LAS VEGAS -- Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy were personally on hand as Disney president of production Sean Bailey officially announced there will be a Muppets 2 while addressing the annual gathering of theater owners in Las Vegas.
Later, Disney and Pixar animation chief John Lasseter announced that Pixar is pursuing a 2015 animated film based around the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos. Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich will be in the director's chair with Darla K. Anderson producing.
Pixar also has titled its May 30, 2014 dinosaur film The Good Dinosaur.
Bailey provided no other details regarding the Muppets sequel, which was one of a number of projects touted during Disney's presentation at CinemaCon. Exhibitors saw the first footage from Oz: The Great and Powerful, as well as 30 minutes from Brave, the first Pixar film to feature a female heroine, while Johnny Depp showed up to tout Lone Ranger.
Bailey informed exhibitors that recording artist Jack White will write, produce and perform the score for The Lone Ranger, which opens May 2013.
Disney has good reason to pump its upcoming slate: its turn on the stage at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace comes only days after Walt Disney Studios chairman Rich Ross resigned follow box office bomb John Carter.
Exhibitors responded warmly to the Oz presentation, a combination of footage and concept art that was introduced by director Sam Raimi and producer Joe Roth. Oz stars James Franco and Mila Kunis took the stage after.
Franco went off script just as the music cued up for the group to exit, commenting that the tendency is for big movies to have more and more violence and action. "This is a different kind of big movie," he said.
Depp and Lone Ranger producer Jerry Bruckheimer showed up to discuss their movie, which features Depp in the role of Tonto (Armie Hammer plays the Lone Ranger). Bruckheimer promised that Depp is a decidedly unconventional Tonto.
"He's got some interesting additions," said Depp, who receieved a rousing response.
Added Bruckheimer: "It's the Odd Couple meets The Wild Bunch."
Tim Burton and footage from his upcoming stop-action pic Frankenweenie was another hit of Disney's show. The 3D black-and-white movie opens Oct. 5.
DreamWorks also was part of the Disney presentation, including a clip from The Odd Life of Timothy Green, which was introduced by Jennifer Garner. There was no footage shown from Steven Spielberg's Lincoln.
Pixar's part of the presentation also included a tease of the 3D relrelease of Finding Nemo. And, before Brave played, Lasseter took off his famous Hawaiian shirt to don a traditional Scottish kilt and take the stage with a group of bagpipers.