Walt Disney Studiosand filmmaker Guillermo del Toro are forming a production company, Disney Double Dare You, to create animated films with a spooky edge.
Disney Studios Chairman Dick Cook announced the partnership today in a star-studded presentation to the D23 Expo fan convention that brought actors Johnny Depp, Nicolas Cage and John Travolta, and directors Tim Burton and Robert Zemeckis, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and singer-actress Miley Cyrus onstage in a packed auditorium at the Anaheim Convention Center.
Del Toro, who is in New Zealand doing pre-production on the film “The Hobbit,” delivered a recorded presentation in which he said he hopes to create animated films in the chilling but family-friendly spirit of one of his favorite Disney theme park attractions, the Haunted Mansion. The filmmaker waxed on about the “immersive” journey to another world that he experienced when four decades ago he stepped into the mansion, which to his young mind was “the most demanded real estate in the whole world.”
The first project is called “The Troll Hunters.” The filmmaker also said there will be a shared trait among all the Double Dare projects, which will include books, merchandise and films, but he kept that secret to himself on this day.
“I love to take audiences into fantastic new world and provide them with some anxious moments in the process,” Del Toro said. “It is part of the Disney canon to create thrilling, unforgettable moments in the process. It is part of the Disney canon to create thrilling, unforgettable moments and villains in all their classic films. It is my privilege for Double Dare You to continue in this tradition.”
It is unclear how many films the acclaimed director of “Pan’s Labyrinth” and the comic-book-inspired “Hellboy” is committing to make under the partnership with Disney — or when he’ll find the time. He is directing two “Hobbit” films for Warner Bros./New Line Cinema and MGM, which are scheduled for release in 2011 and 2012, and has been linked to half a dozen other projects, including “Drood” and a “Frankenstein” remake.
— Dawn C. Chmielewski and Geoff Boucher
Photo: Guillermo del Toro with a “Hellboy” hand. Credit: Egon Endrenyi / Universal Pictures
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