Mickey Mouse Horror Film Announced As ‘Steamboat Willie’ Enters Public Domain | Eastern North Carolina Now

    Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the The Daily Wire. The author of this post is Amanda Harding.

    A new horror movie featuring the "Steamboat Willie" version of Mickey Mouse is currently in the works, per a Variety report.

    Disney's copyright to "Steamboat Willie" expired Monday, along with its right to the original versions of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, though the company still holds copyrights for more modern versions of these iconic characters. "Steamboat Willie" is an animated short from 1928 that is widely considered the debut of Mickey and Minnie Mouse characters, however, Mickey doesn't look the same as the modern versions of the cartoon. According to NPR, "he's more rascally and rough."

    Independent filmmaker Steven LaMorte released a statement announcing his intentions to capitalize on this new development by making Mickey the main character in a horror flick.

    "Steamboat Willie has brought joy to generations, but beneath that cheerful exterior lies a potential for pure, unhinged terror," LaMorte said in a press release, per the outlet. "It's a project I've been dreaming of, and I can't wait to unleash this twisted take on this beloved character to the world."

    LaMorte also directed "The Mean One" (2022) a horror film starring the Dr. Seuss character The Grinch. The movie grossed $1 million in theaters.

    "It all comes from our love of these characters," he said in an interview. "Filmmakers - we're all kids in the sandbox. We love taking them and playing with them in different ways. It's not a desire to ruin these characters or make a quick buck, but to love them and honor them and show them in a new light."

    "We are doing our due diligence to make sure there's no question or confusion of what we're up to," LaMorte added. "This is our version of a public domain character. It's a scary thrill ride with heart and humor, based on this character that everybody knows." He also said that the film's producers are working with a legal team to ensure the film version of Mickey is compliant.

    Disney said in a statement last month the company would be diligent about protecting the copyright-protected version of Mickey Mouse.

    "We will, of course, continue to protect our rights in the more modern versions of Mickey Mouse and other works that remain subject to copyright, and we will work to safeguard against consumer confusion caused by unauthorized uses of Mickey and our other iconic characters," the company said.


    This development is similar to what happened when the children's storybook characters Winnie the Pooh and Piglet became public domain property last year. The horror film "Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey" featuring Pooh and Piglet as deranged serial killers was released last January to mixed reviews.

    The "Winnie the Pooh" character Tigger also entered the public domain on January 1, 2024.
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