Mickey Mouse horror films and video game announced – just hours after copyright expired

Two horror films and a video game featuring Mickey Mouse were announced just hours after Disney’s earliest versions of the cartoon character entered the public domain in the US.

The copyright on Disney‘s 1928 short film Steamboat Willie expired in the US on New Year’s Day, 95 years after it was released.

It means the early versions of Mickey and Minnie Mouse featured in the film – their first screen release – can be used without incurring a cost.

Image: A poster for Steamboat Willie Pic: Snap/Shutterstock

Mickey’s Mouse Trap, a slasher film that features imagery from Steamboat Willie, is expected to be released in March.

Its trailer has been released on YouTube, with the caption claiming the movie is the “first ever live-action Mickey Mouse comedy horror feature film”.

The movie follows a group of young people who have thrown a surprise 21st birthday party for their friend, who is doing a late shift at an amusement arcade.

A masked killer dressed as the children’s character decides to play a sinister game with the group.

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They are seen enjoying the amusement arcade before one says: “There’s blood all over the jungle gym.”

This image provided by MM Trap LTD shows a scene from "Mickey's Mouse Trap." On Monday, Jan. 1, 2024, the iconic Mickey Mouse character from "Steamboat Willie" entered the public domain after the expiration of the 95-year copyright, and is already the focus of two horror films, including "Mickey's Mouse Trap." (MM Trap LTD via AP)
Image: A scene from Mickey’s Mouse Trap

A clip from Steamboat Willie plays before the masked killer grabs one of the young women from behind.

The text on the screen says: “A place for fun. A place for friends. A place for hunting. The mouse is out.”

Director Jamie Bailey said: “We just wanted to have fun with it all.

Image: Mickey Mouse in Steamboat Willie Pic: Snap/Shutterstock

“I mean it’s Steamboat Willie’s Mickey Mouse murdering people.

“It’s ridiculous. We ran with it and had fun doing it, and I think it shows.”

A second Mickey Mouse-inspired horror is set to be made by director Steven LaMorte, who previously directed a horror parody of The Grinch.

“A late-night boat ride turns into a desperate fight for survival in New York City when a mischievous mouse becomes a monstrous reality,” is the logline for the untitled film, as posted on LaMorte’s Instagram.

“Steamboat Willie has brought joy to generations, but beneath that cheerful exterior lies a potential for pure, unhinged terror,” LaMorte told US publication Variety.

“It’s a project I’ve been dreaming of, and I can’t wait to unleash this twisted take on this beloved character to the world.”

The movie has yet to begin production.

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Meanwhile, a video game called Infestation: Origins inspired by the early Mickey Mouse has also been slated for release in 2024 by company Nightmare Forge Games.

Steamboat Willie was directed by Walt Disney and his partner Ub Iwerks, and shows the cartoon figure captaining a boat and making musical instruments out of other animals.

Slasher film Winnie The Pooh: Blood and Honey was released last year after A A Milne’s original storybook about a bear who loves honey, released in 1926, entered the public domain in the US in January 2022.

Source : Sky News