×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

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

  • Donald Trump, Robert De Niro

    Robert De Niro Bashes Trump Again: 'Down With This Motherf---er!'

    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 […]

  • Montel Williams poses on the red

    Variety's Salute to Service Luncheon Honors Hollywood Veterans, Military Supporters

    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 […]

  • Black-Ish Gap Year

    'Black-ish' Creator Kenya Barris No Longer Sure He'd Want Kanye West to Guest Star

    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 […]

  • Amy Adams and Jessica AlbaBaby2Baby Gala,

    Amy Adams on Her Teen Years: 'I Was in a Position Where I Might Become at Risk'

    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 […]

  • Michael MooreCritics Choice Documentary Awards, Show,

    Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards: Michael Moore Finishes His 2003 Oscar Speech

    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 […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content