Everything we learned at D23 Expo′s Pixar and Walt Disney Animation panel

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In this photo illustration a Pixar Animation Studios logo is seen on a smartphone screen.

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The Walt Disney Company is set to reveal new information about its upcoming slate of animated movies and TV shows during its Pixar and Disney Animation Studios panel at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California Friday.

Animated movies released theatrically have floundered at the box office in the wake of the pandemic. At first, parents were reticent to bring kids back to cinemas, but now it seems that lackluster titles and an increase in children’s content on streaming have contributed to keeping families at home.

Disney has exacerbated this issue since movie theaters reopened, as it has placed the majority of its new Pixar films on Disney+ including “Turning Red,” “Soul” and “Luca.” While these decisions were made at time when vaccinations were either not available to children and moviegoing foot traffic was slow, it trained consumers to expect these titles on streaming.

It’s part of the reason that “Lightyear” had a lackluster opening in theaters this summer. Of course, the film was also hurt by a confusing premise that deviated from what made the Toy Story franchise so special.

Disney is expected to reveal new titles from Pixar and its Walt Disney Animation Studio as well as films associated with its live-action remakes during Friday’s panel. It will also share which films will head to theaters and which will arrive by way of Disney+.

Live-action

Ahead of reveals about its animated content, Disney unveiled new trailers for “Hocus Pocus 2,” which arrives on Disney+ Sept. 30, as well as “Disenchanted,” the sequel to 2007’s “Enchanted,” out on the streaming service Nov 24.

On the heels of the release of “Pinocchio” on Disney+ on Thursday, the studio announced a slew of new additions to its catalog of Disney live-action remakes.

“Peter Pan & Wendy” starring Alexander Molony as Peter, Ever Anderson as Wendy and Alyssa Wapanatahk as Tiger Lily is slated for release on Disney+ in 2023. Jude Law portrays Captain Hook.

“Haunted Mansion” is slated to arrive in theaters March 10, 2023. Directed by Justin Simien, a former Disneyland cast member, the film is filled with Easter eggs culled from the famous Disney parks ride. During the panel, Simien announced that Jamie Lee Curtis will star as Madam Leota in the film.

Barry Jenkin’s formerly untitled Lion King project is called “Mufasa: The Lion King” and tells the origin story of Mufasa from cub to king. Clips shared with audiences at the D23 Expo shows the same stunning visuals as 2019’s “The Lion King” and will arrive in theaters in 2024.

The company also shared a brief glimpse of “Snow White” due out in theaters in 2024. The film stars Rachel Zegler as the title character and Gal Gadot as the Evil Queen. Fans erupted in applause when Gadot took the stage. The “Wonder Woman” actress said it was fun to play the villain, having been so often cast in more heroic roles.

Both Zegler and Anderson noted that the studio worked to give classic characters like Snow White and Wendy more agency and provide a modern take on these classic tales.

Rob Marshall, the director of Disney’s remake of “The Little Mermaid,” shared the entire sequence of “Part of Your World” from the film. Halle Bailey’s performance received raucous applause and a standing ovation when she stepped out on stage. The film arrives in theaters May 26, 2023.

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.



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