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Disney Sails Into Theaters With Animated ‘Moana’ in 2016

After hitting the ice with “Frozen,” Walt Disney Animation Studios is taking to the high seas with “Moana,” an animated comedy adventure that will sail into theaters in late 2016.

The film, directed by Ron Clements and John Musker (“The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” “The Princess and the Frog”), revolves around a spirited teenager on an impossible mission to fulfill her ancestors’ quest. Disney introduced concept art for the film on Monday.

“John and I have partnered on so many films—from ‘The Little Mermaid’ to ‘Aladdin’ to ‘The Princess and the Frog,’” said Clements. “Creating ‘Moana’ is one of the great thrills of our career. It’s a big adventure set in this beautiful world of Oceania.”

In the ancient South Pacific world of Oceania, Moana sets sail in search of a fabled island, and teams with her hero, the legendary demi-god Maui, she encounters enormous sea creatures, underworlds and ancient folklore.

“Moana is indomitable, passionate and a dreamer with a unique connection to the ocean itself,” Musker said. “She’s the kind of character we all root for, and we can’t wait to introduce her to audiences.”

The film becomes the latest island themed project for Disney.

Next summer, Pixar Animation Studios’ “Lava,” directed by James Ford Murphy, will feature a Hawaiian volcano named Uku who sings a version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and is looking for love. Singer Kuana Torres Kahele provides the volcano’s voice, whose look was inspired in part by Jackie Gleeson, Murphy has said. The short will be attached to Pixar’s “Inside Out,” on June 19.

“Moana” will be the first full-length toon from Disney to be set in the South Seas since “Lilo & Stitch,” in 2002.

As part of its parks and resorts biz, Disney operates the Aulani Resort & Spa on Oahu.

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