Trivia / Sleeping Beauty

  • Box Office Bomb: Budget, $6 million. Box office, $5.3 million. While this Disney Classic WAS the second highest box office success that year, its high production costs due to it being filmed in 70mm and several other factors in Walt's studio that year resulted in the company winding up over $1 million in the red, which led to layoffs.
  • Cut Song:
  • Development Gag: The artists really couldn't decide what color to make Aurora's dress, which lead to the gag of Flora and Merryweather perpetually changing it back and fourth between blue and pink.
  • Development Hell: Was in the works for almost all of the 1950s with production starting in 1951 and being released in 1959. In that time, it became a financial behemoth which didn't make its cost back despite being the second-highest grossing movie of the yearnote . Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland had visitors walking past a set of dioramas of scenes from the movie in 1957, and the movie was still two years off.
  • Fake Brit: In a sense. Mary Costa had a rather thick Southern accent when she was cast, and she describes Walt Disney asking her to do a British accent for Aurora. This is less of an issue now since Costa's accent faded after years of musical theatre.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • When the fairies are having tea, one of them conjures up biscuits in the shape of Mickey Mouse's head.
    • During the transition shot to the Forbidden Mountain, the wisps around the castle form skulls.
  • Genre-Killer: The film's failure to earn back its exorbitant budget resulted in this twofold: it was not only the last animated film based on a fairy tale that Disney would make until The Little Mermaid in 1989, it also ended Disney's second run of lavish, expensive animated features that had been restarted with Cinderella in 1950; this inadvertently began The Dark Age of Animation, as Disney was the last studio in Hollywood who was willing to spend money on full animation.
  • Genre Relaunch: The movie was an attempt from Disney to return to "experimental" films, where an astronomical budget was irrelevant to the film's technical innovations and lavish character animation and layout. As mentioned above, it was sadly not meant to be at the time, but this was accomplished in 1986 in a manner, when its Walt Disney "Black Diamond" Classics home video release helped build Disney then, which led to The Little Mermaid.
  • Ink-Suit Actor:
    • Merryweather's face bears a strong resemblance to her voice actress Barbara Luddy, even though she did not model for the live action references.
    • Aurora's face is modelled after her voice actress, Mary Costa. However, her body was inspired by Audrey Hepburn.
  • The Other Marty: Hans Conreid, who voiced Captain Hook in Peter Pan, recorded dialogue as King Stefan. He was later replaced with Taylor Holmes.
  • Playing Against Type: Voice actress Verna Felton typically played mean old ladies such as the Alpha Bitch elephant in Dumbo, Aunt Sarah in Lady and the Tramp , the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland and Fred's eternally nagging mother-in-law in The Flintstones. Here she plays one of the heroic Good Fairies, Flora. (Coincidentally, she played a good fairy in the other animated film Eleanor Audley was in, which was Cinderella.)
  • The Red Stapler:
    • Many a Princess Classic in Western Animation have gowns that are inspired by Aurora's. Likewise a good amount of princess costumes in stores are based off it. Likewise along with the rest of the Disney Princesses, execs noted that children would be seen at the parks and ice shows attempting to dress in the gowns - so they created official dress-up gowns as merchandise.
    • Aurora as a baby name has been growing in popularity, with many fans of the movie naming daughters after the princess. Likewise, Merriweather (or alternate spellings such as "Meriwether") was traditionally a boys' name, but a few girls have been named that after the good fairy in this movie.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The original storyline had Aurora grow up at the palace, like in the original fairy tale. She and Philip would have met after she sneaked out to a local fair, disguised as a servant girl.
    • Diablo was originally a vulture who spoke with an anachronistic Brooklyn accent.
    • An early treatment has Aurora prick her finger not because Maleficent hypnotizes her, but rather because Maleficent convinces her that touching the spindle would grant her strongest wish (similar to how Snow White bit the poison apple after the Witch called it "a magic wishing apple").
    • The Three Good Fairies were originally meant to have powers associated with their names, but this was scrapped during production. Flora's idea of turning Aurora into a flower is a leftover from this part of development.
    • Walt Disney wanted the three fairies to be single-minded triplets at first, but other animators convinced him to diversify their personalities. Additionally early drafts of the film had seven fairies like the original tale.
    • Eleanor Audley initially turned down the role of Maleficent, as she was battling tuberculosis at the time. Fortunately, she changed her mind, and Maleficent became her Career Defining Role.
    • The drunken argument between Kings Stefan and Hubert was going to take place at the beginning of the film. It would feature a song where they would compare portraits of their children, called "It Happens I Have A Picture".
    • The sequence with the cake would have the fairies cause the first attempt to crash through the roof. It was cut because Walt Disney felt it was one gag too many.

  • The 1986 Walt Disney Classics VHS/LaserDisc was a major release for Walt Disney Home Video, and some copies came in a boxset that including the five Classics films released prior, (Robin Hood, Pinocchio, Dumbo, The Sword in the Stone, and Alice in Wonderland, in that order.) Some copies of those tapes, by the way, have a trailer for The Journey of Natty Gann; Sleeping Beauty isn't one of them. Its 1986 VHS starts with the dark-red F.B.I. warnings (which were identical to 1991's green warnings), a video dealer announcement, the 1984 "Cheesy Diamond" The Classics: Walt Disney Home Video logo, the film's custom-made Buena Vista logo, the opening credits, and then the movie (Sleeping Beauty was the only release to have both the "Cheesy Diamond" logo and the Buena Vista logo on all of its copies). The reissue the next year removed the video dealer plug-in and replaced the dark-red warnings with the 1984 white-and-red F.B.I. warnings, but is the same otherwise. These tapes were the only way to view the film at home for 10 years (a theatrical reissue that was plugged on the Classics video release of Beauty and the Beast never came to pass), until it finally reemerged as part of the Walt Disney Masterpiece Collection series; that tape is one of two tapes in that line, the other being Lady and the Tramp, to have a widescreen letterbox version made (in a bit of irony, their Classics tapes returned to the Disney Vault together and were withheld for a decade; they're also the only two Classics releases that had a "Cheesy Diamond" Classics logo to not be reissued with the Sorcerer Mickey Classics logo).
  • Sleeping Beauty is the first of the "Untouchables" to reach Blu-ray, as the semifinal installment in the Walt Disney Platinum Editions series. This also makes it the Canon's first hand-drawn film with a BD release, and the first "Untouchable" to have two Blu-ray discs (it was reissued on Blu-ray and digital download as part of the followup Walt Disney Diamond Editions series in 2014, just past Maleficent's theatrical run.) This makes Sleeping Beauty one of the first Disney releases to have the current Disney Blu-ray logo on both the disc labels and the program (the animated Disney Blu-ray logo starts identically to the 2006 Walt Disney Pictures logo before it zooms out and creates the actual logo).

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