Disney is working on sequels for “Toy Story,” “Frozen” and “Zootopia,” three huge hits as the entertainment powerhouse attempts to find its footing under newly returned CEO Bob Iger.
The Walt Disney Co. is undergoing a “strategic transformation,” Iger said on Wednesday. That includes 7,000 job cuts announced this week and a renewed focus on core brands and franchises.
Iger, who returned as CEO in November following a challenging two-year tenure by his handpicked successor, Bob Chapek, announced the plans for the new movies during Disney’s first-quarter earnings call on Wednesday.
Disney owns Star Wars, Marvel and Pixar. Its latest Marvel movie, “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” opens on Feb. 17.
The Burbank, California, company said it wants to make sure that executives in charge of content creation have a prominent say in what movies, TV shows or other content to produce, as well as the marketing and distribution of those products.
“Toy Story” is a long-time movie franchise for Disney. The original film, which was the first computer-animated feature film and the debut feature release from Pixar Animation Studios, came out in 1995. It received a Special Achievement Academy Award in 1996, as there was no best animated feature film category at the time.
The most recent sequel, “Toy Story 4” released in 2019 and won two animated film Oscars in 2020, becoming the first franchise to accomplish that. Predecessor “Toy Story 3” won the best animated feature Academy Award in 2011.
A prequel film, called “Lightyear,” was in theaters last year.
The original ” Frozen ” film released in 2013 and won the Academy Award for best animated feature film in 2014. The sequel, “Frozen II,” was in theaters in 2019.
Disney made about $13 billion in worldwide box office in 2019, helped by a strong slate of movies that included “Toy Story 4,” “Frozen II,” “Avengers: Endgame” and others.
Unlike “Toy Story” and “Frozen,” “Zootopia” has yet to have a sequel. The original movie came out in 2016 and won an Academy Award for best animated film in 2017.
By Michelle Chapman
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS