A still from the movie “Moana” produced by Disney Animation.
How far will Disney go? It seems to go back to ancient Polynesia.
Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed on Wednesday that the untitled Disney animated film scheduled for Thanksgiving is a sequel to the beloved 2016 film “Moana.”
The news comes just one day later Nielsen year-end ratings “Moana” was named the most watched film targeting children and families in 2023, with 11.6 billion minutes watched.
“This was originally developed as a series, but we liked what we saw and knew it deserved a theatrical release,” Iger said during the company's earnings call.
Disney's animation studios — Walt Disney Animation and Pixar — have struggled at the box office in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. That stems in part from the company's decision to stock its nascent streaming service Disney+ with content, expand its creative teams and send theatrical films during the pandemic straight to digital.
This decision has trained parents to seek out new Disney titles via streaming, not theaters, even when Disney has chosen to bring its films back to the big screen. Compounding Disney's problems was a general feeling among audiences that the company's content had become overly existential and too concerned with social issues for children to access.
As a result, no animated film produced by Disney Pixar or Walt Disney Animation has grossed more than $480 million at the global box office since 2019.
The “Moana” sequel will be released about six months after the theatrical release of “Inside Out 2,” the sequel to the 2015 hit animated film about what really happens inside a person's head.
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