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Trivia / The Black Cauldron

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  • Box Office Bomb: The film only returned 85% of its $25 million budget. It remains one of Disney's poorest-performing theatrical releases.
  • Creator Killer:
    • The failure to get the film out in any reasonable amount of time helped bring down Ron Miller's regime at Disney, and its financial failure ensured that he would never work in Hollywood again. He founded the Silverado winery and moved into that business instead.
    • Co-directors Ted Berman and Richard Rich and producer Joe Hale were fired from Disney in the wake of the film's release note ; Berman and Hale never worked in animation again. Rich ended up being recruited by Utah entrepreneurs to produce videos based on the Bible and American History, leading to the creation of a new animation studio. Rich is still working, but his career is now built on franchises based on The Swan Princess and Alpha and Omega, the only two successes he has had post-Disney.
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    • It was very nearly the death of Disney itself. But its spectacular failure, as well as the growing amount of competition, led to Disney making some changes, and The Little Mermaid, released a few years later, is generally considered to be the start of their Renaissance Age.
    • Inverted with Jeffrey Katzenberg, who ended up becoming more influential within Disney as a result of this film's failure; he was able to utilize his "I told you this would flop" position on the movie over the older executives who had believed in it, painting their tastes as out of touch with what then-current moviegoers wanted to see.
  • Disowned Adaptation: Subverted. The author of the original novels, Lloyd Alexander, didn't really consider the movie an adaptation. Surprisingly, he actually liked the film anyway, mostly because he felt it had so little to do with his work.
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  • Dueling Works: This movie, Legend, and The Legend of Zelda all feature the same three main characters: a young man in green clothes with a magic sword, a beautiful blonde-haired princess, and a fearsome demon-king. All three came out within a year of each other, meaning that all three were in development at the same time, and couldn't have influenced each other's development. One can only imagine Nintendo's, Disney's, and Ridley Scott's reactions when they discovered what the other two had done.
  • Executive Meddling:
    • It jumps straight into a very loose adaption of the second story of The Chronicles of Prydain. Which in of itself is a very, very dangerous move.
    • After watching a test screening, the then-newly appointed studio head Jeffrey Katzenberg wanted to cut out the less family-friendly parts of the film. When the animation team refused to make the necessary changes, he personally tried to edit the film before then-CEO Michael Eisner got him to back off. A compromise was eventually reached to cut out 12 minutes.
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    • The Film's creation was a result of this. Originally, the animators wanted to work on an adaptation of Mary Stewart's The Little Broomstick. However, the higher-ups wanted a more ambitious project. Thus, The Black Cauldron was the end result.
  • Franchise Killer:
    • Disney secured the rights to the entire Chronicles of Prydain, but the film flopped so hard, it killed off any future plans of continuing the series for three decades. The film was also nearly this for the Disney Animated Canon.
    • Luckily this has been ultimately averted, as Disney is, as of the 2010's, planning on a live-action adaptation of the original books. It may not be The Black Cauldron itself, but it has the potential to be even better.
  • Genre-Killer: Its failure killed any studio interest in PG-rated animated films until DreamWorks Animation's successes with Antz, The Prince of Egypt, and especially Shrek.
  • No Export for You:
    • The Black Cauldron has never been released or dubbed in Hungary, Turkey, Israel, or Thailand. This may also have been for content reasons, as those countries do treat animated pieces like children's fare.
    • Downplayed in Latin America, as the film wasn't released there until 1998.
  • Old Shame: Disney went to great lengths to disassociate themselves from the film. For example:
    • Disney opened a Black Cauldron-themed restaurant, called "Gurgi's Munchies and Crunchies", at Disney World in anticipation of the film's release. Once the film bombed, they closed this restaurant down and later remodeled it into a Beauty and the Beast themed establishment (which since has been replaced with a Robin Hood establishment).
    • Because this movie was both atypical and unpopular, it wasn't released on home video until 1998, 13 years after its theatrical run.
    • Rumors about what Disney considered doing with the film in the 13 years of its reported shelving have circulated on the internet. One rumor claims it was because of The Little Mermaid that The Black Cauldron didn't come to home media sooner. Disney was all set to release it when the latter film became a smash hit and they were pressured to get it on video ASAP.
    • There has been a rumor that Disney reissued The Black Cauldron in theaters several years later under a new title, Taran and the Magic Cauldron. A 1990 newspaper clipping from Bend, Oregon provides evidence that it was shown in a theater in that area (possibly as a trial run), and 35mm prints with this title are in circulation even if a wide release didn't occur. The only other evidence for this theory are posters under multiple languages, as well as children's tie-ins (picture books and puzzles), all bearing this new title.
  • Relationship Voice Actor: Unsurprisingly enough, in the Latin American Spanish dub Taron and Eilonwy are voiced by Raul Aldana and Diana Santos respectively, who previously voiced Cavin and Princess Calla, their respective expies, from the dub of Adventures of the Gummi Bears.
  • Stillborn Franchise: Disney actually had the rights to the entire book series. When the movie imploded, plans for any sequels and any more adaptations of the books by Hollywood were sunk for 30 years; Disney reobtained the rights and began plans to try the series again in 2016, this time as live action.
  • The Other Marty: Hayley Mills was originally cast in the role of Princess Eilonwy and hosted a behind-the-scenes special on Disney's Wonderful World in which she introduces herself as the voice of the character. Then, for reasons unknown, Mills was replaced.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The film was initially meant to be even darker, but many scenes were cut by Katzenberg before its release.
    • Concept art on the DVD shows that the ending of the film would have been closer to the books, with the Horned King being destroyed by Gwydion.
    • Early concept drawings of Eilonwy are more akin to the books' portrayal of her, with red-gold hair, bare feet, a ragged scullery maid's dress, and a distinct Cloud Cuckoo Lander vibe.
    • Tim Burton drew up some concept art for the film, not a single piece of which was used.note 
    • The cuts were made to keep it from getting the R rating because the PG-13 rating hadn't been invented yet. Imagine if the cuts weren't made (some of the footage Katzenberg had cut actually made it to the film's trailer on early copies of the 1985 VHS of Pinocchio).


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