At yesterday's Disney expo D23, Pixar fed the fandemonium by announcing two all-new movies now in production. This year marks the animation studio's 25th anniversary, and judging by yesterday's offerings, their innovative spirit shows no signs of fading. The first film they unveiled explores what the world might have been like if dinosaurs were never wiped out by a giant asteroid, but continued to exist on Earth. Director Bob Peterson, a longtime Pixar story artist and the voice of characters like Doug from Up, is helming the movie. He said Walt Disney's animatronic dinosaurs, which he first saw at the New York World's Fair as a child, inspired the idea. Bob shared one still with the audience, but the finished product won't arrive in theaters until Holiday 2013.
The second movie will take a look inside the human mind and explore the reasons why we get songs stuck in our head, why we dream, and even why we remember. Not many details were revealed about how scientific, or fantastic, Pixar's approach to the subject matter may be, and the effort is clearly in the early stages — the movie won't be released until Spring 2014. For more details on the rest of the 2012-2014 animated Disney films previewed yesterday, just
- Brave: Pixar's first female-driven film stars Boardwalk Empire's Kelly MacDonald as Merida, a princess set on escaping her fate of an arranged marriage to one of three idiot clan leaders. A group of mostly Scottish actors, including Kevin McKidd, Billy Connolly, and Craig Ferguson, rounds out the cast. Two short clips previewed for the audience showed that the studio's dedication to authenticity, including several research trips to Scotland, paid off. The scenery and attention to detail were breathtaking, and it's refreshing to see a smart, gutsy heroine finally take the lead in a Pixar project. Brave is out on June 22, 2012.
- DisneyToon Studios’ Planes: Following the success of Cars, Walt Disney Animation Studios head honcho John Lasseter told the crowd, he was inspired to find a way to continue to explore the idea. The only non-Pixar animated project debuted at D23, Planes stars John Cryer as Dusty, a cropduster who decides to take off an adventure around the globe. The actor was on hand to talk about the movie, telling fans he's thrilled to be starring as Dusty: "I'm so geeked out!" Planes is due out in Spring 2013.
- Wreck-It Ralph: This innovative film goes inside the world of retro, 8-bit video games to follow Wreck-It Ralph, an arcade villain who's looking for a way to prove he's not all bad. Voiced by John C. Reilly, Ralph promises to be one of Pixar's most endearing and unique characters yet, and a supporting cast including Sarah Silverman and 30 Rock's Jack McBrayer are also on board to bring the laughs. The short look at the movie that Pixar shared stayed true to the look of classic video games and had a decidedly grown-up appeal. Look for it in theaters in 2012.
- Monsters University: Pixar is in the midst of creating a prequel to Monsters Incorporated that will take us back in time to show how Mike and Sully became buddies. Like many a great friendship, Pixar decided, theirs began at college. Billy Crystal made a surprise appearance to chat about the project. To make Billy and John Goodman's characters age in reverse, artists gave Mike a retainer and Sully a slimmed-down, fluffier profile. The filmmakers also shared a look at the campus, which is still being designed. The director, Dan Scanlon, joked that they toured schools from Harvard to Berkeley to find out what "real college" looks like, since most of the filmmakers went to art school.