Ah, . Not quite as divisive as some Disney films or as beloved as others; just a reflection on the state of Walt during the tumultuous 1970s and 80s.
But what is apparent . remake? What is it about, and why did it perform so poorly? All of these questions will be answered, as we give you everything you need to know about the infamous ahead of its
What is about?
‘s premise actually makes it sounds like a pretty standard Disney . We follow Taran, a humble assistant who dreams of being a warrior. When his Hen Wen escapes, Taran must team up with the , a bard named Fflewddur Fflam, and a dog-like creature named Gurgi to take down the .
The King (voiced by the iconic John Hurt) aims to use the titular cauldron to raise an army of the dead known as “The Cauldron born” in what’s widely regarded as one of the most disturbing scenes ever seen in a . You definitely wouldn’t catch these zombies in Moana!
This super-dark content is often cited as the reason for the featured characters’ flesh melting from their bodies. 80s Disney was hardcore, apparently. ‘s failure, as it’s quite “off-brand” for Walt . One scene was so grim, it had to be cut from the as it
Of course, it does feature a (unofficial) , though, so it isn’t all alien., a , and even an
What is based on?
Much like most Walt The Chronicles of . This could be another reason why many think the film feels so rushed, as it squeezes two books‘ worth of storylines into one 80-minute . movies, is based on an existing work. It loosely adapts the first two books in
Disney has adapted content not fit for children before, and like its adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the producers of never quite “found their mojo” with it. The tired and muted, while the characters lack that endearing spark typical of Walt .
Much of this could be to do with the source material which, while aimed at children, is darker than your average .
The Production of
didn’t have it easy. It was reportedly in the works since the 1970s, and was an immediately daunting project, thanks to the many characters and side-stories that had to be squeezed into one . Disney had done before, of course, but the books — based on — proved difficult to adapt into a successful .
The The . also marked an admirable attempt to turn into a medium for all ages. Of course, can be admired and enjoyed whether you’re 8 or 80, but tried to be a little more mature and gritty compared to say,
Unfortunately for the design team, new head of Walt Disney Studios Jeffrey Katzenberg (now known as the co-founder of Dreamworks) reportedly hated the and the dark direction it was going. The and the terrifying himself were considered far too un-family friendly and frantic edits were demanded (including the removal of the aforementioned skin melting scene).
All of this delayed immensely, and it eventually saw a release in July 1985, after initially being slated for a 1980 launch.
But all would be forgiven and forgotten if the performed well and gave Disney another smash-hit animated . Unfortunately…
The Response to
did not receive a warm welcome upon its release. The was given Disney’s first ever PG rating, turning off some families immediately. It also tried to bank on its long production cycle, with tag-lines like “seven years in the making” used in its hastily devised marketing materials.
And then the film released to almost no fanfare and became one of the worst financial losses in history.
iMDB reports that the of between $25 and 44 million dollars, while it grossed just $21 million. When you consider that that number doesn’t account for marketing costs, you realize what a commercial failure The had a staggering budget was at the box office.
Critically, it faired better, but it still wasn’t great. Despite a few 9/10 ratings, the reaction was mixed-poor, with The Globe and Mail’s Jay Scott concluding;
“How 12 years and $25- million could be lavished on awith narrative holes big enough to swallow the ‘s major creation, a prophetic pig, is a conundrum … this is a that knows how to do everything but tell a story.”
The most common criticisms revolved around how unmemorable the was, save for the dark visuals which reportedly had children weeping in their seats. The and a fairly dull “ protagonist didn’t help either.
at Disney Parks
Following a string of successful films, Disney seldom references what’s considered to be the studios’ greatest failure, and you’ll rarely find a from or reference to in any of the parks. However, at the time of the film’s release, Taron and were both roaming characters, and there was even a tie-in restaurant; Gurgi’s Munchies and Crunchies.
Perhaps the most famous appearance of a Tokyo Disneyland’s Cinderella Castle Mystery Tour, which closed in 2006. The has not been seen in the park since, though the King has appeared in other forms of media like The House of Mouse TV show and a handful of Disney video games. in a Disney Park, however, is the King, who featured as an animatronic at
The Future of
Fortunately, . recovered from the movie’s commercial failure with the renaissance of the 90s, starting with 1989’s The
In , is either forgotten or mocked as the biggest swing-and-miss Walt ever took, and it seems that Disney has done its best over the years to forget it even exists. Why else would Princess Eilonwy be completely ignored by the Disney Princess brand?
However, reports of a acquired the rights to the Prydain books back in 2016, though there’s been no further official information since then. may just see Disney make a return to the after all. How the studios could make T themes and iconography safe for kids in is anyone’s guess, but many avid Disney movie viewers are eager to see what Disney comes up with. Variety reported that the company
Remembering The Black Cauldron
is many things: the without any musical elements, a commercial failure, and an earnest feature. But that doesn’t mean that every Disney fan believes this is an irredeemably awful film. It’s regarded by many as by no means the slickest Disney feature, and although Taron is often thought to be a dull-as-dishwater protagonist despite his attempts at .
It boasts some grisly and frankly awesome , including a very early use of CGI. It’s also one of the first films worked on by Disney legend Tim Burton. has amassed a cult following over the years that not even the could destroy and long may that continue.
It’s no , but you might just find something to love in this deeply troubled, macabre Disney flick.
What do you think of? Let us know in the comments below.