No offence to Aladdin or Jasmine - but everyone knows Robin Williams' Genie was the real star of the 1992 Disney classic.

The beloved children's animation Aladdin was an instant success, earning a whopping $664 million at the box office, and it's been a cult favourite ever since.

In the early '90s, at the time it was entering production, Williams - who died in 2014 - was commanding a fee of about $10.5 million per movie, and had to take a significant pay cut to take part. In fact, he earned just $98,000, reports news.com.au.

There's no doubt Disney snagged a bargain in that deal, but there was a catch: Williams insisted that his Genie voice not be used in any advertising or merchandise.

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"We had a deal," the late actor told the US Today Show in 1993. "The one thing I said was I will do the voice. I'm doing it basically because I want to be part of this animation tradition. I want something for my children. One deal is, I just don't want to sell anything - as in Burger King, as in toys, as in stuff."

According to Williams, Disney signed off on the agreement.

However, as he then explained to Today, once the movie was released, things changed.

"Then all of a sudden, they release an advertisement - one part was the movie, the second part was where they used the movie to sell stuff. Not only did they use my voice, they took a character I did and overdubbed it to sell stuff. That was the one thing I said: 'I don't do that.' That was the one thing where they crossed the line."

As Williams told New York magazine that same year: "It wasn't as if we hadn't set it out. I don't want to sell stuff ... It's one thing I don't do ... The voice, that's me; I gave them myself. When it happened, I said: 'You know I don't do that.'"

A source at Disney initially countered the late comedian's version of events, branding it a case of sour grapes.

"He agreed to the deal, and then when the movie turned out to be a big hit, he didn't like the deal he had made."

But according to Artnet, the studio soon backtracked and sent him a million-dollar Picasso painting by way of apology.

The (very) expensive olive branch must have gone some way to smoothing things over, as Williams eventually returned to the studio for Aladdin 3, despite shunning the first sequel, later partnering with them again for 1996's Jack and Bicentennial Man in 1999.

When the actor tragically died, Disney offered a final emotional tribute to one of its brightest stars.