Disney Animation Announces New Ocean-Set Adventure Film MOANA for Release in 2016; Concept Art Unveiled

     October 20, 2014

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On the cusp of the release of Walt Disney Animation’s first Marvel adaptation, Big Hero 6, the studio has announced a new animated film for release in 2016.  Moana is described as “a sweeping, CG-animated comedy-adventure” that revolves around a spirited teenager and born navigator who sets out to fulfill her ancestors’ quest.   The filmmaking team of Ron Clements and John Musker is directing, and their previous credits include The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Treasure PlanetMoana takes place in the ancient South Pacific world of Oceania, and the story finds the titular adventurer teaming up with her hero, the legendary demi-god Maui, and traversing the ocean, encountering many creatures in the process.  We initially heard word of this film last year, with a report saying it would be done in the animation style of the fantastic short Paperman.  The visuals are unconfirmed in today’s announcement beyond the fact that it is CG-animated, but it would certainly be swell to have a uniquely styled animated film in theaters from Disney.

The film will be released in late 2016, but the studio still doesn’t have any film scheduled for release in 2015.  The animal-centric Zootopia is slated for March 4, 2016 and the folkloric Giants is also in development.  It’s possible one of these films could be moved up, or 2015 could be the first year without a Walt Disney Animation film since 2006.  Check out the first Moana concept art and the official synopsis after the jump.

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Here’s the press release, which includes the official synopsis in bold:

BURBANK, Calif. (Oct. 20, 2014) Walt Disney Animation Studios revealed plans today for “Moana,” a sweeping, CG-animated comedy-adventure about a spirited teenager on an impossible mission to fulfill her ancestors’ quest. In theaters in late 2016, the film is directed by the renowned filmmaking team of Ron Clements and John Musker (“The Little Mermaid,” “The Princess and the Frog,” “Aladdin”).

“John and I have partnered on so many films—from ‘The Little Mermaid’ to ‘Aladdin’ to ‘The Princess and the Frog,’” said Clements. “Creating ‘Moana’ is one of the great thrills of our career. It’s a big adventure set in this beautiful world of Oceania.”

In the ancient South Pacific world of Oceania, Moana, a born navigator, sets sail in search of a fabled island. During her incredible journey, she teams up with her hero, the legendary demi-god Maui, to traverse the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous sea creatures, breathtaking underworlds and ancient folklore.

“Moana is indomitable, passionate and a dreamer with a unique connection to the ocean itself,” Musker said. “She’s the kind of character we all root for, and we can’t wait to introduce her to audiences.”

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