Following the release of a live-action horror movie about Winnie the Pooh and Piglet last year, for which Disney was not responsible, fans are concerned that more iconic characters could also get horror movies of their own. With the announcement of the new movie, Peter Pan’s Neverland Nightmare, it is clear that there is no end in sight for horror-film-versions of Disney stories.
Fans are disgusted by the horror movies, but Disney’s hands seem to be tied. TikTok user @sumitsinvestmenttakes shares his insight on the gruesome situation.
How ‘Blood and Honey’ Changed Everything
Disney fans are known to be protective over their favorite characters. The characters often remind us of a more innocent time in life, and the wholesome nature of Disney is part of the reason why fans keep coming back to the company. Disney characters like Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan, and Mickey Mouse have been a part of the lives of children for generations. Fans are distraught to see filmmakers exploit the popularity of these characters to make ‘shock-value’ horror movies.
On Febraury 15, 2023, Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey was released in theatres in the United States. This low-budget movie, follows Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet as they set out to terrorize college students attending Christopher Robin’s school. Reviews for the movie are abysmal, but a decently-sized audience has been acquired based on the shock value.
The film was originally going to be a one-night screening event, but to the surprise of many, the movie became very popular on social media. Opening weekend for Blood and Honey raked in $3.2 million at the box office, an impressive number considering the film cost less than $100,000 to make. While this may be good for the Honey director, British independent filmmaker Rhys Waterfield, this is horrible news for Disney.
The success of the Pooh horror movie showed the Walt Disney Company that, unfortunately, there is demand for horror films that use their iconic characters. With the copyright for many of Disney’s characters expiring soon, this could be very possible.
Director Rhys Waterfield already has his next Disney horror movie in the works: Peter Pan’s Neverland Nightmare.
Is ‘Steamboat Willie’ Next?
TikTok user @sumitsinvestmenttakes shares his insight on the situation.
Why Disney is losing its grip on some of its most iconic characters #disney #winniethepooh #copyright #movies
The reason that the Winnie-the-Pooh horror film was able to be made without Disney’s consent is because the copyright for that character has expired. Currently, copyright protection for intellectual property lasts for the life of the creator, plus up to an additional 95 years for works made before 1978. Once a copywriter expires, these characters go into the public domain and are available for anyone to use.
Characters like Pluto, Goofy, Donald Duck, and even Mickey Mouse are entering the public domain in the next year. The version of Mickey Mouse that will be available is the original version of the character, known as Steamboat Willie. Only this version of the character will be available for public use.
Despite the upset over these movies, Disney’s hands are tied. There is no way for them to stop the horror movies from being made unless they catch a trademark violation. For now, the only way to prevent more Disney characters from being used in horror movies from happening is by encouraging others to avoid watching them at all costs. The Disney-horror genre survives solely on the shock-value they provide.
Fans will have to wait and see how this intense situation will play out for the Walt Disney Company and their characters.