The Ultimate Guide to Animated Mockbusters

Disney’s recent trademark lawsuit against Phase 4 Films and their movie Frozen Land has reignited discussion about ‘mockbusters,’ the portmanteau used to describe a genre of home video that is dedicated to tricking customers into mistakenly purchasing a low-budget imitation of a popular movie. As certain as the dawn, animation companies release these knock-offs to capitalize on the popularity of major studio releases. Mockbusters typically favor public domain content (like fairy tales), but also include questionable copies of another studio’s original characters, or deceptively repackaging an existing animated film with a trendy new cover and title.

Need some examples? No problem, because we’ve compiled the most comprehensive list of animation mockbusters the Internet has to offer. There might be others.

1. Beauty and The Beast


Company: Golden Films
Distributor: GoodTimes Entertainment
Year: 1992
Inspiration: Beauty and The Beast (Disney, 1991)

2. The Little Mermaid


Company: Golden Films
Distributor: Trimark/GoodTimes Entertainment
Year: 1992
Inspiration: The Little Mermaid (Disney, 1989)

3. Pinocchio

Company: Golden Films
Distributor: Trimark/GoodTimes Entertainment
Year: 1992
Inspiration: Pinocchio (Disney, 1940)

4. Aladdin


Company: Golden Films
Distributor: GoodTimes Entertainment
Year: 1993
Inspiration: Aladdin (Disney, 1992)

5. Cinderella


Company: JetLag Productions
Distributor: GoodTimes Entertainment
Year: 1994
Inspiration: Cinderella (Disney, 1950)

6. Leo the Lion: King of the Jungle


Company: JetLag Productions
Distributor: GoodTimes Entertainment
Year: 1994
Inspiration: The Lion King (Disney, 1994)

7. Pocahontas


Company: JetLag Productions
Distibutor: GoodTimes Entertainment
Year: 1994
Inspiration: Pocahontas (Disney, 1995)

8. Young Pocahontas


Company: Allumination Filmworks
Distributor: UAV Corporation
Year: 1994
Inspiration: Pocahontas (Disney, 1995)

9. Alice in Wonderland


Company: JetLag Productions
Distributor: GoodTimes Entertainment
Year: 1995
Inspiration: Alice in Wonderland (Disney, 1951)

10. The Jungle Book


Company: JetLag Productions
Distributor: GoodTimes Entertainment
Year: 1995
Inspiration: The Jungle Book (Disney, 1967)

11. Sleeping Beauty


Company: JetLag Productions
Distributor: GoodTimes Entertainment
Year: 1995
Inspiration: Sleeping Beauty (Disney, 1959)

12. Snow White


Company: JetLag Productions
Distributor: GoodTimes Entertainment
Year: 1995
Inspiration: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Disney, 1937)

13. The Hunchback of Notre Dame


Company: JetLag Productions
Distributor: GoodTimes Entertainment
Year: 1996
Inspiration: The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Disney, 1996)

14. The Secret of the Hunchback


Company: UAV Corporation
Distributor: Allumination Filmworks
Year: 1996
Inspiration: The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Disney, 1996)

15. The Secret of Anastasia


Company: UAV Corporation
Distributor: Allumination Filmworks
Year: 1997
Inspiration: Anastasia (20th Century Fox/Don Bluth, 1997)

16. Moses: Egypt’s Great Prince


Company: UAV Corporation
Distributor: Allumination Filmworks
Year: 1998
Inspiration: The Prince of Egypt (Dreamworks, 1998)

17. The Secret of Mulan


Company: UAV Corporation
Distributor: Allumination Filmworks
Year: 1998
Inspiration: Mulan (Disney, 1998)

18. An Ant’s Life


Company: UAV Corporation
Distributor: Allumination Filmworks
Year: 2006
Inspiration: A Bug’s Life (Pixar, 1998) and Antz (Dreamworks, 1998)

19. A Cars Life 1-3


Company: UAV Corporation
Distributor: Allumination Filmworks
Year: 2006-2012
Inspiration: Cars 1-2 (Pixar, 2006 and 2011)

20. The Little Cars 1-8


Company: Vídeo Brinquedo
Distributor: Branscome International
Year: 2006-2011
Inspiration: Cars 1-2 (Pixar, 2006 and 2011)

21. Ratatoing


Company: Vídeo Brinquedo
Distributor: Branscome International
Year: 2007
Inspiration: Flushed Away (Aardman/DreamWorks, 2006) and Ratatouille (Pixar, 2007)

22. The Little Panda Fighter


Company: Video Brinquedo
Distributor: Morningstar Entertainment
Year: 2008
Inspiration: Kung Fu Panda (Dreamworks, 2008)

23. The Princess School


Company: Video Brinquedo
Distributor: Morningstar Entertainment
Year: 2008
Inspiration: The Disney Princess franchise

24. Tiny Robots


Company: Video Brinquedo
Distributor: Morningstar Entertainment
Year: 2008
Inspiration: Robots (Blue Sky, 2005) and WALL-E (Pixar, 2008)

25. Frog Prince

Company: Video Brinquedo
Distributor: Morningstar Entertainment
Year: 2009
Inspiration: Princess and The Frog (Disney, 2009)

26. Little & Big Monsters


Company: Video Brinquedo
Distributor: Morningstar Entertainment
Year: 2009
Inspiration: Monsters Vs. Aliens (Dreamworks, 2009)

27. Little Bee


Company: Video Brinquedo
Distributor: Gaiam
Year: 2009
Inspiration: Bee Movie (Dreamworks, 2007)

28. What’s Up – Balloon to the Rescue!


Company: Video Brinquedo
Year: 2009
Inspiration: Up (Pixar, 2009)

29. Tangled Up


Company: Brightspark Productions
Inspiration: Tangled (Disney, 2010)

30. Chop Kick Panda


Company: Gaiam/Renegade Animation
Year: 2011
Inspiration: Kung Fu Panda (Dreamworks, 2008)

31. The Frog Princess


Company: Brightspark Productions
Inspiration: The Princess and The Frog (Disney, 2009)

32. Kiara the Brave


Orignally Titled: Super K
Company: Shemaroo Entertainment
Distributor: Phase 4 Films
Year: 2011
Inspiration: Brave (Pixar, 2012)

33. Puss in Boots: A Furry Tail


Company: Gaiam
Year: 2011
Inspiration: Puss in Boots (Dreamworks, 2011)

34. Tappy Toes


Company: Gaiam
Year: 2011
Inspiration: Happy Feet (Warner Bros., 2006)

35. Life’s a Jungle – Africa’s Most Wanted


Company: Phase 4 Films
Year: 2012
Inspiration: Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (Dreamworks, 2012)

36. Braver


Company: Brightspark Productions
Inspiration: Brave (Pixar, 2012)

37. Wings


Company: Simka Entertainment
Distributor: Grindstone Entertainment/Lionsgate
Year: 2012
Inspiration: Planes (Disney, 2013)

38. Frozen Land


Originally Titled: The Legend of Sarila
Company: Phase 4 Films
Year: 2013
Inspiration: Frozen (Disney, 2013)


  • Kyle Nau

    It’s got to be disheartening that some people know / care so little about films that they could fall for clearly awful ripoff versions with terrible art and worse animation.

    On the other hand…time to crank out “Unacceptable Me” starring the..err…”Munions”. Cha ching!

  • animationphysics

    I’m surprised that there isn’t a “Deplorable Me”!

  • Kevin Johnson

    Whoa, wait – how did Frozen Land get Christopher Plummer???

    • Sabina

      I’m asking myself the same question!

    • Richard Yensid

      Because it wasn’t Sound of Music.

    • Phil

      Because the film was screened last February as “The Legend of Sarila”. Only recently changing it’s name for the DVD release to capitalize on Frozen.

    • Eric Graf

      He’s Canadian, and it’s a Canadian movie, based (very loosely) on Inuit folktales. It probably seemed to him like a good idea at the time. (I’m guessing he didn’t read the script before signing the contract.)

      And again, it’s NOT “Frozen Land”. It’s “The Legend of Sarila”. It was never intended by its creators as a rip-off of “Frozen”, nor does it bear any resemblance other than the slapped-on new logo, and the fact that there’s a heck of a lot of snow in it.

  • Chänz Mikkael Høris

    I really want to collect all of these haha.

  • Emanuel Alfredsson

    Nostalgia Critic, do your work and review these, thanks!

    • minespatch

      Perhaps he’ll do a Asylum and Brightspark month in the upcoming years?

  • Crispy Walker

    The Golden Films version of The Little Mermaid was actually one of my favorite animated movies as a kid. I knew it wasn’t Disney’s Little Mermaid, but Disney had me on such a high on mermaids for the longest — so anything remotely mermaid related was what I wanted. If anything though, these mockbusters really just make me appreciate the real thing even more now though. It shows that, for all their flaws, they could be worse.

  • Vincent

    What happened with Sarila (Frozen Land) is really sad. By the looks of it Phase 4 picks up movies and renames/advertises them to look like mockbusters when they are clearly not. I’m sure Phase 4 are very much enjoying the controversy of it all, but it’s a shame for the ones who worked on the actual project to see their work branded as a mockbuster when the movie itself originally had nothing whatsoever in common with Frozen (although I’ll admit the movie wasn’t that good anyway in the first place, but worth better than being branded as it is being now). One photoshoped cover with an adjusted name was all it took to throw away whatever credibility and reputation the original producers had about their project. Hopefully they’re learn from their mistake.

    • Ant G

      If the movie isn’t that good in the first place, then the rebranding does more good than bad in terms attracting people to it. If any of these “mockumentary” movies were any good, they wouldn’t depend on title branding to attract attention, they would be sleeper hits

      • Vincent

        However the mockbuster label instantly brings a very negative judgement, as they tend to be, by design, inferior copies designed to scam customers. The quality of a movie isn’t something that can be simplified into black and white, there’s still a major difference between a passable effort and cheating, I’m simply bringing into light that in this particular case an honest effort was spat on by a shady distributor.

    • Al Jordan

      Well, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the producers of “Sarila” turn against Phase 4 Films seeking damages, as I feel they have a right to, considering how the dignity of their product was compromised. In fact, it’s even likely that they were never made privy to not even one single detail of how their feature would be marketed for the US. But then I’m sure that’s the same story with most other foreign features that fall on the laps of faceless, devil-may-care distro outfits that are suspect to questionable practices and only stay in business for no more than 10 years at best. But I suppose the ones who should really take the blame for cases like this are those eleventh-hour lobbyists and bureaucrats who will throw any excuse at the table (usually behind closed doors) to add some sort of loophole to a clause meant to protect, in particular, copyrights and all other forms of “intelligent property”.

  • siemasko

    Personally, I would like to see “Monsters Trade School”.

    • http://www.boogatech.com/ Markham

      The true mockbuster equivalent to university would be “Monsters Community College.”

  • Jason Cezar Duncan

    I haven’t seen either of the films, but will admit the Alice in Wonder Land and Snow White covers alone do give Disney a run for their money. And are they really Mockbusters either? They both are based on public domain tales and were released in the mid 90s, decades after those were released by Disney.

    • SarahJesness

      They’re considered “mockbusters” when they’re clear attempts at trying to be like the Disney versions. I don’t think mockbusters really started appearing much until the 90′s.

  • What About Kimba?

    I’m not sure that Leo the Lion should be on this list. Yes it came out roughly the same time as the Lion King, but it was a sequel to Kimba, which well pre-dates the Lion King. Which is perhaps the greatest mockbuster of all time.

    • Gaardus

      You’re probably thinking of Jungle Emperor Leo; Leo the Lion is most definitely a mockbuster.

  • Alex Dudley

    A lot of these are downright shameful.
    But at least these provide work for animators.(?)

  • SarahJesness

    Around Christmas I saw one of those “bunch of movies in one!” DVD things that had a bunch of these princess-y mockbusters for like, five bucks. I was really tempted to buy it, out of morbid curiosity.

  • SarahJesness

    Racist? Oh, I gotta hear more!

    • Grant Beaudette

      Let’s just say they meet a Chinese guy and it gets really awkward.
      Also the bad guy is a French dude who’s plan is undone because his accent is too thick.

  • Roberto Severino

    Man there are some really stupid people out there if they fell for buying all this knock-off tripe.

  • Mohegan

    Oh my gosh, I remember having seen the Alladin one. I remember liking it. Buuuut, my nostalgic memories probably make it seem better than it was.

  • George Comerci

    *shivers in corner*
    Mockbusters scare me :( I mean, with some of these, they’re not even trying!

  • Adele K. Thomas

    I haven’t and won’t watch Happy Feet but I’m interested in Tappy Toes. hahaha!
    I’m gonna be bold here and say that the mock version of Antz looks better than the Dreamwork’s original :D
    haha; Braver.

  • http://www.Facebook.com/AaronVSteimle Aaron Victor Steimle

    Are the dates for the ‘mockbusters’ the shows’ production dates, or those specific distribution dates?

  • Max C.

    “Frog Princess” is the same as “The Frog Prince”. Also, “Tangled Up” and “Braver” are just rebrandings of a collection of Britannica fairy tale cartoons and A Fairy Tale Christmas (2005). Brightspark are the British Phase 4 – they even labeled Scamper the Penguin “Tappy Feet” in response to Happy Feet Two.

    An Ant’s Life was actually first released onto DVD in the UK in 1998 as “Bug Bites: An Ant’s Life”. They finally released it on DVD in the States in 2006 to cash in on The Ant Bully, hence the font of the title. I would point out the Dingo Pictures releases but that would make this page even longer.

  • Elana Pritchard

    Super funny post

  • jhalpernkitcat

    The Jetlag Cinderella is actually really good–and strays completely from the Disney version. There are no singing mice, the fairy godmother shows up to help Cinderella well before the ball, and the prince actually recognizes Cinderella at the end when she shows up to try on the glass slipper.
    However, some of these are downright bizarre such as # 25′s Frog Prince–I’ve seen bits of it and Cracked has covered this one in an article about a few mockbusters and “Little Princess School”–which includes the same princess from the Frog Prince movie amongst the students. (I think the princess even brings something up about that school in the Frog Prince movie)
    Now if you excuse me, I’m off to watch “How to Pottytrain Your Dragon.”

  • ed

    The villain from “The Secret of Anastasia” looks pretty badass, like a communist Shredder.

  • UsaMiKo

    I honestly feel bad for all for all the poor animators, who were in such need for a pay check that they actually had to work on these. I guess everone’s gotta take this kind of job at some point.

  • Power_Animator

    pathetically hilarious

  • JodyMorgan

    Lots of wonderfully awful titles and cover designs here, but I don’t think anything’s ever going to top (?) Ratatoing in either category.

  • DBenson

    “Braver” made me laugh out loud, for sheer efficiency and moxie.

    Treading close: Most of the ads for the non-mockbuster “A Shark’s Tale” had a head-on shot of the hero that looked — to me, anyway — very close to Nemo.

  • Heywood Jablome

    Wait. What? Did you just accuse Leo the Lion (aka Kimba) is a rip-off of The Lion King?

    OH NO YOU DIH-UHNT!!!!!!

  • http://the-animatorium.blogspot.com/ Natalie Belton

    No mention of the two notorious Titanic animated movies? One of them has a rapping dog… the other gangster sharks. Watch the clip below if you hate your ears and eyes. It’s party time!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxHNztg0X3s

    • Adam W. Parker

      lol! this can’t be real

    • DBenson

      I’ve just spent something like two hours on YouTube. There are THREE Italian animated features about the Titanic, all with lovable little mice. First, a pretty good-looking one that rips off the live action version with a similar romance until EVERYBODY gets rescued by a giant octopus who looks like Casper the Friendly Ghost; the psychotic knockoff with the rapping dog and blatant ripoffs from assorted Disneys and Bluths; and the less-than-sane sequel to the original with a rapping shark villain.

      And Richard Williams couldn’t get backing to finish his feature?

  • Steven Bowser

    I actually enjoy watching some of these on Netflix from time to time to see how far into it I can last. They’re in that hilariously bad territory that makes them fun to cringe at. Kiara the Brave is particularly funny if I recall.

  • Kirby

    Haha I didn’t realise 3D animations got their knock-off.

  • Capital7

    Many of these are the result of Disney’s reliance on building films around stories that are in the public domain. I don’t see much wrong with a studio making their Beauty and the Beast to compete with the Disney one. There is no “real” version.

    The Little Cars is twisted genius at work though.

  • Shihabaldeen

    my favorite is the Anastasia one, the merged Anastasia and Beauty and The Beast all in one movie !!

  • Roberto Gonzalez

    I didn’t see any of those but the ones made by Renegade Animation like Puss In Boots an Tappy Toes looked funny and well done. They could have sold by themselves and have a moré adequate 2D cover. Most of the rest look leal ly bad, though.

  • Grady Williams

    Because of Netflix, I’ve seen a number of these. That is all.

  • Carlos Eduardo

    Most of the
    films above credited to Video Brinquedo were distributed by that company but
    produced and created (if you can call that creation) by 44Toonz, both two
    Brazilian companies.

  • Sweetness

    One that amuses me is a film called ‘The Adventures Of Scamper’ which a few years ago got re-branded as ‘Tappy Feet’ in almost the same font as ‘Happy Feet’. What’s more amusing is my local HMV has this film under both titles in it’s children’s section. XD
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tappy-Feet-The-Adventures-Scamper/dp/B005EQKJMO

  • Mike

    This really hammers home the tremendous importance of solid character design.

  • Lewie

    I never understood how people were able to mistake these for the real deal, even as a kid I could tell these were knockoffs just by the cover alone.

  • Cheese

    What about Wizart Animation’s “The Snow Queen” compared to Disney’s “Frozen?”

    • Eugene F.

      Which one is really the mockbuster? :P
      Snow Queen is good, at least on a TV set, describes strong sidekicks and efficient caracter development.
      Frozen is a mess, cartoon-brew’s members seems understand thus now.

      • kylie

        If you want to get technical frozen had sort of been in the works since walt disney was around but if you want to see a frozen mockbuster I saw a snow queen movie on the redbox with a clear picture of a photoshopped elsa

  • Renato

    Believe or not, Little Princess School is not only sold with merchandising, but it´s aired at the Brazilian equivalent to PBS, the TV Cultura (Cultural São Paulo Public Network) and TV Brasil (Federal Brazilian Public TV)! Such films received money from the Brazilian taxpayers!!!
    And it´s not only a matter of copyrights. For me, the worse of all that it is that the producers of such films deliberately are lying to naïve families and ripping
    off their money. How many poor parents did not bought What´s Up or Ratatoing did believing they were buying Up or Ratatouille to their kids?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDUFPm6hGwc

  • Bianca Cousins

    Wow. These guys weren’t even trying to be discreet.

  • Brian

    Don’t forget Donkey X, who bears a remarkable resemblance to another animated Donkey. . .

  • acematrix
  • jhalpernkitcat

    I think that’s Britannica’s Fairy Tales from Around the World.

    • Crispy Walker

      Judging by the VHS covers, I’m pretty sure that’s it! thank you so much!!

  • John

    Sadly, I think it’s more a matter that many, many parents just don’t care as it’s not important to them. It’s just a kid’s movie and they think the kid(s) don’t know (or care) about the difference. It’s something that keeps the kid(s) occupied and out of the parents hair.

    Or… the parents do know, but it’s just that the pale imitations are more affordable.

  • IamSam

    My question is this? I want to know about the money involved in these films. What the budgets are and are they making money? Where do they get funding for these films? How do I tap into some of that funding? I know that Kiara the Brave cost about 1 million dollars did they make that money back? IF so how?

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    Where are the Bolt imitations? Like maybe ‘Thunder’ or ‘Lightning the Wonder Dog’?

  • LOLcat

    You left a whole lot of them out, namely Golden Films productions distributed by Sony Wonder. Full listing can be found here: http://www.imdb.com/company/co0055836/

  • EstocZero

    How do Disney and Pixar rip the other company off when Pixar and Disney made their films beforehand? Yes, maybe the films are decent, but a ripoff is still a ripoff. If they really wanted to make a quality feature, they should have come up with their own ideas, to be honest.

    • Abdul Kader HD

      You didn’t pick up the sarcasm…

  • George

    Precisely!!

  • heymcdermott

    Is it possible some of those Goodtimes releases were older cartoons based on public domain sources like “Alice in Wonderland” and “Cinderella” that were dusted off for home video? Perhaps we needed to compare their releases dates to the nearest home video release of the Disney movie to see if it was a true rip-off.
    Except of course where the character design is so clearly intended to knock off the Disney version. Do you think any of those producers said “We checked the original Brothers Grimm story, and they clearly meant the Princess who kisses the frog to be an African-American!”

  • Jimmy

    I think I’m missing something, but it says the two pocahontas mockbusters were produced one year before the disney one… as was the “Kiara the Brave” one. Were they produced based on Disney previews or… how?

    • heymcdermott

      Being as Disney features previewed over a year before released, It’s not hard to see how the ripoff version could get into stores before the movie is even released to theatres. All they need is the title and a peek at the characters. Better still if you already can lay hold on an older, already existing cartoon based on a PD title like “The Snow Queen”

  • heymcdermott

    But wasn’t “Antz” itself the Mockbuster version of “A Bugls Life?”

  • jonhanson

    They also changed their nationalities!

  • Alex

    everybody knows The Lion King was ripped off Kimba The White Lion

  • Funkybat

    Well, at least the ones showing Pocahontas as a tween are more historically accurate than the Disney one, which made her a statuesque late teen/adult. ;)

  • Funkybat

    The only thing about Despicable Me they would want to try to clone would be the Minions. The actual “villian adopts precocious girls who melt his heart” thing is too complex to distill into a “grab-mom’s-attention-cover art” DVD. You can bet once the actual Minions movie hits theaters, someone will do something with weird yellow characters in uniforms plastered all over a box cover..

  • Masaaki Hosoi

    I actually know someone who frequently buys mockbusters on accident. For reference, look up “Prometheus Trap” and tell me that isn’t a blatant ripoff of Prometheus. Literally, it’s the same cover design.

    Well now she owns both. Give you one guess which order they were purchased in and what happened in between.

  • Aariel Nigam

    This bothers me. I tried Kiara the Brave and Frog Princess on Netflix. I got bored of the frog one before the first 5 minutes. Kiara the Brave … other than it’s second rate animation, the movie doesn’t even show Kiara until halfway through the movie, she’s hardly any important, and the bravest thing she does is knock someone on the head. I saw the Snow Queen today, which inherently isn’t a knockoff, but it’s release time was just too perfect.

    Other than that, I haven’t seen a single one of these except for the Mulan and Anastasia ones. I know they weren’t the original, and they stunk compared to the Disney and Fox versions, but they really weren’t all that bad. I actually really liked them both. I ended up losing both my VHS tapes, but I saw one on YouTube.

    In the Mulan one, she’s a caterpillar who has a sister, and her last name is Hua which means flower. She joins the war and her friend falls in love with the enemy and she turns into a butterfly …

    The Anastasia one was great too! It had the same problem as the original one, the historical princess Anastasia, but instead of Rasputin, the villains were the secret police, and they had this guy named Prince Paul who made it actually quite interesting.

    There’s this other Mulan knockoff that’s very boring and cheap, but she has a pet panda, and has this medallion, and faces the four elements, and is imprisoned, and ends up waking this dragon, and coming home and turning into a woman. It was very bloody, and cheap, but they even made a video game on it. I think it was “the legend of mulan”

    They all have very vivid differences. The only problem is the obvious timing of them movies, and especially things like ratatoing and the princess school, that’s just too obvious. And it’s not only movies, it’s toys. Knockoff toys have recolored pictures of Disney princesses, and sometimes even exact copies of characters from Barbie movies, which just isn’t fair.

  • anonymous

    besides frozen got its inspiration from a movie called snow queen made in 2012

  • Ankh

    Except some of them are not actually mockbusters. All of the classic stories like Pinocchio, The Little Mermaid, they were all known before Disney owned -some- of their rights…

  • Sathania
  • Taeryfai

    Year: 1994
    Inspiration: Pocahontas (Disney, 1995)

    Wait one second here