Waking Sleeping Beauty

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Waking Sleeping Beauty
Waking Sleeping Beauty.jpg
Directed by Don Hahn
Produced by Don Hahn
Peter Schneider
Written by Patrick Pacheco
Starring Roy E. Disney
Michael Eisner
Jeffrey Katzenberg
Randy Cartwright
Howard Ashman
Narrated by Don Hahn
Music by Chris P. Bacon
Edited by Ellen Keneshea
Vartan Nazarian
John Damien Ryan
Stone Circle Pictures
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release dates
Running time
85 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $84,918

Waking Sleeping Beauty is a 2009 American documentary film directed by Disney film producer Don Hahn and produced by Hahn and former Disney executive Peter Schneider. The film documents the history of Walt Disney Feature Animation from 1984 to 1994, covering the rise of a period referred to as the Disney Renaissance.

Unusual for a documentary film, Waking Sleeping Beauty uses no new on-camera interviews, instead relying primarily on archival interviews, press kit footage, in-progress and completed footage from the films being covered, and personal film/videos shot (often against company policy) by the employees of the animation studio.

Waking Sleeping Beauty debuted at the 2009 Telluride Film Festival,[1] and played at film festivals across the country before its limited theatrical release on March 26, 2010 by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.[2]


The film covers the fall and rebirth of Disney's animation division, the effects the new corporate team of Michael Eisner, Frank Wells, and Jeffrey Katzenberg had on the division, the competition with Don Bluth's animation studio, the pivotal roles of Who Framed Roger Rabbit and the CAPS system, the introduction of the home video format, and the new-found success the studio had from 1989-1999.[3]

The documentary also explores the production and releases of The Black Cauldron (1985), The Great Mouse Detective (1986), Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), Oliver & Company (1988), The Little Mermaid (1989), The Rescuers Down Under (1990), Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992), The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), and The Lion King (1994).



Narration is done by Hahn, with new audio-only interviews done by several of the studio's principal figures, including former executives Eisner, Katzenberg, and Roy E. Disney, and animator/directors Mike Gabriel, Rob Minkoff, Roger Allers, Gary Trousdale, and Kirk Wise. The footage includes filmmakers Tim Burton, John Lasseter, Don Bluth, Ron Clements, John Musker, Steven Spielberg, Robert Zemeckis, Richard Williams, and George Scribner, as well as Howard Ashman, Alan Menken, Jodi Benson, Robin Williams, Paige O'Hara, Jerry Orbach, Angela Lansbury, Jeremy Irons, Nathan Lane, Elton John, and Tim Rice. A significant portion of the personal film used was shot by John Lasseter for Disney animator Randy Cartwright, who is featured giving makeshift "studio tours" in 1980, 1984, and 1990. The Cartwright footage which is used to bookend the film.[4]

The film is dedicated to the memories of Howard Ashman, former Disney President and Chief Operating Officer Frank Wells, animator Joe Ranft, and Roy E. Disney.


Since its 2009 release, Waking Sleeping Beauty has received generally positive reviews from most critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes currently gives the film a "certified fresh" rating of 71% based on 49 reviews. The general consensus is, "[The film] doesn't probe as deep -- or tell as many hard truths -- as it could have, but Don Hahn's look at Disney's rebirth offers a fascinating and surprisingly candorous glimpse into the studio's past."[5] Another review aggregator, Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 top reviews from mainstream critics, calculated a score of 70 based on 18 critics.[6] It earned a Special Achievement Award at the 2010 Annie Awards and a Best Documentary Feature nomination at the 2010 St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Awards.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sciretta, Peter (2009-09-06). Movie Review: Waking Sleeping Beauty. /Film. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  2. ^ (2010-03-04). 'Waking Sleeping Beauty' Gets Limited Theatrical Release, 3/26. BroadWayWorld.com. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  3. ^ Schneider and Hahn Talk Waking Sleeping Beauty. AWN. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  4. ^ Jeffrey M. Anderson (2010-03-26). Interview: Don Hahn and Peter Schneider of 'Waking Sleeping Beauty'. Cinematical. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  5. ^ "Waking Sleeping Beauty - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 4 April 2012. 
  6. ^ "Waking Sleeping Beauty Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved December 3, 2014. 

External links[edit]