Packed up….moved into a house….it’s time to return to Animation Monday. We left off at one of the classic Disney movies of all time….Bambi. This is was movie that almost never became a Disney movie. MGM held the rights to Bambi for over five years with the intention to make a live-action version of the story. However, they could never make it work and eventually sold the movie rights to Walt Disney in 1937.
Bambi is a cinematic classic and rated as one of the best animated movies of all time. However, it was a money-loser for Disney upon its first release. It’s first release was in 1942, during the middle of World War 2, and earned only $1.64 million and the film had a budget of $1.7 million. The war really impacted the box office of the film. The European market was non-existent and the US market was very limited. The film recouped its investment in subsequent re-releases throughout the years (first re-release was in 1947). Including all the re-releases, Bambi has grossed $267 million.
Disney also caught a lot of heat from the scene where Bambi’s mother dies. Sportsmen didn’t like the scene because of how it portrayed sportsmen and hunters. Others didn’t like because of the sheer shock value of a child losing their mother. Disney left the scene in the story because of the scene’s importance to the story.
The film is known for two things: the characters especially the main characters (Bambi, Thumper, Flower, etc) and the animation. The animation was cutting edge for the 1930’s and 1940’s. Walt Disney went down many “rabbit holes” with the animation as there were many scenes left on the cutting room floor with Bambi exploring the various wildlife throughout the forest.
The standout character for me is Thumper. There were supposed to six identical bunnies in the film. This was changed and Thumper was given a different fur color and the other five bunnies became Thumper’s sisters who were given a more minor role in the movie.
Thumper, now, makes rare appearances in the Disney parks expect during Easter when he can be seen more frequently. There was a time when Thumper could be seen in Animal Kingdom with Miss Bunny.
Bambi, Thumper, and Flower make more appearances but as topiaries during the Flower and Garden and Food and Wine Festivals.