First out of the Disney canon is, of course, Snow White. The Brothers Grimm story of the beautiful young princess whose only offence was being considered more beautiful than the Queen reportedly resonated with a young Walt, who was determined to use the tale to showcase the beauty of animation.
Production began in 1934. Walt estimated the film could be made for $250,000. Costs quickly ballooned to almost $1.5-million by the time it was released in December, 1937 — a staggering price for a film made in the midst of deep depression. But, as we all now know, the film was hailed as a technical and commercial success, proving animated films could be beautiful art and launching a string of some of the most beloved cinematic achievements in film history. According to Box Office Mojo, the film’s run grossed over $66-million, which has since grown to a lifetime gross of more than $184-million. In 1938, the film was awarded an Oscar for its technical achievements despite the Academy’s lack of a category for animation. Famously, the film was given one regular-sized statuette and seven miniature ones to mark the special occasion.