Disney is struggling to figure out what to do with its most iconic brand, Mickey Mouse.
In his early days, Mickey was a wild and crazy guy – almost like a 1920s version of Bart Simpson. In the 1930s, though, that began to change as Walt Disney toned down his image. As this article states:
Animators once made a cartoon for a private viewing to amuse their boss, in which Mickey went all the way with Minnie. Disney congratulated them on the craftsmanship, asked for the names of all those involved and then sacked them. No one could tamper with Mickey’s family-friendly image, even as a private joke.
But Mickey has grown a bit stale for recent generations of children, especially in the United States. These days he seems to be more prominent as a corporate logo than as an animated character with a distinct personality. So Disney is trying to “re-brand” Mickey without eroding his core meaning – not an easy task.