Disney’s Releases For Next 4 Years

One more reason to visit Animation World Network aside from their archive of 2,586 articles on animation, is to sign up for their weekly newsletters and stay up to date with events in the larger animation industry. Here’s a small part of their latest e-mail newsletter that outlines Disney’s planned animation feature film releases…

The Walt Disney Studios unveiled an ambitious four-year slate of 10 new
animated features from both Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios
today at the Skirball Center for Performing Arts at New York University.
The press conference was hosted by Dick Cook, chairman of The Walt
Disney Studios, and John Lasseter, chief creative officer for Walt
Disney and Pixar Animation Studios.

Among the new projects revealed for the first time were:

— Pixar’s UP, the latest from director Pete Docter (MONSTERS, INC.),
set for a May 29, 2009 release, and the first Pixar feature to be
presented in Disney Digital 3-D. Written and co-directed by Bob
Peterson, and produced by Jonas Rivera, UP is a comedic adventure about
Carl Fredricksen, who has 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. The unlikely pair encounters wild terrain, unexpected villains and
jungle creatures. The voice talent includes Ed Asner, Christopher
Plummer, John Ratzenberger and Jordan Nagai.

— Pixar’s NEWT, which marks the feature directorial debut of Gary
Rydstrom, the Oscar-winning sound designer from George Lucas’ Skywalker
Sound, who made last year’s Pixar short, LIFTED. NEWT, which bows in the
summer of 2011 and will also be released in Disney Digital 3-D, ponders
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. Richard Hollander produces and Rydstrom
scripted with Leslie Caveny

— Pixar’s THE BEAR AND THE BOW from director Brenda Chapman (THE PRINCE
OF EGYPT), who was previously a writer on CARS and story supervisor on
BEAR AND THE BOW, slated for Christmas 2011 in Disney Digital 3-D, is a
fresh fairy tale that takes place in rugged and mythic Scotland. 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. Voice talent includes Reese
Witherspoon, Billy Connolly and Emma Thompson. Katherine Sarafian

— Pixar’s CARS 2, the sequel to Lasseter’s CARS, will open summer 2012
in Disney Digital 3-D. Directed by Brad Lewis, producer of RATATOUILLE,
features the further globe-trotting adventures of Lightning McQueen and

— Disney’s KING OF THE ELVES, a Christmas 2012 release in Disney
Digital 3-D, marks the directorial debuts of animators Aaron Blaise
(ALADDIN, THE LION KING, LILO & STITCH) , and is produced by Chuck
Williams. It is based on the Phillip K. Dick’s short story 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.

Meanwhile, the rest of the slate provided a clearer release schedule for
previously announced features, along with a few surprises:

— Disney’s BOLT, which is scheduled for a Nov. 26 release this year in
Disney Digital 3-D, will have HANNAH MONTANA’S Miley Cyrus voicing
opposite John Travolta, in this feature directed by Chris Williams and
Byron Howard. For super-dog Bolt (voiced by 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. Cyrus brings her vocal talents to
the role of Penny, Bolt’s human co-star on the television series.

— Disney’s THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG, the studio’s much anticipated
return to traditional animation, will bow Christmas 2009. Directed by
John Musker and Ron Clements (THE LITTLE MERMAID and ALADDIN), the New
Orleans-based musical features frogs, voodoo and a singing alligator.
Produced by Peter Del Vecho, THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG boasts the voice
talent of Anika Noni Rose, Keith David, Jennifer Lewis and John Goodman.
Oscar-winning composer Randy Newman sets it all to a jazzy score.

— Pixar’s TOY STORY 3 will bow June 18, 2010 in Disney Digital 3-D,
directed by Lee Unkrich (co-director of TOY STORY 2), produced by Darla
K. Anderson and written by LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE’S Oscar-winning Michael
Arndt. Voice talent includes Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Don
Rickles, Wallace Shawn, Estelle Harris, John Ratzenberger and Ned
Beatty. Composer Newman is back on board too. The only plot detail
revealed was that it begins with Woody and Buzz’s owner, Andy, set to
leave for college.

— Disney’s RAPUNZEL has been set for a Christmas 2010 release in Disney
Digital 3-D. Directed by famed animator Glen Keane and Dean Wellins, the
classic fairy tale will get an innovative, painterly 3D approach. Roy
Conli serves as producer.

In addition, the first four in a series of direct-to-DVD/Blu-ray films
featuring Disney Fairies from DisneyToon Studios were unveiled:

— TINKER BELL (Oct. 28 of this year), directed by Bradley Raymond and
produced by Jeannine Roussel, introduces the characters of Pixie Hollow,
in which the legendary Tinker Bell tries to change who she is when she
doesn’t believe that she is special.

— TINKER BELL NORTH OF NEVERLAND (a 2009 release), directed by Klay
Hall and produced by Sean Lurie, has Tink being entrusted with crafting
a great treasure that can rejuvenate the Pixie Dust Tree.

— TINKER BELL A MIDSUMMER STORM (set for 2010), directed by Carolyn
Gair and produced by Margot Pipkin, has Tink confronting antagonist
Vidia without considering the dire consequences.

— TINKER BELL A WINTER STORY (a 2011 release), produced by Sean Lurie,
completes the cycle of seasons with Tink.The studio also reaffirmed
first-time 3-D theatrical releases for the first two TOY STORY films on
Oct. 2, 2009, and Feb.12, 2010.

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.”


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