Walt Disney Pictures ended 2013 on a strong note, between its well-received animated musical Frozen reclaiming a top spot at the U.S. box office (more than a month after its opening day) and its Mary Poppins making-of drama Saving Mr. Banks picking up more steam headed into awards season. 2014 isn’t looking shabby for the Mouse House either, as the company has already begun to promote Marvel Studios’ upcoming “Phase 2” films – Captain America: The Winter Soldier (check out new images) and Guardians of the Galaxy (read the official synopsis).
Chief among the non-Marvel titles (which includes the comic-based animated feature Big Hero 6) that Disney will release this year are Muppets Most Wanted – a sequel to the studio’s popular 2011 reboot of Jim Henson’s Muppets franchise – and Maleficent, a live-action revisionist take on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale headlined by Angelina Jolie.
Disney has released two New Year’s promos for Muppets Most Wanted, which arrives first this March. The film picks up pretty much right where The Muppets left off, as Kermit and the gang continue their comeback with a show tour around Europe – only to get caught up in an international caper, involving a dastardly Kermit look-alike; irreverent humor and comedic mayhem ensue.
Back directing (in addition to co-writing this time) is Flight of the Conchords alum James Bobin, who has started to make Disney his home between the Muppets films and the upcoming Alice in Wonderland sequel, once again starring Mia Wasikowska and Johnny Depp (with Bobin lined up to direct for a 2016 release).
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Here is the new official synopsis for Maleficent:
Maleficent explores the untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain from the 1959 classic Sleeping Beauty and the elements of her betrayal that ultimately turn her pure heart to stone. Driven by revenge and a fierce desire to protect the moors over which she presides, Maleficent cruelly places an irrevocable curse upon the human king’s newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Aurora is caught in the middle of the seething conflict between the forest kingdom she has grown to love and the human kingdom that holders her legacy. Maleficent realizes that Aurora may hold the key to peace in land and is forced to take drastic actions that will change both worlds forever. Maleficent stars Angelina Jolie, Sharlto Copley, Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple and Lesley Manville.
Maleficent is the directorial debut for Oscar-winning art director/production designer Robert Stromberg (Avatar), who drew from a script written by Linda Woolverton (Alice in Wonderland), Paul Dini (Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.) and later revised by John Lee Hancock (co-writer of Snow White and the Huntsman and director of Saving Mr. Banks).
The film, like Frozen, appears to have been influenced by the popular Broadway musical Wicked – a sympathetic portrayal of the Wicked Witch of the West in Wizard of Oz – and may be all the more popular for it. Let us know what you think on the subject, and which upcoming Disney movie you’re looking forward to the most in 2014, in the comments section.
Muppets Most Wanted opens in U.S. theaters on March 21st, 2014.
Maleficent released in 2D and 3D theaters on May 30th, 2014.
Source: Stitch Kingdom
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