When Zootopia scurried into a select number of theaters earlier this year, a scant marketing campaign and the relatively small opening pointed to low expectations both from Disney and audiences across the nation. Imagine our surprise, then, when Byron Howard, Rich Moore and Jared Bush’s animation broke past all expectations to become the second largest original movie in history – behind only James Cameron’s Avatar.
From relative underdog to box office champion, Zootopia‘s success can’t be overstated, but it does place an extra weight of pressure on the studio’s second animation of 2016, Moana.
Featuring newcomer Auli’i Cravalho in the title role and a very boisterous Dwayne Johnson as demi-God Maui, Moana hails from animation wizards Ron Clements and John Musker (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin) and is, judging by today’s all-new trailer, on course to send 2016 off on a high-note. Audiences will no doubt compare the maritime adventure to Pixar’s Finding Dory, but if nothing else, we’re intrigued by Moana’s Pacific setting.
Also on board for the mystical adventure are Jemaine Clement as Tamatoa, Rachel House as Gramma Tala, Temuera Morrison as the voice of Moana’s father, Chief Tui, and Nicole Scherzinger as Moana’s mother, Sina, while Alan Tudyk lends his voice to Heihei, the village idiot among the quaint Polynesian settlement. The ensemble also includes the Kakamora, a bonkers army of coconut-armored soldiers who look a little bit like the Polynesian version of Shy Guy from Super Mario Bros.
Expect Moana to set sail all the way into theaters on November 23.