In this photo illustration a Pixar Animation Studios logo seen displayed on a smartphone screen.
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The Walt Disney Company will release new information about its upcoming animated films and TV shows during its Pixar and Disney Animation Studios panel on Friday at D23 Expo in Anaheim, California.
Animated films released theatrically have stalled at the box office in the wake of the pandemic. Parents were initially reluctant to bring kids back to the movies, but now lackluster titles and a rise in streaming content for kids seem to have helped keep families at home.
Disney has exacerbated this problem since theaters reopened, as it has placed most of its new Pixar films on Disney+, including Turning Red, Soul, and Luca. While these decisions were made at a time when childhood vaccinations were either unavailable and box office traffic was slow, consumers were educated to expect these titles when streaming.
That’s one of the reasons Lightyear had a lackluster theatrical run this summer. Of course, the film was also hurt by a confusing premise that deviated from what made the Toy Story franchise so special.
Disney is expected to unveil new titles from Pixar and its Walt Disney Animation Studio, as well as films related to its live-action remakes, during Friday’s panel. It will also tell which films are coming to theaters and which are arriving via Disney+.
Pixar’s Chief Creative Officer Pete Docter took the stage at D23 Expo to announce new titles from the animation studio coming to theaters and Disney+ in the years to come.
Released in summer 2023, Elemental tells the story of a bustling metropolis inhabited by the elements earth, air, fire and water. But when a fire girl and a water boy bond, the two must learn how to interact while being polar opposites. Director Peter Sohn noted that the film also touches on themes of immigration and finding one’s place in the world.
The company is launching its first-ever long-form series on Disney+, titled Win or Lose. The brainchild of two storyboard artists, the show tells the story of the Pickles softball team in the week leading up to their championship game. Each episode takes place in the same week but from a different main character’s perspective.
Elio is a new project from the studio centered around an 11-year-old named Elio who is trying to fit in. His mother is working on a top-secret military project to decipher alien messages, but it is Elio who accidentally makes first contact and becomes the de facto emissary for Earth. The film will start in spring 2024.
Amy Poehler took to the stage with Docter to announce that Pixar will be making a sequel to 2015’s Inside Out. Riley is now a teenager and new emotions come along. The film will be released in summer 2024.
Jennifer Lee, chief creative officer at Walt Disney Animation Studios, announced several of the studio’s new projects.
At the beginning, Lee said that Zootopia+ will be released in November. The show is a series of short films that follow main characters from the 2016 feature film.
Ahead of the unveiling of its animated content, Disney unveiled new trailers for Hocus Pocus 2, out September 30 on Disney+, and Disenchanted, the sequel to 2007’s Enchanted, out November 24 on streaming service appears.
Following the release of Pinocchio on Disney+ on Thursday, the studio announced a series of new additions to its catalog of Disney live-action remakes.
Starring Alexander Molony as Peter, Ever Anderson as Wendy and Alyssa Wapanatahk as Tiger Lily, Peter Pan & Wendy is slated for release on Disney+ in 2023. Jude Law portrays Captain Hook.
Haunted Mansion is slated to hit theaters on March 10, 2023. Directed by Justin Simien, a former Disneyland cast member, the film is packed with Easter eggs, which come from the famous Disney park ride. During the panel, Simien announced that Jamie Lee Curtis will star in the film as Madam Leota.
Barry Jenkin’s previously untitled Lion King project is called Mufasa: The Lion King and tells the story of how Mufasa came to be from boy to king. Clips shared with audiences at D23 Expo show the same stunning visuals as 2019’s The Lion King and will hit theaters in 2024.
The company also gave a sneak peek at Snow White, which is set to hit theaters in 2024. The film stars Rachel Zegler as the title character and Gal Gadot as the Evil Queen. The fans erupted in applause as Gadot took the stage. The Wonder Woman actress said playing the villain was fun as she’s been cast in more heroic roles so many times.
Both Zegler and Anderson noted that the studio worked to bring more action to classic characters like Snow White and Wendy, and to offer a modern take on these classic stories.
Rob Marshall, the director of Disney’s remake of Little Mermaid, shared the entire “Part of Your World” sequence from the film. Halle Bailey’s performance received a thunderous applause and a standing ovation as she took the stage. The film hits theaters on May 26, 2023.
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