Competitor Buys Out Iconic Disney Character

in Disney, Entertainment

Mickey Mouse looking scared while driving

Credit: Disney

An iconic Disney character is now with the company’s top competitor.

Disney’s history is a captivating journey that kicked off nearly a century ago, thanks to the imagination and dedication of two brothers, Walt and Roy O. Disney. Their story began in 1923 when they co-founded the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, which would eventually evolve into The Walt Disney Company. Their initial foray into animation featured a character named Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, but they lost the rights to this character, prompting them to come up with something entirely new.

The Walt Disney Company building
Credit: The Walt Disney Company

The birth of Mickey Mouse in 1928 was a game-changer. Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks teamed up to create this beloved character, and Mickey made his debut in the iconic short film Steamboat Willie in 1928. It was a groundbreaking moment as it was one of the first synchronized sound cartoons, capturing the hearts of audiences worldwide.

In the early 1930s, Disney launched the Silly Symphonies series, giving birth to unforgettable characters like the Three Little Pigs and Snow White. These characters set the stage for Disney’s groundbreaking venture into feature-length animated films, starting with the release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937, which has been under a microscope in recent months due to the live-action version starring Rachel Zegler that is set to be released in the spring of 2024.

The late 1930s and 1940s were known as Disney’s Golden Age of Animation. This period introduced the world to classic characters such as Cinderella, Peter Pan, and Sleeping Beauty. It was a time of unparalleled creativity and artistic achievement. Winnie the Pooh, A.A. Milne’s cherished children’s book character, made his animated debut in 1966 with the release of Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree. This was the beginning of many more delightful adaptations to come.

Winnie, Rabbit and Tigger scared in 'Winnie the Pooh'
Credit: Disney

The Disney universe continued to expand with the introduction of beloved characters such as Mowgli from The Jungle Book, Ariel from The Little Mermaid, and Belle from Beauty and the Beast. The 1990s saw Disney’s collaboration with Pixar, leading to the creation of unforgettable characters like Woody and Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story (1995). This partnership was a game-changer for animated storytelling.

Disney’s acquisitions of other entertainment giants, including Marvel and Lucasfilm, brought iconic characters like Iron Man and Darth Vader into the Disney family, further diversifying their already extensive character roster. In the 21st century, Disney’s innovation continued with the introduction of computer-animated classics like Frozen (2013), Moana (2016), and Zootopia (2016). These films embraced cutting-edge technology while staying true to the spirit of Disney’s storytelling.

Even as Disney continues to expand its portfolio, that doesn’t mean that the company hasn’t suffered some losses along the way, as well. Interestingly enough, one of the most iconic Disney characters of all time now has his own space with the company’s leading competitor: NBC Universal.

Bob Iger close-up
Credit: Thomas Hawk, Flickr

NBC Universal unveiled its own streaming platform, titled Peacock, in an attempt to compete with the likes of Netflix, Max, Amazon Prime, and Disney+. The streaming platform has continued to grow its library content, especially over the last year, and now boasts 24 million subscribers, which of course, is still significantly behind some of the industry leaders.

Still, because of the company’s place in terms of studios in Hollywood and its growth in the theme park industry, Universal is consistently considered the biggest threat and competition to Disney. If you’re one of the 24 million subscribers on Peacock, you may have noticed that a recent addition was made to the streaming platform involving the iconic Disney character Winnie the Pooh.

Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey (2023) was an independent film edited, produced, written, and directed by Rhys Frake-Waterfield. It was produced and released shortly after the character went into the public domain, and it’s interesting that Universal– Disney’s top competitor– would buy the rights to this movie to place on its streaming platform.

Winnie The Pooh blood and honey
Credit: Jagged Edge Productions

The movie follows Winnie the Pooh, who has been transformed into. feral and bloodthirsty, as he and Piglet terrorize Christoper Robin and a group of young women at a remote house.

The film was added to Peacock in October. The streaming platform boasts several top horror movies, including the Chucky franchise, the classic Universal Monsters, the Saw franchise, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Psycho, The Exorcist, and a couple of the Halloween films, just to name a few.

What do you think of Winnie the Pooh appearing with Disney’s top competitor? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments!

View Comments (7)