When Disney Tried To Bury “Anastasia” Under The Sea At The U.S. Box Office And Succeeded

“Anastasia,” the animated classic that has most often been mistaken for a factory Disney princess movie, became part of the House of Mouse catalog when it acquired 20th Century Fox in 2019. But the story of Disney with Don Bluth and Gary Goldman’s film complex since its inception in 1997 (1998 in Spain). In love and at the box office, anything goes, and Disney did everything to prevent the competition from stealing the crown from them in this princess film.

The “beef” begins several years before, when Don Bluth decides to leave Disney, where he had worked on films like “The Rescuers” or “Peter and Elliot the Dragon”, tired of the fact that the studio kept all the rights to his work. He founded his own production company and began to create his own titles. After a start with ups and downs, he hit with ‘Fievel and the New World’ in 1986, thanks to its association with Amblin Studios, and continued its meteoric streak with “In Search of the Enchanted Valley”. Disney wasn’t at its best, but they quickly came back in style with “The Little Mermaid” and the rest of the titles that shaped the era known as the Study Renaissance. Don Bluth didn’t have the best of luck in the 90s with movies like ‘Thumbelina’ or ‘Stanley’s Magic Garden’ for Warner Bros.

The director and producer chose to partner with 20th Century Fox and offered them a remake of the 1950s classic “Anastasia”, centered on the story of Anastasia Romanov and the urban legend that she survived the murder of his family during the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. . Taking the ingredients, let’s face it, of a typical Disney princess film, with its songs, its charismatic villain, its love story, secondary animals that can be transformed into stuffed animals… Fox bet very big with the movie, while waiting to finally stand up to Disney with its own medicine. The advertising and merchandising campaign recalls movie slashwas huge, and everything announced a resounding success in theaters.

However, at Disney they also had a bit of a dislike for Don Bluth after he left and they decided to spoil the party for him in a pretty dirty way. A week before “Anastasia” premiered in the United States, a cover of “The Little Mermaid” was released from the sleeve. When the Fox movie hit theaters, it was in direct competition with one of the factory’s most beloved classics, and although Ariel didn’t reach the Romanov heiress numbers, she managed to seriously injure her and prevent her from reaching number 1, which was for ‘Mortal Kombat: Annihilation’. Finally, ‘Anastasia’ achieved a box office of 139.8 million dollars, including 58.4 million from the United States. In Spain in early 1998 it made the peseta equivalent of 5.43 million euros and was one of the highest-grossing films of the year when ‘Torrente’ was a smash hit. It managed to more than double its $53 million budget, but in the imagination it remained a minor success, arguably well below the studio’s expectations. Don Bluth then only directed the direct-to-video sequel “Bartok the Magnificent” and “Titan AE”, which were a resounding box office flop. The straw that broke the camel’s back came with the purchase of Fox and ‘Anastasia’ being part of the house of mouse catalog. Many jokes were made with Anastasia’s arrival in the Disney Princess Hall of Fame, Bluth surely wasn’t amused.

‘Anastasia’ disappears from Disney+ in the US, but it’s not because of Putin

‘Anastasia’ has become relevant again because a few days ago it disappeared from the Disney+ catalog in the United States. Several were quick to point out that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may have been the reason, but these are just pre-Fox takeover deals that should continue to be honored. The Russian Princess is temporarily leaving the streaming platform and will be available very soon on Starz in North America. In Spain we continue to have it on Disney +, from where it seems that it is not going to move.

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