Written by By Staff Writer
Ever since "To All the Boys I've Loved Before" became a surprise box office hit, Disney has been fleshing out the screenplay with tongue firmly in cheek.
Some call it a cautionary tale. Others a girls' empowerment anthem. But all who view the story of a group of teenage best friends pursuing their love interests tell me it's a classic teen romance.
And this charming love story is soon to be even more wondrous when it joins the sequel -- which will see "To All the Boys I've Loved Before" return to high school -- as part of Disney's "Made for Each Other" branding initiative.
Recent additions to the Disney family include 'The Queen of Katwe,' 'Ready Player One' and 'I Can Only Imagine'
You may know "To All the Boys I've Loved Before" for its tiny heroine and the iconic Backstreet Boys song that debuted in 2000 to match its screenplay. The 1991 ballad was written by Jeff Barry and Bryan Adams and hit number one on the US Billboard Hot 100.
The perfect backdrop
It's set to release a follow-up, To All the Boys I've Loved Before: The Second Part, on 11 August in the US, and Netflix says it will coincide with the plot of the new movie. It promises to "keep you guessing as to which boy is the ideal match for which girl."
The magical love stories are quite well-chosen to feature in the brand, too. In January this year, Netflix released a trailer for a made-for-each-other animated film called "To My Quinceanera: Once Upon a Time in Quinceañera," which revives this Spanish-language "to-do" tradition and follows a teenager through her girlhood with the help of her quirky grandmother.
The movie, a spin-off of a highly successful ABC TV movie, debuted in eight Latin American countries and is slated to be released in the US on 1 March.
And it's not just because of the authenticity and flavor of their stories that international box office has embraced these movies from all over the world. Disney is chasing the international box office as another way to drive profits. This isn't strictly a ploy to sell more DVDs, but instead to please global audiences who have grown up with international film franchises.
The last time Disney made a movie from a foreign source, its predecessor "The Lion King" was projected to take $94 million at the box office in the US.
The international movie strategy
But not every global film works.
"Moana," a film inspired by an "inspirational" Polynesian culture, earned $143 million at the US box office but fell short of reaching the $600 million mark -- when Disney made a Japanese anime version of the original in 2001, "The Emperor's New Groove" earned $3.13 billion worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo.
The popularity of the "to-dos" is evidence of their global appeal, and Warner Bros. "Wyscape," which is based on an Israeli series "Feet", was released this month with the support of Israeli filmmakers. Its trailer has already raked in millions of views.
The growth of The Disney of Tomorrow
Inevitably the Disney of today is so big and diverse that it cannot find room for all its stories. In the last couple of years the studio has undergone something of a makeover, with many of its animated movies going international.
"Coco" is the first Mexican-made film from the Disney/Pixar stable and drew praise for its beautiful storytelling and the realistic portrayal of Mexican culture.
"Coco" follows three generations of farmers with a determined blind man who comes to town and enlists a nine-year-old Mexican boy (voiced by newcomer Anthony Gonzalez) to help him find the star of Coco.
"Rocketman" starring Taron Egerton offers an artistic interpretation of Elton John's life in music, especially the 1980s.
Their new logo (above) – created by a collaboration between the studio and Elastica aka Femi Kuti and Femi Laditan (son and grandson of "first victim of Muhammad Ali's Parkinson's Disease" Emeka Laditan) – shows a group of mythological warrior penguins crouching with their backs to the sea.
And in response to the current environment -- and concerns about the issue of separating families at the Mexican border -- the film, due for release in November, includes the catchy tune "Ben Hur" -- itself based on the legendary 1869 novel.