When it comes to animation and children's movies, many people still consider Disney to be the king of quality family films. This reputation is not unearned, as they were the first studio to produce a feature-length animated movie in 1937 with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The studio made history again in 1995 with the release of Toy Story, Pixar's first film and the first fully computer-animated feature-length film.
Along with countless classic animated films (and a total of twelve Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature), Disney has produced several live-action films throughout the years. They include inspiring sports dramas Remember the Titans and The Rookie, adventure movies like the Pirates of the Caribbean series and National Treasure, and live-action/animation hybrids like Mary Poppins and Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
That being said, even a standout studio like Disney has some blights on their impressive record. For every award-winning animated film, there's two or three awful ones that Disney has tried to hide under the rug. They range from poorly executed, straight-to-DVD, cash grab sequels, to original theatrical films that were either botched somewhere along the way in production or should've simply never been made in the first place.
On today's list we bring you 20 Disastrous Movies Disney Wants You to Forget. If you're lucky, you've probably never seen any of them. If you've had the misfortune of witnessing any of these crimes on celluloid, we're sorry if this list brings back some painful memories. And if you consider any of these movies to be your favorite Disney movie, then you seriously need to reconsider your personal values.
20 Mangy Mutts: The Musical
After the underperforming release of The Black Cauldron in 1985, producers asked some animators to pitch ideas for new movies. Animator Pete Young suggested taking the successful Broadway musical Oliver! (based on Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist) and remake it with dogs. In 1988, Oliver & Company was released, with the titular character being a homeless kitten who joins a gang of street dogs in modern-day New York City.
Though it's not nearly as bad as most of the other films on this list (which is why it's only in 20th place), Oliver & Company is still really lackluster for a Disney film. Despite a pretty catchy Billy Joel song, the rest of the songs are some of the most forgettable in Disney history. Add to that mediocre animation and a predictable plot, and it's easy to see why this film was quickly forgotten after the release of The Little Mermaid.
19 Mars Needs Facial Reconstruction Surgery
Mars Needs Moms is a 2011 computer-animated science-fiction adventure film made by ImageMovers Digital and distributed by Disney. The movie tells the story of Milo, a nine-year-old boy who has to rescue his mother from Martians. As the title indicates, the Martians need her "momness," which they plan to extract and implant in their next generation of nannybots.
Despite how ridiculous that premise sounds, it's not the worst part of the movie.
This is one of the few animated movies to be filmed using motion capture, and while it may have worked for The Polar Express, it looks creepy here. If your human characters look scarier than the evil aliens, you know you did something wrong. The film was only able to make $39 million off its $150 million budget, leading ImageMovers Digital to shut down.
18 It's Just Snow Good
As was mentioned earlier, Disney is not solely the purveyor of animated films. They sometimes make some really great live-action movies. And sometimes, they make crap like Snow Dogs. Starring Cuba Gooding Jr. as a Miami dentist who travels to Alaska to claim his inheritance, he finds that he's inherited a team of unruly sled dogs.
Snow Dogs is nothing more than a middle of the road children's movie, filled with all the stupid slapstick and dumbed-down dialogue you'd come to expect from such films. The fish-out-of-water plot comes with jokes you see coming a mile away (he's not used to cold cause he's from Miami! Get it?). After winning an Academy Award for Jerry Maguire, it was a real disappointment to see Gooding get dragged through the snow by wild dogs.
17 White Washing For Kids
Of course, when it comes to horrible Disney movies the first thing that comes to many people's minds are those straight-to-video sequels. Disney made a lot of them, and most of them are just as bad as you'd imagine. One of the worst is Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World. Whereas the first movie had British settlers arriving in America, the sequel focuses on Pocahontas' journey to England.
For fans of the original film hoping to see Pocahontas reunite with John Smith, prepare to be sorely disappointed.
Instead, she is now being courted by young diplomat John Rolfe. Even more jarring, though, is Pocahontas' forced "civilization" in England, where she ends up wearing a ridiculously oversized ball gown and even appears to have her skin bleached. Add the fact that she's a much less active hero than in the original, and you've got a poor excuse for a sequel.
16 It's A Bird, It's A Plane... It's A CGI Flying Dog!
In 2007, superhero movies were starting to die down. The X-Men trilogy had already wrapped up, and Spider-Man 3 would bring the Tobey Maguire version to an end that year. It was time for Disney to step in and bring one of the greatest superheroes to the silver screen: Underdog! Based on the 1960s cartoon, the film stars a beagle voiced by Jason Lee who, thanks to genetic experimentation, now has superpowers.
Apart from the inherent silliness of the premise, the film tends to veer between the corny superhero antics and an unnecessary subplot about a teen trying to reconnect with his father. Add to that the bizarre CGI of the title character whenever he flies or just talks, and you got yourself a movie that's even more ridiculous than the cartoon it was based on. Keep an eye out for a pre-Game of Thrones Peter Dinklage as the mad scientist.
15 Cars With Wings
Pixar's Cars franchise isn't considered the best effort from the pioneering animation studio, but it does have one thing going for it: merchandising! Seriously, go to your local toy store and count how many Coco toys you see versus Cars toys. Disney saw that success and thought, "If kids like talking cars, they must like other talking vehicles too.
The spin-off film Planes was born.
Planes was produced by DisneyToon Studios, who primarily make straight-to-video movies, so that should tell you what level of quality we're dealing with here. Though there are some interesting aerial races, the movie just moves from set piece to set piece with no real rhyme or reason. The story is overly predictable, with the main plane (voiced by Dane Cook, for some reason) overcoming his fear and achieving his dream, just like the hundreds of other Disney characters who did it far better.
14 Dragon Of The Bride
Mulan is easily one of the most beloved Disney Princess films of all time. Not only do we get a princess who is a straight-up action hero, she saves her entire country from an invading army. So when it was time for Disney to crank out a straight-to-video sequel for this one, what did they do? Take away all the action from the first film and have Mulan and her friends get married.
While it was nice to see that Mulan and General Li Shang really do get married, the rest of Mulan II feels really unnecessary. Once Mulan becomes engaged, her dragon guardian Mushu thinks this will somehow lead to him getting kicked out of her life, so he does his best to break them up. That's right, Mushu's the villain of this movie. Not some evil warlord, but the comic relief from the first movie.
13 Hip & Edgy Guinea Pigs
Disney has had quite a few live-action talking animal movies in the past, and some of them are done pretty well. However, none is more poorly executed than the 2009 adventure comedy G-Force. The movie is about a team of specially trained guinea pigs armed with high-tech spy gear, sorta like a Mission: Impossible with rodents. That premise might have made for a passable spy action spoof movie.
However, the film is filled with tired jokes and toilet humor, as well as lame attempts at being cool and hip.
Everything from the outdated internet references to awkwardly forced slang to even the soundtrack featuring the Black Eyed Peas and Flo Rida feels like it's desperately trying to market itself to the cool kids. Apart from some over-the-top action scenes and a decent performance from Sam Rockwell as the lead guinea pig, this movie just falls flat.
12 To Love A Hunchback
For our next crappy straight-to-video sequel we have The Hunchback of Notre Dame II. Though the first movie was a commercial success and praised by critics, it has fallen out of popularity in recent years. This may be due to the story's mature themes of lust and damnation, gaining it the reputation of being quite possibly the darkest Disney film of all time. So how does Disney follow up this Gothic musical?
By stripping away the dark tone and religious themes of the first film and making a romantic comedy instead. A new girl (voiced by Jennifer Love Hewitt) meets and falls in love with Quasimodo. Apart from the bland and uninteresting plot and new characters, the animation is a severe step down from the original, looking like a budget TV cartoon instead of a Disney film. This one reeks of cold, unfeeling cash grab.
11 Worst. Christmas. Ever.
When it comes to Christmas movies, everybody's got their favorites. There's classic films like Miracle on 34th Street, comedic efforts like A Christmas Story and Home Alone, and even alternative favorites like Die Hard and Gremlins. For many Disney fans, though, the film to see is The Santa Clause, the hilarious and touching story of Scott Calvin (played by Tim Allen) who must become the new Santa Claus.
But not all of these movies were good.
Though the second movie did receive some mixed reception from critics, it was The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause that finally destroyed the franchise. By this point, audiences had seen enough of the same dumb gags and slapstick. Martin Short's portrayal of the antagonistic Jack Frost isn't any better, as he just comes off as loud and annoying. Featuring a plot that borrows heavily from It's a Wonderful Life's time travel story, there's nothing jolly about this unfunny mess.
10 Will Never See The Light Of Day
Disney has been making movies since the Golden Age of Hollywood. Unfortunately, this means that some of their older films are not exactly what you'd call "politically correct." There are many embarrassing portrayals of minorities, from the Native Americans in Peter Pan, the Siamese cats from Lady & the Tramp and the crows in Dumbo. But only Song of the South has drummed up so much controversy that Disney refuses to give it a home video release.
According to critics, the movie's portrayal of African Americans is very racist, and it even seems to glorify plantation life and slavery. It's a shame one of the first pioneers in live-action/animation hybrid films is marred in controversy. The animated segments, based on the Southern folk tales of Br'er Rabbit, have been released elsewhere, and Disney even based Splash Mountain off the film, so they haven't completely buried this movie.
9 Go-Go-Gadget Botched Film!
Live-action movies based on cartoons never seem to work. Either the characters just end up looking ridiculous in real life or the filmmakers try too hard to make the characters cool and mature for modern audiences. In the case of 1999's Inspector Gadget, though, the focus on ridiculous special effects over well-developed characters and story are what really ruined it.
Serving as an origin story, the movie shows us how a near fatal accident turned an ordinary cop into a crime-fighting cyborg.
The premise should've made for a fun action-comedy, but the movie's over reliance on special effects and cheap slapstick bogs down the film. Even great actors like Matthew Broderick as Gadget and Rupert Everett as the villainous Dr. Claw can't save this unfunny schlock fest.
8 Bust A Moo!
After the release of The Little Mermaid, Disney films entered a period known as the Disney Renaissance. They started producing great animated films like Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast. There's some debate about when exactly this Renaissance ended, though many agree the start of Disney's new Dark Age came with the release of Home on the Range, a Western comedy about three cows trying to save their farm by collecting the bounty on a notorious outlaw.
Audiences were so unimpressed with the animation in this film, that Disney would stop making 2D animated films until the release of The Princess and the Frog in 2009. On top of that, the story is actually pretty boring and the jokes are more crass than funny. Roseanne Barr can be funny, but not as a dairy cow.
7 Beauty And The Beast's Troubles
Many classic fairy tales and Disney movies end the same way. The beautiful princess marries the handsome prince and they both live "Happily Ever After." That's sweet, but what do you do for a sequel? How about showing them going through marital troubles? If you think that sounds like a terrible idea, you'd be right.
Disney did it anyway, and we got Belle's Magical World.
Technically a midquel taking place during Beauty and the Beast (after Christmas but before the fight with Gaston), the film consists of three episodes from an unreleased TV series based on the movie. Not only is the animation a severe step down, but each segment consists of Beast getting angry and yelling at Belle over some petty little thing, like missing their lunch date. This is nothing but Disney's attempt to recover a profit from a failed cartoon series.
6 No New Tricks
It's a sad fact in Hollywood that as an actor ages, so does their popularity. Eventually, older, once respected actors start taking roles in any piece of crap they're offered. There's Robert De Niro in Dirty Grandpa and Al Pacino in Jack and Jill. And then there's Old Dogs, starring John Travolta and Robin Williams as a pair of clueless bachelors who suddenly have to take care of twin children.
From the director of Wild Hogs (another equally toothless, one-joke movie), Old Dogs is nothing but a series of toilet jokes, dumb slapstick, and Seth Green cradled by a gorilla desperately tied together by a supposedly morally uplifting message that falls flat on its face. It was so bad, it was nominated for four Razzies, including Worst Picture and Worst Actor for John Travolta.
5 Should've Stayed On Disney Channel
Disney Channel sitcoms are generally regarded as harmless fun for kids but nothing that adult audiences would really be interested in. So when Hannah Montana was reaching peak popularity in 2009, Disney decided to forgo the usual DCOM treatment and give the manufactured pop star a theatrical film instead. The premise is simple: Hannah Montana's popularity is taking over Miley's life, so her father sends her back to her hometown in Tennessee to remember what really matters.
And that's basically it.
It's a Hannah Montana episode stretched to feature-length and padded out with twelve musical numbers. Despite the movie's message of leaving a materialistic lifestyle in favor of being true to yourself, the movie is filled to the brim with coldly calculated commercialism. Add to that tired stereotypes of both Hollywood and country life, and it's clear Hannah Montana: The Movie should've stayed on Disney Channel.
4 Ruining The Perfect Track Record
Many people agree that when it comes to modern animated movies, Pixar is the best around. Not only are they known for quality animation, but each of their films stands out for telling amazing stories with memorable and relatable characters. Nearly every movie they've made is a masterpiece. The Incredibles, Ratatouille, WALL-E, Up, and the Toy Story trilogy. It seemed they could do no wrong. Then Cars 2 came out and ruined that perfect track record.
While the first Cars movie wasn't anything special, it still had some of that heartwarming charm we'd come to expect from Pixar. Cars 2, on the other hand, is a dumb spy spoof with Larry the Cable Guy as the hero, which is always a bad sign. Being more concerned with toy sales than storytelling, this is the one movie Pixar is truly ashamed of.
3 Snoring Beauty
Sometimes, making a straight-to-video sequel makes sense. Beauty and the Beast was a very successful movie, and so was Mulan. It makes sense to want to capitalize on those popular properties. Cinderella II: Dreams Come True, on the other hand, was released in 2002, more than 50 years after the original film. Way to strike while the iron's hot, Disney. But just because a sequel's late doesn't mean it's bad, does it?
No. It's terrible for other reasons.
Instead of one boring, uninteresting story, we get three. Cinderella is so bland, the movie only focuses one story on her, and we instead get stories about the mice and her stepsister. In fact, the stepsister ends up being a more interesting protagonist than Cinderella. Similar to Belle's Magical World, critics have accused this one of being the remains of a rejected television series. Better just stick with the Golden Age classic.
2 I Can't See A Thing Without My Glasses!
Looking at this list of horrible movies, it seems strange that Disney would ever try to make live-action adaptations of classic cartoon characters. Their first failure, though, came even before Inspector Gadget, with 1997's Mr. Magoo. Based on the classic cartoon about a near-sighted retiree who refuses to wear his glasses, the film starred Leslie Nielsen (Airplane!, Naked Gun) as the title character.
Forget the nonsense plot about a stolen jewel and the seemingly nonstop cartoon slapstick; the single biggest criticism about this movie was the seemingly mean-spirited portrayal of blind and near-sighted people. In fact, the negative reaction from these groups was so severe, Disney pulled the movie from theaters after only two weeks, causing it to underperform in the box office. If you feel you need to put a disclaimer in your movie, maybe you should rethink the movie as a whole.
1 Disney Is Falling!
There have been many terrible movies produced by under the Mouse's umbrella over the years, with the biggest offenders coming from the straight-to-video market and live-action productions. However, possibly the worst movie of them all might be an animated theatrical film based on a classic fable. 2005's Chicken Little should've been a classic, but it ended up being the worst Disney movie.
Taking place after he said the sky was falling, the movie focuses on Chicken Little's subsequent mockery and ostracizing from society.
Everyone's a jerk to him: his classmates, teachers, the media. Even his own father belittles him. Everyone comes off as a jerk in this movie, and it ends up twisting the lesson of the original fable. Along with subpar voice work and an uneven plot, this is easily one of the lowest points in Disney's history.
Are one of your favorite movies on this list? Let us know in the comments so we can point and laugh at you.