DreamWorks adopts a nostalgia-driven approach to energize the Trolls franchise

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DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls Band Together is emerging as a potential blockbuster, and film producer Gina Shay sheds light on the factors contributing to its early box-office success. The movie, which continues the franchise’s tradition of telling music-driven stories, distinguishes itself by tapping into the enduring popularity of boy bands, a musical commodity with multi-generational appeal.

According to Shay, boy bands have a unique ability to cut through the noise and create a personalized connection with the audience. Given that boy band mania has been experienced by every generation from baby boomers to Gen Alpha, it becomes a thematic ingredient that enhances co-viewing appeal, making Trolls Band Together a family-friendly choice.

While the official US theater premiere is scheduled for November 17, NBCU initiated early screenings two weeks ago in select EMEA and Latin American markets, accumulating an impressive $59 million in ticket sales. The film is expected to have a domestic opening ranging from $21 million to $31 million this week, as projected by Box Office Pro.

The Trolls franchise, originating from a 1959 toy line called Good Luck Trolls and later acquired by DreamWorks in 2013, has enjoyed a lucrative second life since its move into films. The first Trolls movie grossed $346 million globally against a $125 million budget. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 sequel, Trolls World Tour, achieved nearly $100 million in digital rentals within three weeks.

Notably, the involvement of executive music producer Justin Timberlake, a former member of the boy band *NSYNC, has been a significant contributor to Trolls Band Together’s success. Timberlake’s authenticity and creative contributions, including reuniting *NSYNC for a soundtrack song and shaping a musical medley sequence, have resonated with audiences.

To add an extra layer of authenticity, DreamWorks collaborated closely with Timberlake’s choreographers, Marty Kudelka and AJ Harpold, who have experience working with pop acts like One Direction, Backstreet Boys, and Joe Jonas. This collaboration extended to designing boy band-inspired dance routines for the Trolls characters, enhancing the film’s entertainment value.

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Beyond the screen, Trolls Band Together is leveraging its success to forge unique licensing and merchandising deals. One notable collaboration is with Southwest Airlines, resulting in a Trolls-branded commercial aircraft, showcasing the film’s influence and marketability.

The film’s success is further attributed to the incorporation of meta humor, carefully balancing physical comedy for kids and pop-culture references for adults. This approach ensures that both age groups find elements that resonate with them, creating a seamless blend of entertainment for the entire family. With a combination of strategic partnerships, Timberlake’s star power, and a compelling storyline, Trolls Band Together is not just a cinematic experience but a comprehensive entertainment phenomenon.

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