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'Frozen' and Tonka trucks: New animated films in the works

June 11, 2012 |  5:44 pm

Two announcements Monday about new CG animated films -- Walt Disney Animation Studios' fairy tale-inspired musical "Frozen" and Sony Pictures Animation's untitled Tonka truck movie -- signal the breadth of projects in the bustling animation medium that studios have in the pipeline.

In "Frozen," an adaptation of the 1845 Hans Christian Andersen tale "The Snow Queen," a young girl named Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell) will attempt to break the spell that has trapped her kingdom in an endless winter. 

Though Disney had already announced the film, what became clear in a press release issued Monday was that "Frozen" will have a strong musical element. The role of Elsa the Snow Queen, who presides over a palace of permafrost, will be voiced by Idina Menzel, an actress best known for her Tony Award-winning performance as Elphaba the Wicked Witch of the West in the Broadway production of the musical "Wicked" and a recurring guest role on Fox's "Glee."

"Frozen," directed by Chris Buck ("Tarzan," "Surf's Up"), will feature songs from Robert Lopez, the Tony-winning writer of the musicals "Book of Mormon" and "Avenue Q," and his wife, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, with whom he collaborated on the songs for Disney's 2011 film "Winnie the Pooh" and a stage version of "Finding Nemo."

Sony, meanwhile, is drawing its source material not from fairy tales, but from the toy aisle. The studio announced that it is partnering with Adam Sandler's Happy Madison Productions and Hasbro on a movie featuring the toymaker's famously indestructible yellow Tonka trucks.

The Tonka truck movie -- from a script by "Grown Ups" and former "Saturday Night Live" writer Fred Wolf -- does not yet have a title or a release date.

"Frozen" will arrive in theaters November 2013.


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-- Rebecca Keegan


Photo: Idina Menzel. Credit: Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times.