Monday, April 14, 2008

Disney, Pixar's Future Flicks

Disney, Pixar's Future Flicks
Studios dish details on upcoming animated movies.
by Brian Linder
April 9, 2008

Walt Disney Studios and Pixar Animation Studios have announced their animated film schedule through the year 2012.

The studios also dropped the bomb that all future Disney and Pixar films, beginning later this year with the release of Bolt, will be presented in Disney Digital 3-D!

2009 animated slate begins with the May 29th release of Pixar's first 3-D feature, Up, from director Pete Docter (Monsters, Inc.) and co-director Bob Peterson. The story follows Carl Fredricksen, a man 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. Up takes audiences on a thrilling journey where the unlikely pair encounter wild terrain, unexpected villains and jungle creatures.

A retooled for 3-D version of the original Toy Story opens on October 2, 2009.

Christmas '09 will see the release of Disney's animated fairy tale The Princess and the Frog from veteran Disney directors John Musker and Ron Clements. It's a traditionally animated film set in New Orleans, complete with frogs, voodoo, a singing alligator, and songs by Randy Newman. The titular princess, voiced by Anika Noni Rose, will join Disney's popular princess brand.

Toy Story 2 in 3-D will be released on February 12, 2010, with the highly-anticipated sequel Toy Story 3 set for a June 18, 2010 debut. Lee Unkrich (co-director of Toy Story 2 and Finding Nemo) directs from a script by Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine). Pixar also confirms that the voice cast from previous flicks of the beloved series will be returning.

Christmas 2010 will mark the arrival of Disney's take on the classic fairy tale, Rapunzel, featuring the directing debuts of animation legend Glen Keane and directing partner Dean Wellins. The film will transport audiences 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.

Now for the good stuff! In the summer of 2011, Pixar will release newt. The story tells 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. 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. Oscar-winning sound designer Gary Rydstrom (Lifted) is making his feature directing debut with the project.

Christmas 2011 brings Pixar's first fairy tale, The Bear and the Bow, from acclaimed filmmaker/writer Brenda Chapman (The Prince of Egypt). Set in a rugged and mythic Scotland, this action-adventure centers on the impetuous, tangle-haired Merida. Though a daughter of royalty, she 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. The voices of Reese Witherspoon, Billy Connolly, and Emma Thompson will be featured.

Summer 2012 will see the return of Lightening McQueen and Mater in Cars 2. This time they'll 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 Ratatouille.

Finally, scheduled for Christmas 2012 from Walt Disney Animation Studios comes King of the Elves, an adaptation of the Philip K. Dick short story (his only fantasy story), directed by Aaron Blaise and Robert Walker (Brother Bear). The story follows 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.

It's a truly impressive slate of projects that even had Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter gushing. "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," he said. "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."

Notably absent from the announced slate is any hint of Pixar's planned adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars.

We'll be tracking all of these cool animated projects through development to release and will have more news here on IGN as it breaks.

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