D23 Expo 2015 - Pixar & Walt Disney Animation Studios Recaps #D23Expo

This past weekend was the D23 EXPO in Anaheim, CA! While I didn't attend D23 EXPO in person, I was certainly there online via social media following along using the hashtags #D23Expo and others. So I saw/heard/and read when lots of very cool Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios news was announced. Here are a few I think you NEED to know about.

During D23 EXPO 2015, numerous talent and filmmakers from Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios introduced fans to array of new stories and characters—from a lost dinosaur to a master wayfinder, a scheming fox to a forgetful fish. The audience of 7,500 was treated to sneak peeks, musical performances and appearances from stars like Ellen DeGeneres, Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, Ginnifer Goodwin, Dwayne Johnson, Randy Newman and Ty Burrell, among others.

John Lasseter, chief creative officer of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, led the presentations, calling on a host of filmmakers from both studios to introduce the upcoming slate of films. “We really have an unbelievable range of movies in production at our studios right now,” said Lasseter. “The stories are dynamic, fresh and so much fun; the characters new and old are so appealing. I’m excited to share some of our long-held secrets for the first time at the D23 EXPO.


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TOY STORY 4 / TOY STORY 20th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION (#ToyStory4)

Lasseter, who’s one of Pixar’s three founders, celebrated 20 years since TOY STORY transformed the animation industry and the art of storytelling. He welcomed to the stage iconic two-time Oscar®-winning songwriter and longtime Pixar collaborator Randy Newman, whose Pixar credits include “Toy Story,” “A Bug’s Life,” “Toy Story 2,” “Monsters, Inc.” and “Cars.”

Also joining in the celebration were TOY STORY 4 co-director Josh Cooley (“Cars 2,” “Ratatouille”) and Producer Galyn Susman (“Toy Story OF TERROR!”). Screenwriters Rashida Jones and Will McCormack (“Celeste & Jesse Forever”) joined Buzz, Woody and Bo Peep for the celebration.

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"I’m very proud of our films,” said Lasseter. “When we made the first three TOY STORY films, we didn’t realize what we had done was to change the genre of each of the films’ story. For TOY STORY 4, we are doing a type of story we have not done before: a love story. It’s a story about a relationship between Woody and Bo Peep.

TOY STORY 4, which will be directed by Lasseter and produced by Susman, is slated for release on June 16, 2017.


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THE GOOD DINOSAUR (#GoodDino)

Anticipation for Disney·Pixar’s THE GOOD DINOSAUR was amplified when Director Peter Sohn and Producer Denise Ream shared breathtaking sequences with fans, including never-before-seen footage of a trio of T-Rexes in action.

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In theaters on November 25, 2015, the film introduces audiences to Arlo, a sheltered Apatosaurus who finds himself far from home, and Spot, Arlo’s unlikely human friend. “Arlo and Spot journey through a world that has been greatly inspired by the American Northwest,” said Sohn. “It is epic in scope, soul-enriching and simultaneously beautiful and treacherous. In this world, we meet up with a very special family of T-Rexes, who help Arlo find a way through his personal fears and ultimately teach Arlo what he's truly made of.”

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ZOOTOPIA (#Zootopia)

Ginnifer Goodwin (ABC’s “Once Upon a Time,” “Something Borrowed,” “Walk the Line”), the voice of the film’s rookie rabbit officer Judy Hopps, saluted fans alongside Directors Byron Howard (“Tangled”) and Rich Moore (“Wreck-It Ralph”), and Producer Clark Spencer (“Wreck-It Ralph”). Hilarious new scenes from the film were unveiled, plus a tease of the all-new original song, “Try Everything,” written by singer-songwriter Sia and songwriting duo Stargate, and performed by Shakira.

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International superstar Shakira is lending her Grammy®-winning voice to Gazelle, the biggest pop star in ZOOTOPIA, D23 EXPO fans learned via a taped message from Shakira. Said Howard, "For the role of Gazelle, Zootopia’s most beloved superstar, there was only one person on our wish list: Shakira. Luckily for us, she said yes. Her immense talent and charm bring Gazelle and her song, ‘Try Everything,’ to life.”

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ ZOOTOPIA opens nationwide March 4, 2016.


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FINDING DORY (#FindingDory)

Joining Ellen DeGeneres on stage were Ed O’Neill (“Modern Family”), who lends his voice to Hank, a cantankerous octopus; Ty Burrell (“Modern Family”), the voice of Bailey, a misguided beluga whale; and Kaitlin Olson (“Always Sunny in Philadelphia”), who voices Destiny, a kind-hearted whale shark.

Oscar®-winning Director Andrew Stanton (“Finding Nemo,” “WALL•E”), co-director Angus MacLane and Producer Lindsey Collins (co-producer “WALL•E”) offered details about the all-new story, which reunites Dory with friends Nemo and Marlin on a search for answers about her past.

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Said Stanton, “In FINDING DORY, we can expect to address the one emotionally open-ended issue that remained from the first movie: Where is Dory’s family, and will this overly-optimistic fish with short-term memory loss ever be able to find them again? Her issue has also given us the opportunity to travel to very different locations, on land and sea, and meet a variety of new sea creatures that expand the world of Nemo, Marlin and Dory.”

Also featuring the voices of Albert Brooks, Eugene Levy and Diane Keaton, Disney·Pixar’s FINDING DORY swims into theaters June 17, 2016


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GIGANTIC (#Gigantic)

GIGANTIC, Disney’s unique take on “Jack and the Beanstalk,” will feature music from Oscar®-winning songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, who greeted D23 EXPO fans in signature style—in song—alongside Director Nathan Greno (“Tangled”) and Producer Dorothy McKim (“Get A Horse!”).

“I always wanted to be part of the Disney legacy,” said Greno. “I loved those classic stories brought to life—‘Snow White’ or ‘Cinderella’—in a way that made those films the definitive version for generations. I want to carry on that tradition by bringing ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ to modern audiences. We’re taking parts of the story we all remember and adding twists and turns, emotion and humor.”

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Set in Spain during the Age of Exploration, Disney’s GIGANTIC follows adventure-seeker Jack as he discovers a world of giants hidden within the clouds. He hatches a grand plan with Inma, a 60-foot-tall, 11-year-old girl, and agrees to help her find her way home. But he doesn’t account for her super-sized personality—and who knew giants were so down to earth? GIGANTIC hits theaters in 2018.


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COCO (#Coco)

Director Lee Unkrich (“Toy Story 3”) and Producer Darla K. Anderson (“Toy Story 3”) revealed the title of their upcoming film: Disney·Pixar’s COCO, which is the celebration of a lifetime, where the discovery of a generations-old mystery leads to a most extraordinary and surprising family reunion.

"As artists and filmmakers, we couldn't help but be drawn to the striking visuals of Dia de los Muertos,” said Unkrich and Anderson. “But it was the celebration's core themes of family, remembrance and connection across generations that resonated within and truly inspired us. Dia de los Muertos is as singular as the Mexican culture, while at the same time completely universal in its message.

“In our story,” they continued, “the celebration of Dia de los Muertos serves as the perfect backdrop for our main character to ask where he comes from, what his place is within his family, and how families stay woven together across time through the simple act of remembrance."



About D23 EXPO 2015

D23 EXPO—The Ultimate Disney Fan Event—brings together all the worlds of Disney under one roof for three packed days of presentations, pavilions, experiences, concerts, sneak peeks, shopping and more. The event provides fans with unprecedented access to Disney films, television, games, theme parks and celebrities.

For the latest D23 EXPO 2015 news, visit www.D23EXPO.com


About D23

The name “D23” pays homage to the exciting journey that began in 1923 when Walt Disney opened his first studio in Hollywood. D23 is the first official club for fans in Disney’s 90-plus-year history. It gives its members a greater connection to the entire world of Disney by placing them in the middle of the magic through its quarterly publication, Disney twenty-three; a rich website at D23.com with members-only content; member-exclusive discounts; and special events for D23 Members throughout the year.

Fans can join D23 at Gold and General Membership levels at www.D23.com and at www.DisneyStore.com/D23.


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