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Yeah, yeah, Disney ≠ Pixar. But how long before Merida winds up a Princess?

When Disney Studios Chairman Rich Ross picked Sean Bailey to take over as Disney's head of production in 2010, it was (according to reports), partly because of his ideas about cross-platform promotion:

"Bailey first came to Ross' attention within days after Ross took the top studio job. As the producer of the studio's planned big-budget Christmas release Tron: Legacy, Bailey and the filmmakers laid out a marketing presentation for the new studio boss. Bailey apparently impressed Ross with his creative chops and his grasp of how to exploit a movie across Disney's businesses, according to a person close to the situation."

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Hyuck - he said "exploit."

Of course, Tron: Legacy was a critical and (to some extent) commercial disappointment, and Bailey's planned remakes of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and The Black Hole never quite happened. Which leads a body to wonder about those creative chops. And his utter failure to exploit John Carter across Disney's businesses has to be worrying. (After it flopped to the tune of a $200 million write-down for Disney, Bailey's boss Ross stepped down.)

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Screencap from the free online game John Carter: Battle for Barsoom, playable now at Disney.com!

But Bailey's not going down without a fight. Before the screening of Brave this week, theatergoers were treated to ads for two separate efforts to exploit the latest Pixar film across Disney's businesses. First, Adventures by Disney wants to make it possible for you to "live the adventures from this film." You know, except for the magic and the monstrous bears.

He couldn't be more excited!

You can go here for a more detailed account. It's a fun-for-the-touring-family play on the events of the film: there's a visit to some funky stone columns, archery, pony rides through the forest, castles, feasting, and dancing. Nine days and eight nights, starting at just $5619 for adults and $5339 for kids! Plus, you get to canoe across Loch Ness, so maybe there really will be an adventure! (Perhaps the Pixar people are saving Nessie for Brave 2: Even Braver?)

Second, Brave: The Video Game wants you to Change Your Fate:

Um, if you can change it, it wasn't really your fate.

Urgh. This stuff makes me grumpy. I understand the importance of merchandising, I really do. But when you get that job as head of production based on your ability to market - as opposed to your ability to make great stories come alive - you run the risk of making the movie just one more pole in the tent, no higher or better than any of the others. I think that's sad. When a movie is great, everything else sells because the movie rubs off some of its magic onto the merch. But if the movie is lousy it just winds up as a two-hour commercial for the stuff. I'm not sure that's a viable methodology. But I could be wrong. Transformers was a hit, after all.

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