CinemaCon: Disney Surprises by Screening 27 Minutes of Pixar's 'Finding Dory'

Finding Dory Still - H 2013
Walt Disney Studios

Finding Dory Still - H 2013

The studio touted its upcoming slate at the annual convention of theater owners in Las Vegas and screened 'Captain America: Civil War' in full.

Disney had plenty to crow about at CinemaCon on Wednesday before showing 27 minutes of Pixar's Finding Dory, a sequel to the classic Finding Nemo.

Theater owners knew they were going to be seeing a full screening of Disney and Marvel Studio's Captain America: Civil War, but the glimpse of Finding Dory was a surprise.

Most studios touting their slates at CinemaCon rely on a parade of stars to impress theater owners. Disney, before it turned to Dory and Civil War, took the opposite approach and let footage and trailers, including the trailer for Star Wars spinoff Rogue One and the new trailer for Marvel entry Doctor Strange, speak for themselves.

"There is no shortage of amazing content from Disney's five class studios," Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis told cinema operators, referring to Disney proper, Disney Animation Studios, Pixar, Marvel Studios and its crown jewel, Lucasfilm, home of Star Wars. "They are simply the best of the best."

"And Star Wars: Episode VIII is well under way. Director Rian Johnson is on set as we speak," he added. "And Doctor Strange is sure to become a new fan favorite."

Finding Dory, which hits cinemas in June, takes place six months after the events of Finding Nemo, and returns Ellen DeGeneres as the voice of Dory and Albert Brooks as the voice of Marlin. This time, the story centers around Dory, whose short-term memory problem is wreaking havoc.

"I thought Finding Nemo was done," said director Andrew Stanton when taking the stage at CinemaCon to introduce the Finding Dory footage. "I thought it was a closed circuit. But I started to worry about Dory, that she might get lost again. ... I'd actually seen her as this tragic character and it really bothered me. That's what made me pursue this film for the past four years."

The footage for Finding Dory drew a round loud of applause from theater owners, who also repeatedly applauded throughout Disney's brief presentation looking back at its hits of the past year, including Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Zootopia.

A day after Warner Bros. chairman Kevin Tsujihara confirmed Ben Affleck's stand-alone Batman movie as part of Warners and DC's ambitious effort to launch their own cinematic universe to rival Marvel, Hollis noted that Marvel Studios' 12 films have earned $9 billion at the worldwide box office over the last eight years.