- In the Looney Tunes compilation movie Daffy Duck's Fantastic Island, Daffy, Speedy Gonzales, Yosemite Sam and the Tasmanian Devil are stuck on an deserted island with only three wishes after the map that works a wishing well is destroyed. Speedy and Daffy play this trope straight when Speedy wishes for a burrito and Daffy, annoyed over the wish, wishes it was on his nose. When Daffy suggests using the last wish to get it off, he finds out that Sam and Taz has averted the trope by wishing for a new ship, leaving the other two behind.
- Referenced in DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp, by the Genie himself. He knows that "Big wishes always lead to big trouble! The bigger the wish the bigger the trouble!" and asks the Nephews to keep their wishes small. But Webby can't help but fall into this trope twice- Her first wish was a baby elephant whose sudden appearence terrifies Mrs. Beakly, and her last was to turn her toys into Living Toys, which quickly go on a rampage. The Nephews had to use their own wishes to undo Webby's.
- Disney's Aladdin uses this idea, but even without a Literal Genie it doesn't turn out as desired.
- Aladdin wishes to become a prince, but he only wants for Jasmine to love him. He certainly gets to be a magnificent prince, but Jasmine is put off. Once he starts acting like a street rat, Jasmine is once again attracted to him.
- Jafar caught this too - he wants power, and eventually to get the level of power he wants, he becomes a genie and is bound to a lamp. So he had vast power but at the same time, no power at all.
- In the sequel Aladdin: The Return of Jafar, Jafar becomes a Literal Genie and tricks Abis Mal into wasting two wishes by making him wish for a sunken treasure... and teleporting him to the bottom of the sea, making him use his second wish to go back to Agrabah. One of the themes of the movie is that while it's one of the three genie rules that a genie can't kill you, "you'd be surprised what you can live through."
- Lady and the Tramp 2: Scamp's Adventure: Scamp desires to be "wild and free" and not be restricted by rules. However, when he gets his chance and discovers the harsh realities of that kind of life, he changes his tone:Scamp: "I got all I ever wanted... and it stinks."
- In Bolt, the director pulls one of these when Mindy-from-the-Network asks for a less than happy ending. He ends it abruptly and says to Mindy "How does your audience feel about... cliffhangers? You wanted unhappy 18-35 year olds, I'll give you unhappy 18-35 year olds. Small example but it works."
- A cover for the film version of Coraline features the trope name, word for word, written on a wall.
- To be specific, Coraline wished that her parents paid more attention to her. Once she traveled to the Other World, the Other Mother paid her too much attention, such as with instances of unwanted touching, the "learn to be a loving daughter" scolding - common behaviour typical of Abusive Parents, specifically My Beloved Smother.
- The Princess and the Frog: Dr. Facilier promises to "make all [Lawrence and Naveen's] wildest dreams come true." To quote Discworld, remember some of your dreams?
- In this case, Facilier uses Exact Words and double-meanings to convince the pair to accept his deal; Facilier identifies Naveen as "Wanting to be free" and to "hop from place to place" and offers "Green" to get that (The card for future shows Naveen on a lily pad). Lawrence is recognized as always being a servant, but is offered a chance to improve his station (Lawrence's future card shows him and Naveen in switched positions). When they accept, Naveen is turned into a frog and Lawrence is given Naveen's appearance.
- This drives the movie Shrek Forever After. When Shrek wants "one day where I can be an ogre like I used to be," he gets it. Too bad the deal he made with the Big Bad has rather unpleasant consequences.
- This happens to Merida in Brave when she wished that her mother would "change" without saying specifics and to the prince of the legend who wishes for "the strength of ten men", was turned into a bear and caused him to kill everyone in the throne room and his brothers were among the victims.
- In Wreck-It Ralph, the Nicelanders challenge Ralph that if he can get a medal, he can get the keys to the penthouse. Ralph does manage to get a medal, but because of his and Fix-It Felix's (who went to find Ralph) absence, Fix-it Felix Jr. has already been declared out of order and will be unplugged soon. As promised, Ralph gets the key to the penthouse but it is now abandoned.
- Three more examples occur in the sequel: Ralph Breaks the Internet:
- When Vanellope reveals that she has grown tired of racing on all the same levels of Sugar Rush and desires something new and exciting, Ralph decides to game jump again to make another makeshift track just for her. Initially Vanellope is overjoyed, but when she tries to override the player controlling her in the real world, it winds up breaking the steering wheel for Sugar Rush, thus causing the game to be unplugged.
- Played for Laughs when Calhoun and Felix agree to adopt all the homeless racers of Sugar Rush, thinking that pampering them with unconditional love and attention will make them all good kids. Only for them to witness first-hand how uncontrollably violent and spoiled they are by nature. By the film's end, it's "revealed" that Felix and Calhoun's parenting actually did work.
- Played for Drama when Ralph unleashes the Insecurity Virus into Slaughter Race, after overhearing Vanellope's desire to stay in Slaughter Race rather than return back to Sugar Rush, despite all the trouble that Ralph went through to raise the money and get the part that could get Sugar Rush fixed.
- Three more examples occur in the sequel: Ralph Breaks the Internet:
- Toy Story 3 has the main characters wishing early on that they would get played with again. When they do, it's at a day care where they happen to be assigned to toddlers who handle them too roughly. (All the main characters are toys meant for older kids than toddlers.) (And when Buzz Lightyear tries to negotiate with Lotso, the toy in charge of all the other toys, to get himself and the rest of the main characters put into the room with the older kids, Buzz and eventually the other toys find out that Lotso runs the place like a prison.) note
- In Superman vs. the Elite, the titular team is a group of anti-heroes who try to convince Superman that his Thou Shall Not Kill policy is hopelessly outdated in the modern world. After a series of confrontations, Superman shows them how terrifying he would be if he gave up his morals.
- Mentioned by name in How to Train Your Dragon 2:Eret: If we don't turn up with dragons and fast—(Astrid's dragon Stormfly snatches Eret off his ship) YEAGGH!
Astrid: Careful what you wish for.
- Strange Magic: Marianne says something to this effect to herself as she had expressed a desire to have adventures and was now forced to break into the local Evil Overlord's castle to save her sister.
- In The Prince of Egypt, the pharaoh Rameses concluded a threat to Moses with the phrase "And there shall be a great cry in all of Egypt, such as never has been or ever will be again!". This is based on the Bible and it was right between the Ninth and the Tenth Plague, that struck that very night. You can guess who cried...
- In a Disney direct-to-DVD package film named Once upon a Halloween, the Wicked Witch cooks up the plan of joining all the other villains of the past, so they can take over the world together. At midnight, she wished upon her magic cauldron to "join her with the other villains" (despite the cauldron's warnings), which results in her being killed and sent directly to Hell, ''since that's where all the villains of the past, who died at the end of their own stories, are.
- In Beauty and the Beast, Belle sings about her desire for adventure and travel. She probably didn't mean trekking through creepy, wolf-filled woods during a blizzard, or ending up as a prisoner in a gloomy castle ruled by a ferocious Beast. Though to her surprise, it's there that she ends up finding the happiness she dreamed of.
Be Careful What You Wish For / Animated Films