Disney, The Latest Animation News

Disneytoon Studios Alive and Well, Sets Theatrical Film for 2019

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DisneyToon Studios Logo

Contrary to what many thought, Disneytoon Studios isn’t throwing in the towel. In fact, it’s doing the opposite. Buried in Deadline‘s huge Disney announcement earlier this week (which included news for The Incredibles 2 and Toy Story 4) is word that Disneytoon will release a new film theatrically on April 12, 2019.

The Glendale-based extension of Walt Disney Animation Studios specializes in spinoffs and re-imaginings of classic Disney and Pixar franchises and has cranked out sequels to the majority of the Disney animated library since 1990.  Following a disappointing box office for 2014’s Planes: Fire & Rescue and the conclusion of the straight-to-Blu-ray Tinker Bell series earlier this year, Disneytoon’s future didn’t look bright. With Disney closing Pixar Canada (essentially Pixar’s equivalent of Disneytoon) in 2013, it wasn’t out of the question to think they might do the same with Disneytoon. And with next to nothing in terms of Disneytoon’s future plans, it seemed they might had already quietly done so. This announcement discards that rumor.

However, it’s a huge gap in the studio’s usual feature film turn-around. The project (whose title, story, and even franchise origin is still under wraps) will be released four years after the most recent Disneytoon production. In the previous four years before that, Disneytoon produced five films. Giving time for the project to percolate could indicate a major change of leadership of direction that we don’t know about yet, though that is purely speculation.

Before jumping to conclusions, though, it is important to point out that Deadline‘s schedule only lists Disney’s theatrical releases. For all we know, Disneytoon could have an unannounced project in the works that is slated to premiere on Blu-ray.

What’s your reaction to this news? What franchise do you hope Disneytoon will tap into next?

Edited by: Kelly Conley

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About Blake Taylor

Blake is a scriptwriter at Elevation Church, the fastest-growing church in American history, where he develops documentary shorts and creative elements with the film team. He graduated Appalachian State University studying Electronic Media Production and is an alumni of the Disney College Program. Blake’s favorite films are Mary Poppins, The Lion King, and Toy Story 3. You can find him on Twitter (@blake_242) and visit his blog at blakeonline.com.
  • bemyguest

    I’m only interested if it’s hand-drawn animated

    • Baba

      Disney could do hand-drawn animation that’s their job (or was their job). Planes was great with a better story than the first, they have nothing to prove. But sadly they are not as free as Disney Studios in California.

    • Nathan C.

      Wouldn’t it be funny if DisneyToon made 2D animation successful again? I’d laugh, but would be happy at the same time.

      • rbrtck

        It would be funny, alright, but ultimately it doesn’t matter who does it. Hopefully Laika is still planning to give it a go, like they said they would.

  • Nathan C.

    Well, I’m guessing they (unsurprisingly) canceled Planes 3. It was mentioned by a DTS staff member, but was never officially announced. So they can get away with shelving it. Don’t worry Cars fans, there’s always Cars 3!
    What could this new film be? An original film maybe? I’d love to see make a Mickey Mouse film along the lines of A Goofy Movie or Once Upon a Christmas. To me, their strongest films were the core Disney ones.

    • Angelo Thomas

      Yes! I would LOVE to see Mickey and friends up on the big screen. 🙂

      • Manuel Orozco

        Me too! It would be cool to have them back on the big screen perhaps like the recent Muppet movies.

  • It’s always good news to hear that a studio is not closing it’s doors. I wish it was 2D animation but that’s unlikely. (Why not though! Every time I go on Disney’s facebook page, people in the comments are constantly asking for 2D.)
    Also I remember hearing that direct to video projects just don’t profit anymore. But who knows, maybe they could change that, make a film for TV or streaming. There’s a wealth of franchises Disney could return to, even if it’s just the classic characters.

    • Tim Tran

      the thing is, most people complaining make up only like 1% of the mainstream audience, so they generally dont care.
      and i doubt theyre doing direct to dvd. the release date disney showed was only for theatrical release, nothing else.

      • rbrtck

        If DTS were to ever do direct-to-video again, it wouldn’t be at the same budget and quality level as before, and that might not even be an option for Lasseter or Disney management. They were already outsourcing virtually all of the actual animation production to Prana Studios in India (who did a great job under the constraints) in order to minimize the budget for a given level of quality, but by the time DTS was practically shut down, they couldn’t sell enough videos to break even anymore (sadly Legend of the NeverBeast lost a lot more money than anything before it), and with Disney Fairies(TM) merchandise sales sliding and the Planes franchise tanking in theaters (when it rains, it pours), Disney had to stop the bleeding right there (DTS’ existing projects were projected to lose even more money–time for a pause and reset, stat!). In general the video sales market is dying (for theatrically-released movies, too), and has been for a long time, so I think that ship has sailed.

      • 1% sounds way too low a figure too me. I feel most Disney fans would enjoy another 2d film. Disney fans aren’t 1% of the audience. An entire generation who grew up in the 90’s are even becoming parents soon. It may not happen in the next few years, but I believe there is growing mainstream demand for not every film to be CG. Older generations running the corporate show may still be in power, but they have to retire someday. Fresh ideas will make it in someday.

  • This is great news!!! I can’t wait to see what will be in store in 2019!

  • Iftekhar Ahmed

    I can guarantee you that it will be a Lion Guard movie. It’d probably be a fantastic opportunity to test the waters with 2D Hand Drawn Animation with The Lion King franchise.

  • rbrtck

    Well, DTS had pretty much been shut down, but not entirely. Nearly the entire staff had been laid off, and WDAS have temporarily been filling up their building (while their own Hat Building is being gutted and remodeled from scratch), but a core group of key creative staff members remained while production was completely halted to develop a slate of projects to produce in the future. Nothing was absolutely assured, but I for one am glad that they’ve apparently succeeded in restarting DTS. Unfortunately Disney simply were not willing to spend additional money to keep everyone employed after the huge paradigm shifts that impacted DTS’ core businesses–the effective collapse of the direct-to-video market (at this budget level) and Planes: Fire & Rescue flopping so hard theatrically, which probably caught Disney by surprise.

    Just to show that I’m not bitter over all of the crappy sequels to WDAS’ movies, new and old, that DTS have made over the years ;), I’m glad that they’re back and look forward to seeing what they’re working on. Seriously, I do enjoy–somewhat surprisingly–their Tinker Bell movies (probably should have released these theatrically in the domestic market and many more than they did), for what they are, and I think their core staff in the current era have good potential.

  • johnny

    maybe it will be the Chip N Dale Rescue Rangers reboot, think about it they did films based on some of the Disney Afternoon shows like Ducktales, Goof Troop and Winnie the Pooh, im just saying that could be it it or The Lion Guard Movie

  • Harith Sami

    I thought it was going to die after tinker bell franchise ended, I hope they’ll do something more original than spin-offs or terrible sequels, making franchises will be easier for them than making original films

  • Harith Sami


  • iWill

    Well, it’s a shame Tinker Bell and Planes didn’t deliver for DisneyToon. Mind that, it is true that they were not such strong franchises anyway (though I do think The Pirate Fairy and the first Tinker Bell movie were very good indeed). I’m also sad to know that Pixar Canada shut down. However, I don’t think JL and pals are going to let this get to them. After all, it is when you face the greatest challenges that you get the best rewards.
    So, time for yet another change of course. There is plenty of things left to be done and DisneyToon is more than capable of giving new stories a try. It would be great if they tried to deliver some hand-drawn animated pieces, which I don’t think would be such a big deal, actually (in terms of economical profit, that is). As long as the story is vivid and the characters are real, any medium is a good one. And audiences want an entertaining story first, and visual razzle-dazzle second. Imagination is a renewable source after all, and Disneyland is far from complete. I’m sure they’ll work it out. At least I hope so, which is good enough for me.

  • Diego Icazbalceta

    Hello there!
    I’m a big fan of the Animation 2D
    My mail is diego.icaz@hotmail.com

    I want the DisneyToon Studios done much of Animation 2D

    Like they done with the sequels of The Fox and the Hound 2, The Little Mermaid 3, Cinderella 3 and Peter Pan 2

    But now I wish they made a Tinkerbell one more film, when she met Peter Pan and they learn to be a friends together, understand?
    Answer me for this, please

  • Manuel Orozco

    OK I would get excited right now DisneyToons is back in the game but I’m not going to until we know the confirmed movie they are going to release.

  • AFK “Chris” LEO

    Hoping If they ever make a new Tinker Bell Movie!!!!If this is True I like the franchise nothing beats em I dont care how many money they get id just love em!!!!I just hope in the future if they ever make another Tinkerbell franchise leading to how she meet Peter Pan!?

    • Manuel Orozco

      I love the Tinker Bell movies and I’ve waited nearly a decade to see how she met Peter Pan.

  • Xavier Antonio

    What will make the sequel to Disney?

    The sequel to Dumbo, to The Aristocats, to Alice in Wonderland, to The Black Cauldron or nothing more?

    • Manuel Orozco

      I wasn’t a big fan of the direct to video sequels. So I think that won’t likely happen especially when the main Disney animation studio is at work on Wreck It Ralph 2 and Frozen 2.

  • Miranda


    Hi Disneytoons 🙂 We are here to suggest the return of the online game Pixiehollow. All of us enjoyed this game so much. We would do anything to bring it back. Even create a donation poll to support its opening. We don’t need much, just a couple servers open of the old game. Thank you so much, I hope you can get
    back to us.