Everything we learned at Pixar and Walt Disney Animation at D23 Expo

In this photo illustration, the Pixar Animation Studios logo is visible on a smartphone screen.

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The Walt Disney Company revealed new information about its upcoming roster of animated films and TV shows during the Pixar and Disney Animation Studios panel at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California on Friday.

Animated films released in theaters have fallen at the box office since the pandemic. At first, parents refrained from bringing their kids back to theaters, but now it seems like lackluster titles and an increase in children’s content on streaming have encouraged families to stay at home.

Disney has exacerbated this problem since theaters reopened as it put most of its new Pixar movies on Disney+, including Blushing, Soul, and Luke. Although these decisions were made at a time when vaccination was not available to children and cinema attendance was slow, it has conditioned consumers to expect these films to stream.

That’s one of the reasons Lightter didn’t hit theaters this summer. Of course, the movie also suffered from a confusing premise that was different from what made the Toy Story franchise so special.

Disney revealed new titles from Pixar and its Walt Disney Animation Studio, as well as films related to its live action remakes, during Friday’s panel. It will also reveal which films will hit theaters and which will come through Disney+.


Pixar Chief Creative Officer Pete Docter took the stage at D23 Expo to announce new games from the animation studio coming to theaters and Disney+ in the coming years.

Elemental, coming out in the summer of 2023, tells the story of a bustling metropolis where the elements of earth, air, fire and water live. But when a fire girl and a water boy have a connection, they must figure out how to interact while remaining polar opposites. Director Peter Son noted that the film also touches on the themes of immigration and finding one’s place in the world.

The company is launching its first feature-length series on Disney+ called Win or Lose. The show is the brainchild of two storyboard artists and tells the story of the Pickles softball team a week before their championship game. Each episode takes place over the course of one week, but from the point of view of a different protagonist.

“Elio” is a new studio project that follows an 11-year-old boy named Elio who is just trying to fit in. His mother is working on a top-secret military project to decipher alien messages, but it is Elio who accidentally makes the first contact and becomes Earth’s de facto emissary. The film will premiere in the spring of 2024.

Amy Poehler joined Docter onstage to announce that Pixar will be making a 2015 Inside Out sequel. Riley is now a teenager and new emotions are joining the mix. The film will be released in the summer of 2024.

Disney Animation

Jennifer Lee, chief creative officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios, has announced several new studio projects.

First, Lee said that Zootopia+ would be released in November. The show is a series of short films about the main characters of the 2016 feature film.

Disney is partnering with Kugali Media to bring Iwaju to Disney+. The series is set in Nigeria and follows a young heiress named Tola and a poor boy named Kola. It will appear on the streaming service in 2023.

The studio has shared a trailer for Weird Worlds, which will hit theaters on Thanksgiving Day 2022. The film centers on the Kleydes, a family of explorers who must rely on each other despite their differences to cross an uncharted and treacherous new land.

Desire is a 2023 Disney feature film. It explores how the dreaming star that so many Disney characters dreamed of came to be. The film is set in the Rose Kingdom and follows Asha, an optimist with a sharp mind. Asha sees a darkness in the kingdom that no one else sees, so in a moment of despair, she makes a passionate plea to the stars. This summons a real star from the sky called the Star, which has the magical power of wish fulfillment.

Ashu is played by Ariana DeBose as Asha and Alan Tudyk as Valentino the goat. DeBose sang an original song from the film, and Tudyk ran through his repertoire of Disney characters, including Duke Weaselton from Frozen, Hei Hei from Moana, and King Candy from Ralph.

live action

Ahead of the reveal of its animated content, Disney has unveiled new trailers for Hocus Pocus 2, which will be released on Disney+ on September 30, as well as Disenchanted, the 2007 sequel to Charmed, which will be released on the streaming service on November 24.

Following the release of Pinocchio on Disney+ on Thursday, the studio announced a host of new additions to its catalog of live-action Disney remakes.

Peter Pan and Wendy, starring Alexander Moloney as Peter, Ever Anderson as Wendy and Alyssa Wapanatah as Tiger Lily, is slated to release on Disney+ in 2023. Jude Law plays Captain Hook.

The Haunted Mansion is set to hit theaters on March 10, 2023. Directed by Justin Simien, a former Disneyland actor, the film is filled with Easter eggs taken from the famous attraction in the Disney parks. During the panel, Simien announced that Jamie Lee Curtis would play the role of Madame Leota in the film.

Barry Jenkin’s previously untitled The Lion King project is called Mufasa: The Lion King and tells the origin story of Mufasa from cub to king. The clips shown to viewers at D23 Expo show off the same stunning visuals as 2019’s The Lion King and hit theaters in 2024.

The company also shared a sneak peek of Snow White, which is due out in theaters in 2024. The film stars Rachel Zegler in the title role and Gal Gadot as the Evil Queen. The fans burst into applause as Gadot took the stage. The Wonder Woman actress said she had fun playing the villain because she was so often given more heroic roles.

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

Rob Marshall, director of the Disney remake of The Little Mermaid, has shared the entire “Parts of Your World” episode from the movie. Halle Bailey’s performance garnered thunderous applause and standing ovations as she took the stage. The film is released in theaters on May 26, 2023.

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