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CinemaCon: Disney Showcases Mighty Labels, 'Lone Ranger' Trailer and Q & A Live Stream, 'Monsters U' (VIDEO)

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood April 22, 2013 at 6:00AM

It's hard not to be impressed with the Disney empire that Bob Iger has assembled at the movie studio. It's a label strategy that assumes that if you buy the best and the brightest properties and manage them well you will come out ahead--from John Lasseter's Pixar and Ike Permutter's Marvel to Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks and Kathleen Kennedy's Lucasfilm. At the CinemaCon Disney presentation, new studio chief Alan Horn, who took over the Disney reins from ousted rookie Rick Ross, was well-known to the exhibitors, as he had been the warm and genial head of Warner Bros. for 11 years. He started out, rather oddly, stating his support of the long windows status quo, given boss Iger's known desire to squash ancillary windows and other studios' hard work behind the scenes to push back on this issue.
"Monsters University"
"Monsters University"

Also coming down the track in December is a Brit-produced biopic directed by John Lee Hancock ("The Blind Side") about Walt Disney's prickly relationship with "Mary Poppins" creator P.L. Travers, played by Emma Thompson; Tom Hanks is the genial mustachioed studio boss. "It will make you laugh and cry," promised Horn. This one looks like a tough sell to arthouse adults and critics with Oscar hopes at best, but obviously, this origin story of the classic musical had to be handled by Disney.

Jolie as 'Maleficent'
Jolie as 'Maleficent'

In March 2014 comes the next live-action "Muppets" movie, an international caper, followed by Angelina Jolie starring at the center of the action as another evil fairy queen, "Maleficent," directed by production designer Robert Stromberg ("Avatar," "Alice in Wonderland" and "Oz: the Great and Powerful") and written by Linda Woolverton ("Alice in Wonderland," "Beauty and the Beast," "The Lion King"). Elle Fanning, Sam Reilly, Miranda Richardson and Sharlto Copley co-star and "Oz"'s Joe Roth produces. "Star Trek" scribe Damon Lindeloff writes mystery adventure "Tomorrowland" (December 2014) for director Brad Bird ("Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol"), set to star George Clooney.

'The Fifth Estate'
DreamWorks/Disney 'The Fifth Estate'

Of course Disney boasts a strong animation slate, and Horn set out the upcoming offerings from the Pixar and Disney labels. He screened the entire Pixar prequel "Monsters University" (June 21), which reunites hulking blue Sulley (John Goodman) and diminutive Mike (Billy Crystal) as rival college freshmen who want to win a contest as scariest monster. As gorgeously wrought as usual, "Monsters U" played well but may boast a narrower parents-and-their-kids appeal than most Pixar films. Horn reminded that the company is 13 for 13, an unprecedented track record. I'm not surprised Disney decided to take "Planes" out theatrically in 3-D (August 9), from the world of "Cars."

Bob Peterson's "The Good Dinosaur," set in a world where an asteroid did not wipe out the species, comes in May 2014, followed by Pete Docter's little girl brain movie "Inside Out" (June 19, 2015). And "John Carter" writer-director Andrew Stanton is back in the Pixar fold at the helm of "Finding Nemo" sequel "Finding Dory," starring Albert Brooks and Ellen De Generis (November 15, 2015).

From Disney Animation comes its latest princess musical, this one based on Hans Christian Andersen, starring actress-singers Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel (the Snow Queen), along with Jonathan Groff (November 27, 2013) as well as 2014's "Phineas and Ferb," written by "Toy Story 3" scribe Michael Arndt and starring Thomas Brodie-Sangster.

The team at Lucasfilm is beavering away on the next "Star Wars" iteration due in 2015, written by Arndt, with at least one spin-off written by "Raiders of the Lost Ark" scribe Lawrence Kasdan. They're set to come out every two years, said Horn.  Spielberg and Stacey Snider's DreamWorks is supplying three films a year to the Disney slate. Vince Vaughn stars as "Delivery Man" (October 4), a guy who has spawned more than 500 children. Bill Condon directs "The Fifth Estate" (November 15) starring go-to man Benedict Cumberbatch as Wikileaks radical Julian Assange and Daniel Bruhl.

This article is related to: Video, Trailers, Disney , Gore Verbinski, Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.