Winnie The Pooh: Blood & Honey Continues A Surprising Disney Trend

Dark takes on stories audiences associate with classic Disney animated movies have become common, with Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey being the most recent and extreme example. While characters like Winnie-the-Pooh and Pinocchio were created far before the respective Disney movies, it is difficult not to associate those names with the classic animated films. Disney built a lot of its legacy thanks to timeless classics like Snow White(1937) and Pinocchio(1940), which makes it even more interesting when different takes on those characters are made into live-action movies.


As had already happened with characters like Pinocchio and Snow White, Winnie-the-Pooh became part of the United States public domain as of 2022 along with the entire work of A. A. Milne – who co-created the character along with illustrator E. H. Shepard. Before that, Disney had exclusive copyrights of Winnie-the-Pooh and associated characters, with Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree (1966) being released five years after the company bought the rights to the story. However, now that Winnie-the-Pooh is public domain, Disney only has exclusive rights to its movie version of Winnie-the-Pooh, meaning that anyone in the United States can use characters from the original A. A. Milne book without Disney’s permission.

Related: GDT's Pinocchio Already Looks So Much Better Than Disney's Remake

While Disney’s animated classics like The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Pinocchio made their mark on pop culture and, in some ways, became much more recognizable around the world than the original works, it is always interesting to see new takes on characters that have been around for so long. Granted, Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey's horrifying premise may look way too gruesome, but it can’t be denied that a horror story featuring a character audiences associate with a Disney classic is a creative take. Although in a much less extreme scenario, Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio, which will premiere on Netflix in December 2022, will also offer a very different take on a character associated with a Disney movie. Del Toro’s stop-motion Pinocchio will be more on par with the original Carlo Collodi story, an exciting way to set the film apart from the 1940 classic. Characters like Pinocchio and Snow White have been in the public domain for decades, but it's today’s quest for proven IPs both for the big screen and for the streaming platforms that helps explain why these reimagined versions are becoming so common.

These Dark Reimaginings Are More Interesting Than Disney's Own Live-Action Remakes

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Compared to Disney’s recent live-action remakes of its animated classics, these reimagined versions like Del Toro’s Pinocchio and Blood and Honey are much more interesting in terms of creativity. The results are not always particularly remarkable, such as in Snow White and the Huntsman, but a fresh take on a character or in a story will always have more potential than just a redo of a classic. Disney’s live-action remakes like Aladdin and The Lion King are box office champions and a proven strategy for the studio, but they do not add much to Disney's legacy as they rely too much on what has already been done.

Between Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey and Disney’s upcoming live-action Pinocchio, audiences will have the chance to see both reimagined and familiar takes on iconic characters. That said, it’s obviously more difficult for indie films or even the ones like Del Toro’s Pinocchio to compete with a Disney blockbuster in terms of popularity. That can play against originality and creativity, but it should not stop this trend of movies featuring alternate versions of characters people have known for so long.