Saturday, 20 April 2013

Mike Wazowkski, Mary Poppins and Star Wars: The Future of Disney

It may have all started with a mouse but the next couple of years see monsters, a snow queen, wookies and even Walt himself come to the big screen. When looking back at Disney's output over the last twenty years you don't have to look very hard to find quality. Since teaming up with Pixar back in 1995 for Toy Story, the animation powerhouse have never looked back and their ambition has only grown further. Titles such as Up, Finding Nemo and Monsters Inc have become iconic, quotable films that appeal to both children and grown-ups.

Over the next couple of years Walt Disney Pictures have some of the most exciting films to hit the box office. Animation magic, live action adventures and even a biopic,  pepper an exciting release schedule that every moviegoer will be relishing. So pop on your Mickey ears, grab your lightsaber and take your spoonful of sugar as we explore the future of Disney's releases.

Monsters University

It's 12 years since Monsters Inc was released and so its prequel is anticipated with excitement by various ages. Billy Crystal and John Goodman return as Mike and Sully in Monsters University, a look into the college antics of the Monster world and the formation of Hollywood's greatest monster friendship. Some may argue that Disney are being lazy by doing a prequel but can you honestly blame them? Fans fell in love with Monsters Inc and the demand for more is certainly there. Will Monsters University replicate the success of the Toy Story series or will it be a disappointment like Cars 2?

The Lone Ranger

In the last couple of years Walt Disney Pictures have produced two huge flops in John Carter and Tron: Legacy but they'll be hoping The Lone Ranger won't see tumbleweed in the cinema foyer. Director of the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films, Gore Verbinski takes on the challenge of bringing the 1950's Western TV series to the big screen.  Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and Armie Hammer lead a strong cast and the trailer suggests this is a jam packed action film with explosions aplenty. Perhaps Pirates of the Caribbean in the Wild West?


A few weeks ago Disney announced their decision to cease making hand drawn animations that made the studio so iconic. It seems the CGI route is the way forward. In 2010 viewers were treated to the  Rapunzel adaptation, Tangled and in late 2013 Frozen will be released. A comedy much like Tangled, it will be based around the classic story of the Snow Queen filled with music written by Book of Mormon lyricist, Robert Lopez.

Saving Mr Banks

This film, to use a well know phrase, sounds supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. A PG-13 live action feature that I am  incredibly excited about. Tom Hanks stars as Walt Disney in a true story that follows his efforts to persuade Mary Poppin's author, P.L. Travers, to allow him to take the story to Hollywood. Emma Thompson stars as the Poppin's author as Disney travels across the globe in a ten year pursuit against stubborn Travers. This is the first time Walt Disney has been properly portrayed in cinema and with huge acting heavyweights behind it this is one of the most interesting and intriguing films to come out of the studio in a long time.
The Muppets...Again

"It's time to play the music, it's time to light the lights..."After the success of The Muppet Movie they're back again and this time with an even better cast. Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, Christoph Waltz,  and many more are teaming up with the classic Henson creations. James Bobin returns to direct and in even better news Bret McKenzie is back again to write the songs.

Star Wars

A huge gamble for Disney as they take on one the most popular and loved franchises ever. JJ Abrams has been given the task to direct Star Wars VII, a direct sequel to George Lucas' original trilogy. Big name original stars are set to return including Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher. Due for release in 2015 many will apprehensive of Star Wars getting the Disney treatment but so far all the signs are positive. With plans to release a new Star Wars film from 2015 onwards, lets just hope Donald Duck and co don't make an appearance.

Inside Out

Inside Out was officially titled at Cinemacon last week with Up and Monsters Inc director, Pete Docter taking the reigns. Set for US release on 19th June 2015, according to Pixar, "the inventive new film will take you to a place that everyone knows, but no one has ever seen: the world inside the human mind." This sounds like another ambitious project from Disney Pixar that they believe will be unlike anything we've ever seen.


Disney isn't holding back on its Science Fiction with a project inspired by Tomorrowland, an area of their theme parks. Ratatouille and The Incredibles director, Brad Bird, is behind the lens in this mysterious picture with George Clooney and Hugh Laurie confirmed to star. Clooney is rumoured to be playing an inventor who creates a girl robot played by rising star Raffey Cassidy.

The Good Dinosaur

Another Pixar release for the next couple of years is The Good Dinosaur, a story about herbivore dinosaurs.  Disney's last venture into the Pre-historic world was the 2000 movie, Dinosaur, but John Lasseter suggests it's going to be very different. "It's a very funny story about a certain way of life that a young dinosaur has trouble fitting into and he ends up going on a quest. He kind of messes up and he has to put everything right by going on this quest and on that quest he meets our character that is an outcast from society too and so the two of them form this bond and it becomes this unique kind of story..." 

Finding Dory

Eventually after years of begging by Ellen DeGenres, Finding Nemo is getting a sequel. The film titled, Finding Dory will follow the forgetful fish voiced by DeGeneres:
"I have waited for this day for a long, long, long, long, long, long time," "I'm not mad it took this long. I know the people at Pixar were busy creating `Toy Story 16.' But the time they took was worth it. The script is fantastic. And it has everything I loved about the first one: It's got a lot of heart, it's really funny, and the best part is -- it's got a lot more Dory."
Like Monsters University, this is a film that will have a huge audience. I'm not bemoaning the fact that its another sequel, I like many are excited to see the characters return and Dory get the screen time she deserves. 

Walt Disney Pictures are showing a lot of ambition with a diverse range of styles, stories and new ventures.  So which Disney project are you most excited about. Why not leave a comment below or vote in the poll? 

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