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Disney+ removes the documentary about Howard Ashman from its catalog coinciding with the premiere of ‘The Little Mermaid’

Disney+ removes the documentary about Howard Ashman from its catalog coinciding with the premiere of 'The Little Mermaid'

He May 26 comes to theaters a new remake in live action of a Disney animated classic. It seems like a strategy that mouse house It turns out to be profitable, and it is true that no matter how many detractors they may have (and apart from some that they have launched directly in Disney+), are movies that make money. The little Mermaid you can join the blockbusters of The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin either The Lion King. And his first reactions are not negative: he could be the best of all.

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The little Mermaidwho drives Rob Marshallis a musical like the 1989 original was. It recounts with Allan Menken as a composer, that in view of the new version in which he stars halle bailey has written three new songs (and deleted two, Triton’s daughters and The Poissons). These three songs are sung by Ariel, Prince Eric, and Scuttle and Sebastian as a duet, and Menken has set them to music with the lyrics of lin manuel mirandacreator of hamilton and another old Disney acquaintance.

In The little Mermaid from 1989 Menken collaborated with another talented lyricist to whom Miranda’s choice inevitably refers. We talk about Howard Ashmannwhose songs remain in the new little mermaid without, therefore, his memory having been saved from a devastating (and very strange) decision by Disney: The little Mermaid hits theaters May 26, we said. And that will be the same day that Disney removes a handful of titles from its catalogue, including a documentary… dedicated to Ashman himself.

Who has come up with something like this?

Disney+ is not the first platform of streaming that seeks to clean up finances with the suppression of several titles from the catalog. HBO Max He opened the season, and they followed him showtime either AMC. But the House of Mouse has not been shy about taking down series and movies with considerable media attention: Willow, Pistols, Y: The Last Man… now we have to focus on Howarda documentary directed by Don Hall in 2018.

This documentary reviewed the career of Ashman, a key figure in the Renaissance animated Disney that began in 1989, precisely with The little Mermaid. Before joining Disney, Ashman had worked on the musical little shop of horrorsand his first commission for the House of Mouse was given in Oliver and his gang: he was the one who composed the opening song, New York, city of adventure. He then crossed paths with Menken, and together they designed the gripping soundtrack for The little Mermaid.

Menken and Ashman won an Oscar for Under the sea, being the geniuses behind those songs whose appeal, more than three decades later, retains the remake of The Little Mermaid. But Ashman had discovered that he was HIV-positive shortly after starting work at The little Mermaid, and during the following years his health worsened. She returned to work with Menken for the soundtrack of Beauty and the Beast, and won an Oscar again thanks to the song of the same name. It was 1991, and shortly after he would die of AIDS.

Poster for ‘The Little Mermaid’ 1989

Beauty and the Beast it was released, in fact, months after Ashman had passed away. However, he had had time to collaborate with Menken on a third film, aladdin. Three of his songs (If to Arabia you go, Such a great genius and prince ali) are his, for which he again received posthumous Golden Globe and Oscar nominations. Ashman’s career, in short, was so dazzling that Disney rightly wanted to honor him with that 2018 documentary.

But now the House of Mouse thinks the documentary is expendable, and the date it will remove it will coincide with the theatrical release of a musical that draws on Ashman’s songs. Another striking aspect of this is that Howard It is not even an original for Disney +: it had a limited release in theaters in 2018, and then in summer 2020 was added to the catalogue. This elimination obeys a logic that escapes us, and supposes a rudeness to the memory of Ashman at the worst moment.

'Howard' poster
‘Howard’ poster

that the platforms of streaming delete content that they have produced themselves can mean that said content is virtually disappeared. Non-existent. So if watching The little Mermaid From Marshall you once again notice Ashman’s genius, you should know that you will no longer be able to find out more about his life by going to the Disney+ catalog.

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