Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. This press release is a treasure trove of information for Disney and Pixar fans, confirming projects we’ve heard rumors of for a while now, and dropping the first details of some things we’ve never heard a peep about. I am most intrigued by the fact that Pixar is stepping onto Disney’s turf by finally adapting a fairy tale, although a far less famous one than the traditional Disney fare, and by the adaptation they’re doing of a Philip K. Dick short story, one of his strangest, but one that really lends itself to being a great film in the right hands. Their emphasis on 3D is surprising, based on statements I'd seen attributed to Lasseter, as is the financially-logical CARS sequel, but that's balanced by how many original titles are on this schedule. I'm excited to see Gary Rydstrom's debut, in particular. All in all, it’s looking like the new direction that Disney’s going is a good one, and a promising one, and should yield any number of projects worth discussing in the next four years. Dig in!
New York, New York -- April 8, 2008 -- The Walt Disney Studios unveiled a diverse and ambitious slate of 10 new animated feature films from Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios to be released through the year 2012 at a New York press conference held today by Dick Cook, chairman of The Walt Disney Studios, and John Lasseter, chief creative officer for Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios. The line-up includes new films from Disney and Pixar’s accomplished team of filmmakers, and features vocal performances by such top celebrity talents as John Travolta and Miley Cyrus (“Bolt”), Reese Witherspoon and Billy Connolly and Emma Thompson (“The Bear and the Bow”), Anika Noni Rose and John Goodman (“The Princess and the Frog”), as well as return engagements by Tom Hanks, Tim Allen and the rest of the “Toy Story” vocal ensemble (“Toy Story 3”). The roster of new animated features includes six new films from Pixar Animation Studios, four from Walt Disney Animation Studios, and the first four in a series of direct-to-DVD films featuring Disney Fairies from DisneyToon Studios. Starting later this year with the release of Disney’s “Bolt,” all Disney and Pixar animated features will be presented in state-of-the-art Disney Digital 3-D™. Additionally, newly converted 3-D versions of the beloved classics, “Toy Story” and “Toy Story 2,” are set to debut in 2009 and 2010 respectively. Among the upcoming animated films on the 2008 release schedule are “WALL•E” (Pixar) from Academy Award®-winning director/writer Andrew Stanton (“Finding Nemo”) opening nationwide June 27th; “Bolt” (Disney) from the talented new directing team of Chris Williams and Byron Howard, due in theatres on November 26th; and the Disney DVD and Blu-ray release of “Tinker Bell,” the first in a new franchise of original entertainment set in the world of Fairies, on October 28th. The Studio’s 2009 animated slate includes the summer release of Pixar’s first 3-D feature, “Up,” from director Pete Docter (“Monsters, Inc.”) and co-director Bob Peterson, the Christmas Day release of Disney’s original animated fairy tale “The Princess and the Frog” from acclaimed veteran Disney directors John Musker and Ron Clements (“The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” “Hercules,”) and the Disney DVD and Blu-ray release of "Tinker Bell North of Never Land" (working title). 2010 brings the highly anticipated return of Buzz and Woody in the Disney Digital™ 3D summer release of Pixar’s “Toy Story 3” directed by Lee Unkrich (“Finding Nemo,” “Monsters, Inc.”); followed by the Christmas arrival of Disney’s version of the classic fairy tale, “Rapunzel,” featuring the directing debuts of animation legend Glen Keane and directing partner Dean Wellins, and the Disney DVD and Blu-ray release of "Tinker Bell A Midsummer Storm" (working title). In the summer of 2011, Pixar’s “newt” marks the directing debut of multiple Oscar® winning sound designer Gary Rydstrom. Christmas 2011 brings Pixar’s first fairy tale, “The Bear and the Bow,” from acclaimed filmmaker/writer Brenda Chapman (“The Prince of Egypt”). The Disney DVD and Blu-ray release of "Tinker Bell A Winter Story" (working title) also debuts in 2011. The year 2012 will mark the return of Lightning McQueen, Mater the tow truck, and an international cast of favorite and new car characters in Pixar’s “Cars 2,” directed by Brad Lewis (producer of “Ratatouille”). Scheduled for Christmas 2012 from Walt Disney Animation Studios is “King of the Elves,” an adaptation of a Philip K. Dick short story, directed by Aaron Blaise and Robert Walker (“Brother Bear”). Commenting on the announcement, Cook said, “We couldn’t be more proud and excited about our upcoming line-up of feature projects. With so many great films literally on the drawing boards and computer screens, we felt that now was the perfect time to give moviegoers all over the world an update on the state of our art. In a year when our Studio is marking the 80th anniversary of Mickey Mouse, the character that started it all for us, it seems especially timely to share our plans for the future of animation. With John Lasseter and Ed Catmull guiding our creative efforts both at Emeryville and in Burbank , this is as exciting a time as any in our history.” Lasseter added, “This is an amazing time for animation at Disney and Pixar, and it’s a thrill to be working on such a diverse and original group of films with such an all-star team of filmmakers. The thing I love best about my job is that I get to work at both Disney and Pixar with filmmakers who are passionate about their projects and who are the absolute best in the business. We’re excited to be pushing the boundaries of 3-D and computer technology to tell our stories in the best possible way. At the same time, we’re drawing on our past to emphasize memorable characters, original edge-of-your-seat stories, and believable worlds. Walt Disney and his creative team taught us how to blend comedy, powerful emotion, and action-filled excitement in our films, and this group of incredible filmmakers is bringing their own originality and sensibilities to the process.” WALT DISNEY ANIMATION STUDIOS/ PIXAR ANIMATION STUDIOS RELEASE SCHEDULE 2008 – 2012: 2008: WALL•E (Domestic Release Date: June 27th, 2008) Pixar Animation Studios Director/Screenwriter: Andrew Stanton Producer: Jim Morris Co-Producer: Lindsey Collins Sound and Character Voice Designer: Ben Burtt Composer: Thomas Newman, with an Original Song Performed by Peter Gabriel Voice Talent: Fred Willard, Jeff Garlin, Sigourney Weaver, John Ratzenberger, Kathy Najimy What if mankind had to leave Earth and somebody forgot to turn off the last robot? Academy Award®-winning writer-director Andrew Stanton (“Finding Nemo”) and the inventive storytellers and technical geniuses at Pixar Animation Studios transport moviegoers to a galaxy not so very far away for a new computer-animated cosmic comedy about a determined robot named WALL•E. After hundreds of lonely years doing what he was built for, WALL•E (short for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class) discovers a new purpose in life (besides collecting knick-knacks) when he meets a sleek search robot named EVE. EVE comes to realize that WALL•E has inadvertently stumbled upon the key to the planet’s future, and races back to space to report her findings to the humans (who have been eagerly awaiting word that it is safe to return home). Meanwhile, WALL•E chases EVE across the galaxy and sets into motion one of the most incredible comedy adventures ever brought to the big screen. Joining WALL•E on his fantastic journey across a universe of never-before-imagined visions of the future is a hilarious cast of characters including a pet cockroach, and a heroic team of malfunctioning misfit robots. BOLT (Domestic Release Date: November 26th, 2008, Disney Digital 3-D™) Walt Disney Animation Studios Directors: Chris Williams, Byron Howard Producer: Clark Spencer Voice Talent: John Travolta, Miley Cyrus, Susie Essman For super-dog Bolt (voiced by John Travolta), every day is filled with adventure, danger and intrigue – at least until the cameras stop rolling. When the canine star of a hit TV show is accidentally shipped from his Hollywood soundstage to New York City , he begins his biggest adventure yet – a cross-country journey through the real world. Armed only with the delusions that all his amazing feats and powers are real, and with the help of two unlikely traveling companions – a jaded, abandoned housecat named Mittens (voiced by Susie Essman), and TV-obsessed hamster in a plastic ball named Rhino – Bolt discovers he doesn’t need superpowers to be a hero. Miley Cyrus (“Hannah Montana”) brings her vocal talents to the role of Penny, Bolt’s human co-star on the television series. TINKER BELL (Disney DVD and Blu-ray Release Date: October 28th, 2008) DisneyToon Studios Director: Bradley Raymond Producer: Jeannine Roussel Enter the magical world of fairies and meet the enchanting creatures of Pixie Hollow, who “nurture nature” and bring about the change of the seasons. Changing the colors of the leaves, moving a sunbeam to melt snow, waking animals from their winter slumber, or giving a patch of sproutlings a sprinkle of water are all within the realm of these seasonal specialists. Tinker Bell thinks her fairy talent as a “tinker” isn’t as special or important as the other fairies’ talents. But when Tink tries to change who she is, she creates nothing but disaster! With encouragement from her friends Rosetta, Silvermist, Fawn and Iridessa, Tink learns the key to solving her problems lies in her unique tinker abilities…and discovers that when she’s true to herself, magical things can happen. 2009: UP (Domestic Release Date: May 29th, 2009, Disney Digital 3-D™) Pixar Animation Studios Director: Pete Docter Co-Director: Bob Peterson Producer: Jonas Rivera Writer: Bob Peterson Voice Talent: Ed Asner, Christopher Plummer, John Ratzenberger, Jordan Nagai From the Academy Award®-nominated team of director Pete Docter (“Monsters, Inc.”) and co-director Bob Peterson comes “Up,” a comedic adventure taking off (and lifting spirits) in summer 2009. Carl Fredricksen spent his entire life dreaming of exploring the globe and experiencing life to its fullest. But at age 78, life seems to have passed him by, until a twist of fate (and a persistent 8-year old Wilderness Explorer named Russell) gives him a new lease on life. “Up” takes audiences on a thrilling journey where the unlikely pair encounter wild terrain, unexpected villains and jungle creatures. When seeking adventure next summer – look “Up.” TOY STORY in 3-D (Domestic Release Date: October 2nd, 2009) Pixar Animation Studios Director: John Lasseter Producers: Ralph Guggenheim, Bonnie Arnold Composer: Randy Newman Voice Talent: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, Jim Varney, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger Originally released by Walt Disney Pictures in 1995, “Toy Story” was the first feature film from Pixar Animation Studios and director John Lasseter. The film went on to receive Oscar® nominations for Best Original Score, Best Original Song, and Best Original Screenplay, and earned Lasseter a Special Achievement Award (Oscar®) “for the development and inspired application of techniques that have made possible the first feature-length computer-animated film.” The 3-D version of this landmark film is being personally overseen by Lasseter with his acclaimed team of technical wizards handling all the necessary steps in the conversion process. THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG (Domestic Release Date: Christmas 2009) Walt Disney Animation Studios Directors: John Musker, Ron Clements Producer: Peter Del Vecho Composer: Randy Newman Voice Talent: Anika Noni Rose, Keith David, Jenifer Lewis, John Goodman A musical set in the greatest city of them all, New Orleans , “The Princess and the Frog” marks Disney’s return to the timeless art form of traditional animation. The film teams Ron Clements and John Musker, creators of “The Little Mermaid” and “Aladdin,” with Oscar®-winning composer Randy Newman to tell the most beautiful love story ever told…with frogs, voodoo, and a singing alligator. TINKER BELL NORTH OF NEVER LAND - working title (Disney DVD and Blu-ray Release Date: 2009) DisneyToon Studios Director: Klay Hall Producer: Sean Lurie In autumn, Tinker Bell is entrusted with crafting a great treasure that can rejuvenate the Pixie Dust Tree. But when her friend Terence offers to help, Tink's temper and stubbornness get the better of her, shattering both her creation and her friendship with Terence. To set things right again, she must embark on a journey far North of Never Land… and along the way, she will discover an even greater treasure. 2010: TOY STORY 2 in 3-D (Domestic Release Date: February 12th, 2010) Pixar Animation Studios Director: John Lasseter Co-Directors: Lee Unkrich, Ash Brannon Producers: Helene Plotkin, Karen Robert Jackson Composer: Randy Newman Voice Talent: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Kelsey Grammer, Don Rickles, Estelle Harris, Jim Varney, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger Originally released in 1999, “Toy Story 2” went on to become one of the most popular animated features of all time. The film picks up as Andy is heading off to Cowboy Camp and the toys are left to their own devices. When an obsessive toy collector named Al McWhiggin (owner of Al’s Toy Barn) kidnaps Woody, and Woody learns that he’s a highly valued collectable from a 1950s TV show called “Woody’s Roundup,” the stage is set for a daring rescue attempt by the gang from Andy’s room. The film introduced such other memorable characters from “Woody’s Roundup” as Jessie the cowgirl, Bullseye the horse, and the Prospector. TOY STORY 3 (Domestic Release Date: June 18th, 2010, Disney Digital 3-D™) Pixar Animation Studios Director: Lee Unkrich Producer: Darla K. Anderson Writer: Michael Arndt Composer: Randy Newman Voice Talent: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Don Rickles, Wallace Shawn, Estelle Harris, John Ratzenberger, Ned Beatty The creators of the beloved “Toy Story” films re-open the toy box and bring moviegoers back to the delightful world of Woody, Buzz and our favorite gang of toy characters in “Toy Story 3.” Lee Unkrich (co-director of “Toy Story 2” and “Finding Nemo”) directs this highly anticipated film, and Michael Arndt, the Academy Award®-winning screenwriter of “Little Miss Sunshine,” brings his unique talents and comedic sensibilities to the proceedings. RAPUNZEL (Domestic Release Date: Christmas 2010, Disney Digital 3-D™) Walt Disney Animation Studios Directors: Glen Keane, Dean Wellins Producer: Roy Conli In this new telling of the classic fairy tale, “Rapunzel,” audiences will be transported to a stunning CG fantasy world complete with the iconic tower, an evil witch, a gallant hero and, of course, the mysterious girl with the long golden tresses. Expect adventure, heart, humor, and hair…lots of hair, when Rapunzel unleashes her locks in theaters for the 2010 holiday. TINKER BELL A MIDSUMMER STORM - working title (Disney DVD and Blu-ray Release Date: 2010) DisneyToon Studios Director: Carolyn Gair Producer: Margot Pipkin After being confronted by her antagonist Vidia, an irritated Tinker Bell retaliates by taking a photograph of Vidia…without considering the consequences. Now, the two must set aside their differences and cooperate to prevent evidence of the existence of fairies from falling into human hands. 2011: NEWT (Domestic Release Date: Summer 2011, Disney Digital 3-D™) Pixar Animation Studios Director: Gary Rydstrom Producer: Richard Hollander Writers: Gary Rydstrom, Leslie Caveny What happens when the last remaining male and female blue-footed newts on the planet are forced together by science to save the species, and they can’t stand each other? That's the problem facing Newt and Brooke, heroes of ”newt,” the Pixar film by seven-time Academy Award® winner for sound Gary Rydstrom, and director of Pixar's Oscar nominated short, "Lifted." Newt and Brooke embark on a perilous, unpredictable adventure and discover that finding a mate never goes as planned, even when you only have one choice. Love, it turns out, is not a science. THE BEAR AND THE BOW (Domestic Release Date: Christmas 2011, Disney Digital 3-D™) Pixar Animation Studios Director: Brenda Chapman Producer: Katherine Sarafian Voice Talent: Reese Witherspoon, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson A rugged and mythic Scotland is the setting for Pixar’s action-adventure "The Bear and the Bow.” The impetuous, tangle-haired Merida , though a daughter of royalty, would prefer to make her mark as a great archer. A clash of wills with her mother compels Merida to make a reckless choice, which unleashes unintended peril on her father’s kingdom and her mother’s life. Merida struggles with the unpredictable forces of nature, magic and a dark, ancient curse to set things right. Director Brenda Chapman (“The Prince of Egypt,” “The Lion King”) and the storytelling wizards of Pixar conjure humor, fantasy and excitement in this rich Highland tale. TINKER BELL A WINTER STORY - working title (Disney DVD and Blu-ray Release Date: 2011) DisneyToon Studios Producer: Sean Lurie The fourth, as-yet-untold story of Tinker Bell and her fairy friends will take place in winter, completing the cycle of the seasons. 2012: CARS 2 (Domestic Release Date: Summer 2012, Disney Digital 3-D™) Pixar Animation Studios Director: Brad Lewis All the world’s a racetrack as racing superstar Lightning McQueen zooms back into action, with his best friend Mater in tow, to take on the globe’s fastest and finest in this thrilling high-octane new installment of the “Cars” saga. Mater and McQueen will need their passports as they find themselves in a new world of intrigue, thrills and fast-paced comedic escapades around the globe. “Cars 2” is being directed by Brad Lewis, producer of the Oscar®-winning film “Ratatouille.” KING OF THE ELVES (Domestic Release Date: Christmas 2012, Disney Digital 3-D™) Walt Disney Animation Studios Directors: Aaron Blaise, Robert Walker Producer: Chuck Williams Legendary storyteller Phillip K. Dick’s short story (his only experiment in the fantasy genre) becomes the basis for this fantastic and imaginative tale about an average man living in the Mississippi Delta, whose reluctant actions to help a desperate band of elves leads them to name him their new king. Joining the innocent and endangered elves as they attempt to escape from an evil and menacing troll, their unlikely new leader finds himself caught on a journey filled with unimaginable dangers and a chance to bring real meaning back to his own life.