Animated sequels for the Toy Story, Frozen, and Zootopia franchises are in development at Disney. During the company's Q1 earnings call, held early Thursday, returning CEO Bob Iger confirmed the news, right after announcing its massive 7,000 employee layoffs as a cost-saving measure. “Today I'm so pleased to announce that we have sequels in the works from our animation studios to some of our most popular franchises, Toy Story, Frozen, and Zootopia,” Iger said in the call. “We'll have more to share about these productions soon, but this is a great example of how we're leaning into our unrivalled brands and franchises.”
Currently, the Toy Story franchise comprises of four movies and a spin-off title called Lightyear, which focused on the titular space cadet Buzz Lightyear as a human instead of a toy. While the latter underperformed on a commercial level, each of the mainline entries saw critical and commercial success, with both Toy Story 3 and Toy Story 4 managing to cross the billion-dollar (about Rs. 8,267 crore) threshold. Toy Story 4, in particular, was crowned Best Animated Feature at the 2020 Oscars, alongside a nomination for Best Original Song in Randy Newman's ‘I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away.' Not to mention, the original 1995 Toy Story, was Pixar's first fully-realised computer-animated film.
2013's Frozen boosted Disney into a new path of success. Having won two awards at the 2014 Oscars — Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song — and becoming one of the US' best-selling Blu-ray discs, it spawned a couple of animated shorts, followed by a feature-length sequel in late 2019. Frozen 2 grossed $1.45 billion (about Rs. 11,981) at the global box office, against a production budget of $150 million (about Rs. 1,239 crore).
Meanwhile, Zootopia, an animated buddy cop comedy featuring anthropomorphic animals, also managed to cross the $1 billion mark, with a budget similar to that of Frozen 2. While the franchise never got any theatrical sequels — until now — bits of lore were explored in the direct-to-streaming Zootopia+, which consisted of six short episodes. It makes sense for Disney to bank on established franchises, seeing as their recent original IPs didn't fare too well commercially. The most recent example would be Strange World, which only managed to pull $73.4 million (about Rs. 607 crore) globally, against a reported budget of $180 million (about Rs. 1,487 crore).
As stated before, this news was broken after CEO Iger announced layoffs for up to 7,000 workers at the company, representing 3.2 percent of Disney's headcount. The decision has been made in an effort to achieve about $5.5 billion (about Rs. 45,444 crore) in cost savings and make its streaming business profitable. Iger was brought back on board in November under a two-year contract, as a means to lead the entertainment giant back to its full potential. At the time, the CEO confirmed that he would uphold the hiring freeze that ex-CEO Bob Chapek had put in place.
Currently, Toy Story 5, Frozen 3, and Zootopia 2 don't have confirmed release windows.
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