What would a Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios Presentation be like if the animator, film director, screenwriter, producer and the chief creative officer of Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios, and DisneyToon Studios John Lasseter didn’t do it himself? While at D23 Expo many secrets were revealed as John welcomed filmmakers and voice talent to join him on the stage to share all the details of the the upcoming impressive slate from Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios. Here’s a little look at what this presentation was like. Truly a session I will never forget!
Did you see that? I mean seriously!!! The “Rock” Dwayne Johnson, Ellen, Will McCormack, Rashida Jones, Ginnifer Goodwin, Randy Newman….the list is long and, well of course impressive. I watch that and get excited all over again. Being there was incredible. Especially now that I can bring all this info to you!
Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios Presentations at D23 Expo
Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios filmmakers had quite the list to introduce to the room of 7,500 fans at the D23 EXPO 2015. From the story of a sweet green dinosaur, one of the many new characters from Lost Dinosaur, to the very familiar and long awaited return of Dory of Finding Nemo.
“We really have an unbelievable range of movies in production at our studios right now,” said Lasseter. “The stories are dynamic, fresh and so much fun; the characters new and old are so appealing. I’m excited to share some of our long-held secrets for the first time at the D23 EXPO.”
RILEY’S FIRST DATE?
Pixar Animation Studios heads back inside the mind with an all-new short. “Riley’s First Date?” made its world premiere this afternoon at D23 EXPO. Director Josh Cooley, along with “Inside Out” filmmakers Pete Docter (“Up,” “Monsters, Inc.”) and Jonas Rivera (“Up”), introduced the short, which revisits Riley, now 12. “‘Riley’s First Date?’ ventures into the minds of Riley’s parents when a mysterious boy shows up at the front door,” said Cooley. “Having a daughter myself, it was a lot of fun to mine my own feelings to show this emotional time in a parent’s life.”
We have to wait just a little bit for the short for it will be included as a bonus feature in the digital HD & Blu-ray releases of Disney·Pixar’s “Inside Out,” which will be available digitally Oct. 13 and on Blu-ray Nov. 3, 2015.
THE GOOD DINOSAUR
Did you see that opening image? Can you believe it’s 100% animated. Those leaves, that water, all made at Pixar. I have to add too, that the clip they shared, I teared up. So touching. And I wasn’t expecting that.
Anticipation for Disney·Pixar’s “The Good Dinosaur” was amplified when director Peter Sohn and producer Denise Ream shared breathtaking sequences with fans, including never-before-seen footage of a trio of T-Rexes in action.
In theaters on Nov. 25, 2015, the film introduces audiences to Arlo, a sheltered Apatosaurus who finds himself far from home, and Spot, Arlo’s unlikely human friend. “Arlo and Spot journey through a world that has been greatly inspired by the American Northwest,” said Sohn. “It is epic in scope, soul-enriching and simultaneously beautiful and treacherous. In this world, we meet up with a very special family of T-Rexes, who help Arlo find a way through his personal fears and ultimately teach Arlo what he’s truly made of.”
The clips shared at D23 had me hysterically laughing! So funny! It was also announced that international superstar Shakira is lending her Grammy®-winning voice to Gazelle, the biggest pop star in Zootopia. Via video we got a message from Shakira along with a tease of the all-new original song, “Try Everything,” written by singer-songwriter Sia and songwriting duo Stargate, and performed by Shakira. Ginnifer Goodwin joined the stage as it was shared she is the voice of the film’s rookie rabbit officer Judy Hopps, saluted fans alongside directors Byron Howard (“Tangled”) and Rich Moore (“Wreck-It Ralph”), and producer Clark Spencer (“Wreck-It Ralph”). Watch for Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Zootopia” early next year for it opens nationwide March 4, 2016.
I think it’s fair to say that we have all waited a VERY long time for the return of Nemo, Marlin and of course Dory to return to the big screen. Finding Nemo has always been one of my all time favorite Pixar films and as you can see, she may be the most excited about this opportunity!
Ellen DeGeneres (“The Ellen DeGeneres Show”), the voice of everyone’s favorite forgetful blue tang, took a dip with D23 EXPO attendees this afternoon, celebrating Disney·Pixar’s upcoming film “Finding Dory.” Joining DeGeneres on stage this afternoon were Ed O’Neill (“Modern Family”), who lends his voice to Hank, a cantankerous octopus; Ty Burrell (“Modern Family”), the voice of Bailey, a misguided beluga whale; and Kaitlin Olson (“Always Sunny in Philadelphia”), who voices Destiny, a kind-hearted whale shark. Oscar®-winning director Andrew Stanton (“Finding Nemo,” “WALL•E”), co-director Angus MacLane and producer Lindsey Collins (co-producer “WALL•E”) offered details about the all-new story, which reunites Dory with friends Nemo and Marlin on a search for answers about her past. What can she remember? Who are her parents? And where did she learn to speak Whale?
Said Stanton, “In ‘Finding Dory,’ we can expect to address the one emotionally open-ended issue that remained from the first movie: Where is Dory’s family, and will this overly-optimistic fish with short-term memory loss ever be able to find them again? Her issue has also given us the opportunity to travel to very different locations, on land and sea, and meet a variety of new sea creatures that expand the world of Nemo, Marlin and Dory.”
Also featuring the voices of Albert Brooks, Eugene Levy and Diane Keaton, Disney·Pixar’s “Finding Dory” swims into theaters June 17, 2016.
With a special appearance by Dwayne Johnson, the hype of Moana went up to a level that my ears are still recovering from all the screams. Exciting, yes, but more than that, the sneak peak we got of this new film being brought to us by the Walt Disney Animation Studios will be one that I will be eagerly awaiting to see with my family around Thanksgiving of 2016!
Dwayne Johnson (“San Andreas,” “Furious 7,” HBO’s “Ballers”), who lends his voice to the mighty demi-god Maui in Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Moana,” hit the stage at D23 EXPO this afternoon. Renowned directors John Musker and Ron Clements (“The Little Mermaid,” “The Princess and the Frog,” “Aladdin”), and producer Osnat Shurer (Oscar®-nominated Pixar shorts “One Man Band,” “Boundin’”) shared dazzling early test footage and revealed plans for the film’s inspired music and the extraordinary team behind it. Tony®-winner Lin-Manuel Miranda (Broadway’s hottest new hit “Hamilton,” Tony-winning “In the Heights”), Grammy®-winning composer Mark Mancina (“Speed”, “Tarzan” “The Lion King”) and Opetaia Foa’i (founder and lead singer of the world music award-winning band Te Vaka) blend their diverse and dynamic talents to help tell the tale of a spirited teenager who sets out to prove herself a master wayfinder.
“Our research took us deep into the South Pacific,” said Clements. “The wonderful people we met there, their rich history and traditions, and their fantastic music changed us forever.”
“We can’t wait to bring those experiences to ‘Moana,’” added Musker. “We are incredibly lucky to be able to work with three amazing artists who are the absolute best at what they do. The sounds they create will be something we’ve never heard before—but it’ll feel like it’s been part of this world forever.”
Foa’i and his band Te Vaka capped the presentation with a show-stopping performance illustrating the magic of the movie’s music. “Moana” sails into U.S. theaters on Nov. 23, 2016.
TOY STORY 20TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
Are you ready for this??? Yes! Toy Story is returning!
Pixar Animation Studios marks the 20th Anniversary of “Toy Story” this year. Said Lasseter, “All the characters from ‘Toy Story’—especially Woody and Buzz—are so close to us. They seem more like family members than just creations. Not only do we dearly love the characters, but we also love the world of ‘Toy Story’—the world where toys come to life when people are not in the room has always been rich with many story possibilities.”
Lasseter, who’s one of Pixar’s three founders, celebrated 20 years since “Toy Story” transformed the animation industry and the art of storytelling. He welcomed to the stage iconic two-time Oscar®-winning songwriter and longtime Pixar collaborator Randy Newman, whose Pixar credits include “Toy Story,” “A Bug’s Life,” “Toy Story 2,” “Monsters, Inc.” and “Cars.”
Also joining in the celebration were “Toy Story 4” co-director Josh Cooley (“Cars 2,” “Ratatouille”) and producer Galyn Susman (“Toy Story OF TERROR!”). Screenwriters Rashida Jones and Will McCormack (“Celeste & Jesse Forever”) joined Buzz, Woody and Bo Peep for the celebration. “I’m very proud of our films,” said Lasseter. “When we made the first three ‘Toy Story’ films, we didn’t realize what we had done was to change the genre of each of the films’ story. For ‘Toy Story 4,’ we are doing a type of story we have not done before: a love story. It’s a story about a relationship between Woody and Bo Peep. “
“Toy Story 4,” which will be directed by Lasseter and produced by Susman, is slated for release on June 16, 2017.
Yes! It’s the story of Jack and The Bean Stalk on the way Disney can tell it!
Things are looking up at Walt Disney Animation Studios – way up. “Gigantic,” Disney’s unique take on “Jack and the Beanstalk,” will feature music from Oscar®-winning songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, who greeted D23 EXPO fans in signature style—in song—alongside director Nathan Greno (“Tangled”) and producer Dorothy McKim (“Get a Horse!”).
“I always wanted to be part of the Disney legacy,” said Greno. “I loved those classic stories brought to life—‘Snow White’ or ‘Cinderella’—in a way that made those films the definitive version for generations. I want to carry on that tradition by bringing ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ to modern audiences. We’re taking parts of the story we all remember and adding twists and turns, emotion and humor.”
Set in Spain during the Age of Exploration, Disney’s “Gigantic” follows adventure-seeker Jack as he discovers a world of giants hidden within the clouds. He hatches a grand plan with Inma, a 60-foot-tall, 11-year-old girl, and agrees to help her find her way home. But he doesn’t account for her super-sized personality—and who knew giants were so down to earth? “Gigantic” hits theaters in 2018.
Director Lee Unkrich (“Toy Story 3”) and producer Darla K. Anderson (“Toy Story 3”) revealed the title of their upcoming film: Disney·Pixar’s “Coco” is the celebration of a lifetime, where the discovery of a generations-old mystery leads to a most extraordinary and surprising family reunion.
“As artists and filmmakers, we couldn’t help but be drawn to the striking visuals of Dia de los Muertos,” said Unkrich and Anderson. “But it was the celebration’s core themes of family, remembrance and connection across generations that resonated within and truly inspired us. Dia de los Muertos is as singular as the Mexican culture, while at the same time completely universal in its message.
“In our story,” they continued, “the celebration of Dia de los Muertos serves as the perfect backdrop for our main character to ask where he comes from, what his place is within his family, and how families stay woven together across time through the simple act of remembrance.”