If there is an all-time worst Disney animated feature in the modern era, Chicken Little would have to be it. This was the result of Michael Eisner’s grand vision that all Disney feature films will be computer generated 3D. And the first film to fulfill his digital dream at Buena Vista Street was this…
This film was originally budgeted at an estimated $60 million.
Chicken Little On Hold
In early May 2003, Disney studio chief David Stainton put this film on hold while the story was reworked, indefinitely delaying the release date. Stainton commented that “there’s a point in every movie where the whole thing falls apart, that moment where you look at it and say, ‘We have to retrench.’ It was that time.” The film would not be released until 2005.
Chicken Little came out in the middle of the tense negotiations between Disney and Pixar (which Eisner seemed bent on destroying, too.). Eisner needed a strong contender at the box office to remain a player in the negotiations. If the film failed, Pixar could write it’s own ticket with Disney.
The final result was in the middle somewhere, but not decisive. The film was a modest success, but with a low budget, it made money. With no clear victor in the Pixar/Disney war, both sides folded. Disney bought Pixar outright, Eisner walked away, and let the Pixar management take over Disney.
This was the first modern animated film from Disney not released on VHS home video- iut was only released on DVD (and, eventually, Blu-ray).
The film does prove one thing, though. Its the story, not the medium in which the story is delivered that matters most.