Disney drops their attempt to trademark “Dia de los Muertos” after public outcry

Jacob at Noche de Altares in Santa Ana

After a flurry of online outrage, Disney has decided to no longer pursue a trademark on “Dia de los Muertos,” according to the OC Weekly.

The backlash was swift, and late Tuesday afternoon a Disney spokesperson issued this statement, according to KPCC:

“As we have previously announced, Disney-Pixar is developing an animated feature inspired by the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos. Disney’s trademark filing was intended to protect any potential title for our film and related activities. It has since been determined that the title of the film will change and therefore we are withdrawing our trademark filing.”

Now why in the world would Disney do such a thing in the first place?

In April 2012, Pixar announced their intention to create a film centered on the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos and to be directed by Lee Unkrich, according to Wikipedia.

“Pixar movies do extremely well in Mexico,” Unkrich told the Los Angeles Times in mid-May, as he was waiting to offer notes to the filmmakers of the studio’s next movie, “Brave,” at a screening at the Skywalker Ranch in Marin County. “This will allow us to explore a really fascinating aspect of the culture there.”

The Fronteras Desk reported that the applications were filed May 1 :

The areas they are hoping to secure include “education and entertainment services,” “fruit preserves; fruit-based snack foods,” “toys, games and playthings,” “clothing,” “footwear,” “backpacks,” “clocks and jewelry” and more.

The U.S. Trademark and Patent Office website lists 10 applications for “Dia De Los Muertos” filed by Disney Enterprises, Inc. in Burbank. A sample application listing “goods and services” under the desired trademark has this list:

Bags; backpacks; calling card cases; coin purses; fanny packs; key cases; key chains; luggage; luggage tags; purses; umbrellas; wallets

Another features a sort of “Day of the Dead Before Christmas” product list:

Toys, games and playthings; gymnastic and sporting articles (except clothing); hand-held units for playing electronic games for use with or without an external display screen or monitor; Christmas stockings; Christmas tree ornaments and decorations; snow globes

Perhaps the final straw for Disney was a Change.org petition that quickly attracted over 12,000 signatures.

Disney makes a big deal about diversity but when I worked there, in the safety department, I was chewed out by my manager because I spoke to a hotel executive in Spanish.  She might have gotten away with it, but I reported what happened to the Disney diversity trainer and he went right to HR.  As you can imagine it was a rough ride for me after that.  I ended up quitting after getting a much better offer, in risk control, from a major insurance carrier.  I have to wonder how Disney’s diversity committee feels about this Pixar trademark disaster?

Disney owes all Mexicans a big apology and I hope to God that this Pixar Dia de Los Muertos movie won’t be a complete train wreck.

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