I hope I didn't get anybody's hopes up with that headline. Disney is not going back to concentrating on hand-drawn animation. What I mean by them going back to the drawing board is they seem to be starting over with some hopefully fresh ideas for their movie studio. According to an article in the New York Times, the company is not happy with its production of live-action films lately, so it plans to look for new genres and types of stories to develop. One thing the story says is that Disney will probably not be making any more sports movies for awhile since Glory Road was not the success that previous releases Remember the Titans and The Rookie were for the studio. In addition to rethinking things at Walt Disney Pictures, the company has already decreased the output from their Miramax division (I've hardly noticed it's still around), and it will likely be cutting production at Touchstone Pictures.
This news might seem desperate and drastic to an outsider, especially since Disney is entering a good-looking summer filled with Cars and Pirates, but I guess they are in need of a little shake-up sooner than later in order to ensure a healthy life after this year is over. Disney is basically a dying brand at the box office these days. Every hit they have now is first either at Pixar, Bruckheimer or Walden Media, who produced their last blockbuster, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise may have a branded association with Disney's theme parks, as it is based on one of their rides, but when I think of those films, I think of Bruckheimer's name before Disney's. What else does the studio have to call its own? A remake of Swiss Family Robinson?
Unfortunately, the article also points out that Disney is going to be trying for more PG-ratings than G, and while that may prove more profitable, it sounds to me like a bit of wrong thinking. I'm not saying that Disney needs to try for a G-rating either, I just think that any studio should aim for a good story first, and worry about what it will be rated later.