Aladdin (1992 Disney film)
Aladdin is a 1992 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. The film is the 31st Disney animated feature film, and was the fourth produced during the Disney film era known as the Disney Renaissance. It was produced and directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, and is based on the Arabic folktale of the same name from the One Thousand and One Nights. The voice cast features Scott Weinger, Robin Williams, Linda Larkin, Jonathan Freeman, Frank Welker, Gilbert Gottfried and Douglas Seale. The film follows Aladdin, an Arabian street urchin, who finds a magic lamp containing a genie. He disguises himself as a wealthy prince, and tries to impress the Sultan and his daughter.
Theatrical release poster by John Alvin
|Directed by||Ron Clements|
|Produced by||Ron Clements|
|Screenplay by||Ron Clements|
|Based on||Aladdin and the Magic Lamp from One Thousand and One Nights[a]|
|Music by||Alan Menken|
|Edited by||Mark A. Hester |
H. Lee Peterson
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Pictures|
|Box office||$504 million|
Lyricist Howard Ashman first pitched the idea, and the screenplay went through three drafts before then-Disney Studios president Jeffrey Katzenberg agreed to its production. The animators based their designs on the work of caricaturist Al Hirschfeld, and computers were used for both finishing the artwork and creating some animated elements. The musical score was written by Alan Menken and features six songs with lyrics written by both Ashman and Sir Tim Rice, who took over after Ashman's death.
Aladdin was released on November 25, 1992, to critical and commercial success, becoming the highest-grossing film of 1992 with an earn of over $504 million in worldwide box office revenue. Upon release, it became the first animated feature to reach the half–billion dollar mark, and was the highest-grossing animated film of all time until it was surpassed by The Lion King. Aladdin garnered two Academy Awards, as well as other accolades for its soundtrack which had the first and only number from a Disney feature to earn a Grammy Award for Song of the Year for the film's theme song sung by Regina Belle. The film's home video VHS release also set a sales record and grossed about $500 million in the United States. Aladdin's success led to various derived works and other material inspired by the film, including two direct-to-video sequels, The Return of Jafar (1994) and Aladdin and the King of Thieves (1996); an animated television series of the same name; and a Broadway adaptation. A live-action film adaptation directed by Guy Ritchie was released on May 24, 2019.
Jafar, the Royal Vizier of the fictional city of Agrabah, placed near the Jordan River, and his parrot Iago seek a lamp hidden within the Cave of Wonders. They are told that only one person is worthy to enter: "the diamond in the rough", whom Jafar later identifies as Aladdin, an Agrabah street urchin. Princess Jasmine of Agrabah, upset that the law requires her to marry a prince instead of one she loves, escapes the palace and meets Aladdin and his pet monkey, Abu. The palace guards capture Aladdin on Jafar's orders. Jasmine confronts Jafar to demand Aladdin's release, but he lies and says that Aladdin has been executed.
Disguised as an old man, Jafar frees Aladdin and Abu and brings them to the cave, ordering them to retrieve the lamp. After being told to touch nothing but the lamp, Aladdin finds a magic carpet inside and obtains the lamp. Forgetting the cave's rule, Abu grabs a jewel. Aladdin, Abu, and the carpet rush to escape the cave as it collapses. Aladdin gives the lamp to Jafar, who throws both Aladdin and Abu back into the cave, though not before Abu steals the lamp back. Trapped, Aladdin rubs the lamp and meets the Genie who lives inside it. The Genie grants Aladdin three wishes. Aladdin tricks the Genie into freeing them all from the cave without using a wish. He uses his first wish to assume the identity of a prince to woo Jasmine, and promises to use his third wish to free the Genie from servitude.
At Iago's suggestion, Jafar plots to become Sultan by marrying Jasmine. Aladdin, as "Prince Ali Ababwa", arrives in Agrabah with a large host, but Jasmine becomes angry when he discusses her fate with her father the Sultan and Jafar without her. As a means of apologizing, Aladdin takes Jasmine on a ride on the magic carpet. When she deduces his true identity, he convinces her that he only dresses as a peasant to escape the stresses of royal life. After Aladdin brings Jasmine home, the palace guards capture Aladdin on Jafar's behest and throw him into the sea. The Genie appears and saves him at the cost of his second wish. Aladdin returns to the palace and exposes Jafar's evil plot. Jafar flees after spotting the lamp and thus discovering Aladdin's true identity.
Fearing that he will lose Jasmine if the truth is revealed, Aladdin breaks his promise and refuses to free the Genie. Iago steals the lamp, and Jafar becomes the Genie's new master. He uses his first two wishes to become Sultan and the world's most powerful sorcerer. He then exposes Aladdin's identity and exiles him, Abu, and the carpet to a frozen wasteland. They escape and return to the palace. Jasmine tries to help Aladdin steal the lamp back, but Jafar notices and overpowers the heroes with his magic. Aladdin taunts Jafar for being less powerful than the Genie, tricking Jafar into using his last wish to become an all-powerful genie himself. Now bound to his new lamp, Jafar ends up trapped inside it, taking Iago with him.
With Agrabah returned to normal, the Genie banishes Jafar's lamp and advises Aladdin use his third wish to regain his royal title so the law will allow him to stay with Jasmine. Aladdin decides instead to keep his promise and frees the Genie. Realizing Aladdin and Jasmine's love, the Sultan changes the law to allow Jasmine to marry whom she chooses. The Genie leaves to explore the world, while Aladdin and Jasmine start their new life together.
- Scott Weinger as Aladdin, a poverty-stricken but well-meaning Agrabah thief. For his audition, Weinger sent in a homemade audition tape as Aladdin with his mother playing the Genie, and after several callbacks found out six months later that he had been cast as the title character. Aladdin's supervising animator was Glen Keane. Brad Kane provides Aladdin's singing voice.
- Robin Williams as Genie, a comedic jinnī with great power that can only be exercised when his master wishes it. Clements and Musker had written the role of the Genie for Robin Williams, and, when met with resistance, created a reel of a Williams stand-up to animation of the Genie. The directors asked Eric Goldberg, Genie's supervising animator, to animate the character over one of Williams' old stand-up comedy routines to pitch the idea to the actor. The resulting test, where Williams' stand-up about schizophrenia was translated into Genie growing another head to argue with himself, made Williams "laugh his ass off" and convinced him to sign on for the role. Williams' appearance in Aladdin marks the beginning of a transition in animation to celebrity voice actors, rather than specifically trained voice actors in animated films. Genie's supervising animator was Eric Goldberg.
- Linda Larkin as Jasmine, the princess of Agrabah, who is bored of life in the royal palace. Larkin was chosen for the role of Jasmine nine months after her audition, and had to adjust, or lower, her high-pitched voice to reach the voice the filmmakers were looking for in the character. Jasmine's supervising animator was Mark Henn. Lea Salonga provides Jasmine's singing voice.
- Jonathan Freeman as Jafar, the power-hungry Grand vizier of Agrabah. Freeman was the first actor cast and spent one year and nine months recording his dialogue. He later readjusted his voice after Weinger and Larkin were cast as he felt "Jafar had to be seen as a real threat to Aladdin and Jasmine", as he was originally envisioned as an irritable character, but the directors decided that a calm villain would be scarier. Jafar's supervising animator was Andreas Deja, while Jafar's beggar and snake forms are animated by Kathy Zielinski.
- Frank Welker as Abu, Aladdin's kleptomaniac pet monkey with a falsetto voice. Welker also voices Jasmine's tiger Rajah and the Cave of Wonders. Duncan Marjoribanks was the supervising animator for Abu, while Rajah was animated by Aaron Blaise.
- Gilbert Gottfried as Iago, Jafar's sardonic, hot-tempered parrot assistant. Will Finn was the supervising animator for Iago.
- Douglas Seale as The Sultan, the dim-witted but friendly ruler of Agrabah, who desperately tries to find a suitor for his daughter Jasmine. The Sultan's supervising animator was David Pruiksma.
- Jim Cummings as Razoul, the Captain of the Guards. He and the other guards were animated by Phil Young and Chris Wahl.
- Charlie Adler as Gazeem, a thief that Jafar sends into the Cave of Wonders at the beginning of the film but is trapped inside for being unworthy. Gazeem was animated by T. Daniel Hofstedt.
- Corey Burton as Prince Achmed, an arrogant prince whom Princess Jasmine rejects as a suitor.
Script and development
In 1988, lyricist Howard Ashman pitched the idea of an animated musical adaptation of Aladdin. Ashman had written a 40-page film treatment remaining faithful to the plot and characters of the original story, but envisioned as a campy 1930s-style musical with a Cab Calloway/Fats Waller-like Genie. Along with partner Alan Menken, Ashman conceived several songs and added Aladdin's friends named Babkak, Omar, and Kasim to the story. However, the studio was dismissive of Ashman's treatment and removed the project from development. Ashman and Menken were later recruited to compose songs for Beauty and the Beast. Linda Woolverton, who had also worked on Beauty and the Beast, used their treatment and developed a draft with inspired elements from The Thief of Bagdad such as a villain named Jaf'far, an aged sidekick retired human thief named Abu, and a human handmaiden for the princess. Then, directors Ron Clements and John Musker joined the production, picking Aladdin out of three projects offered, which also included an adaptation of Swan Lake and King of the Jungle – that eventually became The Lion King. Before Ashman's death in March 1991, Ashman and Menken had composed "Prince Ali" and his last song, "Humiliate the Boy".
Musker and Clements wrote a draft of the screenplay, and then delivered a story reel to studio chief Jeffrey Katzenberg in April 1991. Katzenberg thought the script "didn't engage", and on a day known by the staff as "Black Friday," demanded that the entire story be rewritten without rescheduling the film's November 25, 1992 release date. Among the changes Katzenberg requested from Clements and Musker were to not be dependent on Ashman's vision, and the removal of Aladdin's mother, remarking, "Eighty-six the mother. The mom's a zero." Screenwriting duo Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio were brought in to rework the story, and the changes they made included the removal of Aladdin's mother, the strengthening of the character of Princess Jasmine, and the deletion of several of the Ashman-Menken songs. Aladdin's personality was rewritten to be "a little rougher, like a young Harrison Ford," and the parrot Iago, originally conceived as an uptight British archetype, was reworked into a comic role after the filmmakers saw Gilbert Gottfried in Beverly Hills Cop II, who was then cast for the role. By October 1991, Katzenberg was satisfied with the new version of Aladdin. As with Woolverton's screenplay, several characters and plot elements were based on the 1940 version of The Thief of Bagdad, though the location of the film was changed from Baghdad to the fictional Arabian city of Agrabah.
Design and animation
The design for most characters was based on the work of caricaturist Al Hirschfeld, which production designer Richard Vander Wende also considered appropriate to the theme, due to similarities to the flowing and swooping lines found in Arabic calligraphy. Jafar's design was not based on Hirschfeld's work because Jafar's supervising animator, Andreas Deja, wanted the character to be contrasting. Each character was animated alone, with the animators consulting each other to make scenes with interrelating characters. Since Aladdin's animator Glen Keane was working in the California branch of Walt Disney Feature Animation, and Jasmine's animator Mark Henn was in the Florida one at Disney-MGM Studios, they had to frequently phone, fax or send designs and discs to each other. The animators filmed monkeys at the San Francisco Zoo to study their movements for Abu's character. Iago's supervising animator Will Finn tried to incorporate some aspects of Gottfried's appearance into Iago's design, especially his semi-closed eyes and the always-appearing teeth. Some aspects of the Sultan were inspired by the Wizard of Oz, to create a bumbling authority figure. Andreas Deja, Jafar's supervising animator, tried to incorporate Jonathan Freeman's facial expressions and gesturing into the character. Animator Randy Cartwright described working on the Magic Carpet as challenging, since it is only a rectangular shape, that expresses itself through pantomime – "It's sort of like acting by origami". Cartwright kept folding a piece of cloth while animating to see how to position the Carpet. After the character animation was done, the carpet's surface design was applied digitally.
–John Musker on Aladdin's early design
Designed by a team led by supervising animator Glen Keane, Aladdin was initially going to be as young as thirteen, and was originally made to resemble actor Michael J. Fox. During production, it was decided that the design was too boyish and wasn't "appealing enough," so the character was made eighteen and redesigned to add elements derived from actor Tom Cruise and Calvin Klein models.
For the scenery design, various architectural elements seen in 19th-century orientalist paintings and photographs of the Arab world were used for guidance. Other inspirations for design were Disney's animated films from the 1940s and 50s and the 1940 film The Thief of Bagdad. The coloring was done with the computerized CAPS process, and the color motifs were chosen according to the personality – the protagonists use light colors such as blue, the antagonists darker ones such as red and black, and Agrabah and its palace use the neutral color yellow. Computer animation was used for some elements of the film, such as the tiger entrance of the Cave of Wonders and the scene where Aladdin tries to escape the collapsing cave.
Musker and Clements created the Genie with Robin Williams in mind; even though Katzenberg suggested actors such as John Candy, Steve Martin, and Eddie Murphy, Williams was approached and eventually accepted the role. Williams came for voice recording sessions during breaks in the shooting of two other films he was starring in at the time, Hook and Toys. Unusually for an animated film, much of Williams' dialogue was ad-libbed: for some scenes, Williams was given topics and dialogue suggestions, but allowed to improvise his lines. It was estimated that Williams improvised 52 characters. Eric Goldberg, the supervising animator for the Genie, then reviewed Williams' recorded dialogue and selected the best gags and lines that his crew would create character animation to match.
The producers added many in-jokes and references to Disney's previous works in the film, such as a "cameo appearance" from directors Clements and Musker and drawing some characters based on Disney workers. Beast, Sebastian from The Little Mermaid, and Pinocchio make brief appearances, and the wardrobe of the Genie at the end of the film—Goofy hat, Hawaiian shirt, and sandals—are a reference to a short film that Robin Williams did for the Disney-MGM Studios tour in the late 1980s.
Robin Williams' conflicts with the studio
In gratitude for his success with Touchstone Pictures' Good Morning, Vietnam, Robin Williams voiced the Genie for SAG scale pay—$75,000—instead of his asking fee of $8 million, on condition that his name or image not be used for marketing, and his (supporting) character not take more than 25% of space on advertising artwork, since Williams' film Toys was scheduled for release one month after Aladdin's debut. For financial reasons, the studio went back on the deal on both counts, especially in poster art by having the Genie in 25% of the image, but having other major and supporting characters portrayed considerably smaller. The Disney Hyperion book Aladdin: The Making of an Animated Film listed both of Williams' characters "The Peddler" and "The Genie" ahead of main characters, but was forced to refer to him only as "the actor signed to play the Genie".
Disney, while not using Williams's name in commercials as per the contract, used his voice for the Genie in the commercials and used the Genie character to sell toys and fast food tie-ins, without having to pay Williams additional money; Williams unhappily quipped at the time, "The only reason Mickey Mouse has three fingers is because he can't pick up a check." Williams explained to New York magazine that his previous Mork & Mindy merchandising was different because, "the image is theirs. But the voice, that's me; I gave them myself. When it happened, I said, 'You know I don't do that.' And they [Disney] apologized; they said it was done by other people." Disney attempted to assuage Williams by sending him a Pablo Picasso painting worth more than $1 million at the time, but this move failed to repair the damaged relationship, as the painting was a self-portrait of the artist as Vincent van Gogh which apparently really "clashed" with the Williams' wilder home decor. Williams refused to sign on for The Return of Jafar so it was Dan Castellaneta that voiced the Genie. When Jeffrey Katzenberg was replaced by Joe Roth as Walt Disney Studios chairman, Roth organized a public apology to Williams. Williams would, in turn, reprise the role in the 1996 direct-to-video sequel Aladdin and the King of Thieves.
The third—after The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast—and final Disney film score the duo would work on, Alan Menken and Howard Ashman began writing the Academy Award winning score together, with Tim Rice taking over as lyricist after Ashman died of AIDS-related complications part way through the production of Aladdin in early 1991. Although fourteen songs were written for Aladdin, only seven are featured in the movie, three by Ashman, and four by Rice. Composer Alan Menken and songwriters Howard Ashman and Tim Rice were praised for creating a soundtrack that is "consistently good, rivaling the best of Disney's other animated musicals from the '90s." The DVD Special Edition released in 2004 includes four songs in early animation tests, and a music video of one, "Proud of Your Boy", performed by Clay Aiken, which also appears on the album DisneyMania 3. The version of the song "A Whole New World" performed by Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle, which plays over the end credits, is, as of 2019[update], the only Disney song to win a Grammy Award for Song of the Year.
The filmmakers thought the moral message of the original tale was inappropriate, and decided to "put a spin on it" by making the fulfillment of wishes seem like a great solution, but eventually becoming a problem. Another major theme was avoiding an attempt to be what the person is not – both Aladdin and Jasmine get into trouble pretending to be different people, and the Prince Ali persona fails to impress Jasmine, who only falls for Aladdin when she finds out who he truly is. Being "imprisoned" is also presented, a fate that occurs to most of the characters – Aladdin and Jasmine are limited by their lifestyles, Genie is attached to his lamp, and Jafar to the Sultan – and is represented visually by the prison-like walls and bars of the Agrabah palace, and the scene involving caged birds which Jasmine later frees. Jasmine is also depicted as a different Disney Princess, being rebellious against the royal life and the social structure.
A large promotion campaign preceded Aladdin's debut in theaters, with the film's trailer being attached to most Disney VHS releases (including 101 Dalmatians in April 1992 & Beauty and the Beast in October), and numerous tie-ins and licensees being released. After a limited release on November 13, 1992, Aladdin debuted in 1131 theaters on November 25, 1992, grossing $19.2 million in its opening weekend – number two at the box office, behind Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. It took eight weeks for the film to reach number one at the US box office, breaking the record for the week between Christmas and New Year's Eve with $32.2 million. The film held the top spot five times during its 22-week run. Aladdin was the most successful film of 1992 grossing $217 million in the United States and over $504 million worldwide. It was the biggest gross for an animated film until The Lion King two years later, and was the first full-length animated film to gross $200 million in North America.
Outside of North America, the film grossed $200 million in 1993, and $250 million by January 1994. By 2002, the film had grossed $287 million overseas and $504 million worldwide. Currently, it is the thirty-fifth highest grossing animated film and the third highest-grossing traditionally-animated feature worldwide, behind The Lion King and The Simpsons Movie. It sold an estimated 52,442,300 tickets in the United States, where its domestic gross is equivalent to $477,749,800 adjusted for inflation in 2018.
The film was first released in VHS on October 1, 1993, as part of the Walt Disney Classics line. In its first week of availability, Aladdin sold over 10.6 million copies, grossing about $265 million in the United States. In less than three weeks, the VHS release of Aladdin sold over 16 million units and grossed over $400 million in the United States. By December 1993, it had topped 21 million sales and grossed about $500 million in the United States. By 1994, it went on to sell over 25 million units in total (a record only broken by the later release of The Lion King). This VHS edition entered moratorium on April 30, 1994. A THX-certified widescreen LaserDisc was issued in Autumn 1994, and a Spanish-dubbed VHS for the American market was released on April 14, 1995. In Japan, 2.2 million home video units were sold by 1995.
On October 5, 2004, Aladdin was rereleased onto VHS and for the first time released onto DVD, as part of Disney's Platinum Edition line. The DVD release featured retouched and cleaned-up animation, prepared for Aladdin's planned but ultimately cancelled IMAX reissue in 2003, and a second disc with bonus features. Accompanied by a $19 million marketing campaign, the DVD sold about 3 million units in its first month. The film's soundtrack was available in its original Dolby 5.1 track or in a new Disney Enhanced Home Theater Mix. The DVD went into moratorium in January 2008, along with its sequels.
According to an insert in the Lady and the Tramp Diamond Edition release case, Aladdin was going to be released on Blu-ray Disc as a Diamond Edition in Spring 2013. Instead, Peter Pan was released on Blu-ray as a Diamond Edition on February 5, 2013 to celebrate its 60th anniversary. A non-Diamond Edition Blu-ray was released in a few select European countries in March 2013. The Belgian edition (released without advertisements, commercials or any kind of fanfare) comes as a 1-disc version with its extras ported over from the Platinum Edition DVD. The same disc was released in the United Kingdom on April 14, 2013. Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released the film on a Diamond Edition Blu-ray on October 13, 2015. The film was released on Digital HD on September 29, 2015. Upon its first week of release on home media in the U.S., the film topped the Blu-ray Disc sales chart and debuted at number 2 at the Nielsen VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks overall disc sales behind the disaster film San Andreas. The film's Blu-ray release in the United States sold 1.81 million units and grossed $39 million, as of 2017[update].
Aladdin was re-released on HD and 4K digital download on August 27, 2019, with a physical media re-release on Blu-ray and Ultra HD Blu-ray on September 10, 2019, as part of the Walt Disney Signature Collection.
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 95% of critics gave the film a positive review based on a sample of 73 reviews, with an average rating of 8.14/10. The site's consensus reads, "A highly entertaining entry in Disney's renaissance era, Aladdin is beautifully drawn, with near-classic songs and a cast of scene-stealing characters." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 86 out of 100 based on 25 critics, indicating "universal acclaim". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film a rare "A+" grade.
Most critics' praise went to Robin Williams' performance as Genie, with Janet Maslin of The New York Times declaring that children "needn't know precisely what Mr. Williams is evoking to understand how funny he is", and Roger Ebert commenting that Williams and animation "were born for one another". Warner Bros. Cartoons director Chuck Jones even called the film "the funniest feature ever made." Furthermore, English-Irish comedian Spike Milligan considered it to be the greatest film of all time. James Berardinelli gave it 3.5 out of 4 stars, praising the "crisp visuals and wonderful song-and-dance numbers." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone said the comedy made the film accessible to both children and adults, a vision shared with Desson Howe of The Washington Post, who also said "kids are still going to be entranced by the magic and adventure." Brian Lowry of Variety praised the cast of characters, describing the expressive magic carpet as "its most remarkable accomplishment" and considered that "Aladdin overcomes most story flaws thanks to sheer technical virtuosity."
Some aspects of the film were widely criticized. Ed Gonzalez of Slant Magazine wrote a negative review, describing the film as racist, ridiculous, and a "narcissistic circus act" from Robin Williams. Roger Ebert, who generally praised the film in his review, considered the music inferior to its predecessors The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast, and claimed Aladdin and Jasmine were "pale and routine." He criticized what he saw as the film's use of ethnic stereotypes, writing: "Most of the Arab characters have exaggerated facial characteristics – hooked noses, glowering brows, thick lips – but Aladdin and the princess look like white American teenagers."
Aladdin also received many award nominations, mostly for its music. It won two Academy Awards, Best Original Score and Best Original Song for "A Whole New World" and receiving nominations for Best Song ("Friend Like Me"), Best Sound Editing (Mark A. Mangini), and Best Sound (Terry Porter, Mel Metcalfe, David J. Hudson and Doc Kane). At the Golden Globes, Aladdin won Best Original Song ("A Whole New World") and Best Original Score, as well as a Special Achievement Award for Robin Williams, with a nomination for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. Other awards included the Annie Award for Best Animated Feature, a MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance to Robin Williams, Saturn Awards for Best Fantasy Film, Performance by a Younger Actor to Scott Weinger and Supporting Actor to Robin Williams, the Best Animated Feature by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and four Grammy Awards, Best Soundtrack Album, and Song of the Year, Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or for Television for "A Whole New World".
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:
- "Friend Like Me" – Nominated
- "A Whole New World" – Nominated
One of the verses of the opening song "Arabian Nights" was altered following complaints from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC). The lyrics were changed in July 1993 from "Where they cut off your ear if they don't like your face" in the original release to "Where it's flat and immense and the heat is intense," with the change first appearing on the 1993 video release. The original lyric was intact on the initial CD soundtrack release, but the re-releases use the edited lyric. The Broadway adaptation also uses the edited line. The rerecording has the original voice on all other lines and then a noticeably deeper voice says the edited line. The subsequent line however, "It's barbaric, but hey, it's home," was left intact. Entertainment Weekly ranked Aladdin in a list of the most controversial films in history, due to this incident. The number has been described in reviews as "simultaneously glamorizing and barbarizing the Arab world." The ADC also complained about the portrayal of the lead characters Aladdin and Jasmine. They criticized the characters' Anglicized features and Anglo-American accents, in contrast to the other characters in the film, which have foreign accents, grotesque facial features, and appear villainous or greedy.
Concerns were also raised to another scene. When Aladdin is threatened by the tiger Rajah on the palace balcony, Aladdin quietly says a line that some people reported hearing as "Good teenagers, take off your clothes," which they considered a subliminal reference to promiscuity. However, according to the commentary track on the 2004 DVD, while Musker and Clements did admit Scott Weinger ad-libbed during the scene, they claimed "we did not record that, we would not record that," and said the line was "Good tiger, take off and go..." and the word "tiger" is overlapped by Rajah's snarl. After the word tiger, a second voice can be heard which has been suggested was accidentally grafted onto the soundtrack. Because of the controversy, Disney removed the line on the DVD release.
Animation enthusiasts have noticed similarities between Aladdin and Richard Williams' unfinished film The Thief and the Cobbler (also known as The Princess and the Cobbler under Allied Filmmakers and Arabian Knight under Miramax Films). These similarities include a similar plot, similar characters, scenes and background designs, and the antagonist Zig-Zag's resemblance in character design and mannerisms to Genie and Jafar. Though Aladdin was released prior to The Thief and the Cobbler, The Thief and the Cobbler initially began production much earlier in the 1960s, and was mired in difficulties including financial problems, copyright issues, story revisions and late production times caused by separate studios trying to finish the film after Richard Williams was fired from the project for lack of finished work. The late release, coupled with Miramax purchasing and re-editing the film, has sometimes resulted in The Thief and the Cobbler being labeled a rip-off of Aladdin.
Live-action prequel spin-off
On July 15, 2015, the studio announced the development of a live-action comedy adventure prequel called Genies. The film was being written by Mark Swift and Damian Shannon, while Tripp Vinson was on board to produce via his Vinson Films banner. It was intended to serve as a lead to the live-action Aladdin film. On November 8, Disney revealed it had originally planned to use Robin Williams' unused lines from the 1991–92 recording sessions for the film, but his will prohibited the studio from using his likeness for 25 years after his 2014 death.
In October 2016, it was reported that Disney was developing a live-action adaptation of Aladdin with Guy Ritchie signed on to direct the film. John August is writing the script, which will reportedly retain the musical elements of the original film, while Dan Lin is attached as producer. Lin revealed that they were looking for a diverse cast. In April 2017, Will Smith entered talks to play the Genie. The following month, Jade Thirlwall entered talks to portray the role of Jasmine. Alan Menken said filming was slated to begin August 2017. Production had originally been scheduled to begin in July, but was delayed due to Disney having trouble finding the right people to play Aladdin and Jasmine. British actress Naomi Scott and Indian actress Tara Sutaria were being considered to play Jasmine. For the role of Aladdin, British actors Riz Ahmed and Dev Patel were initially considered, but it was later decided that a newcomer should be cast in the role. In July 2017, it was announced that Egyptian-Canadian actor Mena Massoud had been cast as Aladdin, Scott as Jasmine, and Smith as the Genie. At the 2017 D23 Expo, Menken announced that he would be co-writing new songs for the film with Academy Award winners Pasek and Paul while Vanessa Taylor would re-write the script. In August 2017, Marwan Kenzari, Nasim Pedrad, and Numan Acar joined the cast as Jafar, Dalia, and Hakim, respectively. The following month, Billy Magnussen and Navid Negahban were cast as Prince Anders and the Sultan, respectively. Filming began on September 6, 2017 at Longcross Studios and concluded on January 24, 2018. The film was released on May 24, 2019.
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