Disney Decides It's A Bad Idea To Trademark A Centuries-Old Holiday

By Sean O'Connell 2013-05-08 08:18:41discussion comments
Disney Decides It's A Bad Idea To Trademark A Centuries-Old Holiday image
Look around the pop-culture landscape and you’ll realize that Disney, strategically, has snapped up the rights to several key properties. Marvel? Disney owns them. Pixar? They’ve been in business for years. Star Wars? The Force is strong with Disney. But we finally figured out one thing Disney can’t copyright, and that’s a Latino holiday meant to honor the deceased.

The AZ Central reports that attempts by Disney to copyright the phrase “Dia de los Muertos” in preparation for a new Pixar movie were met with such hostility from the Latino community that the studio was withdrawing its legal paperwork … essentially taking their ball and going home. The studio did say that its reasoning behind the backtrack was because the name of the planned Pixar movie was going to change, but backlash from the community likely helped Disney’s executives make the decision.
“As we have previously announced, Disney-Pixar is developing an animated feature inspired by the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos. Disney’s trademark filing was intended to protect any potential title for our film and related activities,” the studio said in a prelease. “It has since been determined that the title of the film will change, and therefore we are withdrawing our trademark filing.”

Filing a trademark is a standard practice when a film is going through pre-production, and AZ Central goes on to note that Disney was attempting to land exclusive domain rights over “fruit-based snack foods … Christmas-tree ornaments and decorations … non-medicated toiletries [and] frozen meals consisting primarily of pasta and rice.” At the very least, the story gives us an interesting peek behind the curtain of a studio’s marketing efforts, helping explain why we now see Iron Man cereal and Monsters University products on the stores at nearby grocery stores.

As for the Pixar project, we know that it will be directed by Toy Story 3 helmer Lee Unkrich, and is targeting a 2016 release date.
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