"But in animation, everyone is expected to come as close as they can to Walt Disney. That's not a rap on Disney. He was a genius, an innovator…his stuff was so terrific that people came to believe that that was all there was to animation."
— Ralph Bakshi, in the notes for the DVD release of American Pop
Oh, the Disney Animated Canon
. Such wonderful movies to be found in it: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
, Beauty and the Beast
, The Lion King
Wait, what do you mean that last one doesn't belong?
It's not Disney
? Don't be ridiculous, only Disney could produce animation of that
Sadly, many people in Real Life
believe that, if it's a quality animated feature film
, it was made by Disney
. This is possibly a side effect of the Animation Age Ghetto
, as people are led to believe that not only are all cartoons for kids, but they're all made by the same kid-friendly company. Who wants to tell these people that there's more than one animation studio out there? Small Reference Pools
might play a role here, as well. Some people go so far as to believe that Disney invented
animation, which isn't true either: Walt was still in junior high school when Gertie the Dinosaur
Remember, though, that Disney is
the market leader in animated movies, and so it's understandable that rival animation studios follow trends
set by the Disney Animated Canon
). One critical reason is Don Bluth
, responsible for taking that style with him when he left Disney, using it in his films with other studios and making that line more blurred if you're not paying closer attention than looking and assuming. Disney also releases films not made by a Disney animation studio, such as The Brave Little Toaster
See also Critical Research Failure
— Disney uses Vanity Plates
on its work, and so do the other big-name animators.
Since Disney's most famous movies are traditionally animated films, this usually applies to cel-animated movies. On the CGI front, DreamWorks
has become a big enough name in its own right that their films rarely get mistaken for Pixar
's anymore. The other guys (Blue Sky Studios
, Illumination Entertainment
, Sony Pictures Animation, etc)... not so much. If it shares DreamWorks' tendency towards subversive or referential humor, chances are it'll get mistaken for one of their films. So a sub-trope of this could be "All CG Animation is Pixar or DreamWorks".
Contrast All Adult Animation Is South Park
. Compare/Contrast All Anime Is Naughty Tentacles
and Disney Owns This Trope
Not to be confused with Disneyesque
open/close all folders
Works regularly mistaken for Disney:
- Poor Don Bluth. This might happen to him the most. Then again, he did get his start at Disney...
- As mentioned before, Anastasia (released by 20th Century Fox) falls victim to this a lot. The marketing of the film heavily played up the Disneyesque elements.
- Warner Bros. tried to play this trope to its advantage during test screenings of Thumbelina. When they played the film with the Warner logo, audiences gave it a mediocre score. When they played it with the Disney logo, the scores were much higher. Bluth reported same thing was employed with Anastasia. With the Disney logo, some sequences even met with applause!
- Ironically, Disney distributed Bluth's An American Tail in some overseas markets, muddying the waters further. It's not uncommon to find screencaps from the film with a "copyright Disney" watermark on the corner still floating around on the internet due to this.
- The Disney Channel aired almost every Bluth film in the mid-1990s to add to that confusion, including FernGully.
- Several websites of song lyrics file Bluth film lyrics under Disney films instead.
- This video about Toy Story 3 makes a joke during a Disney medley about Bluth's films being Disney!
- In a non-animated film instance, the 1996 adaptation of The Wind in the Willows is mistaken as a Disney film due to the fact that Disney distributed the film in the U.S. and also because it was released on home video as "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride", a name shared by a particularly famous Disneyland ride that was based off of their adaptation of the story. It doesn't help that the trailers, as seen on tapes of the Direct-to-Video Cabbage Patch Kids series and Magic Adventures Of Mumfie VHS tapes (the latter of which is also prone to this trope) used the tagline "As Seen On The Disney Channel".
- The Iron Giant is frequently misidentified as Disney.
- Thomas and the Magic Railroad:
- One reviewer was under the impression that Thomas had been produced by Disney. Then again, the review itself was poking fun at fundamentalist Christians who think all movies are the work of the devil.
- Muddying the issue is that the movie actually aired on Playhouse Disney regularly in Asian markets. Heck, it seems that HiT Entertainment had an alliance with Disney in Asia (Barney & Friends actually aired on Playhouse Disney in the region!) up until when they launched their own channel, JimJam.
- Japanese confectionery Furuta used to call Thomas a Disney show on one of its' products from the show, but when they lost the Disney license, the mistake was fixed.
- Despicable Me is occasionally confused for a Disney film, as the Disney Channel has a habit of playing it a couple of times each month.
- Magic Adventures Of Mumfie
- This image of Mumfie's Quest calls it a Disney film, which is not surprising as the film can easily be mistaken for one due to the art style and the multiple musical numbers. Britt Allcroft adapted the movie from Katharine Tozer's books, and Phoenix Animation Studios animated it. However, some episodes of the TV series following the episodes the movie was made from avert this trope when it's animated by D'Ocon, as they look different.
- This website calls the show "Walt Disney at its' finest!" Oddly enough, D'Ocon made the episodes on this particular VHS tape.
- An eBay listing for one of the Ladybird books of the series called it Disney as well.
- Most of the output of 20th Century Fox (which was almost entirely the work of Bluth) and much later, their 3D studio Blue Sky Studios, gets mistaken for Disney.
- And this video calls the DreamWorks film The Prince of Egypt a Disney film.
- Check out this Yahoo! Answers inquiry: What is that disney movie with the blind guy and the magic sword and a girl whos dad dies or something ? The answer? Quest for Camelot, a product of Warner Bros. . Unlike most examples, it's hard to blame the person who got it wrong considering that Quest for Camelot rips off so many Disney cliches, tropes, and animation stylings.
- In the heyday of Disney's Second Golden Age of the late 80's/early 90's, many many low-budget animation houses lived off this trope like kings. They made (or more likely scrounged up) the most incredibly cheap knockoffs of every Disney film of the era and released them on video around the same time the films had been in theaters for a while. They took advantage of the sad fact that some parents didn't realize the difference. "The Little Mermaid is The Little Mermaid, right? It says so on the cover!" Fortunately, the majority of parents could tell the difference between the beloved Disney films and, say, this. Said films are still floating around out there and have proved to be a rich well of YouTube Poop. (And you have to love how every company came up with a wildly different Lion King cash-in given that the alleged inspiration was still copyrighted.) Goodtimes Entertainment counts itself among these companies; whenever a Disney movie hits theatres or video, Goodtimes is there with a based-on-the-same-public-domain-property direct-to-video cartoon.
- Bonus points go the one company that also shamelessly based their logo off the Warner Bros. shield.
- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang:
- One TV station in Malaysia, TV3 actually aired Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as one of the films on their Wonderful World of Disney movie slot a few years back. note
- The Goldo song "Boom Da Boom", which is about Disney characters, mentions Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
- Behold, a clueless ride operator refits a Pooh kiddie ride with a music box that plays the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang theme.
- Inverted and invoked live action instance: at the 2010 Disney shareholder meeting (the first such meeting after Disney's purchase of Marvel Comics) Disney highlighted Iron Man 2 in their "upcoming films" montage. When asked why, as the film was being distributed by Paramount, Disney CEO Bob Iger responded with "It's not our movie, but it's our character."
- The work of Richard Rich, who made The Swan Princess movies and The King and I, is often credited to Disney. Look closely during the Saturday Night Live "Saturday TV Funhouse" sketch "Journey To the Disney Vault", and you might find some Swan Princess DVDs sitting in the eponymous Vault.
- The Nutcracker Prince. Fans of this movie mistook most of the animation (save for the flashback sequences) as similar to the Disney era. It doesn't help that there's also a Disney Villain Death within this movie.
- Balto is another one that's frequently mistaken as a Disney film and as a Don Bluth film.
- Cats Don't Dance is made by Warner Bros. (and was originally going to have the Looney Tunes as its cast), but many think it's Disney.
- The Wild, made by C.O.R.E. Animation, is frequently a victim of this. Because it was distributed by Disney with a Disney logo, people often think it's a Disney movie. Make the mistake of calling it one in front of a couple Disney fans, and they'll eat you alive. Made even worse by the fact that in the UK, The Wild is featured as the 46th film in the Disney Animated Canon, while the 39th film Dinosaur is excluded.
- A woman complaining about The Lorax's discrimination keeps mistaking it for Disney when it's really Illumination.
- Roger Ebert's review of Monsters vs. Aliens calls it a Disney film (it's actually Dreamworks).
- Bridgit Mendler, who voiced the title character of the American dub of Studio Ghibli's The Secret World Of Arrietty, refers to the film as a Disney movie in one of the bonus features on the DVD, since Disney commissioned the American dub.
- An increasing number of American consumers actually believe that Studio Ghibli movies are owned by Disney, while Disney only has the rights to distribute some of the movies in North America. Some even go as far as to believe that Studio Ghibli is "the Japanese Disney".
- This Facebook post had a comment asking Disney Live! to include Alvin and the Chipmunks in their shows. Alvin and the Chipmunks is actually owned by 20th Century Fox.
- Not an animated film, but occasionally you'll come across some naive person or group of people who have lumped The Wizard of Oz in with the Disney animated oeuvre. Nobody ever explicitly calls The Wizard of Oz a Disney film (it's well known that it was produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and that Warner Brothers currently owns the rights to it), but school plays doing a salute to Disney will often include scenes from Oz alongside the likes of Aladdin. They must think the kids are stupid ("It's got fanciful characters and musical numbers, so it must be Disney!"), or else they might genuinely consider Oz a Disney film in all but name.
- The Sound of Music is also apparently thought to be Disney sometimes. A character in Addams Family Values saying "It's Disney" just before The Sound of Music comes on undoubtedly contributes to the confusion.
- Also exploited in a rather famous experiment on false memories: People were shown fake ads for Disneyland that included Bugs Bunny (who belongs at Six Flags), and they ended up telling the researchers that they'd seen Bugs Bunny when they went to Disneyland as children.
- Among the many flaws of The New Yorker's satirization of Epic Mickey and its darker, yet retro, reboot of Mickey, they call Porky Pig a Disney character.
- A Norwegian TV channel used to describe all animated features as Disney movies.
- An entry on the Disney fetish fuel page that said Lola Bunny. This is probably because her image was plastered on a bunch of glittery merchandise such as the Disney Princesses have.
- Sporcle has quizzes for both Walt Disney Pictures films and Pixar films. Half the comments for the Disney quiz are asking where Toy Story is; half the comments for the Pixar quiz are asking where Bolt is. Yeah.
- From the website "Letters of Note" comes this adorable exchange. In 1964, a girl who was a fan of Woody Woodpecker attempted to write a letter to his creator, Walter Lantz, but addressed it to Walt Disney instead, who was nice enough to reply to the girl and forward it along. Disney seemed to anticipate this trope in his note to Lantz, joking, "I get blamed for everything that happens in Hollywood!"
- Another common mistake made by many people, given the similar first names and the fact that they both were involved in the animation industry (although Disney owned his own studios while Lantz worked for Universal).
- A book of Disney quotes sold at Hallmark stores as part of a series of official Disney merchandise includes a line from Don Bluth's The Land Before Time.
- On March 22, 2011, Disney's ABC TV network presented a two-hour special titled "Best in Film: The Greatest Movies of Our Time", which presented the best moments or films in various categories. In the animation category, four of the choices were made by Walt Disney Pictures: 1. The Lion King, 3. Beauty and the Beast, 4. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and 5. Fantasia. Number 2? Toy Story - made by Pixar, but nevertheless distributed by Disney.
- This trope has a way of running rampant on eBay, either because the sellers themselves are ignorant or because they assume the buyers are.
- The The Little Mermaid ride at Disney California Adventure has The Incredible Mr Limpet as a background character, causing confusion; This is a nod to Limpet cameoing as a background character in "Under the Sea" in a crowd shot.
- Looking up "Dingo Pictures" on Wikipedia will actually lead to the Web site saying "Did you mean Disney Pictures?" This is probably just the search software picking the closest match in the database, but given Dingo's business model it's kind of apt, really.
- This article about the 2007 Pester Power awards calls Shrek a Disney movie.
- Inverted with the comic Blacksad - Guarnido, the illustrator, actually was a Disney animator, animating Hades in Hercules, Sabor in Tarzan, and Helga in Atlantis The Lost Empire, among other work, but the only evidence of this is in the characters' facial expressions. It might be because Blacksad is a gritty, violent, sexual, political noir comic (populated entirely by anthropomorphic animals, no less) and going for an entirely Disneyfied look wouldn't fit.
- Not even the Disney Parks are safe from this. For guests who are still in diapers, a store at the Disneyland hotel sells Huggies diapers and wipes (justified, since they have Disney characters on them) and Care Bears baby wipes. This might seem nice, until you know that Care Bears isn't a Disney property, even though it aired on Disney Channel from the mid-1980s up through the mid-1990s, and it also appeared on Toon Disney.
- This picture from the tumblr blog "PreCure and Friends" shows Looney Tunes and Peanuts snowglobes being sold as "Disney Snowglobes".
- A screenwriting book called "Your Screenplay Sucks" called The Prince of Egypt a Disney film; however, the author admitted later that it was a mistake. http://yourscreenplaysucks.wordpress.com/2014/04/20/set-up-death/#comments
- One ESL worksheet uses Disney characters, but four of the characters—Snoopy, Superman, Garfield, and Tom the cat)—are not Disney! However, in the United States, ABC airs the Peanuts specials, Garfield and Friends aired on Toon Disney, Garfield Gets Real aired on Disney Channel Asia, and the second live-action Garfield movie aired on Disney Cinemagic Portugal.
- Quite a few Latin American companies that print "Disney playing cards" include characters from Warner Bros., Paramount and other studios. For instance, this Peruvian deck, which includes Spider-Man, was printed long before Disney acquired Marvel Comics.
- This Facebook post calls Thing 1 and Thing 2 Disney characters.
- The common slang word for animation in Greece is "mickey mouses", since that's all they know of it.
- The freeware picture font Disney family 1 includes Tweety in the capital A and lowercase a positions. From the same designer, Pixar family 2 includes Shrek and Turbo, both of whom are DreamWorks characters.
- Not even TweenComs} and Kid Coms are safe from this. This complaint about Nickelodeon's Henry Danger calls it a Disney show.
- Mike Mozart's video on people who were arrested file-sharing called iCarly a Disney show.
- This Disney alphabet video features the word "Zebra" for the letter Z. The picture shown? Marty from Madagascar, which is not a Disney movie, but rather a Dreamworks movie.
- The person who made this even admits he knew Madagascar wasn't Disney, but he possibly put in the picture in there because there weren't many pictures of Disney zebras on the internet.
- This Cracked contest asked contestants to create R-rated versions of classic Disney movies. Weighing in at number 2 is Anastasia, which as mentioned above, was a 20th Century Fox movie.
- The Trope Namer is obvious. Got its start during The Golden Age of Animation, and it only got worse from there...
- It could probably be traced back to all of the Silly Symphonies clones that just about every animation studio was producing in the 1930's, to cash in on the success of Disney's shorts. Most of the time you could hardly tell the difference between them enough to realize which studio was producing it.
- Also, up until Don Bluth launched his own studio in 1980, Disney had very little competition in the realm of feature-length animation (Ralph Bakshi does not count), so two whole generations grew up in a time where virtually all animated movies were Disney.
- One YKTTW featured an incident where someone commenting on Avatar: The Last Airbender thought it was a Disney show. This did not pass without comment.
- The Disney parody in the Family Guy episode "Road to the Multiverse" is sometimes believed by others that it WAS made by Disney due to realistically mimicking the animation style and throwing in some Disney references (such as a musical sequence about pies, making Brian and Stewie look cute, Lois like a princess, Adam West as a mouse, etc.) But to be fair, this sequence was outsourced to a smaller, lesser-known animation studio (it wasn't even animated in Korea like the show usually is.)
- An Iranian scholar ranting about how Tom and Jerry is part of a "Jewish conspiracy" repeatedly says that Tom and Jerry is a "creation by Walt Disney", which only further discredits his already-ridiculous argument.
- A possibly apocryphal tale states that Jack Warner, famously clueless with regards to his own animation house, once said this: "All I know is that we make Mickey Mouse." If it's true, then it goes a long way to explaining how the "Termite Terrace" gang were able to get away with so much.
- Nicely inverted by a story from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. When Gene Kelly was making Anchors Aweigh (1945), he suggested that he could perform a dancing duet with Mickey. His producers reportedly looked dubious and asked, "And what's wrong with our Jerry?" And Jerry it became.
- The story exists in several variant forms. In some versions, Kelly wanted to use Donald Duck (in keeping with the film's nautical theme) rather than Mickey; in one version, Kelly's producers at MGM were willing, until William Hanna and Joseph Barbera heard about it and persuaded them to use Jerry; in another version, Walt Disney refused to loan Mickey out; in still another (perhaps the most likely) version, Walt was willing, but his brother Roy pointed out that their studio was in debt at the time and could not afford "to be making cartoons for other people."
- Disney potentially invoked this trope on a Christmas-themed Sing-Along Song video. Apparently, they couldn't find any fitting Disney clips for the "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" segment, so instead they used public domain footage from Max Fleischer's Animated Adaptation. This becomes especially amusing if you can recall that Walt Disney and the Fleischer Brothers considered themselves rivals during The Golden Age of Animation.
- This might be the result of the fact that Disney did distribute Fleischer cartoons on home video in the 1980s. Disney must have taken advantage of the fact the cartoons were public domain and released them for their own profit.
- This Yahoo! Answers inquiry calls SpongeBob a Disney property, when most people know that Nickelodeon made it.
- A bootleg DVD of the series from China came in a cardboard sleeve with the Disney logo on it, amongst fourteen other logos, of which only four were correct (Nickelodeon, Viacom, Paramount and MTV note .)
Works mistaken for something else than Disney:
Anime and Manga
- IMDb claims that Magical Princess Minky Momo is related to Creamy Mami. This might be due to the crossover short that promoted the release of the OAVs of those shows, but besides that, the two series have no relation to each other.
- All Family-Oriented Anime films are Studio Ghibli.
- All Computer Animation is Pixar or DreamWorks.
- And all Pixar is DreamWorks. And all DreamWorks is Pixar.
- Reality Is Unrealistic. Like the Thomas and the Magic Railroad example mentioned above, apparently several international Disney Channel feeds have also formed an alliance with DreamWorks and have began regularly screening DreamWorks movies. For example, Disney Channel Asia recently screened Over the Hedge, leaving those who knows the difference between Pixar, Disney and DreamWorks scratching their head in confusion.
- This came in full circle and bit Disney in the behind, because now when Disney makes CG movies independently of Pixar, people still assume it was Pixar.
- Chicken Little was the first to fall under this as it was the first non Pixar computer animated film from them.
- This video compares DreamWorks and Pixar animation.
- Many people think Ice Age is DreamWorks.
- This website gets its facts right until it gets to Rango.
- Whoever created THIS LIST is a prime example.
- A YouTube video involving Sonic telling viewers that he isn't the only thing that matters about Wreck-It Ralph has him citing it as a Pixar movie.
- Although otherwise very accurate in its behind-the-scenes information, this article from Glamour also calls Wreck-It Ralph a Pixar film, as does Charlie Brooker in Channel 4's "How videogames changed the world".
- DisneyToon Studios' Planes is often confused as a Pixar movie due to its blatant similarities to Carsnote . However, John Lasseter is the executive producer of the film and is responsible for the concept.
- Spill.com's review for Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs listed the distributor as Universal Studios, not 20th Century Fox or Blue Sky Studios, who are actually the ones responsible.
- Laika seems to be having issues with "All Horror-Themed Stop-Motion Animation Is Tim Burton" in the wake of Coraline and ParaNorman. It also doesn't help that the advertisements for the former said "From the director of The Nightmare Before Christmas," which led people to believe that they were Tim Burton movies, even though Burton wasn't even the director of Nightmare Before Christmas.
- Especially since ParaNorman came around the same time as Frankenweenie, which was an actual horror-themed stop-motion animated film directed by Tim Burton.
- Their distributors are likely doing this on purpose. Look on the DVD case for Coraline and try to spot Henry Selick's name anywhere. It's buried in those super-skinny all-caps credits on the back that nobody bothers to read.
- Similarly to the above, advertising for the film Once Upon a Forest seemed to hope that audiences would mistake it for a Don Bluth film by saying it was "From the creator of An American Tail" (the film was produced by David Kirschner, who came up with the concept of the latter film). It fooled many, but didn't do much to help its box office take. It being 1993, well after Bluth's fall from grace, it was perhaps too late for this ploy to work anyway.
- Some people are unaware that Don Bluth had no involvement in Fievel Goes West.
- Balto and Were Back A Dinosaurs Story are also often mistaken for Don Bluth films.
- Igor tends to be mistaken for a DreamWorks film because of its design and humor.
- All Slapstick/Cartoon-y Animation is Warner Bros. Works like Tom and Jerry and Woody Woodpecker in particular were hit hard with this in the 1940s (and then again in the 1990s when "classic" cartoon characters became popular again). This has become something of a moot point, though, since Warner Bros.' purchase of Turner Entertainment in the early 1990s gave them the rights to the "classic" cartoons done by MGM, Hanna-Barbera and United Artists, so now only Most Slapstick/Cartoon-y Animation is (Owned by) Warner Bros.
- A topic on ProTeacher calls Kim Possible and Spongebob Squarepants Cartoon Network shows.
- One bootleg DVD set of Recess said it was from Nickelodeon. Recess is a Disney show, inverting this trope.
- Many people have also mistaken Recess to have been made by Klasky-Csupo. While Rugrats co-creator Paul Germain co-created the show with Rugrats writer Joe Ansolabehere, Klasky-Csupo itself had no part in making the show.
- Warner Home Video released Thundarr the Barbarian: The Complete Series, a Ruby-Spears production, and mistakenly implied the series was made by Hanna-Barbera.
- Mike, Lu & Og is sometimes mistaken for a Klasky-Csupo show. Probably because one of the creators worked on Rugrats.
- Barney Bear is often mistaken for being created by Tex Avery, probably due to the animation style being similar to the one used on Avery's cartoons.
- Because of D'Ocon working on the company's Pocket Dragon Adventures, Magic Adventures Of Mumfie is sometimes mistaken for a DiC show.
- A comment on the intro to the 70's version of Mumfie asked where the Don Bluth version was. Don Bluth didn't make Mumfie, Britt Allcroft did.