Well, it's July 1st. And you know what that means. Only 177
shopping days 'til Christmas.
Mind you, when you head out to the mall this coming holiday season,
you may discover something entirely new. Which is the DreamWorks DreamHouse.
"And what is the DreamWorks DreamHouse?," you ask.
Well, it's a whole line of business for that Glendale, CA-based animation
studios. One that DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg talked up last month during
his keynote address at the 2014 Licensing Expo.
Photo by Jim Hill
So what will shoppers find inside of the DreamHouse? A whole
new spin on the sit-on-Santa's-lap experience. As Katzenberg explained, this
project is ...
... the brainchild of Paul Kurzawa who joined the Company
last year as the head of retail entertainment & development. Paul looked at
the most important period in retail, which is November 1st through December
25th. And one central event of all the activities around that, which is parents
& children lining up to meet & greet Santa Claus.
Paul realized that this is fundamentally no different now
when this practice began at a Massachusetts
department store in 1890. With all of the changes that have taken place in
retail, Paul thought that Santa deserved some changes as well. So he came up
with a complete overall of the Santa experience using all sort of hi-tech
gadgetry & our storytelling toolbox. And we're calling it the DreamWorks
In it, shoppers will be treated to a totally immersive story
that will appeal to parents as well as kids. It will be hosted by our
characters and feature a thrilling four minute-long flight on Santa's sleigh to
visit the big guy in his home at the North Pole. It should be quite the upgrade
from the 1890 experience.
We have finalized a number of agreements to bring the
DreamWorks DreamHouse to malls throughout the US
for the coming holiday season. And we expect to roll it out internationally in
the coming year.
Jeffrey then went on to say that " ...This is just one
demonstration of how we at DreamWorks believe in retail." But me
personally? I couldn't help but wonder which Santa this animation studio is
going to have greeting shoppers this coming holiday season?
To explain: Back in July of 2012, DreamWorks Animation bought Classic Media,
which was this company which served as custodian for a library of movie &
TV series. And among the properties that DWA acquired as part of this $155
million was Rankin-Bass' 1970 holiday special, "Santa Claus is Comin' to
Copyright DreamWorks Animation. All rights reserved
But let's not forget that -- back in 2007 -- DreamWorks Animation produced a
holiday special of its own, "Shrek the Hall." And this
Gary-Trousdale-directed program featured a version of Santa who was more green
than red and wasn't exactly holly jolly.
And then there's North, the Siberian Santa Claus from
DreamWorks Animation's criminally under-appreciated 2012 release, "Rise of
The Guardians." Who -- as you may recall -- had a pretty awesome sleigh.
But then again -- there's that super-cool sleigh that Alex, Marty & Melman
& Gloria flew in their 2009 holiday special, "Merry Madagascar."
And come to think of it, that directed-by-David-Soren show also featured
another version of Santa. One that was voiced by television legend Carl Reiner.
So given that the DreamWorks DreamHouse is supposed to
featured a " ... thrilling four minute-long flight on Santa's sleigh to
visit the big guy in his home at the North Pole" which will then be hosted
by some classic DreamWorks Animation characters, I have to ask: Which version
of Santa's sleigh would you prefer to ride in? And -- once you get to the North
Pole -- which version of Santa would you prefer to meet?
So Katzenberg's animation pics are failing right and left. In fact, he's made the statement that "movies are no longer a growth industry". Which is right in line with a desperate lunge into the marketing sphere. Frankly, the guy's Christmas cartoons were not that popular mainly because they had no heart and didn't understand Christmas. I predict this effort will be a bomb as well.
There's also He-Man dressed as Santa.
If they want him to seem real to kids, a live-action, generic Santa is the way to go.