Trivia / The Road to El Dorado

  • Box Office Bomb: Dreamworks' first. Budget, $95 million. Box office, $76,432,727.
  • Creator Backlash:
    • Animator Will Finn, who directed the bulk of the film, has stated on his Facebook that he does NOT have good memories of working on the movie, saying it was a bloodbath to make it behind the scenes, and that he has nightmares to this day about all the behind the scenes problems. One example have gave was the game sequence, which he had to fight for to get in the film because it was one of the few actual references to something indigenous in the film, but originally it was only a brief background visual—he said he didn't understand why it was such a struggle to put in but a lot of the backstage struggles on the movie made no rational sense. He ended up resigning later in production and going back to Disney. Of the movie itself, he merely considers it to be a largely forgettable film, and he also felt that the script was awful (he distinctly remembered bringing the script to writer David Swift, with the latter remarking "You're never going to make a good movie with shit like this for writing!", and Will believes that he was right).
    "Great crew - fantastic dedication of talented people but a doomed mess from concept on. I "directed" on it for almost 3 years but resigned ultimately. The movie has its moments but as a piece of entertainment it's utterly innocuous and forgettable. Yet unless you were there, you'd never know the sheer madness and bloodbath it was to make. If they made a movie of the making of it it would be a cross between Mutiny on the Bounty and The Producers!"
    • Rick Farmiloe, who animated on Tulio for the film, didn't think much of the final film either.
    "Part of my opinion of the movie is tied in with the crazy making of it. I have no particular fondness for it. It was a big missed opportunity as far as I'm concerned. The MAKING of it would make a much more compelling film!"
  • Creator Killer: After previously composing the The Lion King, the disappointing performing of this film botched the collaboration of composer Elton John and lyricist Tim Rice. They have not collaborated on any film since, and have mainly stuck to theatre.
  • Dueling Movies: Answer: Daily Double!. The Road to El Dorado is noteworthy for dueling thematically with not one, but two Disney Animated Canon films, with The Emperor's New Groove being the first (in the buddy-comedy in pre-colonial Latin America arena), and Atlantis: The Lost Empire being the second (in the hidden city with riches/Ms. Fanservice lead arena). El Dorado managed to lose to both (it was a clear-cut victory with The Emperor's New Groove, but not so much with Atlantis, which is in the exact same critical range as El Dorado . Atlantis was also a Box Office Bomb, but did end up making more money than El Dorado.
  • Enforced Method Acting: In a good way—Kenneth Branagh and Kevin Kline were actually in the recording booth together (which is rare; actors usually record their lines alone with someone else filling in the other characters) so they could play off each other and banter. It worked beautifully.
  • Non-Singing Voice: Averted; the main characters have the same voice actors for speaking and singing.
    • Played awfully straight in all foreign dubbings.
  • Stillborn Franchise: This movie was supposed to be the start of a film franchise.
  • Troubled Production: As mentioned earlier, director Will Finn said that the films production was an absolute bloodbath and that he still has nightmares about it to this day. It was bad enough that he resigned from Dreamworks to return back to Disney later in its production.
  • What Could Have Been: If this film had made its money back, we could have a whole franchise of them by now. They deliberately sprinkled the film with sequel hooks, and were already in the early stages of plotting out the sequels. One alternative ending to the film actually had them In Medias Res in their next adventure.
    • Supposedly, the original script would also have Miguel and Tulio's Ambiguously Gay Ho Yay played up more with them behaving more blatantly like a gay couple. "Suits" intervention resulted in the birth of Chel's character. What the animators intended is still clearly visible in the actual movie. Many scenes in which the boys act like the couple they were supposed to be were kept and Chel's part has no real influence on the story. In some scenes one can clearly see that she was later added such as when her shading doesn't quite fit.
    • It also was going to be revealed at the end that the armadillo was an angel/spirit sent to help Miguel and Tulio. Makes sense when you think about it, considering all the crazy stuff that happens with it around, including pretty much flying through the ball hoop.
    • The movie itself was originally gonna be a Rated R movie.
    • Chel was going to be a designated sacrifice victim, but the writers didn't want to show the city too soon.