Business Maverick, Media, Multimedia

No more Mr Nice Mouse

No more Mr Nice Mouse

Disney has just entered its mascot into the biggest complete makeover reality show in history. If you’re one of those people who likes Mickey Mouse just as he is, you’re probably a lot older than 12 anyway.

Mickey Mouse traversing a forbidding wasteland with a furrowed brow and sly grin? Bet you thought you’d never live to see the day, but yup, the most famous mouse in the universe is about to get his very own testosterone makeover. It all starts next year, with his appearance in the video game Epic Mickey, which is touted as a glimpse into the Disney icon’s dark side. And it ends… who knows where? Mickey as a feral hitmouse with connections to the police chief and bent mining magnates in Africa?

Well, maybe not, different script. Although Disney does have a much more comprehensive life-plan for its mascot than just the one video game. Like sweet and dowdy suburban housewives on reality programmes everywhere, Mickey has been chosen as the lucky recipient of a personality transplant. His “coming out” will be evidenced by such stuff as new clothes, a new face, new walk, new talk, and of course a new house at Disney World.

“The effort to re-engineer Mickey is still in its early stages,” observes the New York Times, “but it involves the top creative and marketing minds in the company, all the way up to Robert A. Iger, Disney’s chief executive.”

Naturally, the impetus behind the makeover is the target audience – kids nowadays just ain’t what they used to be. When was the last time your little munchkin ran around the house singing the theme song from the Mickey Mouse Club? Disney knows this, apparently, and so the company is in some ways coming full circle. The Mickey of Steamboat Willie days, way back in 1928, wasn’t a nice mouse at all – he was a dedicated pugilist and prankster, and sometimes he even played a bit rough with Minnie. 

By Kevin Bloom

Read more: New York Times

WATCH: Steamboat Willie, from 1928


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