Disney has told US cinemas to stop screening a short film based on 2013 hit Frozen before new Pixar movie Coco, following a significant audience backlash. The studio has come under fire for the short, called Olaf's Frozen Adventure.

For years Disney has prefaced its animated features with short films, many of which have been as successful as the films following them. However, Olaf's Frozen Adventure has caused controversy due to its length.

At 21 minutes, the film is significantly longer than many other shorts, which typically don't exceed ten minutes.

The problem is that Coco – the film people actually paid to see – doesn't start until more than 40 minutes after the advertised time.

Mashable reports that Disney has instructed cinemas to remove the short, effective Friday 8 December. Some cinemas in Mexico had already decided to take action.

Aggrieved audiences have been voicing their disapproval. A Reddit thread includes numerous cinema employees describing unhappy customers and the complaints they received. Others on Twitter described the short as "torturous" and advised people to show up 30 minutes late to screenings in order to avoid it.

Olaf's Frozen Adventure was intended to air on television as a Christmas special, but Disney's plans changed because the final product was "too cinematic".

It is also the first time that a Disney Animation Studios short has been attached to a Pixar film. Usually Pixar is responsible for the shorts that play before its own movies.

Coco doesn't release in the UK until January, so the Christmas-themed Frozen short has instead been attached to a re-run of the 2013 film in cinemas, where it remains.

Disney's Frozen mishap hasn't had a negative impact on Coco's success. The film – about Latin American culture and Mexico's Day of the Dead festival – has been a hit critically and commercially. It stormed to the top of the US box office on its opening weekend, knocking superhero movie Justice League off the top spot.