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Tear Jerker / Waking Sleeping Beauty

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Waking Sleepy Beauty covers the history of Disney's success between 1984-1994 and the high point of their Disney Renaissance (up til the release of The Lion King), but Don Hahn's narration throughout the film is very somber sounding. The opening prologue features Hahn explaining the brewing conflicts between the four executives of the company that spilled over in 1994, accompanied by a slow, melancholic piano rendition of Snow White's "Someday My Prince Will Come".

  • Howard Ashman's death from AIDS in 1991. Howard worked on both The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast, and partially on Aladdin, writing some of Disney's best songs since the Sherman Brothers' work. His death came as a cold shock to the animation staff. Don Hahn, Peter Schneider, Jeffrey Katzenberg and others visited him in hospital, finding he was under weight, lost his eyesight, and could not speak. They shared the reaction from the press after showing them footage of Beauty and the Beast. When it came to say goodbye, Don Hahn told Howard the film would be a huge success and asked who would have thought it. Howard replied with "I would've."
    • The section on Howard's death ends with the Beast's Disney Death where the last petal of the rose falls.
  • Frank Wells' death in a helicopter crash in April 1994 and what followed. His death shook the company to its core, leading to the breakup of Disney's dream team. He was The Peacekeeper within the management, and very beloved.
  • The animators' exile from the studio lot by Katzenberg in favour of his Hollywood associates' needs. The animators moved into a shoddy, dull warehouse-like building off the lot and lost their morale for a time. Katzenberg only added fuel to the fire by telling the staff he was less interested in making good stories but rather making money. Katzenberg later formed a better relationship with the animators, and a second, better animation studio was built.
  • The Old Shame that The Black Cauldron became, bombing at the box office and was beaten by The Care Bears Movie(!) Disney's animation department was nearly shut down as a result.
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  • After The Rescuers Down Under opening weekened was less profitable than expected, Katzenberg immediately considered it a failure and pulled all the advertising. The director Mike Gabriel cried over the phone, but Katzenberg comforted him and encouraged him to start over the next day, revealing he was a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Eisner and Roy backstabbing Katzenberg by announcing the new animation building, and Katzenberg was never informed of it. The look on his face in a photo from the Beauty and the Beast premiere shows his sadness and pain.
  • Katzenberg had a personal chat with the animators and was reduced to tears upon learning what difficulties they faced in their life, being unable to have families, suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, etc. Katzenberg apologised for his behaviour, forming a better relationship with the artists.
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  • Eisner's words "I'd like to freeze my life right now." — The scene cuts away to the Mood Whiplash that Frank Wells' death brought to Disney.
  • Katzenberg's departure from Disney was a bumpy one. His habit of being an Attention Whore and desire to fill Frank's seat as company president led to clashes with Eisner and his eventual resignation from the company. His thank you message to the animators who made The Lion King comes across as a goodbye as well, and can actually be pretty hard to watch no matter how you feel about the man (this message closes the film).
  • The film is dedicated to Joe Ranft ("The Artist"), Howard Ashman ("The Poet"), Frank Wells ("The Mountain Climber"), and Roy E. Disney ("The Old Sailor")

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