Mickey Mouse stars in horror movie as ‘Steamboat Willie’ enters public domain

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The earliest iteration of Mickey Mouse has just entered public domain, and there’s already a new trailer for a non-Disney film using the character.

Animated shorts Steamboat Willie and Plane Crazy entered public domain at the beginning of 2024, and the trailer for Mickey’s Mouse Trap, which premiered on January 1, takes advantage of that fact.

The trailer for the new slasher film uses clips from Steamboat Willie, famous for having the first appearances of Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Clips from the animated short are interspersed with footage of a mouse mask-wearing killer stalking college students at an arcade. Mickey’s Mouse Trap is from director Jamie Bailey, with a script by Simon Phillips.

“More modern versions of Mickey will remain unaffected by the expiration of the Steamboat Willie copyright, and Mickey will continue to play a leading role as a global ambassador for the Walt Disney Company in our storytelling, theme park attractions, and merchandise,” a Disney spokesperson said in statement to Deadline. “We will, of course, continue to protect our rights in the more modern versions of Mickey Mouse and other works that remain subject to copyright, and we will work to safeguard against consumer confusion caused by unauthorized uses of Mickey and our other iconic characters.”

The trailer added a disclaimer in its description to make it known that Mickey’s Mouse Trap is not affiliated with Disney in any way.

“DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT A DISNEY FILM OR PRODUCTION. IT IS NOT AFFILIATED OR ENDORSED BY DISNEY IN ANY WAY,” the disclaimer reads. “This film makes use of Public domain Steamboat Willie Mickey Mouse only. Steamboat Willie’s Mickey Mouse entered public domain on January 1st 2024.”

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