Serial Killer Mickey Mouse Film Trailer Drops Same Days US Copyright of Cartoon Character Expires

Serial Killer Mickey Mouse Film Trailer Drops Same Days US Copyright of Cartoon Character Expires

Mickey Mouse has taken a sinister turn from his usual cheerful antics as a horror comedy film titled “Mickey’s Mouse Trap” introduces him as a psycho killer. This unexpected twist coincides with the 1928 Disney short film “Steamboat Willie” entering the public domain on January 1, 2024. “Steamboat Willie,” directed by Walt Disney, is an 8-minute short that was not only the first film to introduce the famous cartoon character but was also groundbreaking for its synchronized sound.

The trailer for “Mickey’s Mouse Trap” features a menacing figure in a Mickey Mouse costume stalking people in an arcade. The film follows a young woman celebrating her 21st birthday with a late shift at an amusement arcade, where her friends surprise her. However, their celebration turns into a nightmare as a masked killer dressed as Mickey Mouse decides to play a deadly game with them.

The movie stars Sophie McIntosh, Callum Sywyk, Allegra Nocita, Ben Harris, Damir Kovic, Mackenzie Mills, Nick Biskupek, and Simon Phillips. Despite Disney’s efforts to protect its characters, including lobbying for the Copyright Extension Act in 1998, which added 20 years to the protection period, works published between 1923 and 1978 are protected for 95 years following the date of publication. This act, often referred to as the “Mickey Mouse Protection Act,” has now seen its term expire for “Steamboat Willie.”

A Disney spokesperson stated, “Ever since Mickey Mouse’s first appearance in the 1928 short film ‘Steamboat Willie,’ people have associated the character with Disney’s stories, experiences, and authentic products. That will not change when the copyright in the Steamboat Willie film expires. We will, of course, continue to protect our rights in the more modern versions of Mickey Mouse and other works that remain subject to copyright.”

“Mickey’s Mouse Trap” director Jamie Bailey expressed his excitement about the project, saying, “We just wanted to have fun with it all. I mean it’s ‘Steamboat Willie’s’ Mickey Mouse murdering people. It’s ridiculous. We ran with it and had fun doing it and I think it shows.”

The original “Steamboat Willie” cartoon featured Mickey Mouse in mischievous and kid-friendly scenarios, but now, with the character entering the public domain, directors like Bailey and Steven LaMorte, who is also working on a horror movie based on “Steamboat Willie,” are exploring darker narratives. LaMorte shared his enthusiasm for the project, stating, “Steamboat Willie has brought joy to generations, but beneath that cheerful exterior lies a potential for pure, unhinged terror. It’s a project I’ve been dreaming of, and I can’t wait to unleash this twisted take on this beloved character to the world.”

“Mickey’s Mouse Trap” does not yet have a release date, but it is aiming for March, promising a chilling new take on the iconic character.