Disney's Live-Action Pinocchio Movie Will Debut Next Year

Disney+ Day might not be until tomorrow, but yesterday saw Disney executives teasing a number of upcoming projects on a quarterly investors call. Looking forward almost a year, the studio announced a number of Disney+ projects which will filter into audience's households sometime in the neighborhood of next summer or early fall. Among them were Ms Marvel from Marvel Studios, the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story spinoff Andor, and the live-action remake of the animated Disney classic Pinocchio. Like other Disney remakes (think The Jungle Book or The Lion King), Pinocchio has roots in a public domain fable, but will draw most of its inspiration from Disney's existing animated film. 

In Pinocchio, a puppeteer named Gepetto essentially wishes one of his puppets to life out of loneliness and desperation. The puppet, Pinocchio, goes on an adventure in the hopes of making himself "a real boy" rather than just animated wood and strings.

Back to the Future and Forrest Gump director Robert Zemeckis is directing the remake, with Tom Hanks starring as Gepetto. This will be the previous flirtation with the animated world that Hanks and Zemeckis have had, since the pair collaborated on a CG film adaptation of The Polar Express in 2004. 

During yesterday's call, Disney Chief Financial Officer Christine McCarthy revealed that the movie is set to debut on Disney+ during the fourth quarter of 2022, although that isn't a typical calendar-based quarter. Instead, Disney's fourth quarter would be sometime between July and September.

You can see a teaser for the project, via What's On Disney Plus, below.

While some filmmakers have objected to direct-to-streaming as a release strategy for their tentpoles, it does not seem as if Zemeckis has an issue with the plans. Disney announced last December that Pinocchio would be headed straight to their app, and after a quarter where their subscription growth finally cooled, it's likely a good thing to have a number of big projects to look forward to at tomorrow's presentation.

"Even with the disruption caused by COVID-19, we've been able to effectively manage our businesses while also taking bold, deliberate steps to position our company for greater long-term growth," Disney CEO Bob Chapek said last year. "The real bright spot has been our direct-to-consumer business, which is key to the future of our company, and on this anniversary of the launch of Disney+ we're pleased to report that, as of the end of the fourth quarter, the service had more than 73 million paid subscribers – far surpassing our expectations in just its first year."

In addition to Hanks, Disney's Pinocchio will star Cynthia Erivo as The Blue Fairy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the voice of Jiminy Cricket, Luke Evans as the Coachman, Keegan-Michael Key as Honest John, and Benjamin Evan Ainsworth in the title role. The exact release date is not yet known.