Thursday, January 29, 2015

Sleeping Beauty

Historian Tom Sito informs us:

Jan 29, 1959- Disney's " SLEEPING BEAUTY " opened. Despite earning the fifth highest box office for that year, it finished $5 million behind what it cost to make. Beautiful work by Eyvind Earl and Marc Davis magnificent Maleificent The animation staff had swollen to it's largest to finish the production. It’s disappointing box office soured Walt Disney on feature animation. Meantime the cheap live action film The Shaggy Dog was a huge hit. After the film was finished the studio had a massive layoff, dropping from 551 to just 75. Staff level will not return to these same levels until 1990. ...

Sleeping Beauty was in work a long time. My father, accompanied by wife and children, went off to Europe for a year to paint and sketch while the picture was deep in development. He came back seventeen months before the feature was released and still had time to paint a lot of the picture's backgrounds (along with Eyvind Earle, Al Dempster, Walt Peregoy, Anthony Rizzo, Frank Armitage, Bill Layne, Dick Thomas, Fil Mottola and Thelma Witmer)

As Tom notes, the Disney staff took a huge hit after the picture wrapped. (Walt had already shuttered the commercials unit and the shorts unit.) A much-reduced staff went on to create the well-received, much less expensive and very profitable !01 Dalmatians.


Floyd Norman said...

I still remember how grim things were after the failure of Sleeping Beauty. Our next project was 101 Dalmatians and it would appear the future of Disney animation rested on that film. Lucky for us, the movie was a resounding hit and animation dodged a very big bullet.

Unknown said...

This reminds me of 2009's The Princess & the Frog. Good reviews, 3 Oscar nods, but was considered a disappointment by the studio & killed 2D animation there for good. Only to be followed a year later by Rapunzel "Tangled", which was a massive success & has yet to look back. Still remember that "Tangled Rapunzel this ain't no Princess movie" sketch you did Floyd.

Site Meter