LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Disney staged the largest gathering of its princesses in history on Friday as it delighted thousands of fans with a star-studded preview of its forthcoming animation slate.
The spectacular moment came as John Lasseter, Pixar and Walt Disney animation studios chief, was introducing his filmmakers at the biennial D23 Expo to reveal new details, footage and images from a host of upcoming films.
"I’m so excited about our upcoming movies. They are all hilarious, emotional, beautiful and make you think," Lasseter told a delighted crowd.
"It’s a great mix of incredibly creative and surprising new worlds and characters and stories we love returning to. Our filmmakers are putting so much heart into these films -- I can’t wait for people to see them."
There was a world-first screening of one scene from "Ralph Wrecks the Internet: Wreck it Ralph 2" that deliciously sends up Disney princesses from the studio’s history.
Lasseter revealed that directors Rich Moore and Phil Johnston had asked the original actresses for each to reprise their roles -- and then one by one, they came on stage.
The gathering featured Auli’i Cravalho ("Moana"), Kristen Bell (Anna in "Frozen"), Kelly MacDonald (Merida in "Brave"), Mandy Moore (Rapunzel in "Tangled") and Anika Noni Rose (Tiana in "The Princess and the Frog").
Also called on stage were Irene Bedard ("Pocahontas"), Linda Larkin (Jasmine in "Aladdin"), Paige O’Hara (Belle in "Beauty and the Beast") and Jodi Benson (Ariel in "The Little Mermaid.")
The sequel to Walt Disney’s "Wreck-It Ralph" (2012) -- which comes out on November 21 -- leaves the arcade behind, venturing into the expansive universe of the internet.
The presentation at the Anaheim Convention Center had kicked off with Bell introducing more than 6,000 fans to a new 21-minute featurette entitled "Olaf’s Frozen Adventure."
They were dismayed when an exclusive clip broke down after only a few seconds, but whooped with delight when they realized they were just being teased.
Remembering loved ones’
Bell suggested they finish the musical scene live and on came Josh Gad, the voice of Olaf, to sing new original song "That Time of Year" in front of a cheering crowd.
The featurette will debut before Pixar’s "Coco," which hits theaters on November 22 and tells the story of Miguel, an aspiring musician whose Mexican family long ago banned music.
The crowd was treated to the first-ever public performance of "Remember Me" from the movie after directors Lee Unkrich, co-director and screenwriter Adrian Molina and producer Darla K. Anderson shared story details.
Anthony Gonzalez, the young star making his debut as Miguel, performed the song with Benjamin Bratt, who lends his voice to Miguel’s ancestor, the legendary mariachi Ernesto de la Cruz.
"It’s the signature song made famous by Ernesto de la Cruz, and it embodies the key theme in our story: the importance of remembering loved ones both in life and beyond," said Unkrich.
In another memorable moment, Lasseter shared a spoof documentary revealing what the real-life fashion world thinks of super-suit stylist Edna Mode from Pixar’s 2004 Oscar-winning animation "The Incredibles.
Showcasing fashionistas from Heidi Klum and Kendall Jenner to Zac Posen and Rachel Zoe, the video was put online as soon as it was over.
"Incredibles 2" director Brad Bird -- who plays Edna -- introduced Craig T. Nelson and Holly Hunter, Mr and Mrs Incredible, as well as rest of the cast including Samuel L. Jackson and newcomer Hank Milner.
"‘Incredibles 2’ is really a family film, it’s just that the family happens to have super powers," said Bird.
"They may have super speed or super strength, but they experience the same problems as any family."
The cast were asked what advice they had for Milner as he breaks into acting.
"Never read the comments," Jackson said, before taking a selfie with the laughing D23 crowd in the background.