Coming out of Disney's fast and furious title dump during its investor day on December 10th is news that the somewhat strangely named Zootopia+ will return viewers to the "mammal metropolis' of Zootopia in a short-form series destined for Disney+.
Jennifer Lee, Disney Chief Creative Officer said nothing, specifically, during her presentation to indicate that Zootopia would not eventually get a second, or even third feature animated film, but let investors and fans know that, for now, the series would satisfy their desire to revisit the unique mammalian city. The return to characters Flash, Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps on the Mouse House streamer would, at the very least, test the waters for more feature films, as the characters explore megacity and its ecosystems. No details have been released and it is not certain when the series will premier.
The original 2016 film, Zootopia, saw Judy Hopps, voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin, become the first rabbit to join the megacity police force. She quickly learned how tough enforcing the law can be, especially for a prey animal in a world dominated by predators. Determined to prove herself, Judy jumps at the opportunity to solve a mysterious case. She ends up working, unofficially, with a wily fox, Nick Wild - voiced by Jason Bateman - who makes her job even harder. In addition to Goodwin and Bateman, the original featured Shakira, Byron Howard (who also co-developed the story and co-directed), Jenny Slate and Idris Elba in voice roles. No word, yet, who will be involved to voice the characters for the new series.
The original movie grossed $1.024 billion at the box office, making it fertile hunting ground for Disney as it seeks to expand on and profit from their library of popular characters and stories. With such a strong financial performance, supported by a 98% critic score (on 293 reviews) and 92% audience score (on 101,540 ratings) on Rotten Tomatoes, it would be hard to believe that Disney won't develop multiple new feature films based on this story.
Disney has enjoyed success turning other animated favorites from its various animation studios into multi-title franchises, a model proven especially successful at its Pixar banner, with outings including: Cars, Cars 2 and Cars 3; Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3 and Toy Story 4; Monsters, Inc. and Monsters University; Finding Nemo and Finding Dory; The Incredibles and The Incredibles 2. There have also been a veritable tsunami of Disney (and related studio) films that have made their way to TV series, including shows from Star Wars, Avengers, Toy Story and classics like Aladdin, Herbie, Lilo & Stitch and countless others.
With over 50 new series announced for Disney+, there will be shortage of new series coming to Disney's streaming ecosystem, by some accounts more than doubling Disney's previously developed series based on its IP library. The company clearly wants to let its fans and consumers know that it is going to invest aggressively to fill the pipeline, reaching far and wide across its vast library to find the stories and characters its global fans are attached to.