Ratatouille: The Musical of TikTok’s Dream
Published on January 9, 2021, at 2:15 p.m.
by Kathleen McManus.
Disney Pixar movies are household names, and many have been further developed into sequels and attractions at the Disney resorts years after release. “Toy Story,” “Finding Nemo” and “Monsters, Inc.” are a few that have been revived by Disney through sequels, short films and resort attractions. However, there is another popular film that seemed to be shelved by Disney — that is until TikTok got creative.
“Ratatouille” was released in June 2007, following blockbuster hits like “The Incredibles” and “Cars.” The movie follows Remy, a rat who dreams of being a cook and does so by becoming friends with a popular restaurant’s garbage boy. Though the movie outperformed “Toy Story” in the box office both nationally and worldwide, the story did not see a similar revitalization such as a sequel, aside from a “Ratatouille”-inspired ride built in Disneyland Paris in 2013, and a similar ride scheduled to open in Walt Disney World’s EPCOT park in 2021.
Though Disney has not invested in the story as much as other films, TikTok users decided the movie needed more attention and started their own musical. User @e_jaccs posted a video on Aug. 10, 2020, with original lyrics to “a love ballad” for Remy. As of Nov. 30, 2020, this audio had been used in more than 16,000 other TikToks. The song inspired others to write additional songs to complement the ballad in an imaginary musical named “Ratatouille: The Musical.” As more songs were posted in the public forum, the hashtag #RatatouilleMusical compiled contributions.
A love ballad #remy #rat #ratatoille #disney #wdw #disneyworld #ratlove #ratlife #rats #Alphets #StanleyCup #CanYouWorkIt♬ Ode to Remy – Emily Jacobsen
Other areas of the theater found a place to contribute to the hypothetical musical, too. Set designers created shoebox dioramas with synced lights and moving set pieces to specific songs. Dancers created choreography while costume designers drew mockups. Sound artists combined different songs to create an overture for the musical. Those with tech crew experience demonstrated what the backstage operations of the musical would look like. Hypothetical cast lists were proposed. As of Nov. 30, 2020, #RatatouilleMusical had more than 117 million views and thousands of videos. Regardless of background, TikTok users found an area to use their skills and contribute to the musical.
The shared media has gained attention and involvement from public figures and news outlets as well. Actor Kevin Chamberlin wrote a song and dressed as Chef Gusteau for his own TikTok contribution. Playbill used art from a TikTok creator to design the cover of a hypothetical Playbill for the musical, now playing at the Brooks “Ratkins” Theatre. Earned media in Buzzfeed, CBS News and the “Today” show further grew awareness of the musical.
The musical is all fun and games, but involvement from a particular TikTok user reignited excitement in this four-month-long trend. The @DisneyParks account posted its addition
filmed inside the upcoming attraction at Walt Disney World on Nov. 20, 2020. The video featured a rap with the musical’s hashtag, demonstrating the brand’s knowledge of the musical and engaging its audiences in the fun. The following day, Pixar’s Instagram account posted an image of Remy from the movie with a caption that used lyrics from @e_jaccs’ original video.
The evolution of “Ratatouille: The Musical” is an interesting public relations case for professionals to continue to watch. The power of user-generated, shared content continues to grow, and the engagement and contribution of other users created national buzz. While it is unknown if “Ratatouille: The Musical” will become a reality outside of TikTok, this positive public relations for a 13-year-old animated movie is what the French would call parfait *chef kiss*.