Pixar's 'Toy Story 4' to Play

John Lasseter returning to direct the fourth installment in popular franchise

John Lasseter will return to direct Pixar Animation Studios’ “Toy Story 4” that Disney will release on June 16, 2017.

Tom Hanks and Tim Allen will reprise their roles as Woody and Buzz Lightyear.

Walt Disney Co. chief Bob Iger made the project announcement to Wall Street analysts as he discussed the company’s fourth quarter and fiscal year results on Thursday.

Iger gave few details of the fourth film in the franchise other than Lasseter’s return to the director’s chair. But Disney followed up the announcement, to add that Rashida Jones and Will McCormack (“Celeste and Jesse Forever”) have joined the project as writers, while Pixar vet Galyn Susman (ABC’s “Toy Story OF Terror! and “Toy Story that Time Forgot”) will produce the toon.

Toy Story 4” will open a new chapter in the lives of Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the “Toy Story” gang, Disney said, with Lasseter having come up with the idea for the fourth installment with Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter and Lee Unkrich, behind all three “Toy Story” films.

“We love these characters so much; they are like family to us,” Lasseter said in a statement. “We don’t want to do anything with them unless it lives up to or surpasses what’s gone before. ‘Toy Story 3’ ended Woody and Buzz’s story with Andy so perfectly that for a long time, we never even talked about doing another ‘Toy Story’ movie. But when Andrew, Pete, Lee and I came up with this new idea, I just could not stop thinking about it. It was so exciting to me, I knew we had to make this movie—and I wanted to direct it myself.”Lasseter, who serves as chief creative officer at Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios, and DisneyToon Studios, previously directed “Toy Story,” “Cars” and “Cars 2.” A third “Cars” is also planned with Lasseter attached.

“Toy Story 3” was released in 2010 and earned nearly $1.1 billion at the worldwide box office. Unkrich, who co-directed “Finding Nemo,” “Monsters Inc.” and “Toy Story 2,” directed the third installment.

While Pixar does not have a release this year, it will have “The Good Dinosaur” and “Inside Out” bowing in 2015.Walt Disney Animation Studios, which produced the highest-grossing animated film, “Frozen,” is currently gaining praise for “Big Hero 6,” out in theaters this weekend.

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