You Won't Believe the Three Things Never Allowed in a Disney Movie
Disney is so much more than an entertainment empire. With a rich history and an array of affiliates Disney is apart of all of us and that's probably why we find ourselves so emerged in all things Disney all the time. We grew up with Disney. We'll grow old with Disney. Disney is just apart of our lives.
Disney is marketed and known for being a family entertainment platform and most of their media is targeted towards children and families in general yet they do maintain a sort of sordid and dark history of some startling scenes and story lines over the years. They've got a lot of controversy under their belt and while some of that is to be expected from a company that has existed for over half of a century it's always interesting to put it all in perspective. Even in the last 2 to 3 decades we've seen some intense scenes and scenarios from Disney movies. For example, a young and innocent Simba watches his father violently murdered in The Lion King. Darker, malevolent scenes have existed across the board from the demonic Chernabog in Fantasia to the incinerator scene in Toy Story 3 or even Bambi's other being hunted and killed. Disney is certainly not shy to some tough concepts for families and children to comprehend and swallow nor are they unfamiliar with frightful imagery.
Recently an interesting conversation and interview with Pete's Dragon director, David Lowery brought to light some interesting revelations about Disney's contractually enforced policies including a most surprising "We do not allow this" type of list. I'm not sure what's more surprising, what is on the list or how short it is.
According to Lowery in a conversation with "Ain't It Cool News:"
When you sign a contract with Disney, the things it says your film cannot have are beheadings, impalement, or smoking. Those are literally the three things you are not allowed to put into a Disney film … They literally have those words in the contract as things you're not allowed to do.
Of course, that list of restrictions didn't happen over night...
In 1940 Disney's Pinocchio featured the boy puppet puffing on a cigar until he grew red in the face.
In 1989 The Little Mermaid's villain, Ursula, is impaled by the bowsprit of a sunken ship.
One thing that remains unclear after this revelation about Disney's policies was whether or not these restrictions apply strictly to live-action, animation, or films that fall under any one of Disney’s many sub-studios like Marvel or Pixar.
It's also possible that these guidelines are strictly dependent on the rating of the film. We know Disney has ventured outside the realm of G and PG rated movies and in 2015, Variety reported that Disney had banned depictions of smoking from any film rated G, PG, or PG-13, unless it was “historically pertinent.”