Disney/Pixar Unveils 10-Pic Slate

During a press conference in New York City Tuesday, Disney chairman Dick Cook and Disney/Pixar chief creative officer John Lasseter announced 10 animated films set to come down the pipeline through the year 2012. The ambitious lineup 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.

In addition to WALL’E, which comes to theaters on June 27, previously announced films in the works include the 2008 releases Bolt (Nov. 26), The Princess an the Frog (Dec. 25) and the DVD feature Tinker Bell (Oct. 28), as well as Toy Story 3 (June 18, 2010) and Rapunzel (Christmas 2010). New titles announced include the summer 2009 release Up, Pixar’s first stereoscopic 3-D feature, from director Pete Docter (Monsters, Inc.) and co-director Bob Peterson. Next year will also see the DVD and Blu-ray release of Tinker Bell North of Never Land (working title).

For 2010, moviegoers can look forward to the Disney Digital 3-D release of Pixar’s Toy Story 3, directed by Lee Unkrich (Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc.); followed by the Christmas arrival of Rapunzel. Disney’s version of the classic fairy tale will feature the helming debuts of celebrated animator Glen Keane and directing partner Dean Wellins. Disney will deliver more fairytale animation that year with the home video debut of Tinker Bell A Midsummer Storm (working title).

In the summer of 2011, Pixar’s Newt will mark the feature directorial debut of Oscar-winning sound designer Gary Rydstrom, who previously helmed Pixar’s Oscar nominated short Lifted. Christmas 2011 brings Pixar’s first fairy tale, The Bear and the Bow, from acclaimed filmmaker/writer Brenda Chapman (The Prince of Egypt). The film will feature the voices of Reese Witherspoon, Billy Connolly and Emma Thompson. Tinker Bell A Winter Story (working title) will also hit retail that year.

Lasseter confirmed that Lightning McQueen, Mater and the gang will be back for Cars 2 in the summer of 2012. Brad Lewis, producer of Ratatouille, is handling directorial duties. Christmas 2012 will yield Walt Disney Animation Studios’ King of the Elves, an adaptation of a Philip K. Dick short story being directed by Aaron Blaise and Robert Walker (Brother Bear).

Up is a comedic adventure that tells the story of Carl Fredricksen, who 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. During their thrilling journey, the unlikely pair encounter wild terrain, unexpected villains and jungle creatures.

Newt explores what happens when the last remaining male and female blue-footed newts on the planet are forced together by science to save the species. The problem is that they can’t stand each other. Newt and Brooke embark on a perilous, unpredictable adventure and discover that love is not a science and finding a mate never goes as planned, even when you only have one choice.

The Bear and the Bow is an action-adventure tale set in a rugged and mythic Scotland, where audiences will meet the impetuous, tangle-haired Merida, a daughter of royalty who would prefer to make her mark as a great archer. A clash of wills with her mother compels her 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.

King of the Elves was Phillip K. Dick’s only experiment in the fantasy genre. The film will weave a fantastic and imaginative tale about 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.

‘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,’ Laseter comments. ‘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.’

As previously announced, fans of the Toy Story franchise can also look forward to the stereoscopic 3-D re-releases of the first two films in the series. Toy Story will be back on the big screen on Oct. 2, 2009, followed by Toy Story 2 of Feb. 12, 2010.