With next year’s “Zootopia,” Walt Disney Animation Studios promises a different kind of talking animal movie

“Wreck-It Ralph.” “Frozen.” “Big Hero 6.” There’s no denying Walt Disney Animation Studios is on a roll, both creatively and financially, but can the forces behind the studio’s recent resurgence as a heavy-hitter keep the momentum going? The team working hard to bring you “Zootopia” next spring certainly hopes so.

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At a recent media preview event at Walt Disney Studios’ locations in both Burbank and North Hollywood (where the animation department has temporarily relocated to a converted warehouse during the usual building’s renovation), a select group of press were treated to an in-depth look at the creative process behind the forthcoming movie.

Zootopia” takes place in a thoroughly modernized world where human beings have never existed. That is, animals have evolved to speak, walk on their hind legs, wear clothing, and use technology. And the city of Zootopia was built by animals, for animals. If any of this sounds familiar in the context of the Walt Disney Company, it’s because the concept is perhaps just a little reminiscent of the cartoon world that Mickey Mouse and his friends inhabit. In “Zootopia,” however, it’s the specifics that set things apart.

You see, in “Zootopia,” size matters. Where the diversely-animalian Mickey, Donald, and even their somewhat taller pal Goofy were all roughly the same human-scaled size and shape, the animals in Zootopia (both the city and the movie) all fit the scale of their real world counterparts. For example, a giraffe in “Zootopia” is roughly ninety-four times the height of a mouse, and the city around them is built with those size differences in mind. Buses have multiple sliding doors to accommodate passengers of various heights, there’s a miniature subway for rodents to cross under the street and avoid being trampled by larger animals, and even a waterway for aquatic creatures. It should be noted that all animals in Zootopia are mammals, just for the sake of simplification, but also that the existence of foreign cities inhabited by other biological classes was indeed hinted at.

And the city of Zootopia itself is divided into individual areas, each of which replicates a particular climate or ecology via a complex artificial weather system and large barrier walls that divide the zones (see? I told you the specifics were unique). There’s Bunny Burrows– Zootopia’s equivalent of the countryside (where our story starts,) the Las Vegas-inspired desert resort of Sahara Square, the deep freeze of Tundra Town, and the enormous, lush greenery of the Rainforest District. All of the above areas are united in a central hub called Downtown, in an apparently unintentional nod to Disneyland’s theme-park layout.

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The plot of the movie centers around a plucky, optimistic young rabbit named Judy Hopps (voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin of “Once Upon a Time”) who moves from the Burrows to the big city in order to pursue her dream of becoming Zootopia’s first bunny police officer. Though her dreams of fighting crime are sidelined when she’s assigned parking-meter duty, she soon becomes involved in a much larger, more nefarious case after running into a sly con-artist fox named Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman.) The two unlikely partners set off on an adventure that takes them through all of Zootopia’s various landscapes together.

At the press event in Burbank, we were introduced to the world of the movie by directors Byron Howard and Rich Moore, who recalled pitching the original idea to chief creative officer John Lasseter, researching the animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park in Orlando, and journeying to Kenya in Africa to get an up-close-and-personal look at animals in their natural habitat. Special effort was put into translating the animals’ natural walking/running movements into two-legged walk cycles for the characters’ animation, and in-depth attention was paid to details like fur color and wind effects to make the world of “Zootopia” feel alive. The writers and directors also took care to incorporate an almost “Ratatouille”-esque “anyone can do anything” theme into the movie, as animals in Zootopia tend to stereotype each other into particular roles.

We were shown several clips from the movie (some of which had been shown before, in slightly different forms, at the D23 Expo back in August) including a very funny scene at a DMV run exclusively by maddeningly-plodding sloths, and a meeting with a “Godfather”-inspired mafioso shrew named Mr. Big.

We were then shuttled to the North Hollywood studio where broken up into smaller groups and rotated through four different areas of the development and production processes: Story Safari, Character Design, Anim(al)ation, and Environments.

The story group, consisting of writer and co-director Jared Bush, writer Phil Johnston, story artist Marc Smith and head of editorial Fabienne Rawley, spoke about how the plot and staging of “Zootopia” had evolved throughout the process of filmmaking, and showed an earlier version of a scene we had looked at back in Burbank, about Judy calling her parents after her first day on the job as a meter maid. They felt the deleted version had made the movie feel “too mopey,” so they redrew the storyboards, rewrote the dialogue, and re-animated the scene to its new shorter length. Another scene featuring an elephant-operated ice cream shop had been rewritten to make Judy come across as a smarter, more active character. The group noted how the medium of animation allowed for more continuous, fluid changes to a story that would by nature be more restricted by live-action productions.

The character design team, led by supervisor Cory Loftis, character look supervisor Michelle Robinson, CG supervisor Dave Komorowski and simulation supervisor Claudia Chung Sanii, discussed the challenges that scale, clothing, and musculature presented in “Zootopia.” They also talked about a special effects tool called the iGroom that was designed to comb the characters’ virtual fur and give each animal its own unique hair patterns and imperfections. We were shown live-action footage of a fox with wind blowing through his fur that the animators used as a reference, and you can easily see the difference it made in the nearly-finished product.

The Anim(al)ation presentation showcased a similar attention to detail, with head of animation Renato dos Anjos and animation supervisors Kira Lehtomaki, Nathan Engelhardt, Jennifer Hager and Chad Sellers all expounding on their trip to Africa and the need to capture the essence of each animal in the movie. Herd movements were analyzed and incorporated into groups in the backgrounds of many wide group shots. The animals’ methods of eating were also a major element in making Zootopia seem more realistic: a moose, for example, brings his head and lips closer to an popsicle he’s holding, instead of using his arms to bring the popsicle closer to his face. We were introduced to several more key characters such as Bogo, the intimidating buffalo police officer, and an out-of-shape cheetah radio dispatcher who’s obsessed with a gazelle pop musician played by Colombian megastar Shakira. The animators finished their portion of the day’s events by revealing just how much of the voice-actors’ physical performances made it into their animated counterparts’ actions on-screen. Hint: it’s a lot!

Lastly, our group was introduced to representatives from the Environments team: art director Matthias Lechner and environment look supervisor Lance Summers, whose job it is to create the collection of gorgeous and immersive spaces that the characters move through in the movie: Zootopia itself. Lechner and Summers talked about how they achieved near-realism by making the world of “Zootopia” feel as lived-in as possible, adding chaos, dirt, and history into every tiny corner. They also covered the changes that Zootopia went through during development of the movie. Bunny Burrows evolved from a glossy mega-suburb to a more homey countryside, and the Downtown buildings changed from being more naturalistic to a hybrid of human-style skyscrapers with animal-inspired shapes like horns and tusks. They then discussed the indispensable Hyperion rendering system first used in “Big Hero Six” that mimics real-world geometric complexity, and how they learned a lot about Tundra Town’s ice and snow from making “Frozen.”

 

Overall, I came away from this media event more excited for “Zootopia” than I was after its presentation at this year’s D23 Expo. After all is said and done, I believe it may indeed feel like more than just your average talking-animal movie, as it features impressive world-building, elements of potboiler mystery, and of course more than a few scenes of riotous comedy. I also enjoyed the little riffs on iconic scenes from popular culture, such as the aforementioned “Godfather” homage and a chase through the tiny mice-only neighborhood of Little Rodentia that harkens back to “Godzilla.” If the clips we were shown today (along with the testimonies of the talented creative team) are any indication, “Zootopia” should fit right in among the latest crop of Disney animated features: a visual treat with likeable, funny characters and a whole lot of heart.

It’s Just Not Christmas Without Mickey Mouse

There aren’t too many different things that get me into the holiday spirit, but there is one mouse that does the trick every time. I’m talking about the one, the only, Mickey Mouse. After thoroughly enjoying IDW’s Mickey & Donald’s Christmas Parade, I began to think about the other holiday Mickey Mouse related things that tend to be part of my Christmas tradition. I absolutely adore, Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas, and Mickey’s Christmas Carol, both from Disney.

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Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas features three shorts, each one special in their own way: Donald Duck Stuck on Christmas, A Very Goofy Christmas, and Mickey and Minnie’s, The Gift of the Magi. Growing up, this VHS (now DVD) was a staple in our house and included just the right amount of variety to get us in the Christmas spirit. While all three are cute and entertaining, they also include some nice morals such as, treating your elders with respect, being thankful for what you have, and sacrificing for those you love.

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Mickey’s Christmas Carol is exactly what it sounds like, and it is my favorite version of Charles Dickens’ classic tale. Besides, the content of the wonderfully meaningful tale, you get to see a bunch of your favorite classic Disney characters play the roles in the book. Some of the characters include Scrooge McDuck who plays, you guessed it…Scrooge, Mickey as Bob Cratchit, Donald as Scrooge’s nephew Fred, Daisy Duck as Scrooge’s first love Isabelle, Minnie Mouse as a silent Mrs. Cratchit, Goofy as the Ghost of Jacob Marley, Jiminy Cricket as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Willie the Giant (from Fun and Fancy Free) as the Ghost of Christmas Present, and Pete as the Ghost of Christmas Future.

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With all that said, I hope you’ll tune in to some of these great Disney films this season. There are a wide variety of other Christmas and Holiday themed Disney shorts out there, and most of them are pretty great. Pluto’s Christmas Tree happens to be a particularly funny one. Check that out here, and share some of your favorite Christmas traditions in the comments below.

Also be sure to grab your copy of Mickey & Donald’s Christmas Parade at your local comic book store today.

‘Frozen 2′ Spoilers: Anna and Elsa Take on Social Issues

The upcoming sequel of the successful animated film “Frozen” is expected to take on some social issues.

After the success of “Frozen,” the creators of the film saw their responsibility to create a substantial story, knowing that their message has the power to influence people of all ages. Chris Buck, one of the film’s directors, explained that he was surprised at the amount of positive feedback he received from “Frozen.”

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With that, he understood that filmmaking can be a medium for change, creating statements that society needs to hear. This means that the upcoming “Frozen 2” is expected to put the two strong female characters, Anna, played by Kristen Bell, and Elsa, played by Idina Menzel, in a situation that reflects the culture nowadays.

According to MTV, Buck stated, “I think we’re very aware of what is happening in society. I don’t think any of us take [them] lightly, even though they can be very funny and entertaining, the messages that our movies have and the influence they can have on young people. When the kids [watch] them, they watch them over and over again, and if we don’t have a decent message in there, I think we’ve missed an opportunity.”

Along with Bell and Menzel, it was reported that Jonathan Groff and Josh Gad will also be reprising their roles in the upcoming film. Apart from that, there has yet to be any details regarding the plot of the film. However, there have been many speculations regarding what the characters could be facing in the upcoming sequel.

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One of the most prominent rumors regarding the story line is that Anna will also be revealing her own superpower. This was speculated because of how she was saved in the previous installment. However, none of these theories have been confirmed.

Frozen 2” is slated to premiere in theaters in 2018.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Season 6: 2015 Release Date? News, Updates

The fifth season of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic just ended late last month so it is not surprising that there are not much details regarding the upcoming sixth season of My Little Pony.

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Unfortunately, unlike other series where the premiere is like clockwork, premiere dates for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is erratic at best. When it was with the Hub Network, My Little Pony was released every fourth quarter of the year (except on the second season it was released on September). When My Little Pony was moved to Discovery Family, it had almost a year long hiatus and did not debut until April of this year.

Fans of My Little Pony shouldn’t be worried of a cancellation as My Little Pony season 6 has been renewed as early as March or this year, even before the fifth season premiered.

Interestingly, in Hasbro’s official Twitter account, it was a few months ago, July 8 to be exact, when they posted an update claiming that the sixth season of My Little Pony would be arriving later in the year. (Tweet posted below)

If it is true, Hasbro has just a little more than two weeks to release the sixth season of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

If not, the more rational time table is that My Little Pony season 6 will be arriving around the same time that the fifth season was released, April 2016.

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Other than the release date, of course, we also want to know what to expect in the upcoming sixth season of My Little Pony.

Unconfirmed reports from International Business Times claims that the title of the first two episodes of My Little Pony season 6 is are ‘Cutie Castle part 1’ and ‘Cutie Castle part 2’.

In the fifth season of My Little Pony, Starlight Glimmer was introduced as the main antagonist of the season. In the fifth season finale, Twilight Sparkle, unable to defeat Starlight Glimmer, was able to make the latter change her mind by offering friendship instead.

With Starlight Glimmer under Twilight’s wing, would the Mane 6 have to change their name to Mane 7?

2015 was the year of Minions and “isms,” says Merriam-Webster dictionary

In 2015, we had minions on the mind.

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So says Merriam-Webster. According to the English-language dictionary’s list of most-searched this year, the word for “a servile dependent, follower, or underling” was one of the most searched online, of the year. Minions made headlines in 2015 as one of the highest grossing movies worldwide, and as the subject of a viral YouTube video.

But what really wracked our brains was not one word at all, but a kind of word, illustrated by Merrian-Webster’s unusual choice for its annual “Word of the Year”: ism.

“Socialism,” “capitalism,” “fascism,” “terrorism,” and “communism” were all among the most-popular searches this year, along with “racism” and “feminism.”

As editor-at-large Peter Sokolowski told Quartz, 2015 was a year of news stories that raised a whole host of abstract, difficult concepts we struggled to define—not just a single word around a single event, like “bailout.” He writes in an email, “This simply seems to be a year of heightened anxiety in many ways.”

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 In a prepared statement, Sokolowski noted that searches for “socialism,” while always popular, grew significantly this year because of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ socialist policies (and spiked following the first Democratic debate, in which Sanders gave an ode to Denmark)—while Donald Trump’s call to track Muslim-Americans and even to have Muslims banned from entering the country were linked to growth in searches for “fascism.” “Hypocrite” was highly ranked.
Deadly attacks in Paris, Beirut, and San Bernardino, and elsewhere spurred us to seek to answers for “terrorism.” And in a momentous year for LGBT civil rights in the United States, “marriage” and “respect” also trended.
Here’s the dictionary’s full list, ranked by highest pageviews on the site. The third column offers insight into each word’s percentage growth since 2014. (The list excludes some perennially popular searches, like “pragmatic,” “empathy,” and “irony.”)

Pokemon Center Brings Summer To December With Summer Festival Pikachu

The Pokemon Center has been regularly rolling out new Pikachu Celebration plushes, stuff toys originally released month-by-month in Pokemon Centers in Japan. There’s a bit of a delay involved, which is why the July 2015 design is showing up in the online store now. Summer Festival Pikachu, originally Omatsuri Pikachu, is now available.

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The Summer Festival Pikachu is decked out in clothing people would normally wear to a Japanese festival. He has a nejirihachimaki headband, a twisted headband made out of two sorts of cloth, and wears a happi, like members of a festival team participating in events would wear. He also carries a fan with a silhouette of his face on it, to keep himself cool.

The Summer Festival Pikachu is 4.38” wide and 7.75” tall. He’s currently available for $17.99.

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13 Sanity-Saving Tips for Spending Christmas at Disney World

1. Stay at a hotel that offers free shuttle service to the parks.
Parking at Disney World can be a beast. Bypass the hassle by choosing a hotel with complimentary shuttle service to and from the parks, like the Waldorf Astoria Orlando or the Hilton Bonnet Creek Orlando. Resorts off the Disney World monorail, which offers round-trip service to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, are another option. If you do end up driving, Susan Pazera of the Disney Parks Moms Panel recommends taking a photo of your parking spot to help you find it later.

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2. Avoid the Magic Kingdom on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.
If you’re itching to see the Christmas Day parade in person, experience it during the (less crowded) days leading up to Christmas, advises Jeff Silsbee, director of guest services at Waldorf Astoria Orlando. (The actual televised parade is filmed around the second weekend of November.) Similarly, the New Year’s Eve fireworks show can be seen on the 30th, says Silsbee. He recommends the less crowded Epcot and Hollywood Studios for New Year’s Eve festivities.

3. Save money on ticketing.
Disney parks aren’t cheap, but there may be a workaround for those willing to sacrifice daylight. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a specially ticketed after-hours event that happens eight times in December. “While there is an admission cost, it is drastically less than the normal ticket [Editor's note: it's $79 vs. $105] and most of the attractions are still running in addition to special shows, character meetings, parades, fireworks and other enhancements that do not occur during normal operation,” Silsbee explains.

4. Get the My Disney Experience mobile app.
Load this app to manage tickets and make dining and ride reservations from your phone. You’ll also be able to see up-to-the-minute wait times for attractions and shows.

5. Make ride reservations using FastPass+.
FastPass+ is a free service included with park admission that allows each guest to reserve access to three attractions, shows or character greetings per park per day. You can make reservations up to 30 days in advance (or 60 days, for those staying at a Walt Disney World resort). Once the initial three reservations have been redeemed, additional selections for the same day can be made at in-park kiosks, one at a time. To bypass lines at the time of reservation, tap your ticket or MagicBand at the FastPass+ entrance.

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6. Make dining reservations well in advance.
Disney restaurants fill up quickly regardless of season so most will be fully committed over the holidays, says Silsbee. Fortunately, you can make reservations up to 180 days in advance if you’re staying off property—earlier if you’re staying at a Disney World resort. Need a last-minute solution? Day-of cancelations are rare, but Pazera has had luck using My Disney Experience to find last-minute openings. “I’ve been able to make same-day reservations for five people at Be Our Guest Restaurant because someone had canceled,” she says.

7. Take a photo of your kids each morning.
Crowds pose a safety risk when traveling with kids. Pazera recommends taking a photo of your kids in the morning before heading to the park. That way, security will know exactly who to look for if your child becomes separated from the family. Designate a meeting spot as well, and remind kids to ask a Cast Member for help if they become lost.

8. Get into the park early with breakfast reservations.
Pazera recommends making an 8 a.m. reservation somewhere like The Crystal Palace, a restaurant on Magic Kingdom’s Main Street. The park doesn’t officially open until 9 a.m. but you can head over to your favorite ride after breakfast. “As soon as park opens, you’re already there,” says Pazera.

9. Do the ride you don’t have a FastPass+ reservation for first.
There are some restrictions to reservations that require a workaround. For example, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios park, according to Pazera, FastPass+ access is only for the Tower of Terror or Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, but not both. “We get there early [when lines are still short] and do the ride we don’t have a pass for first,” says Pazera.

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10. Pack a lunch.
Guests are welcome to bring their own food and snacks into Disney World, with a few exceptions (no glass containers, for example). Small coolers are allowed and locker rentals are available. Pazera’s family takes the ferry to Tom Sawyer Island around lunchtime when they’re visiting Magic Kingdom. The scenic spot offers picnic tables and a reprieve from crowds.

11. Don’t overdo it.
“Understand Disney will be a little busier, so plan to stay longer or focus on accomplishing the must-do attractions,” says Silsbee. Schedule down time, and possibly an afternoon nap at the hotel, into your day. Pazera likes to take a break at the pavilions at Epcot’s World Showcase. “There’s a kids area where they can sit and color, learn about the country’s culture, and get a “passport” sticker,” she says. “It’s educational and parents get down time and air-conditioning.”

12. Watch the parades from off-the-beaten-path locales.
You don’t need to stand on Main Street to get a great view of Mickey‘s Once Upon a Christmas parade. Pazera’s family snags a more comfortable spot (read: less crowded) in Frontierland, where the parade begins. Once the parade makes its way to other parts of the park, they do the rides in Frontierland and exit the park once crowds have dissipated.

13. Continue celebrating back at the hotel.
Disney doesn’t have a corner on holiday magic. Nearby resorts offer excellent views of the theme parks, making it possible to watch the whimsical fireworks from the comfort of one’s room. At the Waldorf Astoria Orlando, carolers serenade guests in the lobby, and Mrs. Claus will personally read a bedtime story to your kids. For New Year’s Eve, the hotel has its own private fireworks show, in addition to what’s visible from Magic Kingdom.

Santa Claus will be delivering puppies to people’s houses on Christmas

Looks like Santa Claus is taking a rather unusual form this year: That of the Coastal Humane Society.

The animal shelter has announced it’s plan to bring any of it’s numerous adoptable pets to the home of their new families on Christmas Day, hand-delivered by none other than Santa himself.

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The Costal Human Society is looking to send its latest group of rescued animals, 35 puppies from Blairsville, Georgia, home for the holidays to loving families. So much so, that they’re promising to make the rescues a little extra special: The shelter will deliver the pet to the home of the adopter on Christmas Day, dressed as Santa or one of his elves.

According to the shelter’s Facebook page, the special promotion begins on Saturday, December 19 when the shelter opens at noon. Adopters can take home the pet then and there if they are approved for adoption, or sign up to have a special delivery made by the good folks from the North Pole on Christmas Day.

The shelter will also offer Christmas Eve pick-up if adopters would like to take home their pet earlier.

While they are thrilled to be offering the “Home for the Holidays Delivery Service” and hope many adopters will take advantage of it, officials from the shelter do warn that “giving a pet as a gift is not always in the best interest of the animal and stress that this special is only for pets that will live in the same household as the person who arranges for the delivery.”

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But if your household is stable enough to welcome an animal in desperate need of a home, by all means go for it!

P.S. If you’re not a dog person, but still want to get in on the Christmas magic, worry not — Santa will also be delivering cat and other small animal to good little girls and boys.

‘Frozen 2′ news: four things to know about the sequel

Queen Elsa, Princess Anna and Olaf are definitely coming back to the silver screen in “Frozen 2.” But with all the rumours, theories and wishful thinking that have come out, it’s easy for anyone to get confused as to what is really happening with “Frozen 2.”
So in an effort to make things simpler, here’s what you need to know about “Frozen’s” sequel –

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1. “Frozen 2” will be released after 2018.
No exact release date has been given for the return of Elsa and Anna but after 2018 is the only logical time for the film to be released. For one, “Frozen” took two years to create and even though the sequel has been confirmed, the writers and songwriters are still in the process of developing the plot. Disney also has three animated films already in the pipeline – Finding Dory, Toy Story 4 and Moana – that are scheduled to be released before “Frozen

2. The original cast will be back.
Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell are expected to be back for the sequel as the two women are already synonymous with the movie. Bell even mentioned in a “Huffington Post” interview that if she was called back to the film, she would “be there in a heartbeat.” Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee will also be back to direct the sequel.

3. Elsa and Anna will have new dresses.
The two sisters were wearing new dresses in the short film, “Frozen Fever,” so it’s a given that they will also sport new outfits in the sequel. Plus, Disney’s merchandising department will no doubt want new items to sell once “Frozen 2” comes out.

4. There will be a duet between Anna and Elsa.
It hasn’t been confirmed yet but given that “Let It Go” is known and sung all over the world now, there’s a big possibility that the film will introduce another catchy song. And several film critics have mentioned that the only way to top the success of “Let It Go” is to have the sisters do a duet. While “Let It Go” songwriters Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson Lopez wrote a new song for “Frozen Fever,” there’s no word yet on whether they will be back for “Frozen 2.”

There’s no doubt that there will be more rumours coming out about “Frozen 2,” but what is certain is that children will patiently wait for the movie and that Disney is working hard to come out with an experience that will top the original movie.

New ‘Kung Fu Panda 3’ International Trailer Arrives with New Footage (and More Pandas)

Happy Holidays! I sincerely hope that everyone is enjoying themselves during this time of year and spending time with friends, family and loved ones. But as always, we still have a good amount of news to cover before the year is out. Some of it is stuff that just broke recently, while others are stories that slipped under our radar due to being very, very busy (Rotoscopers-related or otherwise). But without further ado, let’s get to our first news story of the week.

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In a few months, Kung Fu Panda 3 will officially mark the beginning of the 2016 year in animation (and yes, I’m choosing to ignore The Nut Job 2 and Norm of the North), and what better introduction to a very promising year for feature animation than the highly-anticipated third chapter in the Kung Fu Panda saga.

For those who want to satisfy their need for more footage – assuming you aren’t too afraid of spoilers to watch a trailer at all – than I give you the recent international trailer for Kung Fu Panda 3 below:

As you can see, there’s plenty of new footage and much of it expands upon what was only glimpsed at in previous trailers. Oh, and there’s lots of pandas too (although that one is obvious).

Kung Fu Panda 3 is directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Alessandro Carloni from a screenplay by Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger. The film features the voice talents of Jack Black (Po), Angelina Jolie (Tigress), Dustin Hoffman (Master Shifu), Lucy Liu (Viper), Seth Rogen (Mantis), Jackie Chan (Monkey), David Cross (Crane), James Hong (Mr. Ping), and Randall Duk Kim as Master Oogway. New to the cast is Kate Hudson as Mei Mei, Bryan Cranston as Li, and J.K.Simmons as Kai.