Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich is one of the foremost experts on The Shining, so his bona fides as an aficionado of the sinister and mysterious are without question.
What remains in question, however, is how this will shape his newly announced project for Pixar, a 2015 film set around the Mexican holiday honoring the dead, tentatively titled Dia de los Muertos.
Colorful painted skulls (like the kind pictured here) are a hallmark of that celebration, and featured prominently in the title art Disney animation chief John Lasseter presented while announcing the film Tuesday. But it’s unknown whether those will remain just decoration, or perhaps turn out to be the characters themselves.
No other details were released about that project, except that it was an original story not based on any previous source material.
While revealing the existence of Dia de los Muertos at CinemaCon, the annual Las Vegas convention for theater owners, Lasseter also dropped hints about a few other movies in the Pixar pipeline, including revealing a trailer for Monsters University, and giving release dates to two other projects still in the early stages …
Monsters University is slated for next June, and will likely be debuting its first teaser trailer in the near future. There’s a big joke in the footage that we won’t spoil here, but it includes numerous allusions to closets and bedtime — with a prankish twist. Back in their younger days (which were apparently the disco era), Sully and Mike apparently didn’t like each other very much.
Meanwhile, another upcoming project got a name and release date.
“We previously announced a film that was titled The Untitled Pixar Movie About Dinosaurs,” Lasseter told the crowd Tuesday night. “Now, I think this title rocks, but I am absolutely the only one at the studio. Sooooo, today we’d like to announce an even better title we’ve come up with for it — this is now going to be titled The Good Dinosaur.”
That film, about what the world would be like today if dinosaurs never went extinct, will debut on May 30, 2014.
The Good Dinosaur is directed by longtime Pixar animator Bob Peterson, who has two Oscar nominations for co-writing Finding Nemo and Up, which he also co-directed. He also performs the voices of Monsters Inc.‘s whiny functionary Roz, Up‘s Doug the squirrel-obsessed talking dog, and the school teacher Mr. Ray from Finding Nemo.
At Disney’s own fan convention last August, where The Untitled Pixar Movie About Dinosaurs was first announced, Peterson showed a piece of early concept art featuring what looked to be a leaner kind of brontosaurus, backlit at sunset in a golden field with a fuzzy-haired, human-looking child riding on the nape of its neck. “The inspiration for this came from when I was a little kid, and my mom and dad took me to the New York World’s Fair and I got to see something amazing — the animatronic dinosaurs created by Walt Disney. It made a big impression on me,” Peterson said.
Another project announced back then, The Untitled Pixar Movie that Takes You Inside the Mind, still does not have a final title, but Lasseter also announced a release date for that one — June 19, 2015.
Peter Docter, the director of Monsters Inc. and Up, is making that film and described it last August this way: “Do you ever wonder how people make decisions? Why we remember, or how we forget? Why we dream? Why do songs get stuck in our heads? Most of us have had the experience of being around someone and thinking what is going on in their head!? This film will attempt to answer those questions.”
“We can’t wait to tell you more about it,” producer Jonas Rivera said in August. “As soon as we’re out of psychotherapy.”
Lasseter explained on Tuesday that it takes about four years to make each one of these movies, so hopefully that will be enough time.