It’s as if Disney has been paying close attention to its recent acquisitions of Marvel and the Star Wars franchise and tentatively decided that live-action fantasy is something it can do, too. In this case it helps that rooting for the villain is de rigueur, and that the villain is box-office delight Angelina Jolie.
The change is striking. Just compare these posters to the lackluster marketing efforts for the 2012 flop John Carter. Not only did Disney change the source title from The Princess of Mars because they feared it would scare away dudes, but the posters made the film seem like a cross between Mad Max and The Last Samurai instead of an epic space fantasy from the author who brought us Tarzan:
But oh, how times have changed in a post-Avengers world. Now, not only does Maleficent get to wear horns…
…and be the title of her own story, but Disney is eagerly saying, “Hey, guys. Guys. You want pixies? We got pixies!”
No, really, they do.
Start pressing some keys to make some noise.