- Directors: Byron Howard & Rich Moore
- Studio: Disney
While the Zootopia 2 cast has not been confirmed yet, there are reasonable assumptions about who will be back for this sequel. It stands to reason, at least to start, that the main players from the first film will be back for this one.
When Walt Disney Pictures released Zootopia in 2016, it became the 55th title to come from Walt Disney Animated Studios. While each and every animated film comes with high expectations, Zootopia may have exceeded those after it crossed the $1 billion threshold. But as the animated film reached the $1 billion mark, another expectation came into play – Zootopia 2.
BOB IGER CONFIRMS ZOOTOPIA 2
When Bob Iger returned to replace former CEO Bob Chapek (who had first replaced Iger), he promised there would be a change for the better as it pertained to everything Disney. So far Iger has lived up to his word some for the good (steady ticket prices) and some for the bad (mass layoffs) but these moves were seen as a way to stabilize Disney.
One other way that Iger was planning to boost Disney was on the feature film front. He made his intentions known during his Q1 earnings calls with investors when he spoke about the future of Disney Animation Studios and what they have in store for audiences around the world.
“Today I’m so pleased to announce that we have sequels in the works from our animation studios to some of our most popular franchises, Toy Story, Frozen, and Zootopia,” Iger told investors on the call. “We’ll have more to share about these productions soon, but this is a great example of how we’re leaning into our unrivaled brands and franchises.”
Leaning into all three properties should be a no-brainer. Toy Story and Frozen alone have brought in billions at the box office, not to mention the enormous take from merchandise. Zootopia is a bit of an outlier, as it only has the one movie to fall back on and a merchandise record that isn’t nearly as robust. But the surprise here, which is why it is smart to return to the world of Zootopia as a feature film is that the film, on its $150 million budget, brought in over $1 billion at the box office ($1.025 billion to be exact).
ZOOTOPIA 2 IS PLANNED BUT HAS NO FORMAL PRODUCTION SCHEDULE
The only question surrounding the now-confirmed Zootopia 2 is when. After the rousing box office success, word came out that a sequel was in the works. It was even going to be released in 2021, but that obviously never materialized. Zootopia directors Rich Moore and Byron Howard have said they’d be interested in a sequel with Moore stating, “It would be nice to revisit it again.”
But in Iger’s Q1 call, the only firm word he gave was that the film was in the works. He did not say production officially started, nor did he give a release date. So, what fans have to be content with until we get an official release date is Zootopia+ as Disney returned to the world of Zootopia in November 2022.
ZOOTOPIA+ IS A SERIES ON DISNEY+
This shouldn’t be much of a surprise as it was on Disney Investors Day back in 2020 when Disney announced that a six-episode series following some of Zootopia’s famous residents was on the way. The series is called Zootopia+ and it premiered on Disney+.
Also, during this announcement, fans were given a hint of what’s to come by releasing the episode titles which included The Real Rodents of Rodentia, Duke the Musical, Hopp on Board, The Godfather of the Bride, So You Think You Can Prance, and Dinner Rush.
IDRIS ELBA AND KRISTEN BELL ARE RETURNING FOR ZOOTOPIA+
When Zootopia+ premiered, with it came a great vocal cast. Although we are not sure who will be reprising their roles in Zootopia 2, some names from the first film returned for the Disney+ series.
Coming back for the limited series was Idris Elba as Bogo, Kristen Bell as Priscilla, Alan Tudyk as Duke Weaselton, Ginnifer Goodwin as Judy Hopps, Bonnie Hunt as Bonnie Hopps, Maurice LaMarche as Mr. Big, Tommy Chong as Yax, Don Lake as Stu Hopps, Nate Torrence as Clawhauser, Shakira as Gazelle, Raymond S. Persi as Flash, and Leah Latham as Fru-Fru.
The one big name missing from this list is Jason Bateman. In the original Zootopia, Bateman provided the voice for the red fox con artist, Nick Wilde.
ZOOTOPIA MADE $1.025 BILLION AT THE BOX OFFICE
It wasn’t just the surprising billion-dollar Zootopia box office that had everyone thinking there would be a Zootopia 2. When awards season arrived, Zootopia made a very impressive run. The American Film Institute chose Zootopia as one of 2016’s top ten films, but that wasn’t the only accolade the film enjoyed.
First off, the film was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Animated Film (it lost to Kubo and the Two Strings). That would be the only loss Zootopia would take in 2016. The 55th animated Disney film won the Critics Choice Movie Award, Annie Award, Golden Globe, and Academy Award, all for Best Animated Feature Film.
ZOOTOPIA FACED A COPYRIGHT LAWSUIT
The path to a possible Zootopia 2 hit a major speedbump on March 21, 2017, when Disney was hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit by Esplanade Productions, a production company owned by Gary L. Goldman, the co-scribe of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1990 hit film Total Recall. Goldman’s lawsuit states that Goldman, in 2000 and then again in 2009, pitched a story to Disney titled Looney. The story was about a shy animator who creates a TV cartoon called Zootopia that he based on himself.
Both times Disney rejected Goldman’s pitch. Goldman’s lawsuit claimed that Disney copied his created names, settings, themes, and characters. Along with the descriptions of his pitch, characters, etc., Goldman also included a drawing of early concept artwork that showed characters Goldman claimed were similar to Disney’s Zootopia characters such as Nick Wilde, Judy Hopps, Chief Bogo, and Flash.
Disney went right back at Goldman’s lawsuit by telling Deadline at the time, “Mr. Goldman’s lawsuit is riddled with patently false allegations. It is an unprincipled attempt to lay claim to a successful film he didn’t create, and we will vigorously defend against it in court.” Both parties went back and forth for months deliberating the merits of the suit, but nothing was settled between Goldman and Disney.
Finally, after almost 8 months, U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald dismissed the copyright infringement claims. In his judgment, Fitzgerald said, “Goldman’s effort to make the plots of Looney and Zootopia seem similar were strained. All the purported similarities between the two works were themes, not plot points or sequences of events, that were too general to be protected by copyright law.”
Not satisfied with Fitzgerald’s decision, Esplanade Productions and Goldman appealed to the Ninth Circuit. It took another year and a half, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit came to the same conclusion Judge Fitzgerald did. Goldman’s appeal was denied.
ZOOTOPIA 2 WAS RUMORED TO HAVE A STELLAR CAST
Zootopia’s directors, Rich Moore and Byron Howard were prepared to bring Zootopia 2 to fans. On top of being set to write and direct the sequel, the voice cast rumored to be joining the sequel had some big names attached. Most of the cast from the original was set to return and they were rumored to be joined by Mike Myers, Sean Ashmore, Rami Malek, Jenny Slate, Marisa Tomei, Lauren Holly, Frankie Muniz, Sting, and yes, even Adam Sandler.
Now that it is official that Zootopia 2 is on its way, it will be interesting to see if any of those big-name stars will be part of the sequel. As popular as the first film was, it might be a smart move to jump on board the Zootopia 2 train.
ZOOTOPIA+ IS THE REAL ZOOTOPIA 2?
When Disney decided to revisit Zootopia with Zootopia+, the prevailing thought was that this would take the place of Zootopia 2. Given the time that had already passed and no real forward movement on a sequel, it was not hard to connect the dots. Thankfully, though, Zootopia+ is exactly what it should be, a six-episode look at other characters inside the Zootopia world.
Now, Disney has over 1 billion reasons to finally get Zootopia 2 into movie theaters. When we get further details we will be sure to pass them along.
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