The Jungle Book Debuted as an animated film produced by Walt Disney Productions and released on October 18, 1967. The 19th animated feature in the Disney Animated Canon, the film is noted for being along with The Aristocats (1970) the last film project to be approved by Walt Disney himself, as he died in late 1966, before the film was released. This is also the first animated feature released after Walt Disney's death. The film was inspired by the stories about the feral child Mowgli from the book of the same name by Rudyard Kipling.
The film contains a number of classic songs, including “The Bare Necessities” and “I Wanna Be Like You”. Most of the songs were written by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman. The film was directed by Wolfgang Reitherman. The film grossed over $73 million in the United States in its first release, and as much again from three re-releases. The film stands as one of the most popular Disney movies of all time. In its initial release, the popularity was comparable to that of The Lion King or Frozen, making it a great influence for some of today's biggest names in animation (such as Andreas Deja and Brad Bird). However, Disney wouldn't receive a similar success until The Little Mermaid in 1989.
The Jungle Book was released in October 1967, just 10 months after Walt's death. It was a success, earning $13 million in just its domestic release, mostly due to the popularity of its musical numbers. The film was subsequently re-released in theaters in 1978, 1984, and 1990. The film made its VHS home video debut in Mexico on October 31, 1987, twenty years after its original release. This 1987 release was dubbed in Spanish. The Jungle Book was released in the United States on VHS in 1991 as part of the Walt Disney Classics product line. The American version was subsequently re-released in 1997 as part of the Walt Disney Masterpiece Collection for the film's 30th anniversary; this transfer had washed-out colors. A Limited Issue DVD was released by Buena Vista Home Entertainment in 1999. The DVD was barebones and used the 1997 VHS transfer with analog video. The film was released once again as a 2-disc Platinum Edition DVD on October 2, 2007 to commemorate its 40th anniversary. The Platinum Edition presents the film for the first time in 1.75:1 widescreen aspect ratio and also includes brand new luscious and rich colors. This is the first Disney release titled “Platinum Edition” in the UK instead of “Special Edition”. The film was released on Blu-ray on February 11, 2014. On February 11 a petition was made to The Walt Disney Company to restore the original aspect ratio of the film to the Diamond Edition release. The other request the petition stated was to release the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack like its other Diamond Edition predecessors had before it. The petition has been proven effective by multiple people who feel the films current release was not up to par with other Disney releases.