Why is Mickey Mouse so elusive?

Oct 26, 2017
12,423
#1
I remember a time when Mario was, at his height of popularity, more popular than Mickey Mouse. People used that little nugget to convey how popular Mario had become. I believe this factoid was done around Super Mario Brothers 3 release in the US. That game was a juggernaut at the time.

But even as a long time Disney fan, I always wondered why the Mouse was so elusive. He never had a show in the super popular Disney Afternoon. Fantasia was the last animated feature movie Mickey Mouse. I remember seeing the Prince and the Pauper short when I saw The Rescuer Down Under in the theaters. It was surreal because it was a modern production, at the time lol, with Mickey Mouse starring in it.

Even with the first Kingdom Hearts game, he remains rather elusive there. He becomes more involved in later games. But playing KH3, I saw Mickey on screen way more than any other medium in the last 10 years lol. Yep in KH lol. Too bad he's attached to the crazy KH story lol.

I do know about the recent shorts, which is a nice thing. But overall, which is Mickey so elusive with Disney. Using the Nintendo analogy, it's if Nintendo were to put Mario in a some vault, no pun intended, for many years. Sony's closest mascot is Kratos, and he gets a lot of love too. Same with Master Chief and Xbox. But you could say that's apples to oranges since Disney is way more broad as a company--film, parks, TV, and so on.
 
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entremet
Oct 26, 2017
12,423
#4
He’s not. Disney has Mickey Roadster Racers and Mickeys Clubhouse, previously, running for years.
Disney Channel?

I'm talking about major movies and such. He's relegated to Disney Channel, which is like some purgatory for dead properties lol.
 
Oct 26, 2017
3,126
#5
Mickey back then was everywhere. Remember the Disney Club? Also series in the 2000s like Mickeys Clubhouse. Mickey Mouse merchandise everywhere etc. Mickey is everything but elusive.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,569
#6
I was wondering the same thing after playing Kingdom Hearts. It’s like the only way the newer generations experience Mickey are if they goto the theme parks.
 
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entremet
Oct 26, 2017
12,423
#9
Mickey back then was everywhere. Remember the Disney Club? Also series in the 2000s like Mickeys Clubhouse. Mickey Mouse merchandise everywhere etc. Mickey is everything but elusive.
I never had the Disney Channel. So he was rather elusive. Is the Disney Channel popular, even in todays' cable cutting edge? The Disney Channel was also not offered in every cable package when I grew up, so he was MIA.
 
Oct 25, 2017
6,169
#10
It's not like we're seeing Bugs Bunny popping up in a ton of places anymore either. I don't think mascots necessarily need to be plastered all over everything.
 
Oct 25, 2017
7,573
#11
Mickey is kind of a generic spokesperson for the Disney corporation.

But kids still love him and he has a huge presence at the parks. He is clearly the star of Disney World and Land.
 
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entremet
Oct 26, 2017
12,423
#12
It's not like we're seeing Bugs Bunny popping up in a ton of places anymore either. I don't think mascots necessarily need to be plastered all other everything.
He is in everything, but it's iconic. I meant the character just having a feature film or something. I just feel bad that the most I've seen Mickey Mouse in anything has been KH3 of late lol.
 
Oct 25, 2017
9,721
New Jersey
#14
Though a 3d animated film that captures the feel of the current Mickey shorts would be cool

Don't know what the plot would be

Mortimer and Pete are dicks so Mickey and the gang do something
 
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entremet
Oct 26, 2017
12,423
#15
Did Fantasia 2000 bomb? That was probably the last Mickey appearance in feature animated film. I hated Fantasia, so I never bothered with 2000.
 
Oct 25, 2017
5,137
Columbus, OH
#18
I never had the Disney Channel. So he was rather elusive. Is the Disney Channel popular, even in todays' cable cutting edge? The Disney Channel was also not offered in every cable package when I grew up, so he was MIA.
Disney Channel was/is very popular. Esp their live-action shows for kids.

That's just TV. Paid cable at that. Him not having a show in the Disney Afternoon was rather weird too.
he was a part of the commercials for those shows though wasn't he?
 
Oct 25, 2017
5,637
#20
Disney is very protective of their valuable IPs, and they've always been able to create new stars... It's something Disney does better than any other creative agency, IMO. Once every few years, it feels like Disney launches a new star out of nowhere. Whether it's Elsa and Anna from ~5 years ago, or Buzz & Woody, to Aladdin or the Lion King when I was a kid. My 7 year old nephew was obsessed with Lightning McQueen and Mayter (sp?) a few years ago, even though he'd never even seen the Cars movies. Disney just has this incredible talent to launch new stars when they want to, and sure, they have failures here and there, but it seems like they have more proven success than most other creative agencies.

Just thinking back to the early 1990s, in the example you're giving where Mario was suddenly huge and Mickey seemed to be declining in popularity, at about the same time, Disney was launching a cadre of enormous new stars... Ariel from the Little Mermaid, Flounder, Beast, Belle, the sidekicks, Buzz Lightyear, Woody, the sidekicks from Toy Story, and then every other major Disney hit from the early to mid 90s.

Disney still has those protected assets -- Mickey, Donald, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, etc -- because they don't need to over-expose them like, say, how Warner Bros does with their cartoon character assets. There was also a time when I was growing up when the Tazmanian Devil, Bugs Bunny, and Tweety Bird were everywhere and for a short stint of a few years, those characters were cool. I remember buying kids polo shirts that had Tweety Bird on them, or oversized sweatshirts with Taz on them... Like, I don't think any kids choose those these days. But, Mickey and Minnie are still iconic characters.

Disney does the right thing with their characters at their parks, too. My sister and her kids are Disney people, they love Disney world, same with one of my coworkers and his kids. And both of them still talk about seeing Mickey at the Magic Kingdom, or seeing all 7 dwarves, or something, like, it's a very rare and special opportunity to see that. Meanwhile, at Universal, Popeye has to walk up and accost children just to get 1/100th of the attention that Smee or Gaston gets.
 
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entremet
Oct 26, 2017
12,423
#23
Disney Channel was/is very popular. Esp their live-action shows for kids.



he was a part of the commercials for those shows though wasn't he?
I don't remember honestly lol. I thought the commercials were the stars of the various shows--Scrooge, Darkwing Duck, Gummi bears.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,723
#24
He's in those Christmas specials, Once/Twice Upon a Christmas. Those are pretty solid Christmas specials, so he's probably seen at least once a year in a lot of households.

And as others have said, the Disney kids channel is loaded with Mickey. I have no idea what any of the shows are, but I've been hanging out with my little nephew before and I swear it was like 4 hours of nonstop Mickey.
 
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entremet
Oct 26, 2017
12,423
#26
Disney is very protective of their valuable IPs, and they've always been able to create new stars... It's something Disney does better than any other creative agency, IMO. Once every few years, it feels like Disney launches a new star out of nowhere. Whether it's Elsa and Anna from ~5 years ago, or Buzz & Woody, to Aladdin or the Lion King when I was a kid. My 7 year old nephew was obsessed with Lightning McQueen and Mayter (sp?) a few years ago, even though he'd never even seen the Cars movies. Disney just has this incredible talent to launch new stars when they want to, and sure, they have failures here and there, but it seems like they have more proven success than most other creative agencies.

Just thinking back to the early 1990s, in the example you're giving where Mario was suddenly huge and Mickey seemed to be declining in popularity, at about the same time, Disney was launching a cadre of enormous new stars... Ariel from the Little Mermaid, Flounder, Beast, Belle, the sidekicks, Buzz Lightyear, Woody, the sidekicks from Toy Story, and then every other major Disney hit from the early to mid 90s.

Disney still has those protected assets -- Mickey, Donald, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, etc -- because they don't need to over-expose them like, say, how Warner Bros does with their cartoon character assets. There was also a time when I was growing up when the Tazmanian Devil, Bugs Bunny, and Tweety Bird were everywhere and for a short stint of a few years, those characters were cool. I remember buying kids polo shirts that had Tweety Bird on them, or oversized sweatshirts with Taz on them... Like, I don't think any kids choose those these days. But, Mickey and Minnie are still iconic characters.
That's a good point. I do remember when Looney Tunes were rather overexposed as well.
 
Oct 29, 2017
2,076
#27
That's just TV. Paid cable at that. Him not having a show in the Disney Afternoon was rather weird too.
Young children are the target demo for the sort of iconography of a brand that Mickey is, so mid-morning is probably the best time slot versus the demo that watches afternoon TV.

Being a paid channel is just one of those middle class privileges that also means they are more likely to be able to afford merch or a trip to a Disney Park.

Mickey is merely a vessel for young children to gain brand loyalty and affiliation. Every kid today still recognizes who mickey mouse is.
 
Oct 25, 2017
7,925
#28
Disney Channel?

I'm talking about major movies and such. He's relegated to Disney Channel, which is like some purgatory for dead properties lol.
I never had the Disney Channel. So he was rather elusive. Is the Disney Channel popular, even in todays' cable cutting edge? The Disney Channel was also not offered in every cable package when I grew up, so he was MIA.
Your wrong. Disney Channel and DisneyXD are both popular.
 

weemadarthur

Community Resettler
Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,980
#29
Part of it may be the dialogue options. Early on, Mickey’s voice was established as being rather breathy and he speaks in interjections more than sentences. Now with new voice actors taking on the role, they need to meet criteria for it. It’s possible that Mickey just can’t participate in a dialogue-heavy venue without sounding like someone else.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,340
#31
Disney channel (as a combination of there channel options) is massively popular. It’s hardly ‘purgatory’ for their properties. Stuff that gets launched there (especially Disney JR) can be huge for the younger kids crowd.

Their channels are also pretty regularly included in most standard packages for streaming services too.

Really, a feature length movie is the only place Mickey isn’t all that present. But I’m not sure they need it.
 
Oct 25, 2017
162
#32
Heard someone say before that Disney's super protective of him, so that could be one. At the same time you have...

  1. The old shows
  2. House of Mouse
  3. Christmas/holiday specials
  4. More modern stuff for the younger crowd (clubhouse)
  5. Recently, a ton of (awesome) shorts on YT as well: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5K8SEF_7GQBedXIjtXLCRg
Doubt he'll get a big series or movie anytime soon, but the shorts are seriously awesome (and pretty far from the norm for Disney animation I'd say) and even have like 10+ eps in strictly foreign languages (Hindi, Italian, French, Chinese, etc.)
 
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entremet
Oct 26, 2017
12,423
#33
Your wrong. Disney Channel and DisneyXD are both popular.
You have any ratings stats? Just curious. Never knew. I just remember the Disney channel being in higher tier of cable packages growing up. We never got it. That tier was pricier.
 
Oct 26, 2017
3,126
#36
I never had the Disney Channel. So he was rather elusive. Is the Disney Channel popular, even in todays' cable cutting edge? The Disney Channel was also not offered in every cable package when I grew up, so he was MIA.
Not Disney Channel - Disney Club. We had Disney Club in Germany which raired from 1991 to 1995. Disney Channel was a pay channel too later, but most Disney Cartoons aired on Super RTL in the "Disney Club" (they changed channels and changed the Disney Club too) which aired till 2002 or something like that. Nowadays everyone has Disney Channel or watches it online.
 
Oct 25, 2017
6,397
Omni
#37
He doesn’t need to be in a big budget film


He’s already a huge household name so Disney probably didn’t want him just appearing even as a reference
 
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entremet
Oct 26, 2017
12,423
#39
He doesn’t need to be in a big budget film


He’s already a huge household name so Disney probably didn’t want him just appearing even as a reference
Looks like he's getting two!

Have a baby and come back and tell us that Mickey Mouse is "elusive."
After thinking about it, it's more about feature films for me. That's where he's been missing. Especially since film is at a higher tier for Disney than TV.
 

PlanetSmasher

The Abominable Showman
Member
Oct 25, 2017
21,879
#41
As a character, Mickey is kind of dated. He got all kinds of movies up to the 80s and then fell off because kids simply don't love him that much, at least compared to the nostalgic icons of their own particular times. He's an icon, but he's not exactly the kind of character that people are gonna line up to go see a movie exclusively about.

He's kind of transcended the need to be in standalone films and just become Disney's literal icon.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,544
#44
I do remember it was a big deal when Epic Mickey was announced. Too bad the games didn't turn out well.
I dug the first game a lot. Felt perfect for the Wii and it still holds up visually fantastically when playing on a CRT. It visually almost reminded me Okami or Twilight Princess's Twilight realm in ways(visually that is). It pales next to the 3D Mario games but I think it's still one of the better 3D platformers we've seen in the last 2 decades.

Never played the second so can't comment on that one.
 
Oct 25, 2017
6,179
Wisconsin
#45
A big part of what makes characters like Mickey successful is that they don't oversell themselves and feel like they're plastered onto anything and everything, which leads to a character feeling like they are a passing fad rather than a cultural staple. He pops up enough to make his point and to ensure that his image and personality are readily familiar without overstaying his welcome. He just celebrated his 90th birthday with a bunch of TV specials and theme park events and will have a new dark ride at Hollywood studios in a little more than a year.
 
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entremet
Oct 26, 2017
12,423
#46
Traversing the darkness takes it's toll.
Funny you mention that since Disney was rather finicky about MM in KH1. Hence, his singular appearance.

I guess after KH proved itself commercially and critically, they gave Square more leeway. He's crazy prominent in these games now.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,012
#46
After thinking about it, it's more about feature films for me. That's where he's been missing. Especially since film is at a higher tier for Disney than TV.
I mean, even a hit Mickey Mouse feature film's profits would probably be dwarfed by the profits from any individual Mickey Mouse product line.

When I was talking about babies, I wasn't even thinking of the many, many, many Mickey shows aimed at the 0-gradeschool demographic. Mickey is all over diapers, all over cutlery, all over clothes, all over Duplos and Legos, he fills the stuffed animal aisle, he's on backpacks, on food, on scooters and skateboards, on trains, on anything you can think of. My son picked out a Mickey Mouse kite the other day that we're waiting for a dry day to try out.

The reason you don't see Mickey anywhere is because you aren't his target market. Go up to any, and I mean any, young kid who can talk, and show them the ears and ask who it is, and they will absolutely light up and yell "MICKEY!"
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,290
#47
I do think this discussion could have been folded into the other thread about the shorts, but alas.

Mickey Mouse is simply a figurehead representative of a company that for too long was so overprotective of its IP to the point that he no longer had a personality. The recent shorts are a godsend.
 

Kylo Rey

Banned
Member
Dec 17, 2017
3,442
#48
Mickey is very popular in Europe. There is a whole team Donald vs team Mickey about comics.
Italian writers and comics about Mickey are awesome as good as Scrooge young life.
 
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entremet
Oct 26, 2017
12,423
#49
I mean, even a hit Mickey Mouse feature film's profits would probably be dwarfed by the profits from any individual Mickey Mouse product line.

When I was talking about babies, I wasn't even thinking of the many, many, many Mickey shows aimed at the 0-gradeschool demographic. Mickey is all over diapers, all over cutlery, all over clothes, all over Duplos and Legos, he fills the stuffed animal aisle, he's on backpacks, on food, on scooters and skateboards, on trains, on anything you can think of.

The reason you don't see Mickey anywhere is because you aren't his target market. Go up to any, and I mean any, young kid who can talk, and show them the ears and ask who it is, and they will absolutely light up and yell "MICKEY!"
Yeah, but I would think Disney would want MM to transcend kids stuff only as well. Similar to Pixar, which pays attention to both kids and adults.

I do think this discussion could have been folded into the other thread about the shorts, but alas.

Mickey Mouse is simply a figurehead representative of a company that for too long was so overprotective of its IP to the point that he no longer had a personality. The recent shorts are a godsend.
They are on my watch list. Are they on Hulu?
 
Oct 25, 2017
4,321
#50
He's finally getting a ride of his own in DHS at least, replacing Great Movie Ride.

Before in the parks he's only ever had a house and a M&G.