A surprise follow-up to Disney’s beloved animated musical film Moana has been revealed, and it will hit theaters in November.
Disney CEO Bob Iger disclosed on a Wednesday earnings call that Moana 2 was first intended to be a television series.
He added, saying, “We were impressed by what we saw and knew it deserved a theatrical release.” Moana had been streamed for more than 1 billion minutes on Disney+ just in 2023, showing the film’s enduring appeal.
The story of Moana, which takes place in Polynesia, follows the young main character as she sets out on an ocean journey with the deity Maui to rescue her people. With a $643 million global box office and two Academy Award nominations, the movie was a big hit.
Moana 2 will be directed by Dave Derrick Jr., a story board artist who worked on the first movie. Abigail Barlow, Emily Bear, Opetaia Foa’i, and Mark Mancina are writing the music. Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of Hamilton, collaborated with Foa’i and Mancina on the soundtrack of the first movie.
Disney announced that Moana 2, slated for release on November 27, will be a “expansive new voyage with Moana, Maui, and a brand-new crew of unlikely seafarers.”
The movie’s synopsis says: “After receiving an unexpected call from her wayfinding ancestors, Moana must journey to the far seas of Oceania and into dangerous, long-lost waters for an adventure unlike anything she’s ever faced.”
An announcement of a major motion picture this close to its theatrical debut is unusual, especially considering that a live-action Moana version is scheduled for release in 2025. Similar to the original animation picture, the live-action version will feature Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson as the legendary Maui. Auli’i Cravalho, who provided the original voice of Moana, has stated she will not be reprising the role in the live-action movie.
Disney+ has acquired the streaming rights for Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour, which will debut on the platform on March 15, Iger revealed on the earnings call. Five songs from the theatrical and video-on-demand versions will be added to the Disney+ edition.
As part of an agreement to develop a new “games and entertainment universe,” Disney is also planning to invest $1.5 billion in Epic Games, the company behind the massively successful video game Fortnite. Characters from Disney’s vast library of intellectual properties, which includes Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, and Avatar, will appear in both Fortnite and other Epic Games projects.
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