Fans of Pixar’s animated features received a treat at D23 Expo, when producer Darla K. Anderson (L) and director Lee Unkrich officially announced the name of the Dia de los Muertos movie, “Coco.” Attendees were treated to the official title card, some details about the plot, and the first exciting preview footage from the film.
The movie has been in development at Pixar for a few years now. At various points it was known as “Untitled Lee Unkrich Film” or “About Dia de los Muertos.” What we have known is that it focuses on the Mexican traditional Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration. While it typically is observed around the same time as Halloween, it’s more of a celebration of loved ones who have passed away than an excuse to get treats.
Disney/Pixar’s “Coco” is the celebration of a lifetime, where the discovery of a generations-old mystery leads to a most extraordinary and surprising family reunion. The main character of the film was revealed to be a 12-year-old boy named Miguel. Miguel finds himself in the realm of the dead and ends up exploring the meaning of family.
When Pixar first announced they were working on a film based on the Dia de los Muertos festival, some activists were concerned about Disney co-opting their culture for profit. To help combat that perception, Pixar just hired Lalo Alcaraz, the biggest critic of the move, as a cultural consultant. I’m sure Pixar had good intentions at its heart, but this move will help make sure they have the knowledge to execute their vision appropriately.
Pixar’s “CoCo” will open in theaters sometime in fall of 2017. Hopefully by then we’ll learn where the name CoCo comes from.
(Photos by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)