Sometimes, despite an initial creative vision or promising team, Disney movies get shelved indefinitely or scrapped altogether. Despite the studio’s consistent releases, especially since the 90s, you might be surprised to learn Disney has quite a few projects left behind.
Here’s a look back at all of the projects that were either put on permanent hiatus or cancelled during the 2000s. In the future, it’s always possible one of these will end up in theaters!
Note: the dates listed next to each title are the dates of project cancellations.
- My Peoples (2003) – This story would have been a Disney original based in Appalachia, following a young couple from rival families. The project went through tons of iterations and name changes, before creative differences ultimately stopped production.
- Tam Lin (2003) – This adaptation of the Scottish fairy tale of the same name fell victim to a political fight within Disney. Michael Eisner rejected the film upon learning it was Roy E. Disney’s “baby”, trying to establish himself as an equal in the company.
- The Prince and the Pig (2003) – With no official source material announced, we don’t know much about this project, including why it was cancelled. Here’s the brief synopsis: The grand adventure of a boy and his pig as they set off against all odds to try to steal the moon.
- The Three Pigs (2003) – Based on the book of the same name by David Wiesner. To this day, we don’t actually know why this project was scrapped.
- Uncle Stilkskin (2003) – If you’re familiar with the Brothers Grimm’s Rumplestiltskin, this story may seem like a sharp turn in tone. The Uncle version takes place after the original fairytale, following Rumple’s dream to become a father. This project disappeared in the mid-2000s, maybe because it made no sense? (haha – pure conjecture on our part)
- Which Witch? (2003) – Based on the children’s book of the same name by Eva Ibbotson. Which Witch follows a magical wizard trying to find a wife before his retirement, by means of an epic tournament. After a long hiatus with Disney, the Jim Henson Company confirmed it was moving forward with production as of 2014.
- One For Sorrow, Two For Joy (2004) – Based on the novel of the same name by Clive Woodall. This film would tell the story of a robin saving the world from evil magpies. Disney never completed negotiations for the film rights, so the project is still officially on hiatus.
- The Abandoned (2005) – Based on the children’s book of the same name by Paul Gallico. This film didn’t get far into development, so we don’t know many details. But the story in the original book follows a child as he transforms into a cat.
- Fraidy Cat (2005) – This darker film would have followed a perpetually frightened cat with only 6 of its 9 lives left. The president of Walt Disney Animation, David Stainton, refused to green-light the dark, Hitchcock-style story, and the project never took off.
- Mr. Popper’s Penguins (2005) – Based on the novel of the same name by Richard and Florence Atwater. Studio conflicts over creative choices, including the setting, caused the project to be shelved at Disney. Instead, 20th Century Fox got the rights and released the film in 2011.
This list does not include sequels or remakes of previous Disney films. For an even more comprehensive list, including animated short films, check out the Wikipedia page here.
Previous editions of this roundup:
Stay tuned for further editions with earlier decades!