October 1, 2013

Disney Encourages Second-Screening At LITTLE MERMAID Re-Release

Disney's THE LITTLE MERMAID is currently re-released in theatres as part of an advance promotion for the film's ultimate release in October on Blu-Ray DVD. To get people excited and hopefully generate some additional traffic to the theatres, Disney told people to bring their iPads for a "second screening" experience in which a live app plays during the movie and kids or adults can play along on their devices. 

I'm all for re-releasing classic films but this second-screen approach is ridiculous. There are enough problems with adults using their devices in movie theatres these day so to encourage children to do so it only going to cause trouble down the line. Disney says this is a special one-time only event, but what happens when the next Disney movie comes out and that same five-year old wants to bring their iPad? Children will start to think it's perfectly normal to watch an iPad and/or iPhone while watching a movie. Not only is it not normal, it's rude to other people in the theatre not to mention distracting to the viewer/use themself. 

There has been some uproar over this risky bit of marketing, most notably from Andrew Wallenstein VARIETY'S digital editor who admits this idea turns him into a Luddite. And, in checking the weekly box office, the re-release is not even listed in the top 100 grosses so that may be a sign the experiment was a big flop. Let's hope so--when you go to the movies, you should be there to watch a movie. And maybe eat some popcorn. If you wanna second screen in the privacy of your own home, go for it--I often do (depending on how good the show or film is!). But the movies should really be free from this sort of digital distraction.