Unauthorized film shot at Disney World released Friday
'Escape from Tomorrow' filmed inside theme parks without permission
The controversial film "Escape From Tomorrow," which was secretly shot at Walt Disney World and Disneyland without the company's knowledge, was released in theaters and video-on-demand platforms on Friday.
The movie, which debuted at this year's Sundance Film Festival, has been described by film critics as being shot "guerrilla style" because the director, actors and crew did not seek Disney's permission to shoot in the company's theme parks, including the Magic Kingdom and Epcot.
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"Escape From Tomorrow" features shots of Mickey Mouse and Goofy alongside some very un-Disney-like imagery.
During the opening credits, a roller-coaster rider is decapitated on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad attraction.
In another scene, the dolls on the It's a Small World ride come to life and turn into monsters. Asian businessmen are shown groping Disney princesses working as escorts. Epcot's Spaceship Earth attraction rolls off its pedestal and blows up. A naked woman flies across the screen on the Soarin' ride.
Actual theme park employees and visitors make appearances in the movie, unaware they were secretly being filmed by photographers hidden in the crowds holding DSLR cameras.
The cast includes several child actors who had to memorize their lines and take instructions from the film's director via cellphone without being noticed by Disney security. Another actor drove around the parks in a motorized scooter.
Some film critics originally speculated that the film would never be released outside of film festivals. Others believed that the movie might violate some of Disney's trademarks. No lawsuits have been filed against the filmmakers.
The one time the word "Disney" is spoken in the film it is beeped out, although expletives remain uncensored.
Walt Disney World officials have never commented on the film.
"Escape From Tomorrow" opened in 33 theaters nationwide on Friday, including two in Miami. The film is also available on several video-on-demand services, including iTunes.