Disney has greenlit a second Monsters, Inc film and will release it in North America on November 16, 2012.
Walt Disney Studios chairman Rich Ross made the announcement to an invited audience of reporters on the lot in Burbank last night .
Ross presented the upcoming slate in his first appearance in front of the press, adding that the studio expected to greenlight Prom, a high school film reminiscent of the films of John Hughes and Cameron Crowe, and a Muppets film based on a screenplay by Jason Segel and Nick Stoller that would introduce a new character, Walter.
Ross, personable throughout, emphasised the need for focusing on global customer demand and the importance of exploiting properties across multiple platforms.
He referred several times to Disney’s high command “dream team” and mentioned Scottish media hotshot MT Carney, who was confirmed this week as Disney’s president of marketing, and recently appointed president of production Sean Bailey. Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige, DreamWorks’ Steven Spielberg and Stacey Snider, and the animation gurus Ed Catmull and John Lasseter also earned praise.
Ross showed a reel of the 2010 tentpoles, led by summer releases The Prince Of Persia out on May 28, Toy Story 3 out June 18 and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice out on July 16, as well as the December 17 release of Tron: Legacy, which Bailey is producing.
Pirates Of The Caribbean 4, scheduled to open in summer 2011, will commence shooting in London and Hawaii in about six weeks, and Disney has set a June 15, 2012, release date for Pixar’s Brave.
Ross also made time to show an incomplete trailer for the racehorse sports drama Secretariat starring Diane Lane and John Malkovich, which opens in September. “The tentpoles in our business are a very important part,” he said, “but they cannot be the only part.”
On that note while Ross declined to comment on the Miramax sale, he did say that until it was finalised a small team was working on marketing materials as if in preparation for a release through Disney. These include The Switch starring Jennifer Anniston and Jason Bateman, and the animated fantasy Gnomeo & Juliet, which will go out through the Touchstone label on 2011. Talks are ongoing over who will release Julie Taymor’s The Tempest.
Touchstone will handle most of the DreamWorks films and further details on that company’s 2011 slate will be forthcoming shortly. The overall plan is to focus on eight to ten live-action releases a year, four tentpoles, and one or two animations. Ross also referred to “targeted tentpoles” like Prom, which did not necessarily have four-quadrant appeal but would engage a specific demographic in a significant way.
He concluded with some broad strokes in response to questions, reaffirming Disney’s commitment to internal financing and a lack of interest in collaborating with outside sources. He said Disney was “aggressively” ramping up local productions, and also hinted that the studio would continue to collapse release windows – the cause of near revolt among UK exhibitors over Alice In Wonderland earlier in the year – “when it makes sense for the market.”