Who Framed Roger Rabbit was released in 1988, based of the novel by Gary K. Wolf; Who censored Roger Rabbit, was directed by Robert Zemecks and produced by Frank Marshall and Robert Watts. It is a fantasy comedy film, which combines live action and animation.
Walt Disney Productions had bought the film rights for the novel in 1981. The writers of both drafts of the movie, Jeffery Price and Peter S. Seaman, studied the work of Disney and Warner Brothers Cartoons, mainly cartoons from the Golden Age of American animation; such as Tex Avery and Bob Clampett. With the help of Steven Spielberg, who worked with Amblin Entertainment; the company that produced the film, he convinced companies Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures, and other studios to “lend” their characters to take part in the film.
For the filming of the movie, Vista Vision cameras with motion control were used in the live-action scenes that would then be animated to have the cartoon characters be put in later. When there were scenes were the actors had to interact with the cartoons, they would act with rubber mannequins of that character for the actor to know where to look while rehearsing. For the animation, the animators first had to rotograph the live action scenes. Because of the dynamic camera movement by Zemeckis, animators were challenged to ensure that the characters were not out of line from the animation. The footage was then sent off the animate the layers of lighting; shadows, Grimm lights, and tone mattes, to make the characters look three-dimensional and to give the illusion of them being affected by the lighting of the set.
This movie was the set up two other films that had similar style. These films are Space Jam (1996) and Looney Toons: Back in Action (2003). Though not made by Disney, these films both had live action combined with animation. This is one of the animated films by Disney that not only caught the child audience; there were some references that were more catered to adults as well. Other Disney movies at this time, like The Little Mermaid, were directed more toward children.