Disney’s ‘Hunchback’ irks Hugo progeny

PARIS — Walt Disney’s cartoon pic “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” has wowed audiences in France, tak-ing in excess of $36 million at the box office, but not everybody is happy with the success.

This week, descendants of the French writer Victor Hugo, who penned the original story, savaged Walt Disney in an open letter to the Liberation newspaper.

No mention on poster

Charles, Jeanne, Sophie, Adele and Leopoldine Hugo, the great-great-grandchildren of the hugely respected author, are clearly distressed that their famous ancestor gets no mention on the pic’s ad posters.

In their letter to Liberation, the not-so-famous five noted, “the story used in this film is borrowed from the work of Victor Hugo, but his name is not even mentioned on the posters that cover the planet.” They went on to describe the highly lucrative merchandising campaign as being “commercial debauchery,” concluding, “we find this bazaar scandalous and obscene.”

‘Vulgar commercialization’

Hugo’s descendants, clearly chagrined by Disney’s loose adaptation of the 19th century original and by the fact that France’s kids are more likely to associate Quasimodo with the cute toy that accompanies their McDonald’s burger than with Hugo’s physically challenged subject, described the Disney “Hunchback” operation as “vulgar commercialization by unscrupulous salesmen.”

Exactly what Victor Hugo would have made of the pic is a matter for conjecture. No shrinking violet when it came to putting his name about, he might have appreciated the fact that the toon version of his classic has prompted a resurgence of sales of his writings.

More Scene

  • LGBTQ Film Festival Outfest Opens With

    Outfest Opens With Documentary About Gay Porn Shops Circus of Books

    Granted, the red carpet at the opening night of Outfest in DTLA may not have been the most star-studded but it was without a doubt the most diverse, inclusive and, yes, fabulous. “I’ve never been here before,” admitted “RuPaul’s Drag Race” vet Trixie Mattel, who stars in the documentary “Moving Parts.” “It’s supposed to be [...]

  • Alamo Drafthouse Opens New Downtown Los

    Alamo Drafthouse Storms into L.A. with New Location

    “Cinema is alive and well tonight!” Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League declared at the theatrical venue’s ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday night, where a gathering of 160 employees cheered and sliced into a strip of 35mm film in keeping with the company’s tradition. Despite dire predictions heralding the end of the theater-going experience, League was upbeat [...]

  • America Ferrera'Superstore' TV show photocall, Comic

    America Ferrera Blasts 'Send Her Back' Chant: 'Embarrassing and Shameful'

    America Ferrera has been a longtime political activist who has focused a large part of her work on immigrant rights. She’s now speaking out about the chant of “send her back” targeting Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar that was shouted at a President Donald Trump rally earlier this week. “It’s devastating and shocking and embarrassing and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content