Walt Disney Pictures is the American-based movie counterpart of The Walt Disney Company. It maintains Disney's family-friendly image and generally only releases G and PG rated films with only a few exceptions: 2003's Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, 2006's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, 2007's Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, 2010's Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, 2011's Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, 2012's John Carter, 2013's The Lone Ranger & Saving Mr. Banks, 2016's The Finest Hours, and 2017's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, all of which were handed a PG-13 rating. Four of the five highest grossing movies from Disney have Johnny Depp in a major role. The films made by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar are promoted under Walt Disney Pictures.
One of the most recognized designs featured a castle based on their famous theme park structures in Disneyland and Walt Disney World. With a blue background or a dark blue gradient background, a glowing arch flies over the white or blue castle with the titles on the bottom. This logo first appeared in 1985 with the film Return to Oz, altough this version was rather incomplete and silent. The full version with sound would later appear that same year in The Black Cauldron. It was also seen on many mid-to-late -1980s and 1990s prints of classic Disney movies before either the RKO logo or the Buena Vista logo. For 2001's The Princess Diaries, the jingle is orchestrated.
In 1995, a CGI-customized version of the 1990 Walt Disney Pictures logo was introduced, appearing with a distinctive fanfare and is often followed by the then-current Pixar Animation Studios logo. This appeared in every Disney/Pixar animated films from Toy Story until Ratatouille, where in 2008 this CGI logo was retired in favor of the 2006 Walt Disney Pictures logo, beginning with WALL-E.
In 2000, Disney introduced a different logo, in which the screen was black and a glowing orange beam appeared on the screen and shone light on the words Walt Disney Pictures. The light then shines the glowing arch, revealing the castle and fades out in the end (the closing logo is still). It was seen on Remember the Titans, 102 Dalmatians, and the special edition of The Lion King, as well as the animated Disney films Brother Bear, and Dinosaur.
In 2006, on Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Disney introduced their current logo in CGI, which began with a glowing star shining in the night sky, a la Pinocchio. The view then heads down to what appears to be a Disney theme park, complete with a sailboat on a river and a train going down a railroad track. Then, it heads high over the Disney castle, with fireworks going off. Eventually, it settles in front of the castle, in which the glowing arch flies over it, and the title appears at the bottom. Very often, the music in this logo is the modified version of "When You Wish Upon a Star" from Pinocchio; though not the same one from the more popular "segmented castle" logo. However there are some exceptions, most notably in National Treasure: Book of Secrets and Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (in the latter the music in the logo is a modified version of Alice's Theme). In 2011, the Walt Disney Pictures branding was shortened simply to "Disney", starting with The Muppets. The current logo was rendered by Cameron Smith and Cyrese Parrish.
There have also been various variations on the Walt Disney Pictures logo. Numerous films have done unique tweaks to the Disney logo over the decades. Some of these films include Inspector Gadget, Prom, Wreck-It Ralph, Tron: Legacy, Maleficent, Cinderella, Tomorrowland, The Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast.
- List of Disney feature films for both live-action and animated films released under the Disney label
- List of Disney animated features for the traditional animated "Disney movies".