Hercules is a 1997 animated feature produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures on June 27, 1997. The thirty-fifth animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, this film was directed by Ron Clements & John Musker creative team directors have been working on The Little Mermaid and Aladdin. The film is based on the legendary Greek mythology hero Heracles (known in the film by his Roman name, Hercules), the son of Zeus, in Greek mythology.
Though Hercules did not match the financial success of the Disney Renaissance Era, the film received positive reviews, and made $99 million in revenue in the United States during its theatrical release and $252,712,101 worldwide.
Hercules was later followed by the direct-to-video prequel Hercules: Zero to Hero, which served as a prequel to Hercules: The Animated Series, a syndicated Disney TV series focusing on Hercules during his time at the Prometheus academy.
Once upon a Time after Zeus, ruler of the Greek gods of Mount Olympus, does it with his wife Hera, they give birth to a son, Hercules. All the gods of Olympus celebrate Hercules' birth except for Zeus' jealous brother Hades his Uncle, who was forced by Zeus to work as lord of the dead in the Underworld, and seeks to overthrow his brother. Hades learns from the Fates that in eighteen years, a planetary alignment will reveal the location of where the Titans are trapped, allowing him to free them and take over Olympus, but only if Hercules doesn't interfere. Hades sends his minions Pain and Panic to kidnap Hercules, bring him to Earth, and kill him after giving him a potion that will turn him mortal. However, Pain and Panic are unable to give Hercules the entire potion which, while still making him mortal, allows him to retain his godlike strength. Hercules is then found by a farmer and his wife, who raise him as their own son.
Over the next sixteen years, Hercules grows up into a misfit, his strength seen as a nuisance to all the locals. After being rejected by the townsfolk when he accidentally destroys the marketplace, Hercules questions where he truly belongs. His foster parents reveal how they found him with a medallion bearing the symbol of the gods, so Hercules travels to the Temple of Zeus, where the almighty god's statue comes to life and reveals his past and true lineage. Zeus explains that Hercules can become a god again and return to Olympus if he can become a true hero, so he sets out on his old childhood friend Pegasus to find the satyr Philoctetes a trainer of heroes. Phil has long-since retired after failing to train a successful hero, but is convinced to train Hercules.
After his training is complete, Hercules sets out with Phil and Pegasus to the city of Thebes to prove his newfound worth. Along the way, Hercules saves a woman named Megara from being pestered by the centaur Nessus, and becomes attracted to her. Unbeknownst to Hercules, Meg is in league with Hades after selling her soul to save a man she once loved, but had left her for another woman. Discovering Hercules to still be alive, Hades sets up a trap for him outside of Thebes where he is forced to battle the Hydra. However, Hercules manages to defeat the Hydra, and is praised by all of Thebes as a hero, during the song "Zero to Hero", is shown to dispatch every other monster Hades sends against him. Hercules is treated like a celebrity, but Zeus informs him that he is not a true hero yet.
Meg is sent by Hades to find his weakness, but she falls in love with him instead. Phil discovers Meg to be working for Hades and attempts to warn Hercules, but abandons him after an ensuing argument. Realizing that Meg is Hades' weakness, he uses her to make a deal with Hercules in which he must give up his powers for an entire day in exchange for Meg's safety, using this time to free the Titans and take over Olympus, while Hercules is crushed by Meg's deception and loses the will to fight. One of the Titans, a Cyclops, is sent to Thebes to eliminate Hercules. Meg convinces Phil to return to Hercules, motivating him into battling and defeating the Cyclops through improvisation. However, Meg is mortally wounded by a falling column to save Hercules, though it breaks Hades' deal of Meg not being harmed and restoration Hercules' powers, allowing him to defeat the Titans. Unfortunately, he is too late to save Meg from dying. Hercules confronts Hades in the Underworld and offers his soul to reclaim Meg's. Hades accepts, but only if Hercules can reclaim it in the River Styx, gradually saps his life force as he swims. Hercules will to sacrifice his life for Meg awakens Hercules as a true hero and restoration his status as an immortal god. Hercules successfully retrieves Meg's soul and punches Hades into the River Styx, where he is dragged to the depths by vengeful souls.
The film ends, which Hercules returns Meg's soul to her body and brings her back to life and is brought to Olympus where the gods welcome him back into his old home, however, Hercules is unable to live without Meg and Zeus allows him to stay on Earth as a mortal to stay with the one he loves, Zeus creates a ghost of Hercules appears in the clouds in the night sky allowing the world to hail him as a true hero if the wait is over Hercules.
When Walt Disney Feature Animation begin plan Hercules in late 1991, while still in production on its thirty-first animated feature Aladdin.
The character design was based on Greek states and artist Gerald Scarfe from Pink Floyd The Wall, each major character in Hercules had a supervising animator Andreas Deja for Adult Hercules, commented that the animation crew he with to animate was the he ever worked with, he previous worked on other animated Disney villains (such as Gaston from Beauty and the Beast, Jafar from Aladdin or Uncle Scar from Lion King) with about four animators on his crew, but he had a team of twelve or thirteen for Hercules. Given Deja had worked with three villains before, he was first offered Hades, but asked to animate the protagonist instead - "I knew if would be more difficult and more challenging, but I just needed that experience to have that in your repertoire.
The enthusiastic audience reception to a teaser trailer for Hercules with the song Zero to Hero during the teaser trailer for this film, while both Hercules and Mulan were commercial successes, Hercules received more post feedback and earned larger grossed than did with Mulan was released in 1998. This film was released in the Summer of 1997. However, Ron Clements & John Musker have not been working on Mulan, they have been working on Treasure Planet, as well as The Princess and the Frog.
Marketing and promotion for Hercules Summer Spectacular premiere at the New Amsterdam Theater in New York City's Famous Time Square on June 13, 1997 before the film's theatrical release, in the past two years prior to its theatrical run such as Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Hercules was also received the first Disney on Ice adaptation before the film was theatrical release. A tie-in video game, titled Hercules Action Game, was developed by Eurocom and released on June 20, 1997 for the PC and PlayStation.
A video game based on the film was released for the PlayStation and Microsoft Windows on June 20, 1997, later put on the PlayStation Network online service for the PlayStation 3.
This film was first released on home video on February 3, 1998 in the US as part of the Walt Disney Masterpiece Collection line and a Limited Issue DVD came out on November 9, 1999, followed by a re-issue title to VHS and DVD on August 1, 2000 as part of the Walt Disney Gold Classics Collection line. This film is scheduled to be re-released as a Special Edition Blu-ray Combo Pack on June 10, 2014, which is not part of the Walt Disney Diamond Editions line.