Waking Sleeping Beauty, Disney’s rebound to The Little Mermaid
Last week, fans were invited to learn one of the greatest Disney stories ever – not Rapunzel’s Tangled (though that was a great film!) – this time, it’s the story-behind-the-story that has us fascinated. Waking Sleeping Beauty notes Disney’s past 20 years, with The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Toy Story, UP, The Princess and the Frog, etc. Mickey’s early years had just as much with Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Pinocchio, Dumbo, Bambi, etc. But the years between those two eras were often dark and disappointing for the House of Mouse. Waking Sleeping Beauty, available since November 30th, helps bridge that gap, telling the story of Disney’s rebound to a new golden age. Truly an amazing DVD – and certainly something to add to your wish lists this year!
After a yearlong trek though film festivals and art house cinemas, my documentary WAKING SLEEPING BEAUTY is coming out on DVD this week and I hope you’ll get a chance to review it. WSB tracks the renaissance of Disney Animation from box office disappointments and the near closure of the studio, to great success with films like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King.
The positive response to the film has been bigger than I ever imagined. Not only has it appealed to the fans of animation, it’s also struck a chord with corporations and organizations of all kinds that have gone through their own periods of declines and resurrections. We found that WAKING SLEEPING BEAUTY not only entertained, but touched people emotionally as well.
The DVD has over 80 minutes of bonus material with amazing footage of Howard Ashman working with Jodi Benson during the recording sessions for The Little Mermaid and Howard’s priceless talk to the animation crew about musical theater and animation. I also put together an audio commentary track that features alternate narration from Peter Schneider and myself as well as new unheard material from Glen Keane, Mike Gabriel, Kirk Wise, Rob Minkoff, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Roy Disney.
I hope you’ll get a chance to view the doc and announce to your readers that WAKING SLEEPING BEAUTY is out on DVD tomorrow, November 30th.
Please see the attached press release for additional pertinent information.
All the best,
The Perfect Storm That Changed the Face of Animation Forever
Waking Sleeping Beauty On DVD November 30
Special Replica Illustration Included with Every DVD
Burbank, Calif., October 26, 2010 – Waking Sleeping Beauty is no fairy tale. It’s a true story about the renaissance that took place between 1984 and 1994 at the fabled Walt Disney Animation Studios and how Disney animation regained its magic with a staggering out put of hits including The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King and more. Available on DVD November 30 from Buena Vista Home Entertainment, the 86-minute documentary features the people who were actually there — Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Roy E. Disney, John Lasseter and others. Directed by Don Hahn, who produced some of the period’s biggest hits, and produced by Peter Schneider, who led the animation group during this amazing period and later became studio chairman, Waking Sleeping Beauty gives viewers an unprecedented look at the conflict, drama and tension that ushered in a decade of unparalleled Disney creativity.
After Walt’s death, without his hands-on supervision, by the mid-1980’s the Disney animation division had fallen on hard times. The artists were polarized between newcomers hungry to innovate and old timers not yet ready to relinquish control. These conditions produced a series of box-office flops and pessimistic forecasts that led everyone to wonder if the best days of animation were over. Hahn and Schneider provide a fascinating and candid perspective of what happened in the creative ranks as Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg and the late Roy E. Disney (Walt’s nephew) worked to breathe new life into the company. Hahn and Schneider bring insider knowledge, and offer refreshing candor and humorous anecdotes in describing ego battles, cost Waking Sleeping Beauty DVD– November 30, 2010 Page 2
overruns and failed experiments, set against dynamic tensions with top leadership. Each DVD is packaged with a special replica caricature of a particularly tough Beauty and the Beast story meeting drawn by Kirk Wise.
Director Don Hahn puts several memorable samples on display and marshals a vast array of interviews, home movies, internal memos and unseen footage. Waking Sleeping Beauty celebrates the rich history of Disney animation and honors the many writers, artists and composers who created the Disney magic.
Announcing the world premiere of Waking Sleeping Beauty at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival, the festival’s documentary programmer Thom Powers said, “The treatment of Waking Sleeping Beauty is so thorough that it (even) includes key figures who famously left Disney such as Don Bluth, John Lasseter and Tim Burton. At one time, children imagined that Walt Disney’s signature meant a film was the creation of one man. This is a more grown-up portrayal that reveals the collaborative, often contentious, experience in all its complexity.”
- Why Wake Sleeping Beauty? Overview featurette
- Deleted Scenes
- Black Friday
- Howard’s Lecture
- Losing Howard
- Recording ‘Part of Your World’
- Research Tips
- To Sir With Love
- The Sailor, the Mountain Climber, the Artist and the Poet – Celebrating Roy Disney, Frank Wells, Joe Ranft and Howard Ashman
- Studio Tours – Personal video footage from animator Randy Cartwright documenting the Animation Studio in 1980, 1983 and 1990
- A Reunion – Rob Minkoff and Kirk Wise
- Walt – What would Walt do? A comparison of Walt’s era and the current era
- Audio Commentary – View the film with commentary by director Don Hahn and producer Peter Schneider
Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Inc., a recognized leader in the home entertainment industry, is the marketing, sales and distribution company for Walt Disney, Touchstone, Hollywood Pictures, Miramax and Buena Vista product, which includes DVD, Blu-ray Disc™ and electronic distribution. Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Inc. is a division of The Walt Disney Studios.