With a little more than six months left until its release date, the 2024 “Snow White” remake and its main star are forcing Disney to go into crisis mode early, according to two branding experts.
Rachel Zegler, who plays the titular princess, publicly spoke last year about how her upcoming film will be vastly different from the 1937 animated feature. Months later, audiences responded to her recently resurfaced comments with backlash and criticism on social media.
As a result, marketing and PR specialists warned in August the negative press surrounding Zegler could mean a disastrous box office return for Disney on the film, the U.K.’s Daily Mail first reported.
“It can have a huge impact on ticket sales, especially with the amount of negative backlash so early in the promo trail,” branding expert Carla Speight said.
“They need to get the key messaging and strong selling point into a brief for the cast of the film and ensure they stick to it,” she added. “If they don’t, it’s a disaster waiting to happen and the backlash will keep growing.”
Another predicted those at Disney are already working hard to minimize the damage caused by Zegler.
“I am sure Disney executives must be having crisis talks and thinking perhaps their new Snow White isn’t the best person to promote the film and ensure it is a box office success,” PR expert Nick Ede said.
“The film is due out in 2024 and with the negative narrative that’s now surrounding it, they will find it hard to create a magical and positive hype which they ultimately were looking to get having Rachel appear on red carpets,” he added, noting audiences “already have an opinion of the film thanks to Rachel’s narrative.”
Their expert advice came around the same time when Zegler was trending on social media for three separate interviews she gave regarding the “Snow White” remake.
In one, the young actress said her version of Snow White is dreaming about “becoming the leader she knows she can be” rather than “true love.”
Rachel Zelger, the Colombian-American actress who will play Snow White in Disney’s remake:
“It’s no longer 1937…and she’s not going to be saved by the Prince and she’s not going to be dreaming about true love.” pic.twitter.com/rd5aYETbOh
— Oli London (@OliLondonTV) July 23, 2023
She also admitted the 2024 release is “really not about the love story at all,” called the original film’s prince a stalker and said the new adaptation will replace the theme of beauty with justice.
Rachel Zelger who will play Snow White in Disney’s new remake calls Prince Charming a ‘stalker.’
“There is a big focus on her love story with the guy who literally stalks her. Weird, weird, weird.”
— Oli London (@OliLondonTV) August 13, 2023
🇺🇸 “The #cartoon was made 85 years ago and therefore it’s extremely dated”
Snow White (2024) stars explain how they made the cartoon relevant by making #snowhite the “proactive one”#SnowWhite #snowhitemovie #cartoon #GalGadot #RachelZegler #interview pic.twitter.com/Mqz7COaSh3
— Attentive Media (@AttentiveCEE) July 26, 2023
Her talking points were culturally divisive, to say the least. Social media feeds erupted with sharp criticisms directed toward Disney and its new “Snow White” star.
Since then, hearsay has been swirling online about the film’s cancellation. That possibility, however, has not been confirmed by Disney and likely won’t happen, considering a satirical article from Mouse Trap News started those rumors.
As of now, “Snow White” will debut in theaters on March 22, 2024.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.