Song of the South to Return???
ORLANDO, Florida (AP) -- Walt Disney Co.'s 1946 film "Song of the South" was historic. It was Disney's first big live-action picture and produced one of the company's most famous songs -- the Oscar-winning "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah." It also provided the inspiration for the Splash Mountain rides at Disney's theme parks.
But the movie remains hidden in the Disney archives -- never released on video in the United States and criticized as racist for its depiction of Southern plantation blacks. The film's 60th anniversary passed last year without a whisper of official rerelease, which is unusual for Disney, but President and CEO Bob Iger recently said the company was reconsidering.
The film's reissue would surely spark debate, but it could also sell big. Nearly 115,000 people have signed an online petition urging Disney to make the movie available, and out-of-print international copies routinely sell online for $50 to $90, some even more than $100.
Iger was answering a shareholder's inquiry about the movie for the second straight year at Disney's annual meeting in New Orleans. This month the Disney chief made a rerelease sound more possible.
"The question of 'Song of the South' comes up periodically, in fact it was raised at last year's annual meeting," Iger said. "And since that time, we've decided to take a look at it again because we've had numerous requests about bringing it out. Our concern was that a film that was made so many decades ago being brought out today perhaps could be either misinterpreted or that it would be somewhat challenging in terms of providing the appropriate context."