Cannes: John Lasseter Previews Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Slates

He showed new footage from 'Moana,' 'Finding Dory' and 'Zootopia' and said Disney Animation was “quite broken when we came in, morale was really low.”

Just two days after the world premiere for its latest film, Inside Out, during the Cannes Film Festival, Disney and Pixar hosted a presentation in Cannes previewing their animation slate.

John Lasseter, chief creative officer of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, showed images and footage from a slew of films, plus the very first look at Pixar's latest completed short film Sanjay’s Super Team.

Lasseter went through the Pixar slate first, starting with The Good Dinosaur, directed by Peter Sohn, which he said is “striving for a very unique tone, unlike any animated film made.” He said: “I think our next movie asks the biggest what if of all.  What if the asteroid that wiped out dinosaurs actually missed earth?”

Lasseter showed nature scenes from the movie, which looked like live-action, but were actually all animated. “It’s not going to be your average backdrop for a film,” he said.

“This is a boy and a dog story, but the roles are reversed,” said Lasseter of the film that centers on a lost dinosaur that meets an orphaned boy. He showed several images and unfinished clips from the film, which opens in the U.S. on Nov. 25.

Finding Dory, which opens summer 2016, explores the story of the lovable blue fish of Finding Nemo. It takes place about six months after the events of Finding Nemo, when Dori learns about migration instincts and is determined to find her family. She takes Nemo and Marlin along with her.

Lasseter will direct Toy Story 4, which he says is a “brand new chapter” in the Toy Story world rather than a continuation of the original story. It opens in the summer of 2017.

There are seven more films in development and production slated for release after 2017, he said. Lasseter then moved on to Walt Disney Animation Studios’ slate.

“It was quite broken when we came in, morale was really low,” said Lasseter of taking over the studio nine years ago. He said he changed it from an executive-driven studio to a filmmaker studio. “The magic is so important in what we do,” he added.
The studio's Zootopia centers on anthropomorphic animals that wear clothes, go to work and use technology (including iPhones) like humans. It centers on a small-town rabbit who becomes a cop in the big city. There, she meets a quick-witted con artist fox.

Moana was inspired by the people and culture of the South Pacific and will be directed by John Musker and Ron Clements. The filmmakers have taken several trips to Oceana for research, asking locals and experts to help them make the project.

Moana is a young woman, a princess, who is determined to go beyond the reef and find out what’s out there in the world. The film, which centers on the legends of the islands, is a musical. Lasseter showed a story reel featuring some of the music and the overall look of the film. A particular clip, showing the way the ocean is a character itself, drew especially warm applause.

Lasseter wrapped up the presentation with a brand new short film, Sanjay’s Super Team, which he showed to the crowd for the very first time. It will be released in theaters with The Good Dinosaur.