The Walt Disney Co. put the prowess of its big-screen brands on full display Saturday at its D23 fan expo, offering early glimpses of highly anticipated projects such as “A Wrinkle in Time,” “Mary Poppins Returns” and a live-action version of “The Lion King” in addition to upcoming juggernauts in the universes of Marvel superheroes and Star Wars.
Taking the stage at the Anaheim Convention Center, Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn reminded the crowd of 8,000 attendees of the studio’s recent successes, noting that the top five films of 2016 — “Finding Dory,” “The Jungle Book,” “Star Wars: Rogue One,” “Zootopia” and “Captain America: Civil War” — were all released by Disney, and that the top money-maker of the year so far is the live-action version of “Beauty and the Beast.”
Hoping to keep that box office momentum going, the studio, along with an arsenal of A-listers including Oprah Winfrey, Mark Hamill and Robert Downey Jr., unveiled an impressive slate of future projects in the two-hour panel, reinforcing its current dominant position at the top of the Hollywood-studio heap.
Here were some highlights:
‘A Wrinkle in Time’
Disney debuted the first trailer for its adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s classic sci-fi novel, promising a blend of coming-of-age tale and a cosmic adventure — or as director Ava DuVernay described it, “a family story wrapped in an epic adventure where you see worlds you’ve never seen before.”
Joining the director were the film’s stars, including Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Chris Pine and Winfrey, who got the crowd riled up in signature Oprah fashion by promising everyone posters for the film: “You get a poster! You get a poster! You get a poster!”
Winfrey, who plays the wise, mysterious Mrs. Which, said she had never read the book before being approached by DuVernay about the role. “But when Ava mentioned it to me and told me it was a character who is one of the wisest women in the universe and is an angelic celestial being who is going to get to wear amazing costumes and get to work with Reese and Mindy as part of the Mrs. team — who wouldn’t say yes to that?”
‘Mary Poppins Returns’
Tinkering with a hallowed classic can be treacherous business with a…