Follow TV Tropes


Film / The Sweatbox

Go To

The Sweatbox is a 2002 documentary produced by Xingu Films and co-directed by Trudie Styler and John-Paul Davidson, covering the making of the abandoned Disney feature Kingdom of the Sun and its slow, slow transformation into the film The Emperor's New Groove. The documentary was made as part of the deal with hiring musician Sting to compose songs for the movie, and was filmed by Sting's wife Trudie Styler.

Due to the documentary painting Disney in a rather unfortunate light (as well as a sprinkling of casual profanity), the company has made sure that it will never get an official release—fortunately, copies of the documentary have made their way across the internet, which remains the only way to view it.


  • Auteur License: Roger Allers was basically given free rein to make Kingdom of the Sun as he wanted it for four years after the roaring success of The Lion King (1994). Unfortunately, he lost it in 1998 due to a combo of then Disney president Peter Schneider hating the film as it was when it was only 1/4th of the way done, along with arranged tie in deals with Coca-Cola and McDonald's urging the company to rush the film down the pipeline. The final straw was Disney refusing Roger Allers' request for just six more months of production so the film could be done right, which caused Allers to walk off the project.
  • Broken Aesop: Discussed. Sting, who was hired to compose songs for Kingdom of the Sun (only two of which were used in The Emperor's New Groove) almost pulled out of the final movie because of this—the film was originally going to end with Kuzco building his mansion on a hill further away from Pacha's village and inviting Pacha and his family to stay in it, before Sting pointed out that if Kuzco still built his mansion after all his experiences he wouldn't really have learned anything. Since Sting was a staunch environmentalist, he took this very seriously—fortunately, Disney realized he was right and decided to alter the ending.
  • Executive Meddling: invoked Discussed, as the documentary from halfway through shows that the first screening of Kingdom of the Sun is deemed 'not working'. From that point on the executives continue to chime in on creative decisions in the movie.
  • Merchandise-Driven: Discussed. This is mentioned to be a major factor in why Kingdom of the Sun was scrapped. Before the movie was even 1/4th of the way animated, Disney had already arranged for tie in deals with companies like Coca-Cola and McDonald's to promote the film, and they were all anticipating a 2000 release date. Because a lot of money was hinging on this, Roger Allers was urged to rush the film through the pipeline so it could make the 2000 release date. Allers insisted on at least getting six more months of time to get the film done right, but Disney refused, which prompted Allers to quit the project.
  • Mythology Gag: The title is taken from the name for the old screening room for Walt Disney's early cartoons, which not only had no air-conditioning, but was the place where Walt would scrutinize the work of his artists.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Both Roger Allers and Andreas Deja were unhappy about the revamped project; for Allers itís due to the aforementioned revamping of the whole film, and for Deja itís due to the reworking of Yzmaís personality. Both then moved to Disney Florida to work on Lilo & Stitch, with Allers as a story supervisor.
  • Serious Business: The documentary makes it very clear just how hurt Roger Allers was by the whole experience of making Kingdom of the Sun going off the rails, since he takes the art form of animation very seriously.
    —""We were joking around this morning, and we said 'Oh, Roger (Allers), it's...c'mon, its just a cartoon, its not brain surgery.' And he said "Yeah, then I guess Picasso could say 'It's just a painting.' Or Beethoven could say 'It's just a symphony.' But its not, its their art, and y'know what, its his art. And Mark (Dindal)'s art, and Randy's art, and all of our art. And so it's more than just a cartoon, you go, y'know, this is what I do, this is why I'm here, this is what I want to do, I want to give you the audience the gift of this movie and right now, that gift is broken."
  • Troubled Production: invoked The film covers the turbulent production and meddling that eventually resulted in Kingdom of the Sun getting reworked into The Emperor's New Groove. Animators David Pruiksma and Tom Sito (who worked on both) have mentioned that the behind the scenes turmoil was even worse than just what the documentary showed.