On Wednesday, March 6, 2013, at the Annual Meeting of Shareholders for the Walt Disney Company in Phoenix Arizona, the company previewed some of the films that will be making their theatrical debut this year. The audience enjoyed previews of new upcoming films such as “Monsters University,” “The Lone Ranger,” and “Iron Man 3.” On the 2013 slate, are eight movies including new films from Marvel and Pixar.
Release date: March 8, 2013
From Walt Disney Pictures comes the fantastic adventure complement to MGM’s 1939 production of “The Wizard of Oz,” “Oz The Great and Powerful.” This story is told from the perspective of Oscar Diggs, a circus magician, played by James Franco, who finds himself in the land of Oz and is called upon to become the all-powerful wizard. He soon becomes caught in a battle between good and evil and must discover the truth behind the people he meets, in the end, becoming a better man himself. In addition to Franco, this film stars Mila Kunis as Theodora, Michelle Williams as Glinda, and Rachel Weisz as Evanora, the three witches. “Oz The Great and Powerful” is directed by “Spider-Man” director, Sam Raimi with original music by veteran composer, Danny Elfman.
Release date: May 3, 2013
The world of Marvel continues to provide fans with new stories and more action this year. This summer, Tony Stark returns in “Iron Man 3”, up against an enemy known as The Mandarin who has destroyed Stark’s “personal world.” The battle that ensues is more than just action-packed, good v. evil opposition, but Stark will find what it really means to be a hero, by fighting for the one who means most to him. “Iron Man 3” stars Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark, Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin, Don Cheadle as James Rhodes, Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian, and Rebecca Hall as Maya Hansen. Departing from the first two movies in the series, Jon Favreau does not direct this third installment, as this task is given to Shane Black who is known for his writing on the “Lethal Weapon” films.
Release date: June 21, 2013
In June, the highly-anticipated prequel to 2001’s “Monsters, Inc.” hits the big screen with Pixar’s “Monsters University.” This film tells the story of the beginnings of the friendship between the hilarious duo, Mike Wazowski and Sulley. Its setting is on the campus of Monsters University which is portrayed as similar to a traditional, perhaps, East-coast college, with brick buildings, stone bridges, ornate lampposts, and beautiful foliage that changes colors with the seasons. Of course, this film is a comedic adventure between a pair of unlikely monsters at a younger age than when audiences first fell in love with them. Voicing Mike and Sulley, are the familiar voices of Billy Crystal and John Goodman, respectively. Steve Buscemi returns as Randall Boggs and Helen Mirren was cast as Dean Hardscrabble. Perhaps to some surprise, the film is not being directed by Pete Docter, but by Dan Scanlon who was a storyboard artist on “Cars” and co-directed the short film, “Mater and the Ghostlight.” For those wishing to enroll in Monsters University, they can hear from current students and faculty about life at the college at the official university website, http://monstersuniversity.com/edu/
Release date: July 3, 2013
Walt Disney Studios gives Johnny Depp fans and Lone Ranger fans an exciting new adventure inspired by the classic American tale of the masked Lone Ranger and his consort, Tonto, the Native American “spirit warrior.” In this film, Tonto tells the story of how he transformed John Reid (The Lone Ranger) from a man of the law into a man of justice, making him a legend of the Old West. This film is infused with adventure and humor and provides audiences yet another look, at how an unlikely partnership can evoke the suppressed truth of people that, when paired together, translates into actions that benefit the greater good. Starring Johnny Depp as Tonto, and Armie Hammer as The Lone Ranger, “The Lone Ranger” also features Helena Bonham Carter as Red and Tom Wilkinson as Latham Cole. Gore Verbinski directs and Jerry Bruckheimer produces, which is the same team that brought audiences “Pirates of the Caribbean.” With this lineup of stars on each level, “The Lone Ranger” is sure to delight a myriad of fans of all ages.
Release date: August 9, 2013
Not a Pixar film, as many are initially led to believe, “Planes” is DisneyToon Studios’ newest theatrical release. It tells the story of a crop duster named Dusty, who has big dreams of becoming a competitor in the most world-renowned air race that has ever been. Unfortunately, Dusty is afraid of heights, and being a crop duster, he isn't exactly equipped with the necessities racing requires, such as speed. Friendship becomes a major theme throughout the film, as Dusty qualifies for the race with his friends’ help and then must face unforeseen trouble during the last leg, but must find the courage to believe in himself and believe in his friends who have been beside him the whole time. Starring the voice of comedian, Dane Cook as Dusty, “Planes” is directed by Klay Hall who has Disney merit as writer and director of the 2009 film, “Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure.”
Release date: November 8, 2013
For the second Marvel theatrical release of 2013, comes “Thor: The Dark World” in which audiences will be delighted to see familiar and new characters portrayed in this sequel to the 2011 blockbuster. In this new installment, Thor must battle Malekith, “who threatens to plunge the universe back into darkness”, and his Dark Elves. Thor must fight to save Earth as well as all Nine Realms before the damage is done. Chris Hemsworth portrays Thor, with the character of Jane Foster played by Natalie Portman, Odin by Anthony Hopkins, Darcy Lewis by Kat Dennings, and Malekith by Christopher Eccleston. Alan Taylor directs.
Release date: November 27, 2013
Just in time for the wintery season, “Frozen” premieres, from Walt Disney Animation Studios, as an epic adventure across snow-covered mountains and dangerous terrain in “Everest-like conditions,” as Anna and a mountain climber named, Kristoff traverse to find the Snow Queen. The Snow Queen, Elsa, is Anna’s sister, and Anna and Kristoff journey to find her to end the continuous winter conditions that have befallen their kingdom. Along the way, many memorable characters are to be met with elements of fantasy and comedy interwoven into the storytelling mechanism. This film stars the voices of Kristen Bell as Anna, Jonathan Groff as Kristoff, and Idina Menzel as Elsa. “Frozen” is directed by a partnership of Chris Buck, whose work includes director of 1999’s “Tarzan” and character design on “The Brave Little Toaster,” “The Little Mermaid,” and “Pocahontas,” and Jennifer Lee, who provided her talents to the screenplay of “Wreck-It Ralph.”
Release date: December 20, 2013
To close out the year, Walt Disney Pictures casts Tom Hanks as Walt Disney himself, in “Saving Mr. Banks.” The film chronicles the uncertain time surrounding the production and big-screen adaption of author, P. L. Travers’ beloved children’s books, “Mary Poppins.” The relationship between Disney and Travers is explored in the film, and audiences are sure to express their pleasure in seeing the man who started it all portrayed by such a respected actor. Opposite Hanks’ role as Walt Disney, Emma Thompson is to play Travers. “Saving Mr. Banks” also stars Colin Farrell who portrays Travers’ father and Jason Schwartzman as songwriter Richard Sherman, with other starring names including Paul Giamatti, Kathy Baker, and Bradley Whitford.
With eight exciting films on slate for release (with “Oz The Great and Powerful” premiering this past Friday) from The Walt Disney Company in 2013, audiences are sure to be enthralled and inspired by the breadth of story that will hit the big screen this year. From Marvel to Pixar to Walt Disney Animation, there is something for everyone. The fantasy, the realism, the action, the adventure, is sure to make the imaginations of onlookers soar to new heights, and truly make viewers part of the story. With the variety of films debuting in 2013, Disney will successfully reach their markets at each level, and perhaps even more, leaving them with that classic Disney inspiration and leading them to create a mark on their calendar for the next film’s release date.