The House of Mouse Project / 20.05.2020

The one that arrived a decade too late. After the death of Walt Disney in 1966, the Disney studio found itself desperately attempting to find a winning formula to continue creating successful animated films without their fearless leader. When The Aristocats proved to be a surprise smash hit in 1970, the studio felt they'd uncovered the secret to success; talking animals. For the next two decades, the studio would almost exclusively focus on releasing animated films starring a menagerie of adorable animals. Despite the staggering success of The Lion King,...

The House of Mouse Project / 19.05.2020

The one that flopped spectacularly. For over a decade, directors Ron Clements and John Musker had been desperately seeking approval from Disney's executives to produce their dream project, Treasure Island in Space. While no one at the studio shared Clements and Musker's unbridled enthusiasm for the pitch, the duo relentlessly pushed the idea for the better part of 15 years before they were finally given the green light. As fate would have it, Disney was entirely right to be cautious and a box office bomb like few others was...

The House of Mouse Project / 18.05.2020

The one that proved Disney still had it. By the late 1990s, the Disney animation department was back on the chopping block. Despite several artistically impressive animated features, the box office results continued to dwindle. With Pixar continuing to capture huge audiences with its 3D computer animation, then-CEO Michael Eisner was beginning to question if the days of traditional animation were coming to a close. It didn't help the studio already had several big-budget titles in development, with few looking likely to elicit the hefty profits of Disney's early 90s...

The House of Mouse Project / 17.05.2020

The one that offered a visual aesthetic like no other. In the early years of the new millennium, Disney animation was sharply deviating away from the lavish musical spectacles which put the studio back on top in the early 1990s. After the relatively disappointing box office results of films like Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Disney's studio executives pushed their creative team to deliver unique projects to help stave off the uprising of both Pixar and DreamWorks Animation. While Disney animated feature films were still naturally performing well...

The House of Mouse Project / 16.05.2020

The one that survived the production from hell. In the midst of its mid-1990s renaissance, Disney's executives felt they'd finally cracked the formula for success with their animation films; take a sweeping love story, add in some comical, scene-stealing supporting characters, and serve it up with several extravagant musical numbers. With films like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and The Lion King following this recipe, the box office results proved this was the path Disney should continue to follow. As such, when The Lion King director Roger Allers...

The House of Mouse Project / 15.05.2020

The one that laid the foundation for a revolution. Since the late 1980s, the advent of computer animation had slowly changed the production methods of Disney's animated feature films. As films like The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast dabbled with utilising the Computer Animation Production System (CAPS) to craft selected sequences, it wasn't long before entire films were being created using computer technology, blending both digital creations with hand-drawn designs. But these films were still inherently rooted in the classic traditional Disney animation style, which had seen varied...

The House of Mouse Project / 14.05.2020

The one that finally fulfilled Walt's dream. After changing the landscape of cinema in 1937 with the first feature-length animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Walt Disney set about crafting the most ambitious work of his career. With 1940's Fantasia, Walt fused animation with classical music to create one of the most daringly unique feature films cinema had ever seen. Unfortunately, the entire experiment was a total financial disaster. Walt insisted Fantasia could only be shown using a new process called Fantasound, which required the installation of new...

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...