Review of Disney’s Maleficent (no Spoilers) plus Marketing Notes

Loved It

Disney’s Maleficent

I saw Maleficent with my daughter (six years old) last night. We saw it in 3D.

We both loved it. I’ll try to explain why without any spoilers (though if you read the comments below this post, I can’t guarantee that a spoiler won’t appear there).

I saw the animated Sleeping Beauty in theatres many years ago. Usually, I prefer a classic to its remake, but this time I enjoyed Maleficent much more than any other sleeping beauty story.

First, the story for Maleficent is different from any other Sleeping Beauty story that you might know. I enjoyed Maleficent‘s unique storyline. I actually like this storyline better than Disney’s animated Sleeping Beauty. It’s not just the story and characterization that has changed; even the perspective is different.

We loved the characters, especially Maleficent. Angelina Jolie pulled it off very well, in my opinion. I don’t believe you need to be an Angelina Jolie fan to enjoy this movie.

The imagery was amazing. Whether it was scenery, special effects, costumes, or motion, I enjoyed it thoroughly.

My daughter loves fairies and princesses, so the story turned out to be a real treat for her.

Sometimes I don’t like the 3D movies, but I really enjoyed this in 3D. It wouldn’t have been the same in 2D, and definitely wouldn’t have been the same in my living room.

Marketing Notes

You can learn a lot about marketing by studying what some of the professional marketers do effectively. In this case:

  • A single word in the title makes it easy to remember. This particular word is memorable, in that it’s not overused. It also fits the content to a tee. Even if you aren’t familiar with the word maleficent, you probably assume it’s similar to other words like malevolent, and so have some idea of what to expect. As a plus, the main character’s name happens to be the same, and a star actress is playing the role. The title is very important in marketing. It’s worth getting it right.
  • A striking marketing image. It follows the three-color rule with white, black, and a touch of red. There is very little red (just the lips), but it sure stands out effectively. The unique horns make it a very memorable appearance, and reinforce the title word. They didn’t make the mistake of adding red letters on black background, which would be hard to read. They didn’t make the mistake of using red text at all, which would detract from the red lips. That little touch of red is so effective by itself.
  • The previews I saw really built up my interest without giving too much away. I hate it when the preview gives too much away, and especially hate it when the only good parts of the movie are in the preview. A book’s blurb is very similar to a movie’s preview. You want to create interest without giving anything away. One of my favorite movie trailers was for Scooby Doo. That trailer looked like a preview for Batman, but wound up showing Scooby Doo as a surprise at the end of the preview. That trailer didn’t give anything away, but aroused my curiosity.
  • Of course, Disney could afford to market Maleficent on a grand scale. Spending money is easy when you have it; getting a good return on your investment isn’t. There are millions of people who have squandered money on advertising, only to discover how hard it is for advertising to pay dividends. Fortunately, Disney is also a well-established brand. But that also comes with high expectations, and the movie must deliver on those expectations or it can be squashed before it takes off. One of the great things I saw in the way of advertising was a billboard in Southern California with those distinct horns protruding out of the billboard. That sure stood out and caught attention.

Chris McMullen

Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

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  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing

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