Following Walt Disney's groundbreaking success in Korea earlier this year with its animated film "Frozen" - the first animated feature and second foreign film after "Avatar" in 2009 to attract over 10 million viewers here, it makes sense for the studio's creative mind to visit Korea to show what the future holds for Disney and for Asia.
John Lasseter, chief creative officer of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, The Walt Disney Co.'s animation units, says what happened in Korea was "miraculous" at a press conference on upcoming animation lineups for the studios in 2015 and 2016 in Seoul on Tuesday. Following his stay in Korea, his Asia trip will take him to Japan, China and Hong Kong.
"'Frozen' healed Walt Disney and made the studio so strong," said Lasseter. "And the way the Korean audience loved the movie was something that meant a tremendous amount to everyone at the studio."
Lasseter said when he and Ed Catmull, the current president of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, began overseeing the studios in 2006, the first thing he wanted to do was bring back the classic Disney fairy tales, but tell the stories for today's audiences.
"You know there is not a woman that I know that is waiting around for men to save her, not my wife, my mom or even anyone I work with at Disney," Lasseter said. And yet the studio continued telling the traditional princess fairy tales. The results were "The Princess and the Frog" in 2009 and "Frozen" in 2014, both fables with strong female characters.
Following up on the success of "Frozen," Walt Disney unveiled its plans for more animated flicks based on creative interpretations of fairy tales. Four films on the list are "Big Hero 6" (2015); "Zootopia" (2016), a talking animal film; "Moana" (2016), about Disney's first Polynesian princess; and "Giants" (2016).
Pixar, known for its creative and innovative technology, also revealed three flicks: "Inside Out" (2015), "The Good Dinosaur" (2016) and "Finding Dory" (2016), a sequel to the studio's 2003 classic "Finding Nemo."
"Inside Out" is a very imaginative and important film about a subject that everyone knows about but nobody has seen. "It is about human emotion and personality," Lasseter said.
Asked what is important in making Disney films, the 57-year-old said the heart of the film is most important. "It is the foundation of a building and the connection you make to the audience. The audience will never forget if you truly move them."