Entertainment

RIP That Time Disney Tried To Trademark Día de los Muertos

Since Disney Plus launched on November 12, people have been swept up in all the family-friendly chaos, indulging in a long list of classic Disney favorites. While the streaming service also plans to offer new original content, the company is definitely taking advantage of our generation’s lust for nostalgia, providing exclusive access to the Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, and National Geographic franchises (and reminding us how much Disney dominated our youth with films like The Lion King, The Cheetah Girls, and Gotta Kick It Up). Honestly, the list of iconic feel-good films is outrageously long, and it’s easy to understand why everyone’s so excited.

But it’s no secret that Disney’s wholesome image has been blemished by a long, varied history of controversy and criticism. While Disney has been accused of sexism and plagiarism numerous times, one of the most notable topics of discussion in recent years has been the company’s tendency to racially stereotype its characters, a propensity that is  especially notable in early Disney films (though many scholars and film critics argue that this has carried into the 21st century, despite Disney’s attempts to be more culturally sensitive).

On many occasions, Disney has acknowledged the racist nature of its older animated films, like Dumbo, The Jungle Book, and The Aristocats. In the descriptions for several programs on Disney Plus, there is a brief warning about the “outdated cultural stereotypes” contained within each film, and while several people view this disclaimer as a sign of progress, Disney has been criticized for making a bare minimum effort toward addressing the problematic elements of its past.

And speaking of the company’s past, how could we forget the time that Disney tried to trademark the term “Día de los Muertos” / “Day of the Dead”?

Credit: Pinterest / The Walt Disney Company

Back in 2013, Disney approached the US Patent and Trademark Office with a request to secure “Día de los Muertos” / “Day of the Dead” across many different platforms. At the time, an upcoming Pixar movie with a Día de los Muertos theme (read: the early stirrings of Coco) was in the works, and Disney wanted to print the phrase on a wide range of products, from fruit snacks to toys to cosmetics. Por supuesto, Disney received major backlash for trying to trademark the name of a holiday—what is more culturally appropriative than claiming ownership over an entire celebration? Especially one with indigenous roots?

“The trademark intended to protect any potential title of the movie or related activity,” a spokeswoman for Disney told CNNMexico at the time. “Since then, it has been determined that the title of the film will change, and therefore we are withdrawing our application for trademark registration.”

But prior to withdrawing their application, Disney received extensive backlash from the Latnix community. Latinos all over social media expressed their disdain for Disney’s bold and offensive attempt to take ownership of the holiday’s name, even starting a petition on Change.org to halt the whole process. Within just a few days, the petition had garnered 21,000 signatures.

Although Disney didn’t acknowledge whether the online uproar had influenced them to retract their trademark request, they were clearly paying attention. Lalo Alcaraz, a Mexican-American editorial cartoonist, had expressed open disdain at what he called Disney’s “blunder,” creating “Muerto Mouse”—a cartoon criticizing said blunder—in response.

Credit: Lalo Alcaraz / Pocho.com

This wasn’t the first time Alcaraz had criticized Disney with his cartoons. After the trademark fiasco, Disney definitely caught wind of Alcaraz’s position, and in an effort to approach the upcoming Día de los Muertos movie with sensitivity, the company hired him to work as a cultural consultant on the film.

Although several folks celebrated this development, Alcaraz was widely denounced for collaborating with Disney—many people called him a “vendido,” accusing him of hypocritically selling out to the gringo-run monolith against which he had previously spoken out. But Alcaraz stood his ground, confident that his perspective would lend valuable influence to the movie and ultimately prevent Pixar from doing the Latinx community a disservice.

“Instead of suing me, I got Pixar to give me money to help them and do this project right,” Alcaraz said. “I was let down because I was hoping people would give me a little bit of credit for the stuff I’ve done; to give me the benefit of the doubt.”

And, sin duda, Coco emerged as one of the most culturally accurate films that Disney has ever produced. Employing an almost exclusively Latino cast and crew, Coco seamlessly captured the beauty, magic, and wonder of Día de los Muertos, depicting the holiday with reverence and respect. And after becoming the top-grossing film of all time in Mexico, it’s safe to say that Coco helped Disney bounce back from its trademark mishap, even if more controversy is bound to emerge in the future.

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A ‘Father Of The Bride’ Sequel Is Officially Coming— And It’s Going To Be Super Cuban-American!

Entertainment

A ‘Father Of The Bride’ Sequel Is Officially Coming— And It’s Going To Be Super Cuban-American!

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Break out the tres leches! It’s gonna be a wedding of “epic proportions!” Cuban-style!

That’s right, the beloved 1991 film Father of the Bride is getting a remake. This time, the film will star 64-year-old actor Andy Garcia, the patriarch of a Cuban American family, struggling to see his daughter walk down the aisle.

Garcia will star in and executive produce the upcoming Warner Bros. remake of Father of the Bride, a story that will follow a Cuban American family.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Brad Pitt‘s production company, Plan B will produce the remake with Gaz Alazraki, director of Club de Cuervos, set to helm.

“I’m very excited to join The Father of the Bride, a beloved film that has brought so much joy to so many over the years and to represent my Cuban culture and heritage in this story,” Garcia explained in a statement published by THR. “I commend Warner Brothers for their foresight and celebrate this opportunity they have created.” 

Garcia’s remake is the latest in the franchise, which first came out in 1950 and starred actor Spencer Tracey and Elizabeth Taylor.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

The first film inspired a sequel, also starring Tracey and Taylor, called Father’s Little Dividend. The film was remade forty-years later with Steve Martin and Diane Keaton in the 1991 version. Garcia’s upcoming take will focus on a similar storyline. According to THR, “the latest remake will center on the father of a soon-to-be bride coming to terms with daughters’ nuptials. But the latest take will be told through the relationships in a big, sprawling Cuban-American family.”

The 1991 cast of the film reunited in September for a Netflix special. 

father of the bride
BUENA VISTA PICTURES

The feature filmed memorable moments from the Nancy Meyers film and its 1995 sequel Father of the Bride II and showed “the Banks family’s” home in 2020. The reunion was produced to honor the World Central Kitchen amid the pandemic.

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This Mexican Filmmaker’s Six-Pack Inspired The Oscar Statue

Entertainment

This Mexican Filmmaker’s Six-Pack Inspired The Oscar Statue

The Soldiers of Pancho Villa / Películas Rodríguez

That’s right, Oscar’s real name is actually Emilio.

When it comes to the Academy Awards, there’s nothing more iconic than the actual Oscar award. That’s right, it’s not Björk’s swan dress or Jennifer Lopez’s beloved pink gown, when people think of the Oscar Awards it’s always the rip-chested statue with broad shoulders and muscled legs. The art deco god that everyone in entertainment dreams of one-day holding: the Oscar award.

But, as familiar as he may be, it turns out we don’t know Oscar very well.

Emilio Fernandez, born in Coahuila, Mexico, became the face of the Academy Awards thanks to a close friend.

Fernandez grew up during the Mexican Revolution and according to PRI, later left high school to become an officer for the Huertista rebels. In 1925, he was captured and sentenced to 20 years in prison but managed to escape his sentence and fled to Los Angeles.

Soon enough he began working as an extra in Hollywood and picked up the nickname “El Indio” when he met Dolores Del Rio, the silent film actress and wife of MGM Art Director Cedric Gibbons. the nickname was terrible but Del Rio and Fernandez became friends and when her husband was given an opportunity to design the award statuette fate happened.

Del Rio suggested Fernandez as a model for the statue and her husband agreed.

Fernandez’s life became much greater than a statue though, he became one of the biggest stars of the Golden Age of Mexican cinema. He worked in numerous film productions in Mexico and in Hollywood starring in the 1944 film María Candelaria, the 1947 film Río Escondido and Vìctimas del Pecado made in 1951.

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