Monday, November 10, 2014
Word Is Out
Even though we pretty much knew all of this beforehand, Disney has finally announced the concrete release dates for Zootopia and Moana, the next two Walt Disney Animation Studios films!
Yes, Zootopia is indeed opening on March 4, 2016 and Moana follows on November 23, 2016. This isn't news...
But for you newcomers, why is this not really news?
A certain someone named Honor Hunter, who used to update a really cool blog called Blue Sky Disney. In May 2013, Disney locked the 3/4/2016 and 11/23/2016 slots, along with 3/9/2018 and 11/21/2018. Then sometime in June or July, Honor Hunter leaked some juicy information on what titles would possibly fill those slots. He said Zootopia would be first, followed by Giants, then Moana on 3/9/2018, and then a sci-fi movie directed by Dean Wellins.
That was then.
In August 2013, Disney confirmed at the third D23 Expo that the Zootopia project does in fact exist. But they didn't say when it was going to come out. All we heard from then until now that it was a "2016 release". Naturally, we went by Honor's word and assumed: It was the 3/4/2016 release.
In September 2013, Honor reported that the Wellins sci-fi epic fell into the dark pit known as the "story problems" phase. Happens to all animated films. Some films climb out or are lifted out, others stay down there for good...
Then a couple months ago, there were rumors that Giants had hit the wall and was facing story problems, and that Moana was going to move ahead of it. Moana did in fact move ahead it. Disney announced last month that Moana would be a "fall 2016" release. Disney still didn't give us a concrete release date for that film, or Zootopia. Naturally, with the slots 3/4/2016 and 11/23/2016 claimed, and Honor's blog posts, we all pretty much saw it coming.
And now it has happened. I guess Disney was simply waiting to see how Big Hero 6 would do at the box office before outright saying when Zootopia or Moana would come out. Now it's official!
I'm happy that Disney waited it out, to be honest. I've said it here many times before, but I think it's a wise idea to lock dates but not say what exact films are coming out on those dates. Outside of animation, the likes of Marvel and now WB have done this for their DC films and the installments in the Fantastic Beasts trilogy.
Back in May 2013, who knows what shape Zootopia and Moana were in. Only those inside the walls at Disney Animation. Honor said Giants was intended for the fall 2016, but obviously it wasn't ready. It's good that Disney didn't outright tell us back then, "Oh, Zootopia hits March 2016 and Giants follows in the fall!" Only to push Giants back to 2018 and then leave people who were really looking forward to it disappointed and upset. Remember when Pixar had to delay The Good Dinosaur because they were having problems with it? Everybody was upset, they were not happy that this year was going to be a year without a Pixar film.
(And these same people probably think the studio is going downhill, but I digress...)
At the same time, this gives the crews working on those films less pressure, I believe. "Aim for 2016," so the crew takes their time on the project and doesn't rush it. But then when something goes wrong - Giants having story issues, push it back. Now you've got more time, and the public doesn't really know that this movie was even delayed. Nor do the money people, really. In fact, Disney technically did not want us to know about the existence of these projects. Leaks are very powerful, just look at what happened with Marvel and the Avengers: Age of Ultron teaser. There was so much clamoring for Moana in particular, it's almost as if these people didn't know about Zootopia or Giants.
So yes, good on Disney for not jumping the gun. Pixar has been doing this as of late, going back to their roots as a secretive studio. DreamWorks, sadly, doesn't do this. Tons of titles are announced for the next four years, and that slate always changes. Sony Animation is now beginning to do this, along with Illumination. Warner Animation mostly does it. Blue Sky? Not so much, but they do one a year so they don't really have to worry too much.
As for Zootopia and Moana themselves? I heavily anticipate both, since they are Walt Disney Animation Studios films and the Burbank house has been a major roll since John Lasseter resurrected it back in 2006. These two ambitious and creative projects follow a string of films that I thought were strong and had their hearts in the right place, even the not-as-great ones.
Bring them on!