Quasimodo clapping Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Quasimodo Clapping

I don’t think Disney denies knowledge of Hunchback like they do with the Black Cauldron it’s just very clear that from a  business stand point that Hunchback didn’t make the money that Disney was used to after the Renaissance and so it gets looked over in favor of the cash-cows. But why did Hunchback fail to garner the reviews and money and is hence ignored?  Well that is actually an easy question to answer, and it not so much the title translation it’s actually film history. You see the oldest surviving movies of Hunchback (the 1923 version and the 39 version) were both star vehicles for the actors who played Quasimodo. As a result Quasimodo has been the coveted role in Hunchback, it something I like to call “The Quasimodo Factor©” (more on this later) . (Why do you think Josh Brolin is playing Quasimodo, it’s because he a producer and chose to play him.) So as a Quasimodo has been pushed to the main character role even though he is not in the book.

Frollo and Quasimodo during Out There Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Frollo and Quasimodo during Out There Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame


I think this was Disney’s problem from the onset, they thought this film demanded Quasimodo and it didn’t matter how he was depicted. So Quasimodo with his sweet/bland personality was favored over the more interesting characters like Frollo, Clopin and Esmeralda.

Esmeralda and Quasimodo Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda and Quasimodo Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame


I have to wonder that if Disney had made Frollo and Esmeralda the focus and put Quasimodo in a role where he was a minion and through some kind of exposure to Esmeralda is turned good if the movie who have done better. Was Disney too blindsided by Chaney and Laughton to see that it might have the Hunchback that bought down Notre Dame. I mean don’t get me wrong Disney was in a hard position with his one making an adult classic into a children-friendly film and I think for they did it worked, and I’m not bashing on Quasimodo but here is a challenge, list your favorite character from this movie and then list your favorite character from other Disney movies and see how  often did you site the protagonist as being one of your top. I bet comparatively people like other disney protagonists over Quasimodo.  So I think Quasimodo and the film revolving around him is the down fall and you can thank the 1939 version and the 1923 version for this.


Next Movie to be Reviewed – The 1923 Version Starring Lon Chaney….. oh….


Hunchback of Notre Dame 1923 Lon Chaney picture image

Hunchback of Notre Dame 1923 Lon Chaney










*I’ll tell you what I’ll rank Disney characters too,  leave a comment with  5-7 disney movies, can be any movie (not Oliver I haven’t seen it but anything else is fair game (I think)) if I don’t hear from people by the  April 23th I’ll just choose at random. If  in the event I get more comments  I’ll pick the top 5-7 Disney movies that people picked Got it?

10 Thoughts on “Why did Hunchback Fail? The Conclusion of the conclusion of the Disney Version

  1. BW on 10/02/2012 at 8:55 pm said:

    It’s true that Hunchback was not a success in the US, but compared to the even worse turnouts of Pocahontas & Hercules worldwide, Hunchback actually did pretty well in Europe, especially (& surprisingly) France.

    The failure of Pocahontas at the US box office unfortunately sort of paved the way for Hunchback’s turnout in the States. American parents were also wary of a Disney film handling such dark subject matter as a Victor Hugo novel. Which is a shame, because they missed out on a great movie which delivers story-wise, pushed boundaries that Disney was ready to push, and had wonderful overall animation/artwork quality. Not to mention that its soundtrack is phenomenal compared to Pocahontas or Hercules.

    I consider Hunchback to actually be the last of the great Disney animated films. I enjoyed Mulan but production quality-wise it just doesn’t compare to the depth and grandeur of Hunchback. Both Tarzan & Brother Bear _could_ have been great if they had left Phil Collins out of their soundtracks. Disney picked the wrong ex-member of Genesis to do the music for those films.

    • Rachel Isakowitz on 01/02/2013 at 8:23 pm said:

      I disagree that “Pocahontas” was a box office failure. According to Wikipedia, it had a $55 million budget and grossed $141,579,773 at the box office DOMESTICALLY, which in laymen’s terms means that the film was a financial success. Also, on Box Office Mojo, “Pocahontas” was listed as the 4th highest grossing film of 1995, coming in behind “Apollo 13,” “Batman Forever,” and “Toy Story.”

      To me, Disney’s disappointment that “Pocahontas” did not have the same FINANCIAL success as “Aladdin,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and “The Lion King” is like getting a B on your report card when really you wanted an A – not terrible, but not great either.

      • Esme on 01/04/2013 at 7:20 pm said:

        I think part of the disappointment came from the fact that Disney had it’s “B’ team working on The Lion King and their “A” team was working on Pocahontas. So, of course Disney figured that Pocahontas would gross more.
        As a kid I preferred Pocahontas over The Lion King.

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  3. Esme on 04/19/2012 at 7:28 pm said:

    yeah, I always kind of root for the villain…Hades had the perfect army; the dead. He could’ve taken Meg’s soul and left Herc to commit suicide or something, which would have been the ultimate revenge on Zeus!

    I didn’t like Jafar because he felt he needed 3 wishes to give him power. To me that’s just relying too much on others to do the work for you…too lazy.

    My first favorite Disney character was Mad Madam Mim…she was just funny to watch and not really “evil” and she was more “frienemy” to Merlin than anything else. I thought it was cool how she could turn into so many things, but always wanted to know why she and Merlin didn’t get along.

    I usually like the darker, more sarcastic villains. I grew up on Disney, Xena and horror movies, so I think that’s why I’ve never really been a fan of the princesses. Some of my first role models were Morticia Adams, Freddy Krugar, Beetlejuice and the T-Rex from The Land Before Time. My sense of humor is a little warped and kind of dark.

    I think my least favorite Disney villain of all time though would have to be Gaston. He’s just too full of himself.

  4. hardyharhar on 04/19/2012 at 6:51 pm said:

    Oh wow, this looks like a ton of fun. :D

    My favorites are:

    1.) Frollo, of course. I honestly don’t know why, but I’ll be damned if he isn’t an interesting character to watch, despite the huge deviations from the original Frollo. Interesting character design, too. Being a huge animation fan, I really like this–he’s distinctive and has some nice facial expressions. Odd that you’d find him in a movie filled with otherwise very blandly designed and animated characters. I like his hand gestures too. And I honestly think he’s a step in the right direction as far as Disney villains are concerned. Like, “yeah, let’s start giving them some internal conflict… yeah, let’s start getting away from that greed/power-driven villainy trend, lookin’ good.” Still falls into that black and white morality thing, but what can you do? *shrug*

    2.) Gaston from Beauty and the Beast. While he’s a funny antagonist, it’s the fridge horror that really sells it. *shudders* He’s going to try to take Belle’s individuality away from her and turn her into a doormat housewife (marital rape implications ensuing). He could have had anyone, but he wants the one with a personality so he can strip it from her… eesh, the things you miss as a kid.

    3.) Scar (wow, Disney Renaissance villains are really dominating this list). He’s not particularly well-developed, but like Gaston, he’s just a ton of fun to watch. Maybe he’s also a bit of a well-intentioned extremist with the abolishing of the hyena/lion segregation. Are lions just species-ist in the Disney-verse? Or are we not supposed to let lions and hyenas like together because it’s going to cause a drought and kill off all the wildlife? Maybe it’s just me, but he gets kind of whiny after that whole regicide thing… I guess I like that he, like young Simba, just wanted power without the responsibility, so he might get a pass on that because it’s a part of that whole confused moral of the film. And Jeremy Irons. Can’t forget Jeremy Irons. I still feel he’s a little over-rated, but… myeh.

    4.) Yzma from the Emperor’s New Groove. Because she’s funny as hell, especially with Kronk.

    5.) Flower from Bambi. He doesn’t do much, but he’s like the cutest thing ever (and I’m trying to step out my Disney Renaissance/villains trend). He also taught me some Icelandic. Thank you, Icelandic-dub Flower. I salute you.

  5. Esme on 04/19/2012 at 10:52 am said:

    I was never really into Aladdin. I liked The Genie, because in the original and the third installment the character was voiced by Robin Williams.
    For a while I liked Pocahontas…yes, I went through a “we must love the earth” phase as a kid. But the villains in both were lack luster at best. A villain has to make you wonder “what the hell went wrong in this person’s childhood/past to make them this way now?” A villain needs a good back story, where as the hero’s back story usually begins with something the villain does. To me, Ratcliff is just greedy and not even Gordon Gecko greedy. Jafar just wants to be Sultan so he can make the rules. That sounds like something any little kid would want…”I want a job, so that I can make money and make my own rules.”
    The reason Hades is my favorite villain is because he’s humorous and he wants to basically take over the world. He’s cheesed off because of the lot he drew and wants to overthrow those currently in power.
    Scar is my second favorite villain…there’s something just so dark and utterly evil about him. To me a villain has to be the character that the majority of people love to hate, but say “I know exactly how that feels.”

    • jess on 04/19/2012 at 3:32 pm said:

      The reason why I think Jafar was stupid is, he spends years looking for a cave that may not exist that may or may not have a Genie in it all so that he can rule but the thing is he was in a perfect position to pull a coup; He had control of the palace guards, the sultan was a man-child who doesn’t seem to rule and oh yeah he has a mind control ring.

      Yeah, I agree, Hades is one of the best villains, he’s just a lot of fun, I was hoping we would win out in the end

  6. Esme on 04/18/2012 at 10:20 am said:

    I’ll name my favorite Disney movies…I don’t count Pixar as pure Disney. Yes, those are wonderful films, but I prefer the Disney movies I grew up on from the ’90’s.
    1.) The Sword And The Stone and my favorite character would be Mad Madame Mim.
    2.) Hercules and favorite character is a toss up between Meg and Hades.
    3.) 101 Dalmations…I’m a dog lover, so the dalmations.
    4.) The Hunchback of Notre Dame, though I don’t have a favorite character…my favorite characters in the book are Esmeralda, Claude and Gringoire.
    5.) The Lion King…okay, who doesn’t love Scar?
    I’ve never been a fan of the princesses…okay, I liked Ariel when I was a kid because she got to do 2 of my favorite things: sing and swim. But over all I’ve prefered the villains. Villains just have more of a story, something made them villainous and there’s a catharsous behind them. We all wish we could be pyschopathic and just give into our more primal instincts. Up until recent years, the princesses, princes and secondary characters have been too good/sappy and there they really didn’t have very good stories behind them…it was just some “evil” being who for some reason hated them and wanted them dead. Villains just get to have more fun.

    • jess on 04/19/2012 at 10:15 am said:

      I agree, the villains are often more interesting than the heroes, I think of a few Disney Villains that are meh, like Ratcliffe and Jafar (I think Jafar is the stupidest Disney villains ever).

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