LOS ANGELES - Just a day after Disney's 'Steamboat Willie' entered the public domain, a trailer for a horror movie featuring the iconic Mickey Mouse was released.
The trailer, posted on YouTube, shows a group of young adults at an arcade being hunted and killed by a person wearing a Mickey Mouse mask. The film titled, ‘Mickey’s Mouse Trap' is said to be the first ever live action Mickey Mouse comedy horror film. It's directed by Jamie Bailey. It's unclear when the film will be released.
A game maker also turned Mickey Mouse into a bloodthirsty rodent to be exterminated in a multiplayer game called ‘Infestation 88’.
The 1928 short "Steamboat Willie," featuring both Mickey and Minnie Mouse, became available for public use on New Year's Day.
"Ever since Mickey Mouse’s first appearance in the 1928 short film Steamboat Willie, people have associated the character with Disney’s stories, experiences, and authentic products," a Disney spokesperson said in a statement to The Associated Press. "That will not change when the copyright in the Steamboat Willie film expires."
Current artists and creators will be able to make use of Mickey, but with major limits. It is only the more mischievous, rat-like, non-speaking boat captain in "Steamboat Willie" that has become public.
"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," Disney’s statement said.
Disney still holds a trademark on Mickey as a corporate mascot and brand identifier, and the law forbids using the character deceptively to fool consumers into thinking a product is from the original creator. Anyone starting a film company or a theme park will not be free to make mouse ears their logo.
Shortly after Disney's Winnie the Pooh entered the public domain, a slasher film called "Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey" was released. Pooh's friend, Tigger, also entered the public domain this year when the book "The House at Pooh Corner," turned 96.
U.S. law allows a copyright to be held for 95 years after Congress expanded it several times during Mickey’s life.
The Associated Press contributed to this report