Disney's (NYSE:DIS) latest full-length animation release has been lighting up the local multiplex since Wednesday. The Good Dinosaur might not be able to wrestle away top honors for the holiday weekend from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, but it's going to linger well into the season as Disney features tend to do this time of year.
It's true that initial reviews are mixed. We're down to just 79% of the critics tracked by Rotten Tomatoes recommending the movie, making this only the third time in Pixar's history -- spanning a dozen flicks -- that an original release doesn't have at least 90% of the critics on board.
This doesn't mean that Disney isn't going to make a killing. The media giant is going to rake in a ton of dough at the box office, but we all know that this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Disney's monetization magic. Let's go over the three logical outlets for the House of Mouse to take things to a higher level.
Movie-themed merchandise is now readily available. You didn't think that Disney would wait for it to be a hit to roll out Arlo toys, Spot plush figures, and Butch hoodies -- did you? The merchandise is being featured prominently at your local shopping mall's Disney Store, and it's there for the buying at most stores stocking licensed wares.
This is really just the beginning, of course. Disney has active partnerships with hundreds of consumer giants, and licensing deals to get The Good Dinosaur on everything from breakfast cereals to adhesive bandages if the property fares well in its theatrical run (as it probably will).
Disney has many areas at its theme parks that pay homage to prehistoric times. In Florida alone you have an entire themed land -- DinoLand U.S.A. -- at Animal Kingdom. Epcot's Universe of Energy features a moving theater that glides through a massive dinosaur scene. There's also the T-REX Cafe at Disney Springs where patrons dine surrounded by animatronic dinos.
The dinosaur fun isn't limited to Florida. The railroad at the original Disneyland in California and Tokyo Disneyland go through the Primeval World prehistoric display that was originally part of Disney's exhibits for the 1964 World's Fair.
If the film is successful and the characters prove endearing, it wouldn't be surprising to see themed tweaks to some of the lands and attractions.
Most movie studios don't have the massive reach that Disney does on the small screen. Between ABC, ESPN, Disney Channel, and the soon-to-be-rebranded ABC Family, the media giant has ways to reach mainstream masses long after the movies run their course.
Disney spent billions to snap up Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm because it can cash in on a successful property better than anyone else. It will get a chance to prove that again with The Good Dinosaur in the coming days.