Los Angeles (AP) – The Early iteration of Mickey Mouse There is a massive uproar, barely two days in the public domain.
Released from Disney’s copyright on Monday, the iconic character of “Steamboat Willie” is already the focus of two horror movies. On Monday, just hours after the 1928 short film was released into the public domain, the trailer for “Mickey’s Mouse Trap” was released on YouTube. Another yet-to-be-titled film was announced on Tuesday.
“Steamboat Willie” featured early versions of both Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks, it was the third cartoon created by the two of them, but the first to be released. In it, a more menacing Mickey, who resembles a mouse more than a rat, is a boat captain and creates musical instruments from other animals.
Then again, it’s perhaps fitting that the first projects announced are low-budget and campy slasher films – and not unprecedented. Winnie the Pooh – sans red shirt – entered the public domain in 2022; Barely a year later, huge figures were being seen in his body Microbudget “Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey.”
In the trailer for “Mickey’s Mouse Trap,” directed by Jamie Bailey, a human in a tiny Mickey mask appears who terrorizes a group of youngsters in an arcade.
“A place to entertain. A place for friends. A place to hunt,” the text flashes while reading the trailer. “The rat is outside.”
“We just wanted to enjoy it. I mean, Steamboat Willie’s Mickey Mouse murdering people,” director Jamie Bailey said in a statement quoted by trade publications. “It’s funny. We ran with it and had fun doing it and I think it shows.”
No release date has been set.
The second film is from director Steven LaMorte, who previously directed a horror parody of “The Grinch”, which is not in the public domain (thus the film is called “The Mean One”).
According to a post on LaMorte’s Instagram, the logline of the untitled film is, “A late-night boat ride in New York City turns into a desperate fight for survival when a mischievous rat becomes a terrifying reality.”
“Steamboat Willie has brought joy to generations, but behind that cheery exterior lies the potential for pure, unhindered terror,” LaMorte said in a release cited by The Trades. The production of the film has not started yet.
With the expiration of the 95-year-old copyright, the public is only allowed to use the early versions of Mickey and Minnie – not the more familiar character designs.
“Of course, we will continue to protect our rights in more modern versions of Mickey Mouse and other works subject to copyright,” Disney said in a statement before the characters entered the public domain.
lamort told Variety That the producers of their movie are working with a legal team so as not to mess with Disney, and will be calling their fiery rodent Steamboat Willie instead of Mickey Mouse.
“We’re doing our due diligence to make sure there’s no questions or confusion about what we’re doing,” he said.