Disney Eyes 2008 for Toy Story 3

Whether or not Disney is able to strike a new deal with animation powerhouse Pixar, the Mouse House is moving ahead with plans to produce a third installment of the blockbuster Toy Story franchise. During a presentation at the Int’l Licensing Show in New York City on Tuesday, Disney Consumer Products chair Andy Mooney mentioned that the studio intends to have the film completed for release in 2008.

Though the first two Toy Story films were produced by Pixar, Disney owns the rights and has been keen on doing sequels for some time. Pixar, however, has been more interested in telling new stories, such as Finding Nemo, The Incredibles and Cars, than building franchises. With Pixar’s departure, Disney has resolved to build its own computer animation facility in Glendale, Calif., where a staff of more than 700 artists and technicians will bang away at Toy Story 3 and other CG films. Walt Disney Feature Animation will be actively recruiting at SIGGRAPH 2005, taking place July 31 through Aug. 4 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Disney’s Flagship in-house 3D feature, Chicken Little, will release this November and will serve as an early indicator of how well the studio can compete in the crowded CG toon market without the seemingly unstoppable hit machine that is Pixar.

Pixar CEO Steve Jobs has resumed talks with Disney since Bob Iger took over for outgoing lead Mouseketeer Michael Eisner. Should the two parties agree on a new contract, fans praying for another Pixar-produced Toy Story may yet be gratified. During a recent investor conference, Jobs commented, “If we do enter into any negotiation with Disney, all I really want to say is that sequels will play a part of it.”

Also in the Disney pipeline is the tentatively titled A Day With Wilbur Robinson, based on the book by William Joyce, the also tentatively titled American Dog from director Chris Sanders (Lilo & Stitch) and Rapunzel Unbraided, to be directed by longtime Disney animator Glenn Keane (Beauty and the Beast).