Listen, Jorge Gutierrez was rejected by Disney Pixar and by basically every other major animation producer when he tried to make The Book Of Life. If Del Toro hadn’t come along and agreed to produce the movie himself, TBOL would have never seen the light of day. (source)
GUTIERREZ: I had this movie for 14 years. Ever since I was in film school, I wanted to make it. When I got out, I pitched it to every studio and everybody told me the same thing. “You’re just some dumb kid out of school, and no one’s interested in the subject matter, and there’s no audience for Hispanic movies.” It took a long time. Eventually, I pitched the movie to Guillermo’s people four times and he said, “No.”
DEL TORO: When I heard it was on the Day of the Dead, in the last 15 years I had heard many, many Day of the Dead pitches. I didn’t like it because they were all postcard, folkloric, or coldly calculated things and none of them felt personal. Finally, Cary Granat said, “You have to meet the guy and see some of the art. If you don’t relate to that, that’s it.” So I met with Jorge – he’ll tell you the story – but I immediately connected to it because it was personal to him. For me to produce, I am so busy. I don’t have a personal life. I am a ruin. I’m dedicated to projects that support my family that goes with me. They cannot integrate themselves into that life. But I said, “Do I want to do this?” When I met Jorge, I knew there was something that we could do beautifully together, but more important than anything, I wanted to protect the movie. One of the reasons I was interested is because the things that make the movie great now are the things I knew were going to get us a lot of “no’s” from the studios.
If TBOL hadn’t gotten as much critical acclaim as it did and gotten enough revenue for Fox to approve a sequel and possibly a third movie too, Coco would have never become a serious project.
On the one hand we have TBOL, which was imagined, written, produced and directed by Mexican artists. On the other hand we have Disney, who rejected Jorge Gutierrez’ proposal for a Mexican-based movie and who tried to trademark “Day of the Dead” to make money off it after TBOL was announced (source).
I mean, sure, the same cartoonist who said this:
“How could Disney allow such a blunder,” marveled Lalo Alcaraz, a Mexican-American editorial cartoonist and founder of Pocho.com. “I knew they weren’t copyrighting the holiday, but I couldn’t believe they would let someone in their legal department let this happen. On the surface, it looks like Disney is trying to copyright the holiday.”
Is also now working on the movie, (source)
Several years ago, when Disney tried to trademark the Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), political cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz was one of the most vocal critics. That’s why it came as a surprise to many when news broke this week that Pixar, which is owned by Disney, hired Alcaraz to work on its animated film “Coco” that’s centered on the Mexican holiday. (…) Several years ago, when Disney tried to trademark the Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), political cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz was one of the most vocal critics. That’s why it came as a surprise to many when news broke this week that Pixar, which is owned by Disney, hired Alcaraz to work on its animated film “Coco” that’s centered on the Mexican holiday.
But Disney’s intentions are still suspicious. I mean, their treatment of Elena of Avalor has already been more than questionable… For starters, the fact that the first Latina princess in Disney’s history gets a TV-show instead of a movie. (source)
TV is great, but all of the major Disney princesses appeared on film, first. So, what does is say when there’s no Latina princess with her own movie? (…) We could give Disney the benefit of the doubt since they may not be able to milk two new princesses at the same time, but that also means they decided Elena isn’t worthy of the big screen treatment. Despite that fact that in 2015 alone, Disney released 12 feature films.
Disney could’ve added Elena to its slate. It’s not too big of a burden for Disney to create a princess who represents 17% of the nation’s population — which is why I refuse to accept that the Latina community’s first Disney princess will not be in theaters.
As a Latina, I’m sick of being told to be grateful to have a princess when movie after movie features strong, usually white, heroines. And while I’m a light-toned Puerto Rican (that’s a whole other can of worms), I believe my culture deserves to be viewed by a national audience, not just households with kids 5 and under.
Latinas haven’t waited 79 years and fought for recognition to accept a supporting role.
And then we have the fact that she… She isn’t even Latina. She’s a caricature. She represents no actual Latinx in the entire continent. (source)
Elena isn’t indigenous or Afro-Latina or from a specific Latin-American country. She is a thin, light-brown Latina princess from Avalor, a made up Latin-American-esque kingdom that exists in a pre-colonial, pre-Columbian world. This, by the way, is baffling: how does one understand their Latino identity without acknowledging colonialism? While the backdrop of Elena is influenced by Mayan culture and Chilean folklore, her race and ethnicity is otherwise based in Disney fantasy.
To add to it, “Coco” sounds like a straight plagiarism from TBOL (source)
According to Entertainment Weekly, Miguel lives in a Mexican village and dreams of becoming a musician. The only problem? His family has sworn off music ever since Miguel’s great-great-grandfather abandoned his wife to pursue his own musical dreams.
While trying to emulate his musical hero, the late Ernesto de la Cruz (voiced by Benjamin Bratt), Miguel accidentally enters the Land of the Dead. There, he teams up with the aforementioned funny skeleton (voiced by Mozart in the Jungle’s Gael Garcia Bernal), meets his ancestors, and tries to track down his idol.
We have a hero who wants to make music but doesn’t have his family’s support (Miguel’s family has sworn off music, Manolo wants to be a musician but his family wants him to be a torero). We have a hero accidentally entering the Land Of The Dead and meeting his ancestors. Bet you $20 that Miguel becomes a “Day of the Dead”-styled skeleton during this trip to the Land of the Dead.
Like “Moana” is an amalgam of Polynesian tradition and cultures created by white people first and foremost for white people’s consumption (check Fangirl Jeanne’s criticism of it), Elena of Avalor and now Coco are heading in the same direction, and the worst part is that we’re constantly being told by white fans that we should be grateful for whatever “representation” these major producers decide to throw at us.
Let’s just hope they don’t go around selling sugar-skull masks and make-up with the Disney trademark like they did with the brownface Polynesian-tattoo costume for Moana. (source)