Disney counting on a Miracle with the Ducks
Thrust n' Perry
Walt Disney’s newest feel-good family
movie, Miracle — based on the Americans “Miracle
on Ice” victory at the 1980 Olympic Games — is
a disgusting cash grab, one that even an open-minded, hockey-loving
bloke like myself can have no shame in prejudging.
Simple economics (and maybe a conspiratorial imagination)
can explain how a little marketing sense and a good political
climate allows entertainment giants like Disney to get away
with romanticizing history, not as a cultural product, but
rather a capitalist enterprise.
The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Disney’s Stanley Cup finalists
from a year ago, sit 12 points out of a playoff spot. Their
pretty boy superstar, Paul Kariya, took a pay cut and left
town to join the Colorado Avalanche.
But that’s not the only reason Disney needs Miracle:
The Ducks have been on sale for nearly a year now, and no buyers
have shown interest in the team.
Since Sept. 11, American patriotism has been rabid and there’s
little doubt Miracle will be a success. Barring a catastrophic
box office result, Disney will score a huge marketing coup.
They’ll not only have a hit movie, they’ll also
have an extended commercial to increase attendance for their
I’m setting a double standard, though. Like any good
Canadian, if the 1972 Summit Series was made the subject of
a feature film, I’d probably be first in line to see
it. Keeping that in mind, though, the Summit Series is an event
etched on the average Canadian’s consciousness.
Comparatively, the re-presentation of the “Miracle on
Ice” has only one goal: to bring the few Americans that
can look past baseball, basketball and football back to the
rinks. Goal B, no doubt, is to sucker Canadians into going
and seeing another botched hockey flick. I mean, it’s
about hockey so of course we’ll eat it up.
What happens when Disney’s hockey-related merchandise
starts selling again? Not only can Disney sell the Ducks, but
also the good ol’ U.S. of A. When Disney’s hockey
marketing revenue goes up, one of two things can happen.
First, the franchise could become profitable again. This is
pretty unlikely, considering Disney CEO Michael Eisner’s
admission in June 2003 (right after Anaheim made the finals)
that whether the Ducks won or not, their value would be unchanged.
Second, the better result for Disney would be that hockey
operations begin to look profitable again, perhaps alluring
a potential buyer.
It’s been obvious for years that every animated film
the company produces isn’t about instilling the “values
of family,” but those of consumerism, with each year
bringing a new adorable little stuffed toy home for Christmas.
This time, they’ve gone too far, rallying around Old
Glory like so many American corporations before them and revealing
what parents everywhere refuse to see — it’s all
about the money.