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Blocks of Hollywood Boulevard barred traffic on Monday for a batch of high-security promotions for Disney’s next release, Ralph Breaks the Internet.
While fans settled into El Capitan Theatre at the world premiere, castmembers John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Taraji P. Henson, Jane Lynch and Mandy Moore climbed risers outside to take in a performance of Imagine Dragons’ “Zero,” the song that plays during the film’s credits. The concert concluded that night’s episode of neighboring ABC talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live!, which also hosted Henson as a guest.
Along with additional ensemble actors Ali Wong, Jack McBrayer, Timothy Simons, Alan Tudyk and Alfred Molina — as well as bold-faced supporters in Josh Gad, Christina Milian, Ed Helms and Melissa Joan Hart — everyone first passed underneath a long aqua tunnel, which was installed instead of a red carpet.
In the sequel to 2013’s Oscar nominee Wreck-It Ralph, mismatched arcade character pals Ralph (Reilly) and Vanellope von Schweetz (Silverman) zoom through web portals, trying to secure a new steering wheel for Vanellope’s broken game, Sugar Rush, before it is decommissioned.
Ralph Breaks the Internet’s most anticipated scene — thought up by co-screenwriter Pamela Ribon (Moana) — reunites a dozen Disney princesses to laugh off the not-so-feminist formulas that have long linked them. Kristen Bell (Frozen), Ming-Na Wen (Mulan) and the rest of the royal voice actors joined directors Rich Moore and Phil Johnston, plus 8,000 audience members, at 2017’s D23 Expo. “One woman screamed like Oprah [Winfrey] was throwing cars into the crowd,” remembered Ribon when speaking to The Hollywood Reporter.
In April of this year, the resulting footage was met with resounding applause at Disney’s Las Vegas CinemaCon presentation. “We thought, ‘Oh, well, everyone in the studio thinks it’s funny, but these are all our jokes,'” said Ribon, who also voices Snow White in her film. “Then it hit the internet, and people haven’t even seen the whole thing yet. I’m just like, ‘What’s going to happen when they know there’s more?'”
In April 2017, Disney postponed the Ralph Breaks the Internet release date by eight months. Many assumed the move was made to benefit A Wrinkle in Time. Producer Clark Spencer told THR that that was not the case: “You get to that place where you realize the story isn’t quite where you want it to be, and then we need to figure out how do you do the right thing, which is not release a movie just because you have to release it, but wait until it’s as good as it can be.”
Former Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar CCO John Lasseter is credited as an executive producer on the film. Almost a year ago, accusations of workplace sexual harassment led the exec to take a six-month leave of absence. Soon after, Wreck-It Ralph co-writer Jennifer Lee took over his Disney Animation duties, while Inside Out director Pete Docter was appointed his Pixar replacement. Lasseter will remain as a consult at both companies through the end of the year.
When allegations against Lasseter surfaced, Spencer said, “We were so deep into making the film, and he obviously had a huge impact on it.” Yet Spencer and his collaborators were “lucky” that Lee had also been an executive producer on their sequel from the beginning. “We had her as our kind of supporter and our set of objective eyes to look at the film, so it really was us just keeping moving forward,” he added.
Absent from the screening was Wonder Woman 1984 star Gal Gadot, who gives her first animated turn as the voice of Shank, an edgy racer that Vanellope wants to emulate. The El Capitan crowd applauded an Alan Menken-penned duet between Silverman and Gadot, and several adults were heard crying during a third-act scene. The pic ends with mid- and post-credit scenes, as well as a list of the many “production babies” — infants born to the 900-person crew during filmmaking.
Ralph Breaks the Internet is set to hit theaters Nov. 21.
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