Category Archives: Disney

The Force Awakens Around the World: Star Wars Fans Invited To Join Epic Global Event On YouTube

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens products are set to be unveiled in the world’s first-ever global live toy unboxing event. Unfolding over 18 hours in 15 cities and 12 countries, the event will see highlights from the range of epic merchandise revealed in a rolling New Year’s Eve style celebration featuring top digital stars from the Maker Studios network.

“Star Wars toys have always played an important role in how our fans interact with the Saga,” says Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy. “They’ve inspired multiple generations to relive the experience of the movies and to create new adventures all their own. These spectacular Star Wars: The Force Awakens products will continue that tradition.”

Kicking off in Sydney, Australia on the morning of September 3, and continuing through Asia,  Europe, Canada, and North & South America, selections from the new toy line will debut to global fanfare leading up to retailers around the globe opening their doors at midnight.

“Over the course of 18 hours, some of Maker Studios’ biggest stars will each be unboxing a new toy from the Star Wars: The Force Awakens product line in a different city around the world and sharing the experience live on YouTube.” said Leslie Ferraro, President, Disney Consumer Products. “We’ve seen tremendous excitement for these new products and can’t wait to see the global reaction from the Star Wars fan community.”

The Star Wars YouTube channel will host the live stream, which kicks off with the first unboxing in Sydney, Australia at 7:45 a.m. local time on Thursday, Sept. 3 (5:45 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, Sept. 2), with the grand finale at Lucasfilm in San Francisco at 8 a.m. PDT  (11 a.m. EDT) on Thursday, Sept. 3. Each of the 15 locations will reveal a new product inspired by Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

These “unboxing” videos will feature online personalities sharing the excitement of opening the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens toys. Unboxing videos overall have captivated millions of Internet viewers and continue to grow in popularity. Eighteen of the top 100 most viewed YouTube Channels worldwide are dedicated to toys and toy unboxings. These 18 channels accounted for 8.1 billion views in Q1 2015.

“We’re excited to be part of this first-of-its-kind initiative,” said Chris M. Williams, Chief Audience Officer, Maker Studios. “The unboxing world continues to expand rapidly as audiences around the world connect with digital creators who share their passions. This shared fandom helps attract billions of monthly views and consistently puts the genre at the top of the YouTube charts.”

The global unboxing event will incorporate traditional toy unboxers such as the popular EvanTubeHD, channels featuring families such as Bratayley, lifehack specialists such as ExpCaseros, gamers such as AlexBy11 and Star Wars fans from around the world, including Chris Pirillo, bringing with them a broad audience and appeal. The global line-up includes:

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The full schedule also is available at www.StarWars.com.

Several countries will join the live stream from YouTube Spaces (Berlin, Tokyo, London), with Star Wars commentators Anthony Carboni and Andi Gutierrez hosting the event from the YouTube Space, Los Angeles.

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Fans can tune in to watch live unboxings at home or on mobile devices, and also enjoy the latest trailers on the upcoming movie, commentary from special guests, fun product videos and demos, and footage from recent Star Wars events.

The global celebration culminates at midnight local time, when many retailers around the world will open their doors to fans to purchase Star Wars: The Force Awakens toys, collectibles, books, apparel and more. Visit starwars.com for more details on participating locations. Additionally, select Disney Store locations around the world will take part.  More details are available at www.DisneyStore.com/ForceFriday.

Fans are encouraged to document their experiences around the event on social media using the hashtag #ForceFriday.

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Tomorrowland Coming To Blu-ray & Digital HD October 13, 2015

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Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment will release director Brad Bird’s family adventure Tomorrowland on Blu-ray Combo Pack, Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere (DMA) on October 13, 2015.

From the two-time Oscar winner, Bird’s Tomorrowland offers a riveting mystery adventure starring Academy Award-winner George Clooney. Bound by a shared destiny, former boy-genius Frank (Clooney), jaded by disillusionment, and Casey (Britt Robertson), a bright, optimistic teen bursting with scientific curiosity, embark on a danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space known only as “Tomorrowland.” What they must do there changes the world – and them – forever.

Featuring a screenplay by “Lost” writer and co-creator Damon Lindelof and Brad Bird, from a story by Lindelof & Bird & Jeff Jensen, Tomorrowland promises to take audiences on a thrill ride of nonstop adventures through new dimensions that have only been dreamed of.

The film also stars Hugh Laurie as brilliant scientist David Nix, Raffey Cassidy, Tim McGraw, Judy Greer, Kathryn Hahn, Keegan-Michael Key and Thomas Robinson.

Tomorrowland is produced by Damon Lindelof, Brad Bird and Jeffrey Chernov and directed by Brad Bird, with John Walker, Bernard Bellew, Jeff Jensen and Brigham Taylor serving as executive producers.

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New Banksy Exhibition Dismaland Pokes Fun At Disneyland

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British graffiti artist Banksy has taken satirical aim at Disneyland with a new theme park set to open in the U.K. this weekend.

Dismaland, built over an unused open-air swimming pool in the seaside town of Weston-super-mare, is billed as a “bemusement park” and “the U.K.’s most disappointing new visitor attraction,” and makes numerous artistic swipes at the cultural and political establishment. Alongside works by Banksy himself, there are pieces by artists like Damien Hirst and Jenny Holzer.

Grumpy guards are set to welcome guests while inside there’s a decrepit version of Disney’s classic Cinderella castle (behind a warped model of Ariel, from Disney’s Little Mermaid), plus a pool with tiny model boats full of refugees and a grim reaper sitting in a bumper car. Surly stewards wearing Mickey Mouse ears are also on hand to offer insincere-sounding welcomes.

“I guess it’s a theme park whose big theme is — theme parks should have bigger themes,” Banksy said in a statement, adding that Dismaland was a “festival of art, amusements and entry-level anarchism.”

The exhibition, which Banksy described as a “family theme park unsuitable for children,” is his first in the U.K. since 2009’s Banksy v Bristol Museum, which drew more than 300,000 visitors.

Dismaland is due to run for six weeks.

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Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Announces New Lands, Entertainment And Experiences At D23 Expo 2015

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Disney announced a line-up of new attractions and entertainment coming to its theme parks around the world during the D23 Expo 2015 in Anaheim, Calif.

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek gave 7,500 lucky fans a behind-the-scenes look at what’s to come.  He was joined by Imagineers working on these projects as well as legendary filmmakers James Cameron and Jon Landau who shared new details about Pandora – The World of Avatar including the names of the land and E-ticket attraction – Avatar Flight of Passage.  Fans also got a chance to see Marvel legend Stan Lee in a cameo appearance where he posed as an unsuspecting fan during Iron Man’s dramatic entrance.

Among the many announcements Chapek shared were new and enhanced Star Wars experiences coming later this year to the Florida and California theme parks, plans for a new Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and more details on Pandora—The World of Avatar, which is already under construction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  Chapek also shared that Soarin’ Around the World will make its U.S. film debut at Epcot and Disney California Adventure taking guests to new places around the world.  Additionally, fans got a preview of exclusive video of the first Marvel attraction planned for Disney parks, coming to Hong Kong Disneyland in 2016.

“From Disneyland’s 60th anniversary celebration to the anticipation of Shanghai Disney Resort, we’re in the midst of unprecedented growth and expansion around the globe,” said Chapek. “With these new announcements, we continue our legacy in creating innovative attractions, worldwide entertainment, and magical lands that take our guests into the worlds of stories they love.”

In addition to these announcements, Chapek talked about the exciting news announced earlier in the day by Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company Bob Iger for plans to bring Star Wars-themed lands to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando and Disneyland park in Anaheim.  Each 14-acre land will transport guests to a never-before-seen planet with two signature attractions, including a customized secret mission on the Millennium Falcon and an epic Star Wars adventure that puts guests in the middle of a climactic battle.

Details on each of the projects include:

Star Wars Enhancements & New Experiences

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From a new Star Tours adventure to Star Wars Launch Bay, from a new Jedi Training Academy to “Season of the Force,” soon guests will be part of both new and enhanced experiences at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort.

Later this year, Star Tours will include a new adventure featuring locations and characters from the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, giving guests a new adventure in the Star Wars galaxy.

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Star Wars Launch Bay – This interactive experience will take guests into the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, with special exhibits and peeks behind-the-scenes, including opportunities to visit with new and favorite Star Wars characters, special merchandise and food offerings.  Star Wars Launch Bay will be located in the Animation Courtyard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and in Tomorrowland at Disneyland park.  Also atDisneyland park, Star Wars Launch Bay will share the space with the reimagined Super Hero HQ, featuring opportunities to meet and take photos with super heroes like Captain America and Thor, as well as experience the returning Iron Man Tech Presented by Stark Industries.  Both experiences will be available for guests later this year.

Jedi Training Academy — A favorite of younger fans is reimagined with a new experience that includes new characters and a new villain to battle from the popular Disney XD series “Star Wars Rebels.”

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Season of the Force – This new seasonal event, beginning early 2016, brings new experiences to both coasts.  In Tomorrowland at Disneyland park, guests will explore the Star Wars galaxy with special entertainment throughout the land, themed food locations and more. Guests also will be thrilled to climb aboard Hyperspace Mountain, a reimagining of the classic Space Mountain attraction, in which guests will join an X-wing Starfighter battle. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, guests will close out weekend nights with a new fireworks spectacular set to the iconic score of the Star Wars movies.

Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida

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The reimagining of Disney’s Hollywood Studios will take guests to infinity and beyond, allowing them to step into the worlds of their favorite films, starting with Toy Story Land.  This new 11-acre land will transport guests into the adventurous outdoors of Andy’s backyard.  Guests will think they’ve been shrunk to the size of Woody and Buzz as they are surrounded by oversized toys that Andy has assembled using his vivid imagination.  Using toys like building blocks, plastic buckets and shovels, and game board pieces, Andy has designed the perfect setting for this land, which will include two new attractions for any Disney park and one expanded favorite.

Family-friendly roller coaster – All on the back of Slinky Dog, this coaster will zip and zoom, plunge and coast as it takes guests on a fun, toy-filled adventure throughout the new land.

Alien saucers attraction – The famous little green aliens from the movie will take guests around for a spin in their very own flying saucers.  The music, lighting and sound effects add to the flurry of action, while “The Claw” looms over.

Toy Story Mania! – Guests glide into the Toy Story Midway Games Play Set  and take aim at 3D objects in a variety of fast-paced games, with an expansion that adds a third track to this popular attraction.

After Dark at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Pandora – The World of Avatar

As part of the largest expansion in the park’s history, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will immerse guests into the world of Pandora, and the entire park will transform after dark with new nighttime entertainment experiences, offering guests longer days than ever before to experience this one-of-a-kind theme park.

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Rivers of Light – Expected to open next spring, Rivers of Light will be an innovative experience unlike anything ever seen in a Disney park, combining live music, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery. “Rivers of Light” will magically come to life on the natural stage of Discovery River, delighting guests and truly capping off a full day of adventures at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Kilimanjaro Safaris – This popular attraction will be extended for a new nighttime adventure next spring, where guests will travel through the African savanna amid the magically extended orange glow of the setting sun and discover two species new to the attraction: African wild dogs and hyenas.

Pandora – The World of Avatar – Disney’s Animal Kingdom guests will journey into the magnificent world of Pandora at this new Avatar-themed land – a world that includes floating mountains, a bioluminescent forest and the winged creatures known as Banshees, giving guests a transformational experience they will never forget.

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Avatar Flight of Passage – This E-ticket attraction, the centerpiece of Pandora, allows guests to soar on a Banshee over a vast alien world. The spectacular flying experience will give guests a birds-eye view of the beauty and grandeur of the world of Pandora on an aerial rite of passage.

Soarin’ Around the World in Florida and California

Next year, guests at Epcot in Florida and Disney California Adventure in California will journey to far-flung lands and fly above some of the world’s most unique natural landscapes and man-made wonders when the new Soarin’ Around the World makes its U.S. debut.

Iron Man Unveiled for Hong Kong Disneyland

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Iron Man landed at D23 Expo for a special appearance, and soon Hong Kong Disneyland guests will have the opportunity to meet and take photos with the Super Hero himself. Set to open in 2016, Iron Man Experience will be the first Marvel attraction at any Disney park, taking guests on an epic adventure over the streets and in the sky above Hong Kong.  The adventure will begin at the new Stark Expo where guests board the Iron Wing to take flight and battle Hydra alongside fan-favorite Avenger, Iron Man.

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Verve Records & Walt Disney Records Announce Tracklisting For Compilation Album We Love Disney, Due October 30, 2015

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Verve Records and Walt Disney Records have announced the 12 artists who are included on the upcoming compilation album We Love Disney, which will be released on October 30th. The album features the hottest artists from across the pop, rock, R&B, and country worlds delivering their own unique interpretations of classic Disney songs. We Love Disney was produced by multi-platinum, 16-time Grammy Award-winning producer and Verve Music Group Chairman David Foster.

The album features singer-songwriter NE-YO on the Oscar and a Golden Globe Award-winning song “Friend Like Me,” from 1992’s Aladdin; British pop singer and songwriter Jessie J on “Part of Your World,” from 1989’s The Little Mermaid; multi-platinum pop/R&B singer/songwriter Jason Derulo on the Oscar and a Golden Globe Award-winning song “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” from 1994’s The Lion King; multi-platinum solo artist and No Doubt frontwoman Gwen Stefani on the Oscar-nominated song “The Rainbow Connection,” from 1979’s The Muppet Movie; multi-platinum pop singer Ariana Grande on “Zero To Hero,” from 1997’s Hercules; singer/songwriter Jhené Aiko on “In a World of My Own/Very Good Advice” from 1961’s Alice in Wonderland; rock band Fall Out Boy on “I Wan’na Be Like You (The Monkey Song)” from 1967’s The Jungle Book; singer-songwriter and Capitol Records artist Tori Kelly on “Colors of the Wind,” the Oscar, Golden Globe, and Grammy-winning theme song from 1995’s Pocahontas; critically acclaimed country artist Kacey Musgraves on “A Spoonful of Sugar” from 1964’s Mary Poppins; soul/R&B singer and Verve Recording artist Charles Perry on “Ev’rybody Wants To Be a Cat,” from 1970’s The Aristocats; British soul singer Jessie Ware on “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes,” which appears in both the 1950 animated film Cinderella as well as this year’s enchanting adaptation of the classic film directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Lily James; and best-selling country group Rascal Flatts, accompanied by Hollywood Records’ artist-actress Lucy Hale duet on “Let It Go,” the top-selling, Oscar and Grammy-winning song from the 2013 film Frozen. The album also features a rendition of “It’s a Small World” performed by all of the artists.

“In choosing the artists to appear on We Love Disney, we tried to cover the whole spectrum,” David Foster says. “I wanted great singers. That’s always been my mandate. We set the bar high and everyone who came in absolutely killed it. The vocals on this album are spectacular.”

We Love Disney will be released in several configurations, including as a digital album, a standard CD, a Deluxe CD, on Deluxe Vinyl, and as a picture-disc set. The Deluxe versions feature two bonus tracks from Verve Records’ artists Brenna Whitaker (“It’s Not Easy Being Green” from The Muppet Show) and Yuna (“A Whole New World” from Aladdin). We Love Disney will also be available as a Collector’s Edition Box Set, which includes the digital deluxe album, limited-edition double vinyl, standard-edition double vinyl, limited-edition CD, standard-edition CD, limited-edition double-picture disc, four numbered lithographs, a DVD of “The Magic Behind We Love Disney,” a limited-edition T-shirt featuring a one-time only design, an exclusive tote bag, and a Certificate of Authenticity.

The album and box set can all be pre-ordered now at https://www.welovedisneymusic.com/. Those who pre-order the digital album via participating retailers will receive an instant download of NE-YO’s “Friend Like Me.”

The tracklisting for We Love Disney is as follows:

NE-YO “Friend Like Me” (Aladdin)
Jessie J “Part of Your World “(The Little Mermaid)
Jason Derulo “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” (The Lion King)
Gwen Stefani “The Rainbow Connection” (The Muppet Movie)
Ariana Grande “Zero To Hero” (Hercules)
Jhené Aiko “In a World of My Own/Very Good Advice” (Alice in Wonderland)
Fall Out Boy “I Wan’na Be Like You (The Monkey Song)” (The Jungle Book)
Tori Kelly “Colors of the Wind” (Pocahontas)
Kacey Musgraves “A Spoonful of Sugar” (Mary Poppins)
Charles Perry “Ev’rybody Wants To Be a Cat” (The Aristocats)
Jessie Ware “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes” (Cinderella)
Lucy Hale & Rascal Flatts “Let It Go” (Frozen)
Various Artists “It’s a Small World”

Bonus tracks on Deluxe CD, Vinyl, and Picture Disc:

Brenna Whitaker “It’s Not Easy Being Green” (The Muppet Show)
Yuna “A Whole New World” (Aladdin)

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Pixar’s Inside Out Coming To Blu-ray & DVD On November 3, 2015

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Walt Disney Pictures Home Entertainment has announced the 3D Blu-ray Combo Pack (3D/2D Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD), Blu-ray Combo Pack (Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD), and single disc DVD releases of Pete Docter’s Inside Out.

The 3D and 2D Blu-ray Combo Packs will include:

– Riley’s First Date? (In-Home Exclusive Animated Short Film) – Riley, now 12, is hanging out at home with her parents in San Francisco when potential trouble comes knocking: a boy shows up at the door. Can Mom and Dad’s emotions handle “Riley’s First Date?”
– LAVA (Theatrical Short Film) – Inspired by the isolated beauty of tropical islands and the explosive allure of ocean volcanoes, LAVA is a musical love story that takes place over millions of years. (Available in 3D on the 3D Combo Pack)
– Story of the Story – Director Pete Docter talks about the evolution of Inside Out, from the ideas and memories that inspired the story through the hurdles, explorations and experiences that helped shape it into the film it is today.
– Paths to Pixar: The Women of Inside Out – Inside Out filmmakers, from voice actors to animators to production crew, talk about their paths, their goals, the challenges they’ve faced and the lessons they’ve learned along the way
– Mixed Emotions – Inside Out’s filmmakers talk about how they decided which emotions to focus on in the story and how they went about creating each one’s distinct personality and visual identity
– Mapping the Mind – Inside Out’s artists take you through the years-long process of designing and creating a world everyone knows, but no one has ever seen – the human mind.
– Our Dads, the Filmmakers – Elie Docter (daughter of director, Pete Docter) and Grace Giacchino (daughter of composer, Michael Giacchino) bring you behind the scenes for an inside look at the making of the film.
– Into the Unknown: The Sound of Inside Out – What is the sound of a memory forming? Sound designer Ren Klyce describes the challenges – and the unique solutions – involved in creating the aural world of Inside Out.
– The Misunderstood Art of Animation Film Editing – Learn more about the crucial role of an animation film editor, who helps take     the story from its earliest, most exploratory versions, to the final, polished film you see onscreen.
– Deleted Scenes
– Riley Grows Up – In this scene from a version of the film where the primary relationship was between Joy and Fear (then named Freddie), the emotions begin to notice a change in Riley.
– Joy’s Decline – Joy’s struggles to make sense of the limitations on Riley’s behavior that seem to be springing up at every turn.
– Misdirection – Joy and Freddie encounter a group of Riley’s “retired” imaginary friends, including an early version of Big Bong.
– Construction – Joy is guided through Riley’s mind by a radical non-conformist, Bing Bong, outraged by the demolition of older areas like Imagination Park.
– Commentary – Commentary includes participation from directors Pete Docter and Ronnie del Carmen, and producer Jonas Rivera.
– Mind Candy – A montage of toolkit and interstitials produced for Inside Out.
– Inside Out Trailers – A collection of domestic and international trailers made for Inside Out.

The single disc DVD will include:

– LAVA
– Commentary

The Disney Movies Anytime (DMA) Exclusives (which might be downloadable with the digital copy) will include:

– Designing Abstract Thought – Inside Out character designer Albert Lozano describes the challenging, exciting and appropriately nonlinear process of designing the films “Abstract Thought” sequence.
– Deleted Scenes[list]
– Joy Alone – Pursuing a lost memory underneath the ocean, Joy is given a chance to fulfill her heart’s desire.
Imagination Park – Joy is chased through a reactivated Imagination Park by an antagonistic Freddie.
The Blu-ray and DVD will be released on November 3, 2015.

 

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First Official Images of Star Wars: The Force Awakens LEGO Sets

Here is your first look at the lineup of the upcoming LEGO sets for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.

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Disney Showcases Live Action Film Slate For Fans At D23 Expo 2015

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Disney, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm presented their live action film slates at the D23 Expo 2015 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif. The presentations, which revealed exclusive news and details about the upcoming live action films, were aided by live and video appearances from talent and filmmakers. Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn hosted the highly anticipated biennial event.

“It’s quite something to be able to have Disney, Marvel and Lucasfilm all on the same stage, and it’s tremendously gratifying to unveil our upcoming projects to our most dedicated fans first,” said Alan Horn, Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios. “We always have an incredible time at the D23 Expo.”

After welcoming the crowd to D23 Expo 2015, Horn introduced Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios, and Sean Bailey, President of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production, to present overviews of the Marvel Studios and Disney live action slates. Later Horn returned to the stage to present the Lucasfilm film slate to the enthusiastic audience.

A recap of the presentation follows:

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Kevin Feige led off with a glimpse into the world of Marvel’s “Doctor Strange,” featuring  a video greeting by Benedict Cumberbatch, who stars as the title character, followed by a pre-production piece that offered fans a taste of the look and feel of the upcoming  film, opening in U.S. theaters on October 26, 2016.

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Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” marched into D23 Expo with an introduction by its producer, Kevin Feige. To the delight of the audience, Chris Evans and Anthony Mackie showed up on stage to help Feige show never-seen-before footage from the movie. Before the footage rolled, Feige revealed that there was a special “Easter egg” for fans to find: it was aptly a nod to D23 Expo.

Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” picks up where “Avengers: Age of Ultron” left off, as Steve Rogers leads the new team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. After another international incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability and a governing body to determine when to enlist the services of the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers while they try to protect the world from a new and nefarious villain.

The movie stars Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Emily VanCamp, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Frank Grillo, Tom Holland, with William Hurt and Daniel Brühl. Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” is directed by Anthony & Joe Russo and produced by Kevin Feige. Louis D’Esposito, Alan Fine, Victoria Alonso, Patricia Whitcher, Nate Moore and Stan Lee serve as executive producers and the screenplay is by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely. Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” opens in the U.S. on May 6, 2016.

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Sean Bailey took the stage to introduce the first film in the Disney live-action lineup, “The Finest Hours,” which is based on the remarkable true story of the most daring rescue mission in the history of the Coast Guard. Chris Pine, who plays Bernie Webber, the captain of the rescue boat, joined Bailey on stage to give fans a peak at the heroic action-thriller.

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Presented in Digital 3D, Real D 3D and IMAX 3D, the film, which is directed by Craig Gillespie and also stars Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, Holliday Grainger, John Ortiz and Eric Bana, transports audiences to the heart of the action, creating a fully-immersive cinematic experience on an epic scale.

“The Finest Hours” is produced by Jim Whitaker and Dorothy Aufiero and Doug Merrifield is the executive producer. The film is based on the book by Michael J. Tougias and Casey Sherman and the screenplay is by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson.  “The Finest Hours” storms into U.S. theaters on January 29, 2016.

THE JUNGLE BOOK

After an introduction by Sean Bailey, Jon Favreau, director of Disney’s upcoming “The Jungle Book,” welcomed to the stage newcomer Neel Sethi, who was selected from thousands of candidates to play man-cub Mowgli; plus Oscar winners Ben Kingsley, who helps bring panther-turned-mentor Bagheera to life, and Lupita Nyong’o, who lends her voice to the protective mother wolf Raksha. Favreau treated fans to a sneak peek of footage from the film, and each guest received a copy of the dramatic teaser poster following the presentation. The all-new, live-action epic adventure showcases Mowgli’s journey of self-discovery when he’s forced to abandon the only home he’s ever known.

Based on Rudyard Kipling’s timeless stories and inspired by Disney’s 1967 animated classic, the film features state-of the-art technology that immerses audiences in the lush world like never before. “The Jungle Book” also features the voices of Bill Murray, Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson, Giancarlo Esposito and Christopher Walken. Jon Favreau and Brigham Taylor produce and the screenplay is by Justin Marks. “The Jungle Book” hits theaters in stunning 3D and IMAX 3D on April 15, 2016.

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Bailey welcomed Mia Wasikowska to the stage, where she thrilled fans with a preview of the all-new spectacular adventure, “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” featuring the unforgettable characters from Lewis Carroll’s beloved stories. Director James Bobin brings his own unique vision to the spectacular world Tim Burton created on screen in 2010 with “Alice in Wonderland,” in which Alice (Wasikowska) returns to the whimsical world of Underland and travels back in time to save the Mad Hatter. The film, which once again features Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter and the voices of Alan Rickman, Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen and Timothy Spall, introduces several new characters as well: Zanik Hightopp (Rhys Ifans), the Mad Hatter’s father, and Time himself (Sacha Baron Cohen), a peculiar creature who is part human, part clock.

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Joe Roth, Suzanne Todd and Jennifer Todd, and Tim Burton produce and John G. Scotti is the executive producer. The screenplay is by Linda Woolverton. Presented in Digital 3D, Real D 3D and IMAX 3D, Disney’s “Alice Through the Looking Glass” opens in U.S. theaters on May 27, 2016.

In addition to attending the film’s presentation in Hall D23 at the Convention Center, fans had the opportunity to transform themselves into their favorite characters from Underland with an interactive experience, Travel Through the Looking Glass. By means of a first-to-market face-tracking application, D23 Expo participants entering one of four photo booths located on the show floor were able to become the Mad Hatter, the Red Queen, the White Rabbit or the Cheshire Cat with full digital-makeup and cinematic 3D objects seamlessly—and instantly—applied to their reflections, and in real time. They were then emailed a 10-second video and still image, which they could share on their favorite social media platforms.

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Bryce Dallas Howard joined Bailey on stage to talk about her starring role in “Pete’s Dragon,” a reimagining of Disney’s cherished family film. The heartwarming adventure of an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend Elliott, who just so happens to be a dragon, “Pete’s Dragon” is directed by David Lowery, produced by Jim Whitaker, and executive-produced by Barrie Osborne, and also stars Oakes Fegley, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban, Oona Laurence and Robert Redford. “Pete’s Dragon” opens in U.S. theaters on August 12, 2016.

Bailey, with the help of Lupita Nyong’o, introduced the crowd to the upcoming film “Queen of Katwe,” which is based on the inspirational true story of a girl from the poverty-stricken slums of rural Uganda who dreams of becoming a champion chess player. Directed by Mira Nair from a screenplay by William Wheeler based on the book by Tim Crothers, “Queen of Katwe” stars Nyong’o, David Oyelowo and newcomer Medina Nalwanga.

Bailey next presented “Beauty and the Beast,” including a musical greeting from stars Emma Watson, Josh Gad and Luke Evans—sent from the London set where they are currently filming. The live-action musical, a retelling of the studio’s animated classic, stars Watson,  Dan Stevens, Evans, Gad, Kevin Kline, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Emma Thompson, Ian McKellen, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Audra McDonald and newcomer Nathan Mack. The film is directed by Bill Condon.  Alan Menken, who won two Academy Awards (Best Original Score and Best Song) for the animated classic, provides the score, which will include new recordings of the original songs written by Menken and Tim Rice, as well as several new songs. “Beauty and the Beast” will be released in U.S. theaters on March 17, 2017.

A surprise visit by Johnny Depp, who showed up on stage completely decked out as Captain Jack Sparrow, brought down the house and thrilled fans at Sean Bailey’s presentation of the next exciting film in the “Pirates of the Caribbean “ franchise, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.”

JOHNNY DEPP

Thrust into an all-new adventure, a down-on-his-luck Captain Jack Sparrow finds the winds of ill-fortune blowing even more strongly when deadly ghost pirates led by his old nemesis, the terrifying Captain Salazar (Bardem), escape from the Devil’s Triangle, determined to kill every pirate at sea…including him.  Captain Jack’s only hope of survival lies in seeking out the legendary Trident of Poseidon, a powerful artifact that bestows upon its possessor total control over the seas.

The film is directed by Espen Sandberg & Joachim Rønning and stars Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Brenton Thwaites, Kevin R. McNally, Kaya Scodelario, Golshifteh Farahani, Stephen Graham, David Wenham and Geoffrey Rush. Jerry Bruckheimer is the producer and Chad Oman, Mike Stenson, Joe Caracciolo, Jr. and Brigham Taylor serve as executive producers. Jeff Nathanson wrote the screenplay. “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” releases in U.S. theaters on July 7, 2017.

Alan Horn took the stage again to present the Lucasfilm slate and timeline to the D23 Expo fans.  Horn told the audience that there were only 124 days to the release of Episode VII, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” on December 18, 2015 and added that there have been record-breaking trailer views and fantastic fan response. Touching on “Star Wars: Episode VIII,” Horn reminded the audience that Rian Johnson will be directing the film slated for release on May 26, 2017. Then in a surprise announcement, Horn informed everyone that Colin Trevorrow (“Jurassic World”) has signed on to direct “Star Wars: Episode IX,” which is scheduled for release in 2019.

Moving on to the new Star Wars stories series, Horn touched on the “Untitled Han Solo” stand-alone film, slated for release on May 25, 2018 by reminding everyone that it  will be directed by Christopher Miller & Phil Lord, with Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jon Kasdan writing the screenplay.

Star Wars: Rogue One..©Lucasfilm 2016

Horn then took the audience by surprise, announcing the cast for “Rogue One,” the first of the standalone Star Wars stories to hit the big screen, which has commenced principal photography. Gareth Edwards (“Godzilla,” “Monsters”) is directing “Rogue One,” which tells the story of resistance fighters who have united to steal plans to the dreaded Death Star.

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The filmmakers have assembled a stellar cast, including Felicity Jones, nominated for an Academy Award for her leading role in “The Theory of Everything”; Diego Luna, who was featured in 2008’s Oscar-winning “Milk” and the critically acclaimed “Killing Them Softly”; Ben Mendelsohn, recently nominated for an Emmy for his leading role in “Bloodline” and co-starring  in the upcoming “Mississippi Grind”; Donnie Yen, Hong Kong action star and martial artist who starred in “Ip Man” and “Blade II”; Jiang Wen, who co-wrote, produced , directed and starred in the award-winning “Let the Bullets Fly” and “Devils on the Doorstep”; Forest Whitaker, recently featured in the critically-acclaimed Lee Daniels’ “The Butler” and winner of an Academy Award for his leading role in 2006’s “The Last King of Scotland; Mads Mikkelsen, who starred in “The Hunt” and was the memorable villain from 2006’s “Casino Royale”;  Alan Tudyk,  who plays a performance-capture character in “Rogue One,” stars in the soon-to-be-released “Con Man” series and “Trumbo,” which releases this November; and Riz Ahmed, who was recently featured in “Nightcrawler” and starred in the BAFTA-winning film “Four Lions.”

The film is produced by Kathleen Kennedy and is slated for a December 16, 2016 release.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens has completed principal photography. ..#TheForceAwakens #StarWarsVII

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” ended the live-action presentation with a bang as J.J. Abrams  introduced stars John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac and Lupita Nyong’o. The crowd cheered when John Boyega announced that everyone there would get a Drew Struzan D23 Expo commemorative poster to take home. Then, in a bringing-down-the house surprise moment, Harrison Ford, who is reprising his role as Han Solo, joined Abrams on stage to wild applause.

Star Wars - The Force Awakens by Drew Struzan

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Max Von Sydow. Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk are producing with Tommy Harper and Jason McGatlin serving as executive producers. The screenplay is by J.J. Abrams & Lawrence Kasdan.  “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” releases in U.S. theaters on December 18, 2015.

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Upcoming Slate of Walt Disney & Pixar Animation Studios Films Revealed

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Filmmakers from Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios introduced D23 Expo 2015 fans to an 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.”

Following are the films presented on behalf of both studios.

Riley’s First Date

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Pixar Animation Studios heads back inside the mind with an all-new short. “Riley’s First Date?” made its world premiere this afternoon at D23 Expo Director Josh Cooley, along with “Inside Out” filmmakers Pete Docter (“Up,” “Monsters, Inc.”) and Jonas Rivera (“Up”), introduced the short, which revisits Riley, now 12. “‘Riley’s First Date?’ ventures into the minds of Riley’s parents when a mysterious boy shows up at the front door,” said Cooley. “Having a daughter myself, it was a lot of fun to mine my own feelings to show this emotional time in a parent’s life.”

The short will be included as a bonus feature in the digital HD & Blu-ray releases of Disney Pixar’s “Inside Out,” which will be available digitally Oct. 13 and on Blu-ray Nov. 3, 2015.

The Good Dinosaur

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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.

In theaters on Nov. 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.”

Zootopia

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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 today. 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.

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.

Finding Dory

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Ellen DeGeneres (“The Ellen DeGeneres Show”), the voice of everyone’s favorite forgetful blue tang, took a dip with D23 Expo attendees this afternoon, celebrating Disney Pixar’s upcoming film “Finding Dory.” Joining DeGeneres on stage this afternoon 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. What can she remember? Who are her parents? And where did she learn to speak Whale?

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.

Moana

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Dwayne Johnson (“San Andreas,” “Furious 7,” HBO’s “Ballers”), who lends his voice to the mighty demi-god Maui in Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Moana,” hit the stage at D23 Expo this afternoon. Renowned directors John Musker and Ron Clements (“The Little Mermaid,” “The Princess and the Frog,” “Aladdin”), and producer Osnat Shurer (Oscar-nominated Pixar shorts “One Man Band,” “Boundin’”) shared dazzling early test footage and revealed plans for the film’s inspired music and the extraordinary team behind it. Tony-winner Lin-Manuel Miranda (Broadway’s hottest new hit “Hamilton,” Tony-winning “In the Heights”), Grammy-winning composer Mark Mancina (“Speed”, “Tarzan” “The Lion King”) and Opetaia Foa’i (founder and lead singer of the world music award-winning band Te Vaka) blend their diverse and dynamic talents to help tell the tale of a spirited teenager who sets out to prove herself a master wayfinder.

“Our research took us deep into the South Pacific,” said Clements. “The wonderful people we met there, their rich history and traditions, and their fantastic music changed us forever.”

“We can’t wait to bring those experiences to ‘Moana,’” added Musker. “We are incredibly lucky to be able to work with three amazing artists who are the absolute best at what they do. The sounds they create will be something we’ve never heard before—but it’ll feel like it’s been part of this world forever.”

Foa’i and his band Te Vaka capped the presentation with a show-stopping performance illustrating the magic of the movie’s music. “Moana” sails into U.S. theaters on Nov. 23, 2016.

Toy Story 20th Anniversary Celebration

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Pixar Animation Studios marks the 20th Anniversary of “Toy Story” this year. Said Lasseter, “All the characters from ‘Toy Story’—especially Woody and Buzz—are so close to us. They seem more like family members than just creations. Not only do we dearly love the characters, but we also love the world of ‘Toy Story’—the world where toys come to life when people are not in the room has always been rich with many story possibilities.”

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. “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.

Gigantic

Gigantic

Things are looking up at Walt Disney Animation Studios – way up. “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.”

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.

Coco

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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” 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.”

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The Fox And The Hound Commissioned Poster By Tom Miatke

Artist Tom Miatke revealed his biggest and most expansive poster to date. Check out his privately commissioned poster for ‘The Fox and the Hound’.

The 10 color screenprint measures 24×36” and is a gorgeous take on the beloved 1981 animated Disney film!

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