“Part of Your World” is one of the most famous songs from Disney‘s The Little Mermaid. The song was almost cut from the film. During an interview, the actor who portrayed Ariel explained why the ballad ultimately appeared in the final version of The Little Mermaid.
Why Disney’s chairman wanted to remove ‘Part of Your World’ from ‘The Little Mermaid’
Howard Ashman was a songwriter who gained notoriety for stage musicals such as Smile and Little Shop of Horrors. The first Disney movie he worked on was The Little Mermaid. He co-wrote the film’s most famous ballad, “Part of Your World.” Jeffrey Katzenberg, the chairman of Disney at the time, became convinced the song was bad for the film.
Jodi Benson, the actor who voiced Ariel, told Polygon why Katzenberg disliked “Part of Your World.” “Jeffrey Katzenberg was going to cut it because of the screenings,” she recalled. “There were some children that dropped their popcorn and seem to be distracted during the three minutes and 43 seconds. He said ‘They can’t hold their attention. It’s not going to hold the kids’ attention.’”
Why ‘Part of Your World’ appeared in the final version of the film
Benson revealed what Ashman thought of Katzenberg’s desire to cut “Part of Your World.” “Howard said, ‘You can’t cut the song,’” Benson recalled. “‘It’s an ‘I want’ song. And if you cut it, they’re not going to fall in love with Ariel and root for her for the rest of the film. There’s not going to be any heart in it whatsoever. You can’t cut the song.’”
Ashman even threatened to leave The Little Mermaid if Katzenberg removed “Part of Your World.” Benson said Katzenberg was ultimately glad “Part of Your World” appeared in The Little Mermaid. “Jeffrey will tell you today if he had cut, that would have been one of the biggest decisions and mistakes of his career, because he knew that he had to trust Howard, that Howard was right.” Benson said.
The way the world reacted to ‘The Little Mermaid’
The Little Mermaid became a resounding success. According to Box Office Mojo, the film earned over $6 million during its opening weekend. The film ultimately earned over $211 million across the globe. The Little Mermaid inspired two direct-to-video spin-offs, a television series, and an upcoming live-action remake. Ariel even had a cameo in Ralph Breaks the Internet, the sequel to Wreck-It Ralph.
“Part of Your World” became a standard. Many artists have covered it, including Halsey, Bruno Mars, Carly Rae Jepsen, Faith Hill, Olivia Newton-John, and Miley Cyrus. An instrumental version of “Part of Your World” even appeared in the Disney film Enchanted, which includes many references to Ariel and other Disney Princesses. “Part of Your World” is a famous Disney song — even if Katzenberg didn’t initially embrace it.
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