I don’t know what I’m having for dinner, let alone what movie I will want to see in 2012. In a move it hasn’t done in many years, Disney unveiled a detailed road map of its animation production schedule into the next decade.
Probably the most notable item on the list is the return of Woody and Buzz Lightyear for Toy Story 3.
- “Up,” set for release May 29, 2009, will be Pixar’s first 3-D title, and thereafter every Pixar toon will be produced in 3-D. Disney has been an early proponent of the format, starting with 2005’s “Chicken Little,” and all its own toons going forward will use the format as well. Lasseter noted he is such a fan that his wedding pictures were done in 3-D. Along with its new pics, Disney is also releasing Pixar classics “Toy Story” and “Toy Story 2” in digital 3-D in 2009 and 2010, respectively.
- Larry the Cable Guy, who voiced Mater in “Cars,” took the stage to announce that “Cars 2” is going into production, with a planned release date of summer 2012. It’s being directed by “Ratatouille” producer Brad Lewis and is the first sequel for Pixar outside the “Toy Story” franchise. Though “Cars” didn’t do as well at the box office as some other Pixar titles, it has been a licensing bonanza for the Mouse House.
- Miley Cyrus will be a lead voice opposite John Travolta in Thanksgiving’s “Bolt,” formerly titled “American Dog.” About 15 minutes of footage of the pic screened to some of the heartiest applause of the day.
- “Toy Story 3” will be released June 18, 2010. Plot details for the third part remain under wraps, though the filmmakers said it begins with Andy (owner of Woody and Buzz) about to head off to college. A Ken doll will be the franchise’s newest toy.
- Anchoring the Disney side of things is the hand-drawn musical “The Princess and the Frog,” from “Aladdin” and “Little Mermaid” helmers John Musker and Ron Clements, who were lured back to Disney by Lasseter. It’s set for a Christmas 2009 release. Stills were shown, and star Anika Noni Rose performed a song live, as did Randy Newman and his eight-piece New Orleans combo.
- Disney’s long-in-development CG version of “Rapunzel” finally has a release date: Christmas 2010. It’s directed by studio vet Glen Keane and Dean Wellins.
- Pixar will have two original films in 2011: “Newt,” a romantic comedy directed by Oscar-winning sound designer Gary Rydstrom, and “The Bear and the Bow,” a magical tale set in Scotland and helmed by Brenda Chapman, who previously directed “The Prince of Egypt” for DreamWorks. The first Pixar feature from a femme helmer will star the voices of Reese Witherspoon, Billy Connolly and Emma Thompson.
The final animated film hitting theaters in Christmas 2012 is King of the Elves by Philip K. Dick and directed by Aaron Blaise and Robert Walker.
What are your thoughts? Is the House of Mouse trying to make a comeback trying to restore the grand days of the late 80s early 90s when every animated feature coming from Disney was pure gold?