A documentary about Howard Ashman, simply titled Howard, had been on Disney+ since 2021 and was slated to be removed until fans rallied and the company has now reversed its decision. Deadline reports Disney released many titles that were it is planned to be removed by the end of Mayincluding the Willow sequel series and other original films.
The news about Howard sparked widespread backlash from Disney fans and the LGTBQ+ community alike, especially since the removal coincided with Pride Month and the release of Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid on the same day.
Ashman was a key force in saving Disney’s 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 like a legend among animation history circles. Ashman literally argued with Katzenberg about keeping “Part of Your World,” something Katzenberg wanted removed, from the film.
The documentary follows the life of Ashman, who left a cult impression on an entire generation thanks to the success of not only “The Little Mermaid”, but also the subsequent films “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aladdin”. Ashman died of complications from the AIDS virus in 1991 at the age of 40. He was wearing a Beauty and the Beast sweatshirt when he died before the movie was released. The film is dedicated to his memory.
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