what's happening with Steamboat Willie

‘Steamboat Willie’ Unleashes Horror Wave As Mickey Mouse Ventures Into The Public Domain

As of yesterday, the 1928 Steamboat Willie version of the iconic Mickey Mouse has entered the public domain, paving the way for horror projects featuring the beloved character. Following in the eerie footsteps of Winnie the Pooh‘s Blood and Honey, last year’s unofficial horror adaptation, the latest nightmare on the block is titled Mickey’s Mouse Trap, set to hit screens as early as March 2024.

Directed by Jamie Bailey, the film follows Alex‘s 21st birthday celebration at an amusement arcade, taking a chilling turn when a masked killer dressed as Mickey Mouse decides to play a deadly game. Bailey, speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, expressed the team’s desire to have fun with the concept, acknowledging the absurdity of Steamboat Willie’s Mickey Mouse turning into a murderer.

The cast of Mickey’s Mouse Trap includes Sophie McIntosh, Callum Sywyk, Allegra Nocita, Ben Harris, Damir Kovic, Mackenzie Mills, Nick Biskupek, and Simon Phillips. The film promises to be a thrilling blend of horror, heart, and humor.

Not stopping at one horror film, the public domain status of Mickey Mouse has also paved the way for another untitled Steamboat Willie-inspired horror-comedy directed by Steven LaMorte. Building on the success of his previous venture, The Mean One, which turned the Grinch into a slasher, LaMorte is set to depict a sadistic mouse tormenting unsuspecting ferry passengers.

Acknowledging the potential for confusion, filmmakers are cautious about the legal limitations, as only the original incarnation of Mickey Mouse from Steamboat Willie is in the public domain. The more modern versions of the character and the use of the name Mickey Mouse remain under Disney‘s copyright protection.

In response to these developments, a Disney representative stated their commitment to protecting rights in modern versions of Mickey Mouse. They emphasized that the character would continue to serve as a global ambassador for the company across various media, and legal action would be taken against unauthorized uses causing consumer confusion.

Stay tuned for more updates on this bizarre chapter in cinematic history.

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Eva van den Bosch Head Editor, Photographer
Eva van den Bosch combines concert photography with a prominent editorial role at Strife Mag.