Hint: it involves money.
Recently, we got the first teaser of Disney’s live-action remake of Aladdin. It was just a mood piece—though not exactly cryptic, come on, it’s Aladdin—but it revealed the style of the new film and included a couple of iconic lines of dialogue. For certain viewers of the teaser, though, like screenwriter Terry Rossio, who has a writing credit on the film, that’s the source of a lot of frustration.
According to Rossio, one of four writers credited on the film, Disney’s live-action remakes are not included in the terms of the deal laid out by the studio for royalties, and as such, Disney is under no legal obligation to compensate creators of the original films.
This is messy but vital stuff. It’s easy to forget that these properties, which often become long-term moneymakers for companies like Disney, were created by people who deserve a fair share for what they create. While I can’t corroborate Rossio’s story—we’ve reached out to Disney and will update if we hear back—it resembles other well-publicized cases of creators not getting compensation for their creations or otherwise not getting what they think is a fair share at the bargaining table. Alan Moore and DC Comics come to mind.
So, when and if you see the new Aladdin, just remember that, well, not everything is sunshine and roses in corporate contract land. It never is.