De Vil Wears Dior: Did Cruella Cure COVID Box-Office Blues?


By: William Hume 

After keeping its Dalmatians on a leash for over a year Disney finally let the dogs out with a $200 million fashion statement. 

A best in class crew came together to create an epic costume period piece. Early reactions are rapturous about the fashion and looking at the ensemble that put together the ensembles it’s easy to see why. 

For the always energetic Emma Stone it was another day of sun and fun in L.A. The Academy Award-winning Actress signed onto the film in 2016 while doing Cabaret on Broadway following her viral Lip Sync Battle. Working with the film’s costume designer; Jenny Beaven, the two met up at Emma’s house where they sent in pictures to the rest of the crew during a 4 hour photo session. Stone got to try on vintage clothing for inspiration that were bought from shops in New York and London. Then it was up to the costume department’s sixty person squad to design forty-seven hand-made costumes.


Of course Disney’s Cruella did solid if unspectacular business at the Box-Office with $26.5 million over Memorial Day weekend. It’s more impressive if you favour the $30.00 premiere access plus a Disney+ subscription ($11.99/ month or $119.99 a year) option to view the title at home. Cruella is on track for a $9 million second weekend which might seem steep but is actually in line with their recent film Dumbo which dropped 60% in its second weekend. Dumbo was considered a disappointment in a four star Disney year that included Aladdin and The Lion King but critics have been kinder to older re-stylings. It looks like the film will have to wait until Home Video to hit profitability during the pandemic but it makes for a fine injection into the health of the market that will propel future Disney titles like Jungle Cruise this summer.

In terms of pushback the revenge crime film, which centers around a fashion war in the 1970’s has raised awareness for unfair practices in the fashion film department that have gone on for as long. Two-time Academy Award Winning Costume Designer Jenny Beaven (Mad Max: Fury Road, Room With A View) signed a contract with Disney saw that many fashion lines were using her designs for the film licensed from Disney without her seeing a cent. Discontent with this injustice (as Cruella would be) Variety covered the story in a wonderful exclusive that explains in fuller detail how giant corporations ‘make you sign your life away.’ And that’s the way it’s always been.

So whether you refuse to see the film out of safety from COVID, are seeing it and enjoyed it, or are looking for an excuse not to, raise awareness for unfair practices for underpaid workers who have to sign their life away to large corprorations like Disney. It’ll make a great conversation starter.

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