On Friday I asked for your favourite and least favourite Disney movies. It seems that in general people are attracted to the films of the early-mid nineties.
The most popular ones being Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Aladdin, and Little Mermaid. The least popular are older films like Bambi, Fantasia and the World War II compilations and newer releases like Brother Bear and Home on the Range.
As I stated in my post about Fox and the Hound the old-time Disney animators had passed the torch to a new, younger generation who understood the modern methods of film making and story telling. These new people struggled to create an identity of their own while the old school employees kept asking "What would Walt do?"
Bambi was a ground breaking movie in 1941 but the similar style of writing didn't work in 1981 when Fox and the Hound was released. Disney needed to do something to make their movies appeal to this new generation of movie goers.
New animation techniques using computers and new bold, dynamic stories ushered in what people are calling the "second golden era" of Disney. Movies like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin.
Similarly, The Lion King was a ground breaking movie in 1994 but the similar style of writing didn't work in 2003 when Brother Bear was released. This could be the reason why people are not finding Disney movies as appealing these days.
But like we saw in the 1980's, we're now seeing Disney undergo another transformation. Perhaps they thought that closing their 2D department would be the change they needed. But now that Lasseter is in charge and bringing back that department maybe we'll see a third "golden era" on the horizon.