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Upcoming Pixar flicks focus on dinosaurs, Dia de los Muertos

Though we’re not entirely convinced that any Hollywood studio has a spotless track record, if any group comes close, it’s certainly Pixar. Since releasing Toy Story in 1995, the company has made a name for itself as one of those rare entities capable of consistently creating good films aimed at kids that are equally enjoyable for their parents. In Pixar’s favor (and much to the delight of parent company Disney), this isn’t just a way of earning widespread critical propers; by convincing parents that they’ll be entertained as well at any given Pixar movie, the company has guaranteed that when scanning the local “Now Playing” listing, anyone in charge of a small child will automatically seek out a Pixar film. There just aren’t any other, better options for kids flicks.

This widespread affection for Pixar makes the studio one of the few Hollywood shingles whose films can generate massive interest based on the most scant details. Even movies that are years away from completion have fans salivating purely based on an interesting, quirky premise and the minute number of people already signed on to work behind the scenes. Thus, though the information released this morning on two upcoming Pixar projects offers very little solid info on how these two films might turn out, it’s just enough to generate uncontrollable, twitchy anticipation amongst those who religiously follow the company’s efforts.

The first film, intriguingly dubbed The Good Dinosaur, is being directed by Bob Peterson, a gent who IMDB lists as one of the co-directors of 2009’s Up. Bleeding Cool describes the film as being “set in a world where that infamous cataclysmic meteor missed planet earth and the dinosaurs didn’t die out, evolving alongside mammals and, in the present day, sharing the planet with humans.” Though The Good Dinosaur has been public knowledge for a while now, the film’s title and word that it will see theaters in May 2014 is all new info. That release date puts it after Pixar’s upcoming “crimson-haired girl battles evil and sexism with awesome archery skills” film Brave and the upcoming Monsters Inc. prequel Monsters University.

Following some time thereafter is an as-yet-untitled, undated film that The Wrap describes as a Pixar effort to win the hearts of “the burgeoning Hispanic audience.” The movie focuses on the Mexican Dia de los Muertos holiday, which, for those of you who don’t habla español, translates to “Day of the Dead.” Traditionally, the annual event is held every November 1 and 2 (to coincide with the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day and All Souls Day, respectively. It offers revelers a chance to remember and communicate with loved ones who have passed on, and most celebrants do so by creating personal altars for their relatives, making delicious candy and pastries, and taking trips to local cemeteries to fawn over the graves of their departed relatives.

What exactly this means for the plot of Pixar’s film remains to be seen, as beyond the key focus, and word that the film will be helmed by Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich, almost nothing is known of this project. That said, it’s probably a safe bet to assume that Pixar will be lending its colorful, CGI-driven cartoon style to the intricate, festively macabre costumes and decorations that Dia de los Muertos is most often known for.

Likewise, it’s also probably safe to assume that the film, despite its focus on the Day of the Dead holiday, will have nothing to do with the George Romero zombie flick of the same name (though we’ve got our fingers crossed for a few of Pixar’s typically clever references to that classic of shambling corpse cinema).