At Friday’s “Art and Imagination: Animation at The Walt Disney Studios” presentation, chief creative officer John Lasseter was the host for a 3+ hour presentation on the current slate of films at Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Animation Studios and Disneytoon Studios. The Pixar slate was presented first and the crowd (myself included) was completely wowed by the clips shown by the Pixar filmmakers.
Party Central (the short we first heard about from Austin Madison): A new Pixar short film set in the collegiate world of Monsters University was shown called Party Central. The short tells the story of an epic MU party orchestrated by none other than the brothers of Oozma Kappa. Directed by Kelsey Mann, the short film is an absolute hoot. It will be screened in front of next year’s feature The Good Dinosaur.
The Good Dinosaur: Co-director Peter Sohn and producer Denise Ream talked about and showed clips from the next feature film from Pixar. The clips we saw were absolutely incredible. As you know, the premise of the film is what if the giant asteroid missed the earth 65 million years ago and dinosaurs never went extinct. In the film, all of the dinosaur breeds have turned into farmers, taking advantage of their individual body designs to complete all of the farming tasks (plowing, planting, weeding, harvesting, etc.). When our hero dinosaur named Arlo meets a human, things really get mixed up. Voice cast includes John Lithgow, Frances McDormand, Bill Hader, Judy Greer and Lucas Neff (TV’s Raising Hope). (Bill Hader was in attendance at the Expo and his great comedy was a common thread during the presentation.) I can’t wait to see this film. The Good Dinosaur opens in U.S. theaters on May 30, 2014.
Inside Out: Director Pete Docter and producer Jonas Rivera showed character designs and an extended storyboard reel for their upcoming feature Inside Out. Taking place inside the mind of lead character Riley, a teenage girl, the film looks to be a wildly imaginative take on what drives our personalities, decisions and relationships. Inside Riley’s mind are five emotions: Anger (voiced by Lewis Black), Disgust (voiced by Mindy Kaling), Fear (voiced by Bill Hader), Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler) and Sadness (voiced by Phyllis Smith). The emotions are animated to look like they are created with particles. Character studies were shown for each of the emotions. This film is going to be something special. Inside Out opens in U.S. theaters on June 19, 2015.
Finding Dory: While no clips were shown of this previously announced sequel to the 2003 mega hit Finding Nemo, some of the voice cast was announced along with more of the story’s plot. Director Andrew Stanton was present along with producer Lindsey Collins. Stanton said that the film takes place about a year after the original Finding Nemo. While Dory is happily living with Marlin and Nemo, a traumatic event happens that causes Dory to want to return to her own family. Voicing Dory’s mom and dad are Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy respectively along with a new beluga whale character voiced by Ty Burrell. Finding Dory opens in U.S. theaters on November 25, 2015.
Toy Story of TERROR!: We were also treated to a 10-minute clip from the upcoming animated ABC TV special based on the Toy Story world called Toy Story of TERROR!. This will play on ABC this October. Multiple horror movies were humorously referenced in the clip and this special looks to be a ton a fun. Watch it on ABC on October 16, 2013.
John Ratzenberger, Pixar’s “lucky charm” also made an appearance, along with the Disneyland Marching Band. Bill Hader, whose voice will have been used in four Pixar films in a row, plead to let his own Pixar streak continue by getting a role in Finding Dory (he dressed as sea cucumber to make his case). Ratzenberger made it clear that his film streak at Pixar was here to stay. After more rousing music from the marching band celebrating John, confetti was blasted into the audience in the shape of, well, lucky charms (clovers, hearts, stars, etc.).
Our sincere thanks and congratulations to the entire Pixar Animation Studios team for a wonderful presentation at the D23 Expo 2013 and for continuing to create the marvelous films that you do!