Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Failed Disney Movie That Was The First To Use The Classic Walt Disney Pictures Logo

There's nothing quite like settling down with a bowl of popcorn to watch your favorite Disney movie. Once you see that familiar turreted emblem, odds are that you're in for a fun, heartwarming, and fanciful ninety minutes. It seems like the Disney logo has always been around, but that isn't the case. For a long time, Disney's affiliation was included in the opening credits, usually in a way that thematically fit the coming film presentation. For example, the title sequence of "Sleeping Beauty" includes a gilded storybook, indicating the film's fairytale origins. The classic Walt Disney Pictures logo, a slowly appearing castle underneath a shooting star, didn't appear on screen until 1985. The original castle logo was the harbinger of numerous films throughout the Disney Renaissance before it was altered to accompany "Toy Story" in 1995 (via Nerdist). The classic logo has changed over the years, but it remains reminiscent of the original. 

Apparently, Disney did not feel the need to save the introduction of the classic Walt Disney Pictures logo for a surefire hit. In fact, the first movie to use it was considered to be a failure. Here's a hint: the film in question features Disney's most frequently forgotten monarch. 

The Black Cauldron is notable for a few reasons

Based on the children's fantasy series "The Chronicles of Prydain" by author Lloyd Alexander, "The Black Cauldron" hit several milestones for Disney. Not only did "The Black Cauldron" introduce audiences to the classic Walt Disney Pictures logo, it was the first Disney animated film to use computer-generated imagery, and the first Disney project to receive a PG rating from the Motion Picture Association (via Slate).

The PG rating was warranted in this instance. "The Black Cauldron," which took a detour from Disney's tried and true fantasy formula, features dark themes like necromancy and impending war. The film also has a truly terrifying antagonist in the form of the Horned King, whose control over an army of undead soldiers is among the most iconic eighties Disney movie moments. However, these differences proved to be too jarring. The real reason this animated movie bombed is because "The Black Cauldron" alienated Disney's target audience — parents and their children — who hard time connecting with the plot. It makes sense that Princess Eilonwy is never included with the other Disney princesses! Although it was initially poorly received by viewers, "The Black Cauldron" is still worth noting for its use of new technology, the divergence from Disney's standard fare, and the inclusion of the classic Walt Disney Pictures insignia.