The House of Mouse Project / 13.05.2020

The one that brought the Renaissance to a close. As the 1990s drew to an end and the new millennium approached, Disney was still struggling to match the soaring successes of its animated films from the dawn of the decade. While none of these films had necessary "flopped," the public's interest in traditional hand-drawn animated feature films was clearly beginning to fade. As a studio with a seven-decade-long legacy of this style of animation, it was an art form Disney simply couldn't walk away from, even as the death...

The House of Mouse Project / 12.05.2020

The one that broke new ground. As the 1990s wore on, Disney was desperately attempting to turn the tide on the continual box office decline of its animated features. After the major success of films like The Lion King, Aladdin, and Beauty and the Beast, each proceeding film had failed to beat or even match the box office results of its predecessor. With their compatriots at Pixar breaking new ground with 3D computer animation, the days of traditional animation were beginning to look numbered. But Disney wasn't ready to throw...

The House of Mouse Project / 11.05.2020

The one that put the glad in gladiator. After tackling some heavy topics in Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame with animation that reached for the prospect of high art and Academy Awards glory, Disney seemingly abandoned both concepts with the next animated feature in their pipeline. A concept that had been floating around the studio for years, Hercules was seen as the next great commercial hope, with its comedy-heavy screenplay and merchandise-friendly characters. In the end, the film would continue Disney's decline at the box office and...

The House of Mouse Project / 10.05.2020

The one that took a huge risk. After a string of unprecedented successes in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the animation department of Walt Disney Pictures were beginning to feel more confident with taking chances on projects they likely would have fled from just ten years earlier. After the cataclysmic disaster of the jarringly dark The Black Cauldron, no one within the studio's walls would dare suggest anything that didn't fit the cheerful fairy tale mould of films like The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. But as...

The House of Mouse Project / 09.05.2020

The one that twisted history too far. Despite one unfortunate hiccup along the way, in the early 1990s, Disney's animation department were experiencing a hot streak of critically acclaimed and publicly adored films not seen since the days of Walt Disney himself. With each new animated release, the box office results only grew bigger, shattering the very records set by the preceding film. The merchandise was flying off the shelves. VHS sales were booming. Theme park attendance was up. Disney was everywhere you looked. The house of mouse was...

The House of Mouse Project / 08.05.2020

The one that ruled them all. After the tremendous critical and commercial successes of The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin, both critics and audiences were awaiting Disney's next move with bated breath. In the pipeline were two wildly different animated projects currently in production; The Lion King, a coming-of-age tale centred on a young lion cub, and Pocahontas, a sweeping romance based of the life of a Native American icon. Studio executives and animators were enormously excited by one of these projects, with predictions it would be...

The House of Mouse Project / 07.05.2020

The one that took us to a whole new world. After the roaring success of The Little Mermaid and the growing buzz surrounding the production of Beauty and the Beast, confidence within the Disney animation studio was the highest it had been in decades. Many assumed the plan set by Disney executive Jeffrey Katzenberg to release a brand new animated feature every single year was doomed to fail. While The Rescuers Down Under was an unfortunate bump in the road, Katzenberg seemed assured the animation department was finally on...

The House of Mouse Project / 06.05.2020

The one that made history. In 1990, the dawn of a new decade also marked the advent of a new age of Disney animation. After the staggering critical and commercial success of The Little Mermaid and the groundbreaking technical achievements of The Rescuers Down Under, the studio began to feel like the days when Walt Disney roamed the halls. After facing an uncertain future throughout the 1980s, the animation team were preparing to unleash one of their finest achievements. And it would be a film that would break records...

The House of Mouse Project / 05.05.2020

The one that marked the new dawn of animation. When Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg took over the reins of the Disney animation department in the early 1980s, Katzenberg proposed the idea of an annual "Gong Show" pitch meeting to allow the animators to present potential future animated feature film projects. After the first gathering in 1985 produced two approved projects now currently in development in Oliver & Company and The Little Mermaid, Katzenberg was hopeful 1986's meeting would prove just as fruitful. While the 1986 "Gong Show" may not...

The House of Mouse Project / 04.05.2020

The one that started a renaissance. After the artistically disappointing animated films of the 1970s, the following decade was providing little hope for the future of the animation department of Walt Disney Pictures. While films like The Fox and the Hound and The Great Mouse Detective had proven relative success stories at the box office, they lacked the true Disney magic of decades past. After the colossal failure of The Black Cauldron in 1985, Disney's animators lived in constant fear CEO Michael Eisner was looking for any excuse to swing...