D23 Expo 2017 Summary – Live Action Presentation

Hollywood’s biggest names in acting and directing… Surprises at every turn… Compelling stories and sneak peeks that had us on the edge of our seats. The Hall D23 presentation from The Walt Disney Studios this morning at D23 Expo featured all of these and more!

Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn greeted the 6,800 fans who had just watched a sizzle video that spotlighted some of Disney’s recent hits and upcoming films. “I know those guys. They’re friends from work,” he joked, echoing Thor himself in the trailer for Marvel Studios’ upcoming film Thor: Ragnarok. And, he added to the crowd’s great delight, “We have a lot of them backstage.”

Always one of the most eagerly anticipated presentations at D23 Expo, there were indeed a lot of stars and filmmakers taking the stage in Hall D23—and announcements and unexpected treats galore. Here are just a few of the moments we’ll remember long after D23 Expo concludes:

“Everybody here gets a poster! Everybody here! You get a poster!”
Sure, fans were excited to learn they’d be going home with a teaser poster for The Walt Disney Studios’ upcoming film A Wrinkle in Time, which opens in theaters on March 9, 2018. But to be told that news by brand-new Disney Legend Oprah Winfrey only made the gift that much more exciting.

Winfrey (who plays Mrs. Which) joined director Ava DuVernay and co-stars Reese Witherspoon (Mrs. Whatsit), Mindy Kaling (Mrs. Who), Chris Pine (Mr. Murry), and newcomer Storm Reid (Meg Murry) in Hall D23. The epic adventure is based on Madeleine L’Engle’s classic novel, which takes audiences across dimensions of time and space, examining the nature of darkness versus light and ultimately, the triumph of love.

DuVernay described Disney as “the perfect place” for A Wrinkle in Time. Thrilled to attend her first D23 Expo, DuVernay told the audience, “I found my tribe—people who love movies as much as I do.” She also debuted the first trailer for the film:

Wrinkle In Time Trailer

A First Look at The Nutcracker and the Four Realms—with an Exclusive Live Dance Performance
Sean Bailey, president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production, introduced us to The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, acclaimed director Lasse Hallström’s spin on a story that has been beloved for generations. The film, which will be in theaters on November 2, 2018, stars Keira Knightley, Helen Mirren, Mackenzie Foy and Richard E. Grant, as well as Morgan Freeman in the iconic role of Drosselmeyer. Music and dance are essential to the film, Bailey stressed, and he revealed that the incredible stylings of Charles Riley, known as Lil Buck (picture below), are being used to create the film’s Mouse King. The character will be made up of thousands of mice, made possible through cutting-edge CG, Bailey said. Expo guests were treated to a special performance by Lil Buck that gave us a glimpse into the hypnotic, fluid dance style we’ll see from the Mouse King when the film opens next year.

A Practically Perfect Glimpse into Mary Poppins Returns
Mary Poppins Returns director Rob Marshall and actress Emily Blunt talked about the upcoming film, which flies into theaters on December 25, 2018. Speaking reverently about the original Mary Poppins film, Marshall said, “I think it was my first film. I think it was many of our first films. There’s something so amazing about it that lived with me my whole life.”

When it came to stepping into Disney Legend Julie Andrews’ shoes, Blunt stressed, “No one is ever going to out-Julie Julie Andrews.” To make the character her own, she explained, “I needed to try to pay homage to Julie but carve out a new space for myself. And we were very loyal to the books.”

The film was shot on location in London—which Marshall characterized as a special experience—and he said that audiences will recognize Cherry Tree Lane immediately. They might also recognize a piece of furniture, Marshall noted, sharing a photo of a table that’s part of the set for Mary Poppins Returns that also appeared in the original film.

Leaving fans with “a little something”—an understatement—composer Marc Shaiman led an orchestra in a performance of a piece of the original score, which played over a series of images from the film. It was a supercalifragilistic-Expo-alidocious moment, if ever there were one.

Dumbo is Coming!
Director Tim Burton sent a greeting to Disney fans from the set of Dumbo, which is currently in production in London. Additionally, Bailey showed fans a maquette that was created to help bring the beloved baby elephant to life via state-of-the-art visual effects. The film stars Golden Globe® winner Colin Farrell (Saving Mr. Banks), Golden Globe winner Michael Keaton (Birdman, Beetlejuice), Emmy® and Golden Globe winner Danny DeVito (Batman Returns, Big Fish), BAFTA Award winner and Golden Globe nominee Eva Green (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Dark Shadows), and introduces Nico Parker and Finley Hobbins in their first film roles. Dumbo is slated for release on March 29, 2019.

The Lion King Looks Amazing!
The Walt Disney Studios presentation at D23 Expo 2015 gave Disney fans a first look at The Jungle Book, directed by Jon Favreau, who was on hand again this year and received a standing ovation after showing footage from the upcoming live-action The Lion King. The photoreal interpretation of the film’s “Circle of Life” sequence featured beloved characters, including Rafiki, Mufasa, and an impossibly adorable baby Simba. Favreau, a lifelong Disney fan himself, told the excited crowd, “We like to check in with you.” His first question upon embarking on the film was, “When’s D23? We wanted to give you the first look.” The film is slated for release in 2019.

News from a Galaxy Far, Far Away
Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson took the stage at his first D23 Expo today, revealing that he began his career at Disney Channel, working in on-air promotions. As much as he loved that job, he says that making Star Wars: The Last Jedi has been the time of his life.

Johnson introduced stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Gwendolyn Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Benicio del Toro, and, of course, new Disney Legend Mark Hamill. Johnson and his cast wouldn’t reveal much about the upcoming film—in fact, they wouldn’t really reveal anything, though Hamill confirmed that we will, indeed, hear Luke Skywalker speak in this film. He referred to the movie as a “game changer,” and noting, “When I read the script, there were so many unexpected elements.”

Johnson and the cast then offered up a behind-the-scenes look at Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which opens in theaters on December 15, 2017.

Avengers—and More—Assemble!
Kevin Feige is Marvel Studios President—and he’s also a massive Disney fan and a card-carrying D23 charter member who has been coming to D23 Expo since the first Expo in 2009. Feige explained that next year will be one of celebration—in honor of the 10th anniversary of Marvel Studios. It’s going to be a big year for the studio, and fans can look forward to what Feige calls “the biggest production in the Marvel Cinematic Universe—Avengers: Infinity War. The film is filming now, Feige said, but a slew of Super Heroes—and a fearsome villain—were able to take time away from the production to surprise Disney fans at Expo. In the most Marvel-ous gathering of stars ever, Feige welcomed Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Mackie, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Josh Brolin, Don Cheadle, Sebastian Stan, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, and Pom Klementieff to the stage, along with one of the film’s directors, Joe Russo.

“Even I find myself geeking out,” Feige joked, as the assemblage continued. The crowd was on their feet long before Robert Downey Jr. demanded, “Let’s see it”—“it” being an exclusive early look at footage from the movie.

Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War, an unprecedented cinematic journey 10 years in the making and spanning the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, opens in theaters on May 4, 2018.

Walt Disney’s Original Office Restored at Walt Disney Studios

This is Walt Disney's formal office in the 3H wing of the Animation Building on the Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank. The office was restored in it original location with nearly all the original furniture and other items by the Disney Archives as part of a project for the studio's 75th Anniversary. Disney employees, and visitors to the studio will be able to view the office in 2016. //// ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Walt Disney's original offices at the Walt Disney Studios were restored to the state they were in when he was alive and worked there. They are located on the third floor of the Animation Building in the 3H wing.  Date of photo: 12/7/15. - disney.waltsoffice - Photo by MARK EADES, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Photo by MARK EADES

For years, visitors to the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank would ask where Walt Disney’s office was located. Now they can actually see it.

The Walt Disney Company has restored his offices in their original location on the studio lot. And Monday morning, CEO Bob Iger formally dedicated them.

“Just looking around his office reminds you of his devotion to his family, his curiosity and his relentless creative passion,” Iger said at the ceremony.

The suite of offices, both Walt’s formal office and his working office, are on the third floor of the 3H wing of the original Animation building.

It’s available for viewing by employees, visitors and members of the D23 fan club. It will also be a part of tours of the Studio lot beginning in 2016.

“We put this permanent exhibit together as a source of inspiration for us and a reminder to have great ambition to take bold creative risks, to constantly innovate and push the limits of possibility,” Iger said.

Joanna Miller, one of Walt’s grandchildren, was on hand to see the newly restored suite.

“For me, I feel like a child, because that’s when we were there,” she said. “We did homework in there.”

After Walt’s death in late 1966, the offices were left untouched for a few years, until Dave Smith, the founder of the Walt Disney Archives, decided to document them.

Smith originally snuck into the offices to take photos, and then the company asked him to document what was in the office so it could reuse the space.

“It was really eerie for me to come into Walt’s office and do a complete inventory,” said Smith, who is now retired.

He documented everything from the books on the bookshelf to the legal pads with Disney’s handwritten notes.

After the documentation was completed, the items were put into storage in the Disney Archives. The formal office was turned into an executive office. The working office became a conference room.

The executive office was first occupied by Ron Miller, who eventually became president of the company in 1982. Michael Eisner took over the space when he was named CEO in 1984, and remained there until the Team Disney building opened. Then Roy E. Disney, Walt’s nephew, used the office for many years. After Roy Disney moved out, the suite was occupied by a variety of producers, the last being Marc Cherry.

Becky Cline, the director of the Disney Archives, has been working on the restoration idea for many years. Since this year is the studio’s 75th anniversary, she decided to seriously pursue it.

Her department put together a plan and a budget and presented it to Iger.

“He approved it, and we formally started the project in June,” she said.

Many of the materials, such as the desks, chairs and books are original.

“They were displayed in various forms at Disneyland and Walt Disney World and other locations over the years,” Cline said.

Her team assembled the materials, while studio crafts people restored the walls, lighting and even the kitchen.

“They even found original light switches and openers for the doors,” she added.

The piano in the formal office was frequently used by Richard Sherman who, along with his brother Robert, wrote many of the songs used in many classic Disney movies, such as “Mary Poppins,” and on attractions at Disneyland such as “It’s a Small World”

“Many times after a long day we would come in to that office and share a song with Walt and he would say ‘play it,’ and we knew what he meant,” Richard Sherman said in an interview Friday. “He meant play ‘Feed the Birds’ from Mary Poppins.

“That was his favorite song and it always brought a tear to his eyes,” he said.

Originally posted by Mark Eades at the Orange County Register

Dwayne Johnson to Star in ‘Jungle Cruise’ Movie

Jungle Cruise Movie - Dwayne Johnson

Dwayne Johnson is teaming up with Disney to translate a theme park ride to the big screen.

Johnson is attached to star in Jungle Cruise, based on the classic ride, while John Requa and Glenn Ficarra, the duo behind the Will Smith heist movie Focus, have been tapped to write the script.

The duo, who have directed movies such as Focus and Crazy, Stupid, Love, are not attached to helm at this stage.

John Davis and John Fox of Davis Entertainment, the banner behind Man From U.N.C.L.E., are producing.

Johnson’s involvement once again puts the Jungle boat back into the water after a multiyear dry-dock phase.

Disney has been trying to mount a movie based on the popular ride since at least 2004, during the years when the success of The Pirates of the Caribbean set sail many ride-based projects.

The studio last tried to develop the project as a starring vehicle for Tom Hanks and Tim Allen in early 2011 with writer Roger S.H. Schulman.

Jungle Cruise is one of the Disneyland’s original rides and has a retro adventure vibe, transporting parkgoers into a melange of African settings such as the Nile River and Congo River, encountering rhinos and hippos and headhunters along the way. There’s an Amazon River section featuring piranhas.

While the Hanks-Allen iteration was to have been set in modern times, the new take brings the project back to its’ period roots with even the intent to harken Cruise to movies such as The African Queen, the 1951 classic starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn adventure movie that was one of the original inspirations for the ride.

Johnson is pumped to take a ride down the river: “[Disney production president] Sean Bailey and Disney have been awesome partners and now the fun part begins … We’re starting to put in the work with Requa and Ficarra and our creative team. Fired up about this one. Here we go.”

The project is in early development, and it’s unclear where it would fit into Johnson’s busy schedule. The actor is currently shooting the action comedy Central Intelligence for New Line and will shoot Baywatch with Zac Efron early next year. He is also due to reteam with his San Andreas director Brad Peyton for New Line’s adaptation of the video game Rampage.

Also on the docket, although without any specific dates, are a new Fast & Furious movie and a Shazam!movie.

The actor already has an anchor in Disney by being a lead voice in Moana, the animated project that emerged as one of the buzzy movies out of company’s D23 Expo last weekend.

Kristin Burr is overseeing Cruise for Disney.

Johnson is repped by WME, The Garcia Companies and Gang Tyre. Requa and Ficarra, whose writing credits also include Cats & Dogs and Bad Santa, are repped by CAA and McKuin Frankel.

From The Hollywood Reporter

Disney Plans Live-Action Remake of ‘The Sword in the Stone’

Sword in the Stone

Disney is revisiting its 1963 animated fantasy The Sword in the Stone, putting into development a live-action remake.

Bryan Cogman, a writer-producer on HBO’s fantasy Game of Thrones, has been tapped to pen the script for the project, which will be produced by Brigham Taylor.

Stone, the final movie released before Walt Disney’s death, told of a young King Arthur who is being mentored by Merlin.

The feature is loosely based on the T.H. White’s novel of the same name, which later became part of White’s multi-book Arthurian fantasy The Once and Future King.

Taylor, a former production exec at Disney, is producing the studio’s live-action version of The Jungle Book, Jon Favreau’s remake of its 1967 animated movie.

Cogman has already demonstrated an affinity for the Medieval fantasy genre. His work on Thrones has seen him nominated for WGA Awards four times and he is currently working on adapting the fantasy card game Magic: The Gathering for Fox. He also adapted YA fantasy The False Prince for Paramount.

Disney Planning Live-Action Prince Charming Movie

Prince Charming

Having reaped the rewards of so many fairytale re-imaginings, Disney is looking to take aim at the Prince at the center of many of those stories.

Sources tell Variety that the studio has acquired the spec “Prince Charming,” a live-action comedy revolving around the iconic character with Mandeville Films and Tripp Vinson producing.

Matt Fogel penned the script and while plot details are vague, sources say the point of view isn’t that of the prince himself but of his brother who never lived up to the family name.

UTA, reps Folger, who took the spec out to studios last week with several putting in bids for the property before Disney finally outbid all suitors. Given Disney’s success lately with fairytale properties like “Maleficent,” “Cinderella” and the upcoming “Beauty and the Beast” (on which Mandeville is also a producer), it makes sense the studio would be so aggressive in pursuing the property.

The sale is the first to a major studio for Folger who, prior to this, cut his teeth working for Phil Lord and Chris Miller as assistant during the filming of “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.”

He is developing “Bob: The Musical” at Disney as well.

From Variety

Looks Like End of Game for Tron 3

Tron-3

Tron 3 won’t be coming to a theater near you.

Disney has chosen not to move forward with a third installment in the sci-fi series, sources say. While sources say the project was never officially greenlit, earlier this year it seemed that things were moving ahead with Tron:Legacy helmer Joseph Kosinski returning to direct and stars Olivia Wilde and Garrett Hedlund reprising their roles.

Prep had been started on the third film, and production was looking to shoot this fall, likely in Vancouver, British Columbia. Disney had been interested in adding Jared Leto to the cast, but an offer and negotiations had never commenced.

Disney has been developing a sequel to Tron:Legacy since the movie, made for $170 million, grossed $400 million worldwide. Legacy was the sequel to the 1982 sci-fi film that took place inside a computer world known as the Grid and starred Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner. The film drew a big cult following and became a notable influence on filmmakers and pop culture.

Decades later, Disney revisited the world with Legacy. The story revealed that the computer-programmer character played by Bridges had a son (Hedlund) who jumped into the Grid to find his father. Wilde was Quorra, an algorithm-made-flesh who also happened to kick butt.

Disney has had strong success with its live-action properties recently, including Maleficent and this year’s Cinderella, which earned $527.4 million worldwide. But it recently had a stumble with the $180 million live-action film Tomorrowland, which underperformed at the box office this past weekend with a $33 million U.S. debut.

Disney’s live-action tentpole calendar is pretty full for the next few years, with live-action versions of many of its animated classics in the works including The Jungle Book, Alice: Through the Looking Glass and Beauty and the Beast.

From The Hollywood Reporter

Disney’s ‘Tomorrowland’ Disappoints With ‘John Carter’-Like $32M Weekend

Tomorrowland Movie

From Forbes.com

The power of positive thinking could not save Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland.  $190 million sci-fi adventure earned $32.159 million on its opening Fri-Sun weekend and an estimated $41m over the long holiday. Long-story short, that’s not a great number, just a bit above the $25m-$30m debuts of mega-budget whiffs like John CarterPrince of PersiaJack the Giant Slayer, and Battleship. The film stars Britt Robertson, George Clooney, Raffey Cassidy, and Hugh Laurie in a story about a young girl who stumbles upon a secret alternate world which resembles the would-be futuristic utopias dreamed about back in the 1950′s and 1960′s. The film is the biggest wholly original live-action entry in the summer season.

The somewhat cryptic marketing campaign has struggled to sell the film to kids and parents based mostly on George Clooney’s star power and the promise of unrevealed treasures to be revealed. More importantly, the film was hit by surprisingly negative reviews, with few raves and even the mixed-positive reviews (like mine) bending over backwards to praise the intent if not the execution, while all-but-admitting that the so-called mystery box wasn’t hiding anything beyond merely unspoiled story beats.

The Mouse House did something interesting a couple weeks ago, whereby they invited a select group of “Mommy Bloggers” to the world premiere in Anaheim’s Disneyland park and had them participate in the junket interview process. I don’t pretend to be an expert in said blogging sub-genre, but the end result is that the film got some comparatively in-depth coverage in outlets that reach audiences beyond the film nerds and general talk show/magazine crowd. I will be curious to what extent that affects the demographics this weekend. I am pointing this out because it is an interesting new gimmick and I like to point out when studios try something a little different.

Reviews, and the cryptic marketing campaign that basically amounted to “ Trust us, what we aren’t showing you will totally be worth it,” were the primary culprit. The reviews revealed that what was behind the curtain wasn’t as wonderful as promised. The one bit of good news is that the film’s 4.26x four-day weekend multiplier was among the higher such multipliers for a Memorial Day weekend blockbuster, in line with Bruce Almighty but behind the 4.5x multiplier for Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian ($15.6m/$70m) in 2009. The film also opened with $26.1m overseas giving it a $58.859m worldwide total as of today.

The weekend-to-domestic final multipliers for recent Fri-Mon Memorial Day weekend openers is grim. We’re talking around 2.0x for the frontloaded films (Fast & Furious 6X-Men: Days of Future Past) and over/under 2.5x for the leggier ones (Bruce AlmightyMen in Black 3Night at the Museum 2). So if Tomorrowland ends up with $41 million by Monday, we’re looking at a final domestic gross of between $82m and $105m. Barring some strong legs and/or overseas might, neither of which I am ruling out, this isn’t promising for the ambitious original in a sea of sequels and reboots.

BREAKING NEWS: Playtime Hits the Big Time: Toy Story 4 to Debut in 2017

Toy Story 4

Nearly two decades after Pixar Animation Studios created the world’s first computer-animated feature film with Toy Story, today it has revealed plans for Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story 4, an adventure that returns audiences to the world of the studio’s signature characters.

John Lasseter, director of the original Toy Story and Toy Story 2, will direct the film, which opens a new chapter in the lives of Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the Toy Story gang. The story was dreamt up by Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter and Lee Unkrich, the storytellers who have been the driving force behind all three Toy Story films.

“We love these characters so much; they are like family to us,” said Lasseter. “We don’t want to do anything with them unless it lives up to or surpasses what’s gone before. Toy Story 3 ended Woody and Buzz’s story with Andy so perfectly that for a long time, we never even talked about doing another Toy Story movie. But when Andrew, Pete, Lee and I came up with this new idea, I just could not stop thinking about it. It was so exciting to me, I knew we had to make this movie—and I wanted to direct it myself.”

Writing team Rashida Jones and Will McCormack (Celeste and Jesse Forever) joined the project, and Pixar veteran Galyn Susman (ABC’s Toy Story OF TERROR! and Toy Story that Time Forgot) is producing.

Toy Story 4 is slated for release on June 16, 2017.

Walt Disney Animation Studios Announces 2016 Film: Moana!

Moana

Ron Clements and Jon Musker (the guys responsible for AladdinThe Little MermaidThe Princess and the Frog, and our childhoods), are back with a brand-new film for Walt Disney Animation Studios, MoanaThe film tells the story of Moana, a spirited teenager on an impossible mission to fulfill her ancestors’ quest. It’s set in the ancient South Pacific world of Oceania, and Moana, a born navigator, sets sail in search of a fabled island. During her incredible journey, she teams up with her hero, the legendary demi-god Maui, to traverse the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous sea creatures, breathtaking underworlds and ancient folklore. Color us excited. We love incredible journeys, demi-gods, and ancient folklore.

“Moana is indomitable, passionate and a dreamer with a unique connection to the ocean itself,” Musker said. “She’s the kind of character we all root for, and we can’t wait to introduce her to audiences.” Well, Mr. Musker, we cannot wait to see more from the film and meet Moana as well! The film comes to theaters in late 2016.

Teaser Trailer Released for Disney’s Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland Movie

From Disney comes two-time Oscar® winner Brad Bird’s riveting, mystery adventure “Tomorrowland,” 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 & co-creator Damon Lindelof and Brad Bird, from a story by Damon Lindelof & Brad Bird & Jeff Jensen, “Tomorrowland” promises to take audiences on a thrill ride of nonstop adventures through new dimensions that have only been dreamed of.

Disney’s Tomorrowland Teaser Trailer