The character of Bambi fell into the public domain on January 1, 2022, 99 years after the publication of Felix Salten’s Bambi, a life in the forest, the story upon which the beloved Disney movie was based. And like Winnie the Pooh, apparently there was someone with a Bambi horror story just waiting to be told, because filmmaker Scott Jeffrey is about to bring us Bambi: The reckoning, the story of a deer out for blood after the murder of his mother. The film is executive produced by Rhys Frake-Waterfield, who directed Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey.
Frake-Waterfield’s next planned movie is a horror adaptation of Peter Pan, which firmly entrenches him in a very specific niche of the movie world. He is also reportedly developing a story around Loki, the Norse god of mischief.
“The film will be an incredibly dark retelling of the 1928 story we all know and love,” Jeffrey said. Fear Central. “Finding inspiration in the design used in Netflix’s The ritual, Bambi will be a vicious killing machine lurking in the wilderness. Prepare Bambi for rabies!”
The original Bambi film itself, released in 1942, is not in the public domain. As with Pooh, the filmmakers will have to avoid all elements introduced to the story by Disney, including Bambi’s specific character design. Disneys Bambi remains one of the least-traded of their animated classics, with fewer toys and clothes on the shelves than anything like that Snow White or Cinderella. Disney made a direct-to-video sequel to the film in 2006.
Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey is the first major release featuring the characters since Pooh, Piglet, and the other characters from AA Milne’s original novel were released into the public domain on January 1, 2022. Some elements, such as recognizable designs and wardrobe, remain copyrighted by Disney and later introduced characters (including Tigger) are not yet in the public domain. Since no other projects have been announced yet, it seems likely Bambi: The reckoning will similarly be the first major project featuring the Bambi characters.
After a certain amount of time, which varies according to national law, classic works are considered to cease to be owned by any person or entity, but instead become the property of the larger culture, allowing them to be adapted, performed, reused or reprinted at no extra cost.
“Due to different copyright laws around the world, there is not a single public domain – and here we focus on three of the most prominent ones,” the Public Domain Review explained earlier this year. “Newly entering the public domain in 2022: works by people who died in 1951, for countries with a copyright term of “life plus 70 years” (e.g. UK, Russia, most of the EU and South America); works of people who died in 1971, for countries with a lifespan plus 50 years (e.g., Canada, New Zealand, and most of Africa and Asia), and works published in 1926 (and all pre-1923 sound recordings), for the United States States.”
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