It is impossible for a Disney film to be released without garnering attention, whether it be from the massive ticket sales, the indelible mark on pop culture, or the continued dedication by children and adults who become entranced by the characters and music featured in the films. Even with Disney’s most beloved films, controversy often looms. Here are 10 Famous Disney Movies that Caused Serious Controversy.
Zootopia is the 2016 film that endeared itself to children and adults with its lovable characters and its meaningful tale of two unlikely animals solving a case, forging a friendship, and reaching for what they want despite their limitations. Judy Hopps is the bunny with the determination to become a police officer for the big city of Zootopia. Zootopia raised controversy for its attempts to speak about sexism, racism and the war on drugs through the lens of a family friendly film. Judy is considered weak, the predator animals considered violent and prone to crime, and the growing of plants that only aggravate an aggressive response, are all included in Zootopia. While some critics and viewers found the film desperate to comment on too many societal issues, the box-office persevered.
Toy Story 2
Sometimes there are controversies that arise within the confines of Disney studios but through the power of the internet, become public. This was the case with Toy Story 2. After the success of the first film, Disney and Pixar began working on a sequel. The film was expected to be a straight-to-video but when executives were impressed with the footage, they pushed for a theatrical release. The animators were not fond of the footage that had been completed causing tension between the creatives and executives. Things became even more complicated when a Pixar employee accidentally erased the Toy Story data. Millions of dollars and years of work deleted in a moment. What the studio didn’t know was that the film’s supervising technical director had a copy with her as she had recently had a baby and was working from home. With the relief of the saved footage, the continued arguments between the suits and animators dissipated.
Finding Dory, the sequel to 2003’s massively successful Finding Nemo, was another hit for Disney with the story centering on the forgetful fish who goes on her own adventure. Prior to the film’s release, there was buzz that a same-sex couple would make an appearance, a first for Disney. There was controversy with the appearance alone, but once the film was released, there was another reason the film raised a few eyebrows. The so-called same sex couples characters were simply a brief moment in which two women who may or may not be a couple, make a blink-and-you’ll miss-it appearance. The Controversy of Finding Dory came from two opposing groups concerning the same issue but with Disney’s lack of committing to either side, ended up angering both.
Disney is known for raking in money from not only movie tickets but from the merchandise inspired by their popular movies. Even before a film’s release, fans are able to purchase items at the company’s store and other retailers. The upcoming film Moana, about a teenage girl who goes on a daring adventure to save her people, is the subject of Disney’s most recent controversy for a Halloween costume based on the character Maui. The costume features a brown bodysuit adorned with Polynesian tattoos to better resemble the character who is a Polynesian Demigod, This angered many on social media, calling it cultural appropriation. Disney was quick to react to the complaints and immediately removed the costume from the stores. While issues of race insensitivity are not new for the house of mouse, it is less common in recent years and the company has used social media as a way to fix their missteps.