9:48am PT by Rebecca Ford, Borys Kit
Disney Slates 'Moana' for 2016, Unveils First-Look Art
Walt Disney Animation Studios has unveiled a first look at the concept art for upcoming CG-animated film Moana, the story of a Polynesian teen who sets sail in search of a fabled island.
The studio also announced that the film, directed by the filmmaking team of Ron Clements and John Musker, will hit theaters in late 2016.
Set in the ancient South Pacific world of Oceania, the story follows Moana, a born navigator, who 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.
This will be the first CG-animated movie from Clements and Musker, the team behind Disney classic The Little Mermaid and Aladdin. (They also directed The Princess and the Frog.)
“Moana is indomitable, passionate and a dreamer with a unique connection to the ocean itself,” Musker said in a statement. “She's the kind of character we all root for, and we can't wait to introduce her to audiences.”
Moana was initially projected to hit screens in 2018 but it seems like Disney is further along in the process than observers expected.
Disney's latest animated princess-centric film, Frozen, in March became the No. 1 animated film of all time on its way to earning a stunning $1.27 billion worldwide since opening in November 2013.
The Moana first-look and date announcement comes just weeks before Disney's next animated release, Big Hero 6. The studio also has two Pixar films hitting theaters in 2015: Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur.