If it is indeed as original as the press material says, it might be a good example on how people (other than Disney) can make movies from material in the public domain, and how and why the fact that there is a public domain in the first place is a good thing.
Or maybe everyone knows that but no one wants to explain to their shareholders why the stuff they created is ending up in a competitor’s movie? Is it just a “not in my portfolio” mentality? Build on the culture, but make sure your work does not end up “stolen”? Is it a trademark-like mentality where you want to create something popular and strong, but not so much as to have it become a generic cultural icon?
Quite a statement. Hostile distribution channel? Marketing decision? Affinity for niche markets? Trial balloon? Rational and smart move?
I like Jack Miller’s take on that decision.