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Coco (2017 film)

Coco (2017 film) logo.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Lee Unkrich
Produced by Darla K. Anderson
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Lee Unkrich
  • Jason Katz
  • Matthew Aldrich
  • Adrian Molina[1]
Music by Michael Giacchino[2]
Edited by
  • Steve Bloom[1]
  • Lee Unkrich[1]
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date
  • October 20, 2017 (2017-10-20) (Morelia)[3]
  • November 22, 2017 (2017-11-22) (United States)
Running time
109 minutes [4]
Country United States
Language English

Coco is an upcoming American computer-animated musical fantasy film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Based on an original idea by Lee Unkrich, it is being directed by Unkrich, and co-directed and co-written by Adrian Molina.[5] The story follows a 12-year-old boy named Miguel who sets off a chain of events relating to a century-old mystery, leading to an extraordinary family reunion.

The concept of the film is based on the Mexican holiday of the Day of the Dead. The screenplay was penned by Adrian Molina and Matthew Aldrich, and the story by Unkrich, Jason Katz, Aldrich & Molina. Pixar began developing animation in 2016. Unkrich and some of the film's crew members also visited Mexico for inspiration. The skeletons in the film were redesigned to be more appealing. Composer Michael Giacchino, who had worked on prior Pixar animated features, will compose the score.

Coco is scheduled to be released on November 22, 2017. It will premiere on October 20, 2017 during the Morelia International Film Festival in Morelia, Mexico [6], and will premiere in theaters in Mexico on October 27, the weekend before Dia de Muertos, as Day of the Dead is called in Spanish.[7]


Despite his family's generation-old ban on music, Miguel dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol Ernesto de la Cruz (who is also his late and long-lost great-great grandfather). Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel and his dog Dante find themselves in the Land of the Dead. Along the way, they meet charming trickster Hector and together they set off on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel's family history.



Lee Unkrich first pitched an idea for the film in 2010, when Toy Story 3, which he also directed, was released.[5]

The Pixar team made several trips to Mexico to help define the characters and story of Coco. Unkrich said, "I'd seen it portrayed in folk art. It was something about the juxtaposition of skeletons with bright, festive colors that captured my imagination. It has led me down a winding path of discovery. And the more I learn about [el] Día de Muertos, the more it affects me deeply."[12] The team found it difficult working with skeletal creatures as they lacked any muscular system and as such it was discovered that they had to be animated differently from their human counterparts.[13]

On April 13, 2016, Unkrich announced that they had begun the animation.[14] The film's writer, Adrian Molina, was promoted to co-director in 2016.[5]

Disney made a request to trademark the phrase "Día de los Muertos" (note, in Spanish the holiday is properly called Día de Muertos) for various merchandising applications. This was met with criticism from the Mexican American community in the United States.[15] One of them was Lalo Alcaraz, a Mexican American cartoonist, who drew a film poster, titled "Muerto Mouse", depicting a skeletal Godzilla-sized Mickey Mouse with the byline "It's coming to trademark your cultura."[16] More than 21,000 people signed a petition on stating that the trademark was "cultural appropriation and exploitation at its worst."[15] A week later, Disney cancelled its attempt, with the official statement saying that the "trademark filing was intended to protect any title for our film and related activities. It has since been determined that the title of the film will change, and therefore we are withdrawing our trademark filing."[17] In 2015, Pixar hired Alcaraz to consult on the film,[16] joining playwright Octavio Solis, and former CEO of the Mexican Heritage Corp. Marcela Davison Aviles to form a cultural consultant group.[5]

On March 31, 2017, comedian Conan O'Brien jokingly criticized Disney on his talk show Conan for naming the film and trademarking the name "Coco", despite the fact that the name "Coco" is associated with his show, including its official website, and demanded that Disney change the film's name.[18]


The film's score was composed by Michael Giacchino. Germaine Franco, Robert Lopez, and Kristen Anderson-Lopez will write the songs.[2] Recording for the score began on August 14, 2017.[19] The score will be released on November 10, 2017.[20]


Coco is scheduled for release in the United States and Canada on November 22, 2017, during the Thanksgiving weekend and three weeks after the Day of the Dead celebration, and will be released in UK cinemas on January 19, 2018.[21] The film is being released in a crowded market. It is preceeded by Thor: Ragnarok, Justice League and another animated film The Star, followed by Star Wars: The Last Jedi three weeks after Thanksgiving. It is one of three Disney properties being released in the November–December corridor.[22] It is the second Pixar offering of the year following Cars 3, making 2017 the second year Pixar is releasing two films after 2015 (with Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur).[23][24][25] The film will be accompanied in theaters by Walt Disney Animation Studios' Olaf's Frozen Adventure, featuring the characters from Frozen.[26]


The first teaser trailer was released on March 15, 2017, two days before Disney's Beauty and the Beast opened worldwide.[22] The teaser trailer introduced the basic concept of the film while highlighting its focus on music.[27] Scott Mendelson of Forbes praised the trailer as "a terrific old-school Pixar sell, mostly consisting of a single sequence and offering just the barest hint of what's to come."[22] The film's themes and imagery drew comparison to another animated film that centered around Day of the Dead, The Book of Life (2014).[28][27] However, Marissa Martinelli of Slate pointed out that the plot of the film, in which the protagonist is mesmerized by a deceased figure, is more like the plot of another Pixar film, Ratatouille (2007), comparing the character of Miguel to that of Remy the rat. She further noted how the scene where Miguel passes through a living person and realizes he's in a different realm resembles similar scenes in Spirited Away (2001).[29] A two-minute short film, titled Dante's Lunch—A Short Tail was released on March 29, 2017, on the internet. It introduces the film's supporting character, a Xoloitzcuintle named Dante. The short was created early in the animation process by Unkrich and his team to get a better sense of the character.[30] The first official trailer was released on June 7, 2017,[31] followed by a second trailer on September 13.[32] The movie was marketed extensively in Mexico, including traditional wall-painted advertising usually done for local events and never for movies[33]. A movie chain in the country held a contest for dubbing a character in the film[34], and another movie chain held a contest to become an interviewer for the cast and crew of the film.[35]

The movie will also have its own VR game. It will be Pixar's first VR development.[36]


  1. ^ a b c "Coco Award Categories" (PDF). Walt Disney Studios. Retrieved October 10, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b Giardina, Carolyn; Kit, Borys (July 14, 2017). "New 'Incredibles 2', 'Toy Story 4' Details Revealed at D23". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 14, 2017. 
  3. ^ Hecht, John. "Pixar's 'Coco' to World Premiere at Mexico's Morelia Fest". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 5, 2017. 
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  10. ^ Crust, Kevin (January 16, 2017). "'Coco' director Lee Unkrich gets down with the Day of the Dead for Pixar's fall release". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on January 15, 2017. Retrieved January 16, 2017. 
  11. ^ Laughing Place Disney Newsdesk (August 28, 2017). "John Ratzenberger Confirmed for “Coco”". Laughing Place. Retrieved August 28, 2017. 
  12. ^ "Meet the Newest Disney•Pixar Marvel, Coco" Archived 2015-08-17 at the Wayback Machine.. Disney Insider. August 2015.
  13. ^ Debruge, Peter. "Pixar Shares ‘Coco’ Secrets at Annecy Animation Festival". Variety. Retrieved 20 July 2017. 
  14. ^ "Lee Unkrich Confirms That Animation Has Officially Started on Coco!". 13 April 2016. Archived from the original on 6 May 2016. 
  15. ^ a b Y. Rodriguez, Cindy (May 11, 2013). "Day of the Dead trademark request draws backlash for Disney". CNN. Archived from the original on November 20, 2015. Retrieved September 12, 2015. 
  16. ^ a b Nevarez, Griselda (August 21, 2015). "Cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz to Work On Pixar's Day of the Dead Film 'Coco'". NBC News. Archived from the original on August 30, 2015. Retrieved September 12, 2015. 
  17. ^ Yamato, Jen (May 7, 2013). "Disney Drops Controversial Dia De Los Muertos Trademark Bid After Online Uproar". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on November 20, 2015. Retrieved September 12, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Conan O'Brien demands Disney change the title of their new animated movie Coco". Splitsider. 31 March 2017. Archived from the original on 31 March 2017. 
  19. ^ "Get a Peek Into Michael Giacchino's Scoring Process for Pixar's 'Coco' - Courtesy of Director, Lee Unkrich". Pixar Post. August 17, 2017. Retrieved August 20, 2017. 
  20. ^ Snetiker, Marc (September 15, 2017). "First listen: Hear three new songs from Pixar’s Coco". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 15, 2017. 
  21. ^ Ryan Watson (May 10, 2017). "Latest film release changes: Coco pops in 2018". Digital Cinema Media. Retrieved May 10, 2017. 
  22. ^ a b c Scott Mendelson (March 15, 2017). "Pixar's 'Coco' Is Trapped Between 'Justice League' And 'Star Wars'". Forbes. Archived from the original on March 15, 2017. Retrieved March 15, 2017. 
  23. ^ Esther Zuckerman (March 15, 2017). "Strum along with the first teaser for Pixar’s Coco". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on March 15, 2017. Retrieved March 15, 2017. 
  24. ^ Jack Shepherd (March 15, 2017). "Coco trailer: First footage from Pixar Studio's upcoming original film released". The Independent. Archived from the original on March 15, 2017. Retrieved March 15, 2017. 
  25. ^ "First trailer launched for new Pixar film Coc". The Guardian. March 15, 2017. Archived from the original on March 15, 2017. Retrieved March 15, 2017. 
  26. ^ Snetiker, Marc (June 13, 2017). "John Lasseter talks Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, debuts first look". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on June 13, 2017. Retrieved June 13, 2017. 
  27. ^ a b Jacob Hall (March 15, 2017). "‘Coco’ Trailer: Pixar’s Next Original Movie Reveals Its First Footage". /Film. Archived from the original on March 15, 2017. Retrieved March 15, 2017. 
  28. ^ James White (March 15, 2017). "First Teaser Trailer For Pixar's Coco". Empire. Archived from the original on March 15, 2017. Retrieved March 15, 2017. 
  29. ^ Marissa Martinelli (March 15, 2017). "Watch the First Trailer for Coco, Pixar’s "Love Letter to Mexico"". Slate. Archived from the original on March 15, 2017. Retrieved March 15, 2017. 
  30. ^ Watkins, Gwynne (March 29, 2017). "New Pixar Short 'Dante's Lunch' Introduces 'Coco' Dog, Plus Director Lee Unkrich on Whether 'Coco' Will Make You Cry (Exclusive)". Yahoo! Movies. Archived from the original on April 1, 2017. Retrieved April 1, 2017. 
  31. ^ Lawrence, Derek (June 7, 2017). "Coco: New trailer digs deeper into the Land of the Dead". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 18, 2017. 
  32. ^ Mendelson, Scott (September 13, 2017). "Trailer: 'Coco' May Help Pixar Bounce Back From 'Cars 3'". Forbes. Retrieved September 18, 2017. 
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  36. ^ Roettgers, Janko (Oct 11, 2017) Pixar Makes Its Virtual Reality Debut With ‘Coco VR’ Variety.

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