arjun_elcap arjun_elcap
DisneyFeature Film

Disney’s “Arjun” opens in Hollywood

I’m spending the weekend at the Egyptian Theatre on Hollywood Blvd, watching classic movies at the annual Cinecon film festival/convention. Imagine my surprise today when I looked at the El Capitan Theatre marquee and saw it advertising Arjun: The Warrior Prince – a film we discovered Disney had picked up back in May (the film, a joint collaboration between Disney and UTV Pictures, was directed by Arnab Chaudhuri).

The El Cap is currently playing an Oscar-qualifying engagement of the new Tinkerbell direct-to-video, Secret of the Wings. Apparently Arjun will begin playing each night, at 9:20pm, to also qualify for Academy consideration. The showings begin this Monday night and will run through next Sunday September 9th.

Arjun: The Warrior Prince is an animated mythological action film that recounts the untold story of Arjun, hero of the Mahabharata. The film was not produced by Disney, but by UTV Animation. Disney is the distributor as it acquired the rights after purchasing UTV motion pictures. In case you forgot what it looks like, here is the trailer below.

  • If it’s not produced by Disney, why call it “Disney’s Arjun”? Since when is any film the distributor’s, not the creator’s one?

    • I don’t think it even says Disney on the marquee.

      • Actually, it does say “Disney” above the title on the marquee (my iPhone photo is bad, see title treatment pictured below). I was careful in my post to explain Disney did not produce the film – but own the studio (like they own Pixar, or Marvel). Also, the El Capitan in Hollywood is Disney’s flagship theatre: they ONLY play films Disney owns.


  • Benjamin Arthur

    This cel shaded 3D always looks so much better in stills, Then gets very odd looking in motion. The acting seems to suffer the most, I hate how limited the expressions are.

  • For once I’m not sorry I don’t live in the LA area.

  • esteban

    No funny neurotic monkey or a sentimental elephant, or some other comic relief side-kick? That alone already makes it worth watching for me.

  • Looks pretty impressive to me.

  • So this would also be considered an Oscar-qualifying run, then? Would Disney really give this film a chance?

  • That horse animation at 0:53 is the funniest thing ever.


    Not what I want from a Disny Animated Feature… sorry. It’s impressive..but Disney it aint! Why are they interested in this?

  • Richard

    This makes me think of the groundbreaking work years ago on Ralph Bakshi’s “The Adventures of Rotoscope Jones and the League of Crawling Shadows”.

  • Richard

    It’s…not Disney. It’s a company Disney owns and distributes. This has been covered above by Jerry.

  • Geoff

    I hope more so than the Tinkerbell movie.

  • OK, you’ve been careful enough.

    Still it doesn’t feel right to me, but it’s part of a bigger problem. Only in film business we tend to identify a product with the top owner in the chain of companies, especially when it’s Disney. In other fields we try to avoid it, so it’s still Häagen-Dasz instead of Nestlé, Opel and Chevrolet instead of General Motors, and so on.

    It seems funny that of all businesses, in this creative one the producing studio gets played down in favour of producer/distributor/shareholder, while in all other fields hard work is spent to let the individual brands shine and hide the real owners.

    Of course this also fits the habit to hide any subcontractors, so it’s always “Production company X” while in fact the work was spread all over the world to multiple small studios and freelancers.

    Maybe journalism in general will one day link each company or brand name to a little chart, where on top all owners and on bottom all subcontractors are mentioned…

  • Tim Elliot

    It looks like it’s also on Netflix instant watch, if you have Netflix

  • My mistake. Couldn’t see.

  • Think about what disney represents to 70% of the world’s population. Now think what UTV pictures represents. Which is more likely to put bums on seats? Seems like a simple decision to put the name of a company founded by everyone’s favourite uncle with 70 years (?) worth of excellent public relations under their belt rather than a company which, I’d guess, no punters in the US have ever heard of. I only heard of them about 6 minutes ago by reading a specialist blog. The business minds at UTV are fully aware the weight the disney name carries

    Disney = magic
    UTV =

    same as Hagen daz conjures up the idea of a Geppeto and Ingar toiling away in their swizz, bavarian, austrian, some other mountain retreat to provide us with ice cream of the most luxurious taste. “Nestle Ice cream made by a face less industry behemoth for ‘you’, ENJOY”

    I don’t think the rules are so hard and fast rather, what works

  • Bud

    Disney = 314 Million Customers in U.S.
    UTV – 1.1 Billion Customers in India.

    Disney is a business. Not “magic.”

  • Bud

    Also, it sounds as though most commenting haven’t seen this film. I have, and while it’s not the greatest film ever, I can say with zero doubt it’s far better than prince of egypt, pocahontas, treasure planet, atlantis, home on the range, road to el-dorado, sinbad, shark tale, puss and boots, and cars 2.

    The artwork and animation may not be as polished, but the story and movie goin experience was far better than those.

  • Hi Jerry.

    I’m new to the site, but I want to thank you for this post. I haven’t seen any sort of promotional television ads as of yet about the film here in the US. Does that mean that Disney is not planning to have the film playing in theaters across the US?

  • I think that maybe counting every single person in India is a bit over board. I know disney is a business and not magic, let’s not be deliberately obtuse here. Plus since Disney release films around the world, which includes India (shocking i know) the point stands. The Disney brand conjures ideas of magic (unless you are on this site), UTV simply doesn’t. It makes sense to have disney on the poster.

    Disney franchises around the world must be close to, I don’t know, but it must be lots. UTV have yet to get off the ground in that direction even with their billion customers

    As I say, let’s not be deliberately obtuse, I don’t need to know that Ingar doesn’t really make ice cream in the swiss mountains

  • James

    Do you dare suggest that the film is even better than TCL’s last immortal classic “Roadside Romeo”?

  • James

    Sorry, VCL.

  • Paul M

    I saw it on Netflix – after the first 20 minutes, I knew I’d be buying the Blu-Ray. When it was over, I thought I might settle for the DVD. Still well worth seeing – to be clear, this is an Indian Kung Fu animated epic like Crouching Tiger or Hero.

  • James

    For those unaware, the actual animation lab that made this is called Visual Computing Labs. It has had only one feature length animated film on its resume and that is — “Roadside Romeo.”

    Even if this film isn’t that good, it has to be better than that turkey. Yet by virtue of having no local animated film competition in India, RR was a big box office success, so this one would have to be really, really, really bad to flop in that market. Hopefully, this film can get the Indian animation industry the strength it needs to compete with foreign features

    My only real issue with this so far is the use of 3D cel-shading. It looks very cheap in motion and only really works in crowd scenes or other shots that don’t draw attention to the details of the individual model. When used for medium shots or (heaven forbid) close-ups, they tend to look very poor in motion. It’s a mistake that is still made by some Japanese animators.

  • Sarah J

    The movie is available on Netflix, so I’ll watch it pretty soon. I don’t really like the animation, it looks like something from a video game cutscene, but maybe the writing and story are good so I’ll refrain from fully judging the movie until I actually see it.

  • Bud

    India is the largest market for film in the world. There’s nothing “obtuse” about it. They partnered with the Indian company to make features featuring Indian themes. Disney films on their own have NEVER done that well in India (especially animation). Hence Disney’s interest.

    The Disney “brand” hardly conjures “magic” any more. Walt’s dead, and you missed him.

  • It’s a little awkward though isn’t it, maybe suggestive of an obtuse opinion? 1.1 billion customers in India? You really did just count everyone in India didn’t you, ignoring all factors like age, poverty, indifference? Come on now, how about africa’s 1 billion customers? Or europe’s 700 million customers, China’s 1.3 billion customers..I have google too. Disney remains a world wide draw, the name speaks large, after all isn’t it such a brand name that would convince people to watch ‘prince of egypt, pocahontas, treasure planet, atlantis, home on the range, road to el-dorado, sinbad, shark tale, puss and boots, and cars 2’… the proof is in the pudding old bean, brands draw and disney’s brand is alive in the world. 35 million customers at their parks, global dominance in their film releases. Walt’s dead? yeah righto, he’s just living in a massively profitable parallel dimension that looks a lot like this one


    This is some of the Ugliest Crap I’ve ever seen. And it looks like a lot of effort was put into it. Apparently, the Indians built a Time Machine….and went back to 1995, and invaded Dreamworks….and stole their Background 3D crowd characters. Then they animated them…..well….they set some keyframes and moved them around…. And called the hot mess of pixels that came out of it a movie.

    Why the hot hairy hell is Disney getting behind this mess?

  • I saw the film last night at the El Capitan. About six people in the audience.


    The film is spectacular on a visual level. Many, many scenes were breathtakingly beautiful. There is an amount of R-rated violence in the sword fighting scenes. The Bollywood-style storytelling is not exactly what we are used to in the West, but once you accept the fable/myth-like quality of the narrative, its quite a satisfying story . I have to admit, it’s really something to see on the big screen. There is so much detail in the background art, it will be lost on a small screen. The bottom line: this is not an piece of junk – its a worthy possibility for nomination. I look forward to seeing what this studio will do next.

    Here was the quarter page ad in yesterday’s LA Times – note the Disney logo prominently featured:


  • Bud

    Over a billion. The average Indian goes to the movie 4 times more than the average American. They make hundreds more films than the U.S., most of which are far more popular than American films there (including Disney). Disney can market (even without the “magic”), but they can’t crack that market as much as they can partnering with people who understand the market better.

    America’s highest number for the movie going public was in the late1930’s. It’s only gone down since. But it’s still only half of the amount the public in India goes to the movies today.

  • Rick Farmiloe

    I really wish Disney would get behind something THEY created, instead of slapping their name on stuff they had nothing to do with! Anything they think will make them some money I guess. What’s next…..? DISNEY PRESENTS–CHOCOLATE!

  • Erik

    I think we’re all getting caught up in names. When we say “Disney” made something, what does that really mean? Animators at Disney made it? Yeah, logical, but why not just identify the people who made the work?

  • Bud

    THAT I whole-heartedly agree with!

  • We, we made this film.
    We’re here in hollywood.
    Come see us tomorrow for a chat.
    Hideous, bring your dogs.
    See you tomorrow, el capitan lobby, 8.30 pm.

  • ak

    Ok all this bickering about Disney vs UTV is ignorant at best. What a few have said in earlier comments is correct: it makes sense for Disney to back an Indian-produced animation project that is designed for the Bollywood movie-going public. This includes markets that are not just in India, but movies that are widely popular across the Middle East and southeast Asia and even places like Russia.

    Mick – you seem have no idea how big the reach of “Bollywood” can be. And since this is a Hindu-themed movie, it has the potential of becoming a decent money-maker for those regions, especially since traditionally animation does not do well in the Indian market *unless* it has a more religious theme to it. The benefits for UTV are a wider distribution market from Disney and of course the glamour of the Disney name. Anything to have the widest audience possible, right? I don’t think the Disney name will change minds too much in the Indian market, (or attract bums as Mick said, the Hindu theme of the movie does that) but it can’t hurt. It definitely helps in the more western markets.

  • That sounds like a very long, convoluted and confusing family tree, but it would certainly be interesting to read! Would probably be quite interesting visually, too, if someone made it like an info graphic. :D

  • shane

    it really doesnt matter who made it. its about appreciating a well made animation film. and as Jerry says…it is a worthy nominee…