The directors of The Little Mermaid talk about the process of putting together the film and its new two-disc Platinum Edition DVD.
By the late 1980s, animated movies had become almost the exclusive province of pre-teen or family audiences. Those that offered more mature thrills, such as Disney's The Black Cauldron, didn't make the same impact as more light-hearted adventures, and few of them were doing the kind of business that really kept the industry as a whole going strong. But in 1989, The Little Mermaid changed everything.
Disney's own slate diminished significantly in the preceding years, with the notable exception of Oliver & Company, but The Little Mermaid became an instant smash, building success week after week and eventually becoming one of the most successful animated movies of all time. Directors Ron Clements and John Musker attribute the film's success not only to the musical team of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, who produced the songs, but their overall determination to keep the industry afloat in a time when studio bottom lines suggested that animated movies had run their course as adult entertainment.
Clements and Musker recently spoke to IGN in an exclusive one-on-two interview, where they talked about finding passion for the project, restoring the film for the new DVD release, and keeping The Little Mermaid intact - mistakes and all - for generations of future moviegoers.