Sequel to ‘Finding Nemo’, ‘Finding Dory’ Swimming to Theaters

By Phill Powell

It’s the long-awaited sequel to Pixar’s 2003 blockbuster Finding Nemo. And it’s got animation fans buzzing: Finding Dory will hit theaters June 17, 2016.

Nemo’s big blue friend, Dory, will star in her own animated film in 2016. (Image: Pixar)

Although the film’s release is still a ways away, the voice-talent work is apparently finished — with comedian/talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres returning to movie screens as the voice of the scatterbrained Dory.

The Best-Selling DVD – Ever!
Expectations are already high for Finding Dory. After all, Finding Nemo won the 2003 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

Nemo earned a whopping $921 million at the box office, making it the second highest-grossing film of that year and the biggest opening weekend for any animated film’s U.S. release (May 30, 2003).

Then Nemo became the best-selling DVD release ever, selling more than 40 million copies. It was also the highest-grossing G-rated movie of all time, until Pixar’s Toy Story 3 overtook it.

Finding Nemo became the fifth film in Pixar’s long line of hits and was released when the company (three years before being acquired by Disney) was really showing its domination as an animation company.

Re-Finding Dory
With all of Finding Nemo’s‘s success, why has it taken so long to spawn a sequel? One was in the works, but Pixar creative efforts instead went into The Incredibles (2004), Cars 2006, Wall-E (2008), Up (2009) and Toy Story 3 (2010).

DeGeneres was originally cast as Dory when the director was watching her TV talk show and saw her “change the subject five times before finishing one sentence.” Her ‘A’ list co-stars for the sequel include Albert Brooks, Eugene Levy, Ty Burrell, Diane Keaton and Willem Dafoe.

Ellen DeGeneres will return to movie screens as the voice of Dory.

The script is fantastic. And it has everything I loved about the first one: It’s got a lot of heart, it’s really funny and the best part is…it’s got a lot more Dory.

– Ellen DeGeneres

DeGeneres has a long history with the Walt Disney Company. She and Bill Nye host the Universe of Energy attraction at EPCOT at Walt Disney World. (Which, coincidentally, also is the home to The Seas with Nemo and Friends attraction.)

It’s exciting to think we’ll be visiting Nemo‘s computer-animated ocean again. Pixar paints an exotic undersea kingdom.

The idea for Finding Nemo came from Stanton, who saw a photo of two clownfish nestled in an anemone and playfully peeking out.

“I had no idea what kind of fish they were,” Stanton remembers. “But I couldn’t take my eyes off them. And as an entertainer, the fact that they were called clownfish — it was perfect. There’s almost nothing more appealing than these little fish that want to play peekaboo with you.”

The Story on Dory
While there haven’t been a lot of details released yet about the storyline for Finding Dory, insiders have been able to confirm these details with the studio and Finding Dory director Andrew Stanton (who co-wrote and directed the first movie):

  • The Plot: Why was Dory all alone in the ocean on the day she met Marlin in Finding Nemo? We’ll find out in Finding Dory. She will be reunited with her loved ones, learning about the meaning of family along the way.
  • The Director: Andrew Stanton provided the story idea for Nemo. He also directed Wall-E.
  • Returning Guest Stars: Expect many of the characters from the first film in the sequel: Crush, Nemo himself, Marlin and the “Tank Gang.” John Ratzenberger, who has had parts in every Pixar feature film, will return to voice the moonfish.
  • Release Date: June 17, 2016

An Affair with Animation
Since hand-drawn animation first wowed audiences on the silent screen, we’ve had a love affair with animation. Animation has transcended into other media like television and video games, and animation takes us to new worlds and places.

And now, learning animation can take kids and teens to creative new worlds. Computer animation is now the most common form of animation, replacing some areas of traditional hand-drawn animation completely.

Character animators start with a model sheet, like this one for Dory.

Aspiring animators can break into the animation field. It’s simple: take a 3D modeling or animation course at Digital Media Academy animation camp locations this summer.

DMA offers numerous animation courses, depending on your specific interests. Students in DMA animation camp will go behind the scenes and discover how to create 3D modeling of characters and environments with Autodesk® Maya®, the same software used by Pixar and Dreamworks.

Learn how the professionals working on Finding Dory do it, with hands-on instruction from industry experts.