Robin Williams’ distinctively soothing voice is still refreshing to this date among the keen fans of Dead Poets Society and Good Will Hunting.

Both these classics came to the fore before the turn of the century, but the knowledge his characters John Keating and Sean Maguire passed to his students in Welton Academy and troubled young man Will Hunting respectively is still gulped down by individuals who come across his work nowadays.

Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society.
Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society.

There’s undoubtedly a lot of substance in the words of Keating and Maguire, but more importantly, the way the actor, Williams, delivers the dialogue makes a profound difference. He added the same magical effect in the movie Aladdin.

Read more: “Miss you and love you forever”: Robin Williams’ Children Remembers the Oscar Winner After His Death Due to Lewy Body Dementia

What Led to Disagreement Between Robin Williams and Disney

Walt Disney Feature Animation gave fans a classic on the big screen in 1992 with Aladdin, which included popular voices of Robin Williams, Scott Weinger, and Linda Larkin, among others.

Genie from movie Aladdin.
Genie from the movie Aladdin.

Considering how iconic Aladdin and Jasmine’s characters are in the fantasy story, Weinger and Larkin got a lot of love post the release, but it was Williams who truly attracted the limelight from critics and fans alike by somehow bringing the supporting character of Genie in the middle of the stage. His distinct voice and aptly calculated change of tone made kids really like the weird-shaped spirit from the folklores, helping the moving amass over $504 million in worldwide box office revenue.

However, the same affinity didn’t last long between Disney and Williams due to a purported breach of an agreement. In 1993, he revealed during an appearance on The Today Show that he had set a hard stance regarding the use of his voice before working in Aladdin.

Williams had no interest in giving his voice for merchandising purposes and he even accepted to be paid less due to the same reason. Still, the Walt Disney Company maximized the earning potential of Aladdin through merchandising. He elaborated:

“Then all of a sudden, they release an advertisement–one part was the movie, the second part was where they used the movie to sell stuff. Not only did they use my voice, they took a character I did and overdubbed it to sell stuff. That was the one thing I said: ‘I don’t do that.’ That was the one thing where they crossed the line.”

A Disney Source refuted these claims (via LA Times) saying “Every single piece of marketing material involving Robin Williams was run by Marsh (his wife) and Robin Williams.”

No party initially showed a willingness to back down, resulting in the uncertainty over Genie’s voice in the franchise that ultimately bagged over $1.5 billion. The show-runners brought in Dan Castellaneta to give the spirit his voice, but despite all his talents, he failed to mimic the charm of Williams, who wouldn’t reunite with Disney unless they apologized.

Read more: Mel Gibson Did Not Want to Work in Robin Williams’ Iconic Movie

How Disney Apologized to Aladdin’s Robin Williams

The new Genie wasn’t accepted wholeheartedly by the fans, who remained awe-struck by William’s voice, akin to Matt Damon‘s character in Good Will Hunting.

Robin Williams with Matt Damon.
Robin Williams with Matt Damon.

Disney supposedly tried to make amends with chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg sending a Picasso painting to Williams. In financial terms, the painting was a big gesture but the actor didn’t care much for it as it was bereft of an apology.

Katzenberg was out of the door at Disney in 1994 without finding a solution to the Williams conundrum. Disney’s next chief, Joe Roth, picked the task and finally gave the original Genie what he was looking for all this time: an apology.

The development led to Williams finally reuniting with Disney to lend his voice to 1996’s Aladdin and the King of Thieves.

Read more: Robin Williams Protected $262M Movie Co-Star Kirsten Dunst When Director Asked Her to Work Extra Hours to Save $100K

Source: Collider

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