Tim here, to celebrate, and by “celebrate”, I mean “lament” the ten-year anniversary this month of the film that more or less killed traditional animation at Disney. Back in April, 2004, all that anybody could talk about was anything else imaginable other than Home on the Range, a Western comedy feature the voices of Roseanne, Judi Dench, and Jennifer Tilly that during its opening weekend only managed to scrape itself up to the #4 spot at the box office. This was to be expected. Disney had already announced prior to the release of Brother Bear the previous fall that once they cleared out the pipeline, they’d be abandoning 2D animation forever, and given the quality of most of their work in the 2000s, nobody could really be terribly offended by that decision for any strong reason other than nostalgia. Let me put it this way: I, in 2004, was easily the biggest Disney lover I knew. And even I didn’t bother watching it until a good year and a half later.
I would love nothing more than to say, at this point, “this was a terrible injustice done to a great movie, because…” and that’s really not accurate. Still, Home on the Range is certainly better than its still-unchanged reputation would have it; the fact that Disney’s very next film was the outright toxic Chicken Little certainly helps to make it look that much better, as does the 2009 release of The Princess and the Frog, which took away the pressure for the earlier film to be The Very Last Traditional Disney Film.