How Disney Achieves Total Mind Domination Over America's Tweens

Mickey Mouse is such a quaint

disney prom

Disney memory these days.

The company’s modern focus is all about powerhouse tween packaging — and don’t worry, we’re not going to rehash the massive, mindblowing success of franchises “High School Musical” and “Hannah Montana.”

What we are going to do is show you how “Prom,” the Disney blockbuster out this Friday, positioned itself to join those goldmines and become the next inescapable Disney brand.

Start with an almost-star.

Aimee Teegarden of 'Friday Night Lights' is already A-list -- but she's not on the tween-obsession short list that includes Miley Cyrus and Miranda Cosgrove. This is the company's sweet spot: take an actress with quietly proven appeal and blow her up -- so that she's always remembered as a Disney star.

Add bubbly music -- lots of it.

'Prom' isn't a musical, like the 'HSM' flicks -- but its soundtrack of poppy-yet-edgy songs is anything but throwaway. It's sitting on iTunes ready to climb the purchase charts -- and mark our words, it will be racing through the ranks by this Sunday evening.

Delve into a universal experience -- and nail the timing.

Prom, as a movie backdrop, has ebbed and flowed in popularity, sharing its heydays with those of the Brat Pack and Freddie Prinze, Jr. But it's never not a strong theme -- especially for a movie that bows in the middle of big-dance season. Of course, while this film might score some viewers among this year's promgoers, it's really for the kids who still have to wait a few years -- and who are breathlessly counting down the days.

Don't guess at what tweens do -- know what tweens do.

If the dialogue in 'Prom' sounds uncannily like the speech of every minor you know, it's probably because screenwriter Katie Wech spent months hanging out at proms around L.A., taking in the scene.

Make the world look as we'd all like it to look.

In other words: don't neglect diversity. 'Prom' may actually be Disney's most deft example of this yet -- the ensemble is scrupulously multiethnic, which means every kid can find themselves in this film.

Leave the door open for sequels. And series adaptations. And spinoffs.

There's about a million actors in this movie -- and there's a prom every year. You do the maths (and by the maths, we mean the cost of taking your kid to the 3-D films and sold-out concerts that will be rolled out if 'Prom' is a megahit).

If you've had enough of stuff like this, here's what you can watch instead of the royal wedding.

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