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  • [Question] P-l-l-l-l-l-l-lease sort out the legal wrangles!!!!

    In 1991 I went to WDW and was thrilled to be able to meet Roger Rabbit. At that time he was almost the sixth member of the Fab 5 and was heavily featured in the parade and throughout the parks as both a rubber-head and through merchandising.

    And then the legal disputes started.

    And Roger (and his extended toon family) entered limbo.

    But not quite...

    Yes - DL has Roger Rabbit's Cartoon Spin. And Roger adorns the fountain in Toontown. It was also nice to see a (very limited) range of RR merchandise (mainly centred around Jessica).

    So what's the story? Can Disney use Roger or not? I know the film is 'old' but the ride is as popular as ever. Why is he not seen walking around any more? And I am I the only one who thinks this is a real shame?
    WDW - 1987 & 1991
    DLP - 1996, 2004, 2006 & 2007
    DLR - October 2011





  • #2
    Re: P-l-l-l-l-l-l-lease sort out the legal wrangles!!!!

    I don't think there's any legal issues. I'm sure if their numbers showed enough support, or more accurately showed that the character would be more profitable, you would definitely see him more often. I would believe its as simple as that.

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    • #3
      Re: P-l-l-l-l-l-l-lease sort out the legal wrangles!!!!

      I think that the movie is just old. There have been talks of a sequel over the years. Perhaps if that ever gets off the ground there will be a resurgence of interest in the character.
      "Greetings, Starfighter! You have been recruited by the Star League to defend the Frontier against Xur and the Ko-Dan Armada."

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      • #4
        Re: P-l-l-l-l-l-l-lease sort out the legal wrangles!!!!

        I was under the impression that Gary Wolf (the author of the book on which the movie was based) had been 'difficult' as far as the characters in the theme parks was concerned. I also believe that the joint ownership with Amblin has caused issues in the past.
        And if this is not the case, then why not a RR meet and greet character? There are older and more obscure characters than him wandering the parks.
        WDW - 1987 & 1991
        DLP - 1996, 2004, 2006 & 2007
        DLR - October 2011




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        • #5
          Re: P-l-l-l-l-l-l-lease sort out the legal wrangles!!!!

          More than contractual red tape, the thing that limits the use of Roger Rabbit is Roger himself. His roots as a parody of generic 1940s short cartoon characters, his one-beat frenetic personality, and a voice that many mainstream audience members find annoying in all but small doses, combine to limit his mass audience appeal and confine his character franchise to a few narrowly defined venues.

          Marketing sees his character design as not especially unique; many people (some Disney management among them) can't immediately tell a drawing of Roger Rabbit from Bugs Bunny (particularly if it's the early day, McKimson, or latter-day DePatie-Freleng TV Bugs models).

          If you look at the entire body of work in which Roger has appeared and compare it to that of Daffy Duck, Daffy has enormously more range and scope as a character -- but even he never graduated from the shorts. Bottom line, Roger isn't being used more because he's a tough pitch. As a character, he essentially has been used up -- meaning everything appropriate for his character that could be done, already has been done.
          "Disneyland is often called a magic kingdom because
          it combines fantasy and history, adventure and learning,
          together with every variety of recreation and fun,
          designed to appeal to everyone."

          - Walt Disney

          "Disneyland is all about turning movies into rides."
          - Michael Eisner

          "It's very symbiotic."
          - Bob Chapek

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: P-l-l-l-l-l-l-lease sort out the legal wrangles!!!!

            Originally posted by nathan detroit View Post
            I was under the impression that Gary Wolf (the author of the book on which the movie was based) had been 'difficult' as far as the characters in the theme parks was concerned. I also believe that the joint ownership with Amblin has caused issues in the past.
            And if this is not the case, then why not a RR meet and greet character? There are older and more obscure characters than him wandering the parks.
            I haven't heard anything about how the creator was during production, however there was a suit over royalties later on. 162 Cal. App. 4th 1107.
            "Greetings, Starfighter! You have been recruited by the Star League to defend the Frontier against Xur and the Ko-Dan Armada."

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: P-l-l-l-l-l-l-lease sort out the legal wrangles!!!!

              Originally posted by DisneyIPresume View Post
              I don't think there's any legal issues. I'm sure if their numbers showed enough support, or more accurately showed that the character would be more profitable, you would definitely see him more often. I would believe its as simple as that.
              I feel like this sums it up pretty nicely.

              Originally posted by Mr Wiggins View Post
              More than contractual red tape, the thing that limits the use of Roger Rabbit is Roger himself. His roots as a parody of generic 1940s short cartoon characters, his one-beat frenetic personality, and a voice that many mainstream audience members find annoying in all but small doses, combine to limit his mass audience appeal and confine his character franchise to a few narrowly defined venues.

              Marketing sees his character design as not especially unique; many people (some Disney management among them) can't immediately tell a drawing of Roger Rabbit from Bugs Bunny (particularly if it's the early day, McKimson, or latter-day DePatie-Freleng TV Bugs models).

              If you look at the entire body of work in which Roger has appeared and compare it to that of Daffy Duck, Daffy has enormously more range and scope as a character -- but even he never graduated from the shorts. Bottom line, Roger isn't being used more because he's a tough pitch. As a character, he essentially has been used up -- meaning everything appropriate for his character that could be done, already has been done.
              I respect your opinion but I don't really agree with the fact that what's done is all that can be done. I very well think that if he had a meet and greet location (perhaps even with a Jessica face character?) near his attraction in Toontown it would be successful. The location would also help with people that can't seem to tell the difference between a gray rabbit with no clothes and a white goofy rabbit with overalls. There are more obscure and strange choices for characters out in the park all the time. I don't see why he couldn't at least get a little merchandise push, and a meet and greet location.

              Also, I disagree with the fact that people can only handle him in small doses. That is an opinion, obviously, and I don't think is that big of a factor when it comes to him getting a push in the park. Personally, I'd rather listen to Roger Rabbit speak than Donald Duck in terms of obnoxiousness. So to me that point is null and void.

              Back to the OP, I am with you. I wish we could still see some of him in the park!


              Comment


              • #8
                Re: P-l-l-l-l-l-l-lease sort out the legal wrangles!!!!

                I would love to see Roger Rabbit in The Park, but not sure if there is enough draw towards the movie and character to make it worth the time/money. The entertainment department has really cut back on the number of characters in the park, and RR seems like one of those characters that is waaaay, waaaay down on the list.

                My friends and I have talked about this a lot before... mainly because it would be epic to see Jessica Rabbit along side her husband, Roger. But we all know that will most certainly not happen.
                <3 There are a million cupcakes in the world but only one is Cupcake Terror. <3

                I AM THE REBEL SPY.


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                • #9
                  Re: P-l-l-l-l-l-l-lease sort out the legal wrangles!!!!

                  Originally posted by CupcakeTerror View Post
                  The entertainment department has really cut back on the number of characters in the park, and RR seems like one of those characters that is waaaay, waaaay down on the list.
                  I bet if he were a Disney princess that would be different. It seems like it is only those and the Fab 5 that are regularly seen.
                  "Greetings, Starfighter! You have been recruited by the Star League to defend the Frontier against Xur and the Ko-Dan Armada."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: P-l-l-l-l-l-l-lease sort out the legal wrangles!!!!

                    At least Eddie Valiant got a mailbox on Buena Vista Street! Seems like Toontown and the Red Car Trolley would be good for cross promoting Roger in the parks.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: P-l-l-l-l-l-l-lease sort out the legal wrangles!!!!

                      The score plays as part of the loop in Hollywood Pictures Backlot/Hollywoodland. (Or at least it did. I haven't been since BVS opened and I don't know if they changed the music is adjoining lands.) It's one of my favorite movie scores of all time and I love hearing it in that setting.

                      I think it's a shame that more wasn't done with the franchise, but then I read a rumor Zemeckis was thinking of doing a sequel with the toons in 2D CGI and the humans in motion capture. UGH! I hope this isn't true. The entire idea of the original was seeing hand-animated toons believably sharing space with live-action humans.

                      But yeah, bring back a walkaround Roger character in Toontown. Wasn't it Eisner who made Spielberg mad in the first place? Can't Iger mend fences with him?

                      Originally posted by Mr Wiggins View Post
                      Marketing sees his character design as not especially unique; many people (some Disney management among them) can't immediately tell a drawing of Roger Rabbit from Bugs Bunny (particularly if it's the early day, McKimson, or latter-day DePatie-Freleng TV Bugs models).
                      Really? Other than being cartoon rabbits, they look nothing alike. For one thing, Roger is white with red overalls and Bugs is gray and nude. Not to mention them having completely different personalities and expressions. Can the executives tell the difference between Bugs and Oswald? Or how about Oswald, Mickey, Julius, Bosko, and Felix the Cat? All of whom look more alike than Roger Rabbit and Bugs Bunny.
                      Last edited by animagusurreal; 08-23-2012, 11:22 PM.
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                      • #12
                        Re: P-l-l-l-l-l-l-lease sort out the legal wrangles!!!!

                        This might be the first thread I've ever heard of people stating "I don't think there's any legal issues."

                        I think there was a dispute over how much of him was owned by Warner Brothers or whatever other company went in on the film together with Disney, and as a result his appearances would mean Disney has to pay a portion of the royalties to WB just to use a character. And so through either a dispute over what the amount should be or just a pure rejection of having to pay their competition to use a character in their own park, Disney phased him out completely save the ride.

                        There had to have been a dispute. Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Tokyo Disneyland wouldn't just get rid of the character at the exact same time because it was uninteresting to them anymore. Tokyo would probably still be using him.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: P-l-l-l-l-l-l-lease sort out the legal wrangles!!!!

                          ORDDU: Several years ago Al Lutz had an article about the whole Roger Rabbit issue. If memory serves correctly, there was a dispute between Michael Eisner and Stephen Spielberg as to how the character would be used and promoted. Stephen became angry with Michael for not consulting him on certain legal situations regarding Roger so the result was that Roger was pulled from public view and was no longer allowed to roam the parks. This was particularly upsetting, seeing as how Roger Rabbit's CarToon spin opened around this time and, at one point, Roger wasn't allowed to be in Toon Town any longer! Since the original dispute things seem to have died down and I think the REAL reason Roger isn't seen in the parks any more is because current management has forgotten all about him. Perhaps a letter campaign would bring him back. We've always loved him and wish he was still out and about for meetings and greetings.

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                          • #14
                            Re: P-l-l-l-l-l-l-lease sort out the legal wrangles!!!!

                            Thank you Orddu for that bit of information. I would also love to see Roger return to his particular section of the park just to give it a little more life and context, and especially since the film's 25th anniversary is coming up!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: P-l-l-l-l-l-l-lease sort out the legal wrangles!!!!

                              Originally posted by animagusurreal View Post
                              Really? Other than being cartoon rabbits, they look nothing alike.
                              Yup, really. The number of people in the Company who don't know their own characters from other studios' is astonishing. It's even worse in the general public.

                              Even if Disney management somehow got Roger Rabbit back on its "oh, that's one of our characters?" radar, the question remains "what do we get out of it?" What does Disney get out of paying for Roger walkarounds and meet-and-greets? More customers? The park is already filled. Happier fans? The fans will come regardless. Synergy with other Roger Rabbit movies, merchandise and marketing campaigns? There are none.

                              If you can't put a dollar figure on it, it's meaningless to the corporation -- they don't do freebies. Which is why in my earlier post, I said the real problem with Roger is that he's a tough pitch.
                              Last edited by Mr Wiggins; 08-24-2012, 10:40 AM.
                              "Disneyland is often called a magic kingdom because
                              it combines fantasy and history, adventure and learning,
                              together with every variety of recreation and fun,
                              designed to appeal to everyone."

                              - Walt Disney

                              "Disneyland is all about turning movies into rides."
                              - Michael Eisner

                              "It's very symbiotic."
                              - Bob Chapek

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Re: P-l-l-l-l-l-l-lease sort out the legal wrangles!!!!

                                I personally love the Roger Rabbit character not just because who framed Roger Rabbit is one of my all time favs but simply because his personality best represents mine.... completly goofy, out of wack, and clumsy. I would love to see Disney push him a lil more in the parks, if they did Im hoping he would be a big sell

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Re: P-l-l-l-l-l-l-lease sort out the legal wrangles!!!!

                                  Originally posted by Witches of Morva View Post
                                  ORDDU: Several years ago Al Lutz had an article about the whole Roger Rabbit issue. If memory serves correctly, there was a dispute between Michael Eisner and Stephen Spielberg as to how the character would be used and promoted. Stephen became angry with Michael for not consulting him on certain legal situations regarding Roger so the result was that Roger was pulled from public view and was no longer allowed to roam the parks. This was particularly upsetting, seeing as how Roger Rabbit's CarToon spin opened around this time and, at one point, Roger wasn't allowed to be in Toon Town any longer! Since the original dispute things seem to have died down and I think the REAL reason Roger isn't seen in the parks any more is because current management has forgotten all about him. Perhaps a letter campaign would bring him back. We've always loved him and wish he was still out and about for meetings and greetings.
                                  Exactly what I heard elsewhere as well. Profits from the character merch wasn't exactly ironed out, and there was supposedly a falling out between Spielberg (Amblin) and Disney.

                                  That having been said, hopefully that rumored sequel gets made and they can redo those talks!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Re: P-l-l-l-l-l-l-lease sort out the legal wrangles!!!!

                                    As I stated in my opening post, Gary K Wolf did enter a legal dispute with Disney. Basically he was disputing Disney's figures and claimed he was owed more money. He also was disputing the franchising of the character including theme park presence.

                                    For full (and very boring) details, see here: Wolf v. Walt Disney Pictures & Television (2008) 162 Cal.App.4th 1107 162 Cal.App.4th 1107



                                    And I may add that there was a test for Roger Rabbit 2 was done in 1998 using CGI for the characters and directed by the wonderful Eric Goldberg. Eisner pulled the plug although I actually think the results look surprisingly promising. Don't believe me? See for yourself.... 1998 Roger Rabbit 2 CGI Test [Eric Goldberg] - YouTube

                                    AND I doubt (as a previous poster suggested) that Zemekis would now consider doing any more motion capture after the failure of Mars Needs Moms. I certainly doubt Disney would finance him to do anymore at least.
                                    Last edited by nathan detroit; 08-24-2012, 11:29 AM.
                                    WDW - 1987 & 1991
                                    DLP - 1996, 2004, 2006 & 2007
                                    DLR - October 2011




                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Re: P-l-l-l-l-l-l-lease sort out the legal wrangles!!!!

                                      ORWEN: Roger Rabbit is my favorite fluffy bunny of all! I cry every time I think about how his promising career was cut so short too soon all because of a disagreement between Michael Eisner and Stephen Spielberg. Roger deserves to be seen at the parks. Roger deserves sequels. Roger deserves to play Patty cake again! Won't somebody p-l-l-l-l-l-l-e-e-e-e-e-e-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-s-s-s-s-s-e-e-e let him make a come back???

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Re: P-l-l-l-l-l-l-lease sort out the legal wrangles!!!!

                                        Originally posted by Mr Wiggins View Post
                                        If you can't put a dollar figure on it, it's meaningless to the corporation -- they don't do freebies. Which is why in my earlier post, I said the real problem with Roger is that he's a tough pitch.
                                        But once again I have to bring up that Tokyo doesn't use him either. If they were allowed to, I'm just positive they would have, at some point since all parks worldwide got rid of him at the same time, brought him back for SOMEthing.

                                        Comment

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