This afternoon at the D23 Expo in Anaheim Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios made several announcements. I did not attend the presentation, but here are the official press releases and images:
SHAKIRA SHAKES UP “ZOOTOPIA” – International superstar Shakira is lending her Grammy®-winning voice to Gazelle, the biggest pop star in Zootopia, D23 EXPO fans learned via a taped message from Shakira today. Ginnifer Goodwin (ABC’s “Once Upon a Time,” “Something Borrowed,” “Walk the Line”), 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”). Hilarious new scenes from the film were unveiled, plus a tease of the all-new original song, “Try Everything,” written by singer-songwriter Sia and songwriting duo Stargate, and performed by Shakira. Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Zootopia” opens nationwide March 4, 2016.
HAVE YOU HERD? — Zootopia’s biggest pop star Gazelle will be voiced by Grammy®-winning international superstar Shakira in Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Zootopia.” Shakira performs an all-new original song, “Try Everything,” for the film. Directed by Byron Howard (“Tangled”) and Rich Moore (“Wreck-It Ralph”), and produced by Clark Spencer (“Wreck-It Ralph”), “Zootopia” opens nationwide March 4, 2016.
“GIGANTIC” TAKES ROOT – 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!”). 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.
DOWN TO EARTH — Adventure-seeker Jack discovers a world of giants hidden within the clouds, hatching a grand plan with Inma, a 60-foot-tall, 11-year-old girl. Directed by Nathan Greno (“Tangled”) and produced by Dorothy McKim (“Get A Horse!”), “Gigantic” hits U.S. theaters in 2018.
“MOANA” ROCKS D23 EXPO 2015 – 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 2015 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. Foa’i 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.
“Moana” introduces a spirited teenager who sails out on a daring mission to fulfill her ancestors’ unfinished quest. She meets the once-mighty demi-god Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson), and together, they traverse the open ocean on an action-packed voyage. Directed by the renowned filmmaking team of Ron Clements and John Musker (“The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” “The Princess & the Frog”), “Moana” sails into U.S. theaters on Nov. 23, 2016.
“RILEY’S FIRST DATE?” MAKES ITS WORLD PREMIERE – 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 2015. 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, who is hanging out with her parents at home when potential trouble comes knocking. Mom’s and Dad’s Emotions find themselves forced to deal with “Riley’s First Date?” The short 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.
T-REXES SPOTTED AT D23 EXPO 2015 – 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 Good Dinosaur” features Arlo, a sheltered Apatosaurus who finds himself far from home among a host of intimidating creatures.
A TRIO OF T-REXES — An Apatosaurus named Arlo must face his fears—and three impressive T-Rexes—in Disney•Pixar’s “The Good Dinosaur.” Featuring the voices of AJ Buckley, Anna Paquin and Sam Elliott as the T-Rexes, “The Good Dinosaur” opens in theaters nationwide Nov. 25, 2015.
DORY DIVES IN — 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 new details of 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? Also featuring the voices of Albert Brooks, Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy, Disney·Pixar’s “Finding Dory” swims into theaters June 17, 2016.
DO I KNOW YOU? — In Disney•Pixar’s “Finding Dory,” everyone’s favorite forgetful blue tang, Dory (voice of Ellen DeGeneres), encounters an array of new—and old—acquaintances, including a cantankerous octopus named Hank (voice of Ed O’Neill). Directed by Andrew Stanton (“Finding Nemo,” “WALL•E”), co-directed by Angus MacLane and produced by Lindsey Collins (co-producer “WALL•E”), “Finding Dory” swims into theaters June 17, 2016.
WOODY AND BUZZ MARK TWO DECADES – Pixar Animation Studios’ John Lasseter, who’s one of Pixar’s three founders, was joined on stage by several award-winning artists and filmmakers, including Pete Docter (“Inside Out,” “Up”), Andrew Stanton (“Finding Nemo,” “WALL·E”), Lee Unkrich (“Coco,” “Toy Story 3”), Josh Cooley (“Cars 2,” “Ratatouille”) and Galyn Susman (“Toy Story 4,” ABC’s “Toy Story OF TERROR!”). Celebrating 20 years since “Toy Story” transformed the animation industry and the art of storytelling, the Pixar team welcomed 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 writers Rashida Jones and Will McCormack (“Celeste & Jesse Forever”), who are part of the “Toy Story 4” team, though details of Buzz and Woody’s return to the big screen were mysteriously missing. “Toy Story 4,” which will be directed by Lasseter and produced by Susman, is slated for release on June 16, 2017.
“COCO” UNVEILED – Director Lee Unkrich (“Toy Story 3”) and producer Darla K. Anderson (“Toy Story 3”) revealed the title of their upcoming film today at D23 Expo 2015. 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.