Disney is evil. That’s right, I said it. And, why do I say this? Because for being a massive company that prides itself on creating amazing entertainment for children, they have very low morals. A lot of ideas and sometimes full characters and plots are not original but simply stolen from other movies.
I mean sure, sure, “everything is a remix”, but not everything is a complete ripoff of another artist’s work.
Here are 9 films that Disney unapologetically ripped off from other creations.
The Little Mermaid
Do you know the song “Part Of Your World” that Ariel sings about wanting to live on land? A lot of the lyrics, the message and the flow of that song is fully stolen from the movie Little Shop of Horrors. In the movie the song was called “Somewhere That’s Green”. The same guy wrote both of these songs and since The Little Shop Of Horrors didn’t do that well, he admitted in interviews that he changed the song a little but repurposed it for Ariel.
Have you ever watched Doc Hollywood with Michael J Fox? It’s a story of a successful doctor that travels across the country to California, accidentally crashes his car, breaks a fence, and then as a form of punishment has to stop and work there for a little while and learn to connect and get along with people in the town. Now replace people with cars. Remind you of anything?
A psychologist once pitched this idea of showing how a kid’s mind works by using 5 different characters to Disney as a TV series. They weren’t interested. The psychologist then decided to take a different approach. There’s now a whole range of educational toys and programs called the Moodsters. Imagine her surprise when Inside Out comes out and she sees that they’ve stolen her idea, gave her no credit and the only thing they changed was they replaced a character called love with disgust. She sued them and the court case is still ongoing.
Atlantis: The Lost Empire
This seemed like an original idea for Disney at the time. No songs, a very different animation style and a more grown-up plot that’s aimed at a slightly older audience. But turns out they took a lot of “inspiration” from a Japanese anime called Nadia: The Secret Of Blue Water. The themes are very similar and taking just one look at the characters makes it obvious they were copied.
Lion King is a legendary Disney success at this point. But what you probably don’t know is that the idea for it was stolen from another Japanese anime series called Kimba The White Lion. The story is essentially the same, Simba even sounds like Kimba. Scar is the same character as Claw in the Japanese series, they both have eye scars, they both have hyenas as henchmen. There’s a wise, advice-giving baboon in both versions and a bird that looks a lot like Zazu. Disney has been denying these connections for over 25 years now. But here’s an interesting fact – the co-director of Lion King even lived in Japan while Kimba was on the air there. Coincidence? I think not.
Alladin has a tricky story. There was supposed to be an animated movie called The Thief And The Cobbler. The project was ongoing for 30 years, never really completed and dropped. Then a bunch of animators and story designers from that project ended up working on Aladdin and it shows. Jafar and Genie are clearly based on the character of ZigZag from The Thief And The Cobbler, and the animation style is quite similar too, not to mention the story.
Up is a heartwarming Disney movie, but sadly the idea was also stolen. There’s a French short called Above Then Beyond. It features a widow whose house is situated in the large city area, she gets an eviction notice and the next day she makes her house fly away from that area with a hot air balloon. Sounds like Disney replaced the widow with the old man and the hot air balloon with a bunch of helium balloons and just ran with the idea.
Pirates Of The Carribean
Pirates of The Carribean heavily borrowed ideas from a game franchise called Monkey Island, which was supposed to have its own animated film but it got cancelled. The movies are full of action, zombie pirates, sword fights, and heroes. Captain Barbossa is a copy of the villain LeChuck in the game, Will Turner is a lot like Guybrush Threepwood, who’s a hero in the game. Turns out, screenwriter of Pirates Of The Carribean worked on a draft of Monkey Island before it got cancelled and clearly took some ideas from the game to his shiny new project with Johnny Depp.
With this one, you can kind of relax. The movie was original and successful but it also spawned a bunch of shorts featuring the characters. The one featuring Olaf and Sven is a complete ripoff of the short called Snowman. In the Disney version Olaf and Sven struggle on ice for the carrot/nose. In Snowman, the story is the same but with a rabbit. And both end with the deer/rabbit actually giving the carrot back to the snowman and not eating it as you expected.