Yes, this is another international staggered release dates rant. If there's one thing that boils my bacon, when it comes to film studios, it's when films are released several months after their initial North American premieres over here in the UK. While writing a post about animated releases in 2014 (watch out for that in the next couple of days), I logged onto fiilmdates.co.uk to check when Walt Disney Animation Studios' Marvel adaptation, Big Hero 6, was due over here in good ole Blighty. And I was very much not pleased with what I found: the film isn't even due here next year; much like the God-awful situation with Wreck-It Ralph last year, it's not arriving until 15th February, 2015!
Frankly, I don't know why I let myself expect any better. The fiasco with Ralph last year was beyond infuriating, and, yes, the film was worth the wait, but the wait shouldn't have bloody existed in the first place! Add onto that, we had to wait 6 months for Finding Nemo 3D - by the time the film eventually arrived here, I couldn't be bothered to see it anymore. And this is an issue that isn't just potent for me and my countrymen and women, this situation stretches across the rest of Europe and to other territories around the globe. I get the thinking behind it, kinda, studios release a film when they know it will play best, in the school holidays, etc... But that mindset is just not feasible in the modern market. I know, for a damn fact, that Disney lost money and customers by releasing Wreck-It Ralph 3 months late in the UK. Of course I, a die-hard animation fan, went to see it, but several friends - both tangible and online - who were planning on seeing it, professed having either lost interest in the film, or confessed to having just pirated it online. Yes, pirating is illegal, but more often than not there are no repercussions, it's reasonably victimless, and when companies dick around the fans, the fans feel a sight less than loyal to them. To think otherwise is astoundingly naïve.
US fans were crying out recently, after finding out that - despite campaigning to the contrary by star Benedict Cumberbatch - Sherlock series 3 still wouldn't air in the US until several months after its UK release. Us in Europe also got The Adventures of Tintin and Winnie the Pooh drastically before the states in 2011, and I do empathise with that, particularly for fellow animation fans. It's a sorry situation for fans of all country, creed and colour.
Look at some of the biggest films of 2012: The Dark Knight Rises and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, what do they have in common? They were both released almost simultaneously around the world, and both went on to rake in over a billion dollars. Admittedly, Skyfall opened a month earlier in Britain than the States, but that is at least a thoroughly Brit-blooded film. Is Big Hero 6, a Japanese-influenced comic adaptation, particularly American?
I penned an open letter to Disney late last year, obviously they haven't seen or acknowledged it, but the points made did generate a lot of support. Notice how no one spoke out in favour of the stupid release schedule. I guess all I'm really doing here is voicing my sheer frustration at a stupid and frankly broken system. But if anyone who works in or around Disney is reading this, pass it on? We need all the help we can get over here.