Kids’ movies hold a special place in everyone’s heart. From princesses to talking animals, there are so many memorable animated characters that audiences grew up watching. These characters stick with children as they grow into adults and help teach them valuable life lessons.
From Finding Nemo to The Lion King, there are some incredibly popular kids’ movies that have become a staple part of pop-culture. These enjoyable animated features have something for both children and adults, appealing to audiences of all ages. Kids’ movies seem to have a certain magic to them that everyone can enjoy.
However, not every idea that animators at studios like Disney and Pixar have come up with have turned out to be winners. There have many different reasons why children’s movies have been canceled, from the deaths of creators to the inclusions of incredibly dark themes.
Sometimes one movie gets in the way of the other and they have to choose which one to go with. Children could be walking around wearing shirts with unknown characters like “Fraidy Cat” or “Reynard the Fox” on them instead of Elsa from Frozen or Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story. It’s strange to think what could have been.
With that said, here are the 15 Kids’ Movies Canceled For Terrible Reasons.
Gigantic was a Disney movie being developed that was canceled fairly recently. It was first announced in 2015, and was pushed back twice. The big-budget film was fairly far into production when they pulled the plug.
The story would have focused on Jack, who discovers a land of giants living in the clouds. He meets a young female giant and they quickly become friends. Supposedly, it was also going to be a musical.
It sounds like a cute idea, so why was the movie canceled? They just couldn’t find a place for the story to go. As much as the creators loved the idea, the story just wasn’t going to the right place. They ended active development to focus on other project in the works, like Wreck It Ralph 2.
14 King of the Elves
King of the Elves would have been based on a short story by Phillip K. Dick of the same name. In the story, a band of elves name a human as their leader after he helps save them from a troll.
The movie was shelved in 2009, but picked back up again in 2010. Development was going smoothly until the director decided to leave King of the Elves and work on Big Hero 6 instead. The movie's cancelation has also been said to be due to “story problems," although the details are unknown.
While the film was never made, there is some concept art floating around so people can get an idea of what the Disney movie would have looked like.
13 The Gremlins
The Gremlins is completely different than the 1984 horror film Gremlins. It was based on a book by Roald Dahl about mythical creatures who destroyed airplanes in World War II. Eventually, they help to repair planes instead.
Disney planned to make a movie about the little mythical creatures. They wrote two different screenplays, but the idea was eventually dropped. The movie was being created in close proximity with World War II, and Dahl had been working with the British Security Coordination. Supposedly, this caused some conflict. The war was supposed to end before the movie was released, so the timing would have been odd.
They did release about 5,000 promotional copies of the book, though, so if you’re really interested, you can try to find a copy on eBay.
Pixar doesn’t have many canceled movies, but Newt is one of them. It is actually the only Pixar film to be officially announced and then canceled.
The movie would have focused on the last two remaining blue-footed newts on the planet. The two characters would despise each other but be forced to try and save their species. Does it sound familiar? That’s probably because it’s the same concept as the Blue Sky movie Rio.
The concept art looked great and the story was solid, but Pixar couldn’t release a movie with the same plot as Rio. They scrapped Newt and decided to make Inside Out instead. If fans of Pixar look closely at Toy Story 3, they will see a sign with a newt on it in Andy’s room. Could it be a reference to the canceled film?
11 My Peoples
My Peoples, which actually has a lot of alternate names, including A Few Good Ghosts, is a canceled Disney film that was being developed in the 1990s.
It would have been a story about a ghost and three children who attempt to bring two star-crossed lovers together. Somehow, in the movie, the ghosts change into folk art characters. The film even got far enough into production that they hired voice actors. Dolly Parton and Hal Holbrook were signed onto the project.
Production was going well, but unfortunately, the movie was scrapped in favor of Chicken Little. The executives said that Chicken Little had a familiar storyline and characters, so it would reach more of a general audience than My Peoples. They thought that it would be the safer bet.
10 Louis The Bear
Voice actor Louis Prima voiced King Louie in Disney’s The Jungle Book, and he did such good job that they started planning a movie specifically for him. It was going to be called Louis The Bear.
The planned movie would have centered on a bear who escaped from the zoo with the help of some friendly mice. If the plot sounds familiar, that’s because the concept was later turned into The Rescuers.
Louis the Bear never got made, but not because the idea was turned down. Unfortunately, Walt Disney passed away and Prima was diagnosed with a brain tumor before they could begin production.
It’s too bad, because it sounds like Louis would have been a beloved character by kids everywhere. Instead, he’s sitting in the Disney archives somewhere.
9 Sonja Henie Fantasy
In a different universe, there could be new Disney princess that this world will never get to see. Sonja Henie Fantasy is another Disney project that never got off the ground.
Sonja Henie was a real-life world champion figure skater from Norway who went on to become an actress. Disney wanted to create an animated Fantasia short based on her, but it never happened.
It’s speculated that part of the reason it never got made was due to the controversial behavior of Henie. During one of her skating performances, she skated up to where Adolf Hitler was sitting, raised her arm, and declared “Heil Hitler!”
Her actions caused people to ask whether or not she was a Nazi, which wasn't something that Disney wanted to be associated with.
8 Don Quixote
Don Quixote was going to be an animated movie based on a 1605 novel by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. The book is about a Spanish man who loses his mind after reading too many valiant romances and sets out to revive chivalry and right wrongs.
The concept for the film was first developed in 1940. The creators wanted to make an artistic version of the story. However, this got pushed back until 1946, when they decided to make it a short that would be included in a bigger project. Unfortunately, it was pushed back again until 1951.
The themes in the proposed movie were fairly dark and adult, and it seems like no one could adapt it in an appropriate way for. Supposedly, Disney is currently working on an adaptation of the Spanish novel, but it’s yet to be seen if the movie will finally be made.
7 Fraidy Cat
Fraidy Cat is an unproduced Disney movie that was meant to be an animated, child-friendly version of Alfred Hitchcock’s crime films. It would have centered on a cat and a cockatoo who set off together to find out who kidnapped a neighborhood pet.
The movie began production in 2004, but was never completed. Although it was slated to release in 2009, the project was canceled in 2005. The story reel was presented, but higher ups at Disney didn’t see it as relatable or marketable to children, claiming that no one knows who Hitchcock is.
Supposedly, they were concerned that the merchandise wouldn’t sell and that it would present no opportunities for spin-offs. It’s unclear how far they got into production, but there is some surfaced concept art for the movie available online.
Chanticleer was going to be a movie based on a French play by Edmund Rostand called “Chantecler.” In 1943, Walt Disney heard about the story and wanted to see what kind of ideas they could come up with. It would have followed a rooster who believed that the sun only rose in the morning when he called for it.
Disney wanted to make the movie for almost two decades. There were various ideas for the film. The most complete idea was making Chanticleer go against a sly fox called Reynard. Reynard actually ended up becoming a completely separate movie idea.
The head of the studio, however, wanted to halt production on animated movies and dedicate more money and resources to the Disney theme parks. Chanticleer was shelved because it was cheaper to animate some of the other movies in production.
Reynard was going to be based on an old folktale about a sly fox who constantly plays tricks on people. Disney wanted to make a movie about the fox, but it never happened.
They tried to make the film work for years. They almost merged it with Chanticleer, but Walt Disney thought that Reynard just wasn’t a suitable character to be in a movie that was for children. While there have been other scoundrel-type characters in Disney films, the victims of Reynard’s pranks often died and Reynard himself could be violent and unpredictable.
The character was simply too dark for a Disney movies. Reynard did, however, inspire the look and attitude of the character Robin Hood, so the concept wasn’t a total waste.
4 Where The Wild Things Are
Where The Wild Things Are was based on the popular book of the same name, written by Maurice Sendak in 1963.
Disney owned the rights to the book for a long time. In 1983, director John Lasseter made a short video-test for the story, which was around 30 seconds. The animation was new and very distinct, and the Disney executives were not impressed by it. They eventually fired Lasseter for pushing the new technology too hard.
Universal eventually acquired the rights to Where The Wild Things Are and released their own adaptation in 2009, directed by Spike Jonez. It mixed both live-action and animation. The movie was a flop, though, leaving people to wonder how well the Disney version would have done.
Pixar is known for making beautiful CGI movies, but they aren’t opposed to using other techniques. Shademaker would have been a stop-motion animated project directed by Henry Selick, the creator of popular stop-motion movies like Coraline.
Selick wanted to blend his style with the values that both Disney and Pixar were known for, but it didn’t work very well. It had cost Disney $50 million before they canceled the project. While it isn’t totally clear why the movie was canceled, it’s speculated that Selick’s tone was far too dark and that the executives weren’t impressed.
They also clashed creatively quite a bit. Selick was pushing for a version of the story that Disney and Pixar didn’t want. While some of his other movies have been successful, this one just wasn’t in the cards.
2 Yellow Submarine
Yellow Submarine was going to be an animated remake of The Beatles' 1968 film. The movie would have included 16 Beatles song and would have been released in 2012 in time for the Summer Olympics in London.
The movie got far enough to cast actors Cary Elwes, Peter Serafinowicz, Dean Lennox Kelly, and Adam Campbell as The Beatles. The tribute band The Fab Four were slated to help with performance capture for the band.
The creators wanted to use the same motion-capture technology as the movies Mars Needs Moms, but it had just flopped in the box office. This scared Disney, and they backed out of Yellow Submarine due to budget concerns... to the relief of quite a few Beatles fans.
1 The Seven Dwarfs
Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs is one of Disney’s most successful movies, but many people don’t know there was originally going to be a prequel to the royal tale.
The story of The Seven Dwarfs would have explained how the seven dwarves met, as well as the story of the Evil Queen taking the throne of Snow White’s father. Disney had high expectations for the movie. They were so excited, in fact, that they went ahead and planned three different sequels to it.
Apparently, DisneyToon management decided to change the prequel. The changed movie centered on Dopey’s tragic story of losing his voice after watching his mother die. The director of the film dubbed it much too dark for children, and left the project. After Disney purchased Pixar, The Seven Dwarfs was canceled.
Can you think of any other kids' movies that were canceled for shocking reasons? Do you wish you could see any of these? Let us know in the comments!