One of the main reasons why Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes are the two most heavily-adapted characters in history is because both literary icons exist in the public domain, and can be interpreted by anyone however they see fit.
That’s also why we get so many fresh spins on other recognizable figures including Robin Hood, Zorro, Frankenstein’s Monster, Hercules, Tarzan, King Arthur and many more. As of today, though, a pair of beloved favorites have become public property, which presents a potentially curious situation for one of them in particular.
A.A. Milne’s first Winnie-the-Pooh book from 1926, which includes Piglet, Kanga, Roo, Eeyore, Rabbit, Owl and Christopher Robin, is now available without any copyright restrictions, although Tigger isn’t part of the equation having been introduced in 1928. Disney still holds the trademark to the property, though, meaning that any merchandising opportunities are limited.
Felix Staten’s Bambi, a Life in the Woods is additionally now part of the public domain, so perhaps the Mouse House will need to get a move on with the live-action/CGI remake that was announced a while back in the event some enterprising producer swoops in to capitalize on the name value of the source material in an effort to beat them to punch.