
The movie was Big Hero 6, and like her poor parents, who were desperately trying to calm Toothy down because now she was LOUD, I loved it.
From the reaction throughout the screening it was clear the audience loved it also. This was the Friday after Thanksgiving, or Black Friday as it's known, OR "sucker sheep day" as I refer to it, and the auditorium was packed. It was an 8pm showing, and there were a fair amount of kids there.
The overwhelming majority of the crowd was adults. Most looked like couples, and quite a few people were there alone, as was I.
Yeah, I was alone. In fact, I was alone on Thanksgiving also. My family and friends deserted me, due to the righteous observations from those who I formally (and wrongly) referred to as haters.
I was alone on Thanksgiving by choice, and I was alone at the movies because my daughter wanted me to go shopping with her at the mall. I told her I wanted to look for her Christmas present and I'd catch up with her, in a bit.
Here's a hint: I hate to shop.
I swear I could still hear that kid as I left the mall for the parking lot. That little terror cracked me up, but she also got me thinking.
Did Big Hero 6 jump the shark with regards to who the target audience is? Is there a target audience with this, or any recent Disney or Dreamworks animated films?
I enjoyed the hell out of the film, but I'm in the film and television animation business, so I would have seen it regardless. Lacking that, I doubt if a six-foot-two Black man from the hood with an attitude (and a PhD) who collects Barbies is a demographic anyone one outside of LAPD, NYPD, and Ferguson PD is shooting for.
Is there even a target audience left for these types of movies?
I don't think so. I think these movies are carefully and brilliantly crafted so they reach as many people as they can. I think both Disney and DreamWorks give every impression these movies are for the kids and can be enjoyed by the entire family, but the reality is they are for entire family and hell, bring those kids why don't you?
I may be wrong, I was once, but I think the double D's are making a subtle play for daddy even more than mommy. The last Toy Story was a wee bit on the dark side and Big Hero 6 has…
SPOILER ALERT… SPOILER ALERT… SPOILER ALERT …SPOILER ALERT… SPOILER ALERT… SPOILER ALERT…I TOLD YOU! LOOK IF YOU WANT, BUT KEEP YOUR BITCHING CONFINED TO MY BIG EGO!!
…more than a few dark to very dark moments. Among them, killing off a lovable main character, having another plotting to kill someone and over a woman no less. The weapons Hero 6 uses Tony Stark would envy. All this smacks of daddy movies. The only thing missing from Big Hero 6 it seems is some good old fashion T&A.
Except that's not missing, it's very, very light, but it's there.
For my money, Disney and DreamWorks are producing the best-animated films in the history of the medium. I'm just not sure if what they are producing is somewhat lost on kids.
In the children's home video market, all the studios aim for one benchmark. It's what's called the '50 time test.' That's the magic number of times kids on average will watch a video they love.
My young friend Toothy doesn't want to watch Big Hero 6 ever again. She may be the exception and she most likely is.
But what if she's not?
Michael Davis is an artist, writer, mentor, and entertainment executive.
His positions as an entertainment executive include: President & CEO of Motown Animation & Filmworks, President of Animation at Magic Johnson Entertainment, President of Publishing at Blackboard Entertainment, and Vice President, Director Of Talent, and Co-founder of Milestone Media. He's created, written, illustrated, or produced original content for comics, television, radio, publishing, and reading programs as an independent producer. Alumni from his Bad Boy Studio mentor program are some of the most respected talents working in comics, television, and illustration today.
Current projects include graphic novels, The Underground from Dark Horse and Jackie Robinson Day 1, mainstream novels such as Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Black People But Were Afraid To Ask from Full Court Press, White Winter, Black Night Books 1-4 from Simon & Schuster. The Littlest Bitch from Sellers Publishing (with David Quinn) is in its third printing and currently in development for television.
Michael is also the creator and host of The Black Panel, a powerhouse forum that brings together some of the biggest names in the African American media space.
Among his honors and awards are Mentor Of The Year from Mentor Magazine 1995, The Michael Davis Auditorium named at The Gordon Parks Academy 1996, Renaissance Award from the Arizona Black Film Festival 2006, and The Inkpot Award at Comic Con International 2013.
He fully realizes his bio is now the longest and most corporate of the BC contributors, something his haters will no doubt consider just another way to talk about himself.