Disney Unveils Upcoming Animation Slate

The Walt Disney Studios unveiled a diverse and ambitious slate of 10 new animated feature films from Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios to be released through the year 2012 at a New York press conference held today by Dick Cook, chairman of The Walt Disney Studios, and John Lasseter, chief creative officer for Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios.

The line-up includes new films from Disney and Pixar’s accomplished team of filmmakers, and features vocal performances by such top celebrity talents as John Travolta and Miley Cyrus (“Bolt”), Reese Witherspoon and Billy Connolly and Emma Thompson (“The Bear and the Bow”), Anika Noni Rose and John Goodman (“The Princess and the Frog”), as well as return engagements by Tom Hanks, Tim Allen and the rest of the “Toy Story” vocal ensemble (“Toy Story 3”).

The roster of new animated features includes six new films from Pixar Animation Studios, four from Walt Disney Animation Studios, and the first four in a series of direct-to-DVD films featuring Disney Fairies from DisneyToon Studios. Starting later this year with the release of Disney’s “Bolt,” all Disney and Pixar animated features will be presented in state-of-the-art Disney Digital 3-D(TM). Additionally, newly converted 3-D versions of the beloved classics, “Toy Story” and “Toy Story 2,” are set to debut in 2009 and 2010 respectively.

Among the upcoming animated films on the 2008 release schedule are “WALL·E” (Pixar) from Academy Award®-winning director/writer Andrew Stanton (“Finding Nemo”) opening nationwide June 27th; “Bolt” (Disney) from the talented new directing team of Chris Williams and Byron Howard, due in theatres on November 26th; and the Disney DVD and Blu-ray release of “Tinker Bell,” the first in a new franchise of original entertainment set in the world of Fairies, on October 28th.

The Studio’s 2009 animated slate includes the summer release of Pixar’s first 3-D feature, “Up,” from director Pete Docter (“Monsters, Inc.”) and co-director Bob Peterson, the Christmas Day release of Disney’s original animated fairy tale “The Princess and the Frog” from acclaimed veteran Disney directors John Musker and Ron Clements (“The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” “Hercules,”) and the Disney DVD and Blu-ray release of “Tinker Bell North of Never Land” (working title).

2010 brings the highly anticipated return of Buzz and Woody in the Disney Digital(TM) 3D summer release of Pixar’s “Toy Story 3” directed by Lee Unkrich (“Finding Nemo,” “Monsters, Inc.”); followed by the Christmas arrival of Disney’s version of the classic fairy tale, “Rapunzel,” featuring the directing debuts of animation legend Glen Keane and directing partner Dean Wellins, and the Disney DVD and Blu-ray release of “Tinker Bell A Midsummer Storm” (working title).

In the summer of 2011, Pixar’s “newt” marks the directing debut of multiple Oscar® winning sound designer Gary Rydstrom. Christmas 2011 brings Pixar’s first fairy tale, “The Bear and the Bow,” from acclaimed filmmaker/writer Brenda Chapman (“The Prince of Egypt”). The Disney DVD and Blu-ray release of “Tinker Bell A Winter Story” (working title) also debuts in 2011.

The year 2012 will mark the return of Lightning McQueen, Mater the tow truck, and an international cast of favorite and new car characters in Pixar’s “Cars 2,” directed by Brad Lewis (producer of “Ratatouille”). Scheduled for Christmas 2012 from Walt Disney Animation Studios is “King of the Elves,” an adaptation of a Philip K. Dick short story, directed by Aaron Blaise and Robert Walker (“Brother Bear”).

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.”