Disney, Pixar, The Latest Animation News

Disney Withdraws Trademark Applications for ‘Dia de los Muertos’

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Walt-Disney-LogoRemember yesterday when we reported that Disney had filed several applications to trademark ‘Dia de los Muertos’ in a variety of products? Well, after backlash from the latino community, Disney is withdrawing all applications and has announced they’ll change the name of the upcoming Pixar movie (Presumably, it was Día de los Muertos). 

A spokesperson from Disney issued the following statement:

“As we have previously announced, Disney-Pixar is developing an animated feature inspired by the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos. Disney’s trademark filing was intended to protect any potential title for our film and related activities. It has since been determined that the title of the film will change and therefore we are withdrawing our trademark filing.”

People were criticizing the studio for ‘trying to trademark their culture’. You can read more of the backlash here. What do you think of this controversy? Sound off in the comments!

Thanks for the tip, Gary !

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About Pablo Ruiz

Pablo Ruiz is a Colombian filmmaker. Movies like Toy Story, The Lion King and Aladdin made him fall in love with the art form and now he hopes to dedicate his life to telling stories, hopefully for Pixar (if they go back to doing original films). Some of his ambitions are making a movie as emotionally impacting as Toy Story 3, meeting JK Rowling, and petting a million dogs. Follow him on Twitter (@PabloRV7).
  • Gary Wright

    I think I agree with the Latino community. Disney should not commercialize a festival, especially one honoring the dead. Applying for trademarks for all those planned products is really wrong and kind of takes away from the solemnity of All Soul’s Day (as I celebrate it)

    The right thing to do would be to name the movie something else and then apply for that as a trademark. (See: The Nightmare Before Christmas- they didn’t trademark Christmas did they?)

    Also, is it just me, or did anyone else think that “Dia de los Muertos” as a title didn’t have a good ring to it? It should be one word (following contemporary trends), like “Undead” or something like that. Haha.

    • Oooh, good point about “The Nightmare Before Christmas”. I know this isn’t the same as the “Rio” film but it was mostly focused on a bird–and Carnival happend to be taking place during the adventure. So what if Pixar-Disney created a film with their own characters getting into shinanigans and the story just-so happened to fall out on the holiday?

      A one-word contemporary trend..would the word “Muertos” be sufficent?

  • Mau

    Well, I think people of color in the USA takes things too seriously, I am mexican, I live in Mexico City and I’m not offended at all, but maybe is just my point of view. It’s a disney-pixar movie, and I’m sure it’s gonna be awesome regardless of the title.

  • Yeah, I don’t know. I thought a lot about it after an initial reflexive rant, and I’m kind of on the fence now. On one hand I totally understand and agree with what you’re saying @iamgarywright:disqus, but on the other hand, it’s a cultural event that is embedded so far into history that I don’t think much marketing or capitalistic harvesting could do much to destroy that. Then again, it won’t do much for future generations to have a (potentially) misunderstanding of what the holiday may or may not mean.

    I think more than anything, until we start getting some footage (HINT HINT PIXAR), we won’t be able to truly determine whether using the title in trademark form would have been overstepping.

    • I brought up this conversation with a bunch of people latino, white, black, asian and most people i shared it with (regular parents, artists, and even authors) were PISSED!

      I think Disney is an incredible studio. Their history and the quality of their art is incredible. If I had to get up in front of a group of nay sayers I’d say that. BUT, trying to trademark that name brings up a legacy that predominantly Anglo/European American companies have with co-opting, appropriating, and outright stealing culture from People of Color. Think im lying? Take a page from big Momma Thorton and Elvis or Benny Goodman vs Duke Ellington.

      In terms of American media, they have been saying some of the most racist, ignorant, and plain mis-informed things about latinos. There have been an unprecedented amount of laws, legislature , and policies implemented or brought forth recently trying to criminalize being brown recently! Ahh, but its cool to take a profoundly embedded ritual/ceremony/ tradition from the Latino community and “Capitalize on it? #$%@ that! I’m very proud that people stood up and said something.

      I myself am against them trademarking that name and I agree with what other people have said here about choosing a different name. I am curious to see the film though. I’ve seen other films directed by Lee and I can tell he has a great handle on telling beautiful stories.

      Lastly, the point i wanted to make to people why agreeing with them and playing devils advocate over the net was the idea of ownership and telling our own stories. I think it is imperative that Mexicanos, and people of color in general take the opportunity when things like this happen to tell their own story, not wait for someone else to tell it for them. Disney is not going to engage with the latino community or know the ins and outs of a cultural tradition like honoring our ancestors like we will. Therefor , we must “do” instead of put energy into asking them to.

      Again, thank you Rotoscopers for not shying away from discussion on it. Someone Id invite to contribute to your site would be Lalo Alcaraz (La Cucaracha) or LeSean Thomas (The Boondocks/Black Dynamite).