The Howard Ashman-focused documentary, simply called Howard, has been on Disney+ since 2021 and was slated for removal–until fans rallied together and the company has now reversed its decision, Deadline reports. Disney released a slew of titles that were scheduled to be removed towards the end of May, including its Willow sequel series and more of its original films as well.
The news about Howard sparked a widespread backlash from both Disney fans and the LGTBQ+ community, especially with the removals coinciding with the eve of Pride Month and the release of Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid on the same day.
Ashman was a pivotal force in saving Disney animation studios with his music and helped usher in the so-called Disney Renaissance with 1989’s The Little Mermaid. Ashman’s fights with producer Jeffrey Katzenberg are something of a legend among animation history circles. Ashman had literal shouting matches with Katzenberg about having to keep “Part of Your World” in the movie, something that Katzenberg wanted to be removed.
The documentary spotlights Ashman’s life, who left an iconic impression on a generation with not only the success of The Little Mermaid but also the follow-up features Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. Ashman died of complications with the AIDS virus in 1991 at the age of 40. He was wearing a Beauty and the Beast sweatshirt when he died before the film was released. The movie is dedicated to his memory.
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