Is the Suspense Killing You?

16 Nov

Although I have not seen the movie myself, I recently read an article (1) by B. Barnes that went hand in hand with the many complaints I had heard regarding the new Disney movie “Toy Story 3.” The typical story goes like this:

“I was so excited to see the newest Toy Story (since I saw the first one as a kid) that I waited on line for a ticket for what seemed like hours. After a good 45 minutes online an announcement was made that this specific viewing had been sold out. I then left in disappointment and ordered tickets online for a different showing later on. I arrived for the later showing with pure excitement and joy… and then just as Woody and Buzz were going for the great escape… it was over.”

Uh oh. Disney had used a cliffhanger- leaving it’s audience in great frustration and anticipation for a potential “Toy Story 4.” Is this another clever marketing strategy of Disney? I think so.

This example reminds me of the “Disney Vault.” The vault is where Disney “hides” it’s movies from stores and homes around the world until it feels like making a large sum of money on a re-release day. Then, several days or weeks later, it is thrown back into the hidden vault for what seems like forever until the point is reached in which the movie, most likely originally released back in the 1980’s, seems like new again. Everyone is left in suspense for when the movie will be released in stores yet again just like they are in theaters after watching “Toy Story 3.” The suspense kills them… and their wallets.

(1) Barnes, B. (2010) Disney uses cliffhanger to market ‘toy story 3’. New York Times, 5/1/10. Retrieved from the Academic Search Premiere Database


4 Responses to “Is the Suspense Killing You?”

  1. afertel689 November 22, 2010 at 2:51 pm #

    This whole cliffhanger really doesn’t surprise me. It’s the perfect way for Disney to guarantee themselves another addition to the Toy Story series. Having seen the movie, I can tell you it’s not so large of a cliffhanger that they HAVE to add to the series, but it is plausible. Seems to me like they wanted to see how well, or not well, TS3 did in theaters, before deciding whether or not to add a fourth. That YouTube video did a great job of satirically describing the Disney Vault. As an avid watcher of the Jungle Book between ages 3-7, my parents just HAD to get me the deluxe edition when it was re-released in 2007, perfectly coinciding with my departure for college. A nostalgic and meaningful gift, so they thought, that remains wrapped in my room at home. I still remember the words to every song and love the story but really, when do I have time to sit down and watch a movie for 4 year olds? Nothing against the Jungle Book, but by the time Disney re-releases these films, they are irrelevant for the original audience and seem outdated to the new generation. Seems silly to me, but brilliant to Disney.

    • Joel Saxe November 22, 2010 at 7:42 pm #

      I wonder what’s written in the business/entertainment press about the profits of the Disney sequels and the re-release. And all the product tie-ins and cross-marketing?

  2. DisneyInfluence November 22, 2010 at 7:45 pm #

    I am not surprised that Disney used a cliffhanger. I think that like what was said above Disney not only wanted to see how well the movie would see in theatres but also wanted to be able to make more movies to sell and make for profits. I mean that is just the way that almost all companies work, they do what they can to make a profit. If they know that a movie is going to sell and make money why not leave it in suspense and be able to make another movie and profit again?

  3. effie724 December 15, 2010 at 6:04 pm #

    This is a common practice across many corporations as a way of maximizing profits. This type of marketing fools customers and plays on their childhood excitement in order to squeeze a $18 dollar profit off of a $19 priced product. It smells like a rip off.

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