Wish is a 2023 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It was directed by Chris Buck and Fawn Veerasunthorn (in her feature directorial debut) from a screenplay by Jennifer Lee and Allison Moore, based on a story conceived by Lee, Buck, Veerasunthorn, and Moore, and produced by Peter Del Vecho and Juan Pablo Reyes Lancaster-Jones, with Lee and Don Hall serving as executive producers. The art style combines computer animation with the look of traditional animation. The film stars the voices of Ariana DeBose, Chris Pine, Alan Tudyk, Angelique Cabral, Victor Garber, Natasha Rothwell, Jennifer Kumiyama, Harvey Guillén, Evan Peters, Ramy Youssef, and Jon Rudnitsky. The story focuses on a 17-year-old girl named Asha (DeBose) in the Kingdom of Rosas, who makes a passionate plea to the stars in a moment of need, leading her to meet a living, magic star which has fallen from the sky, and together they face up to Rosas’ evil ruler Magnifico (Pine).
Development of Wish began in 2018 but was not publicly disclosed until January 2022, when it was revealed that Lee was writing an original film at Disney Animation. In September 2022, the project was officially announced, with the title being revealed alongside the involvement of DeBose and Tudyk. Buck and Veerasunthorn, who had worked with Lee on Frozen (2013) as co-director and story artist, respectively, were confirmed as directors the same month, with Moore later hired to join Lee in writing the screenplay. Wish is inspired by Disney’s centennial, tying together a theme of most Disney films: wishes coming true. The film is noted to be the origin story for the “wishing star”. Julia Michaels and Benjamin Rice wrote the songs, while frequent Disney orchestrator Dave Metzger composed the score.
Wish premiered at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, on November 8, 2023, and was theatrically released in the United States on November 22. The film received mixed reviews from critics and has grossed $233.6 million worldwide against a production budget of $175–200 million. The film was nominated for several awards, including the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film.
Wish began development in 2018, but it was not publicly disclosed until January 21, 2022, when it was reported that Walt Disney Animation Studios’ chief creative officer Jennifer Lee was writing an original film at the studio.
On September 9, 2022, during the 2022 D23 Expo Presentation, Disney Animation announced the film’s title, as well as that the directing team would consist of Chris Buck and Fawn Veerasunthorn, and Peter Del Vecho and Juan Pablo Reyes Lancaster-Jones as producers. Buck, Veerasunthorn, and Del Vecho had all worked with Lee on the Frozen franchise, as co-director, story artist, and producer, respectively. It was also announced that the art style would combine the look of Disney’s traditional watercolor animation and computer animation, which the company utilizes in its modern period. Composer Dave Metzger cited Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) and Sleeping Beauty (1959) as the main sources of inspiration for the designs of the characters and setting, as well as the latter film being the source of the decision to present the film in the 2.55:1 aspect ratio. Veerasunthorn, who was making her feature directorial debut with this film, said that she was “excited about honoring Walt Disney with the feature. Our art and technology team would come together to figure out how to combine the 20th century illustration look that inspired Walt [Disney] with the CG technology we have now”.
The film’s animation was originally intended to be fully traditional, but it was later decided to be blended with computer-animation when 2D alone was considered, in the filmmakers’ opinion, as having too many limitations in terms of camera movements and characterization.
The Art of Wish artbook revealed that Queen Amaya was going to be a villain alongside Magnifico, while Star was originally a “being of pure energy” who could both shapeshift and talk. Additionally, several concepts and scenes were ultimately cut or altered from the finished film, including a scene where Asha and her family hide away in a village where the people write their wishes on trees and Sabino dies shortly after inspiring Asha to fight Magnifico, a chase scene through the forest where Star transformed into several creatures to escape Queen Amaya and her guards, and an alternate ending where Magnifico devoured wishes to become all-powerful and Asha, intending to stall him, attempted to pass Valentino off as Star.
- Ariana DeBose as Asha, a 17-year-old girl who wishes upon a star to help save Rosas after sensing a coming darkness. Director Chris Buck says Asha is “energetic—an enthusiastic member of her community who proudly shows off this incredible place where she’s grown up”.
- Chris Pine as King Magnifico, the king of Rosas who is the sole keeper of peoples’ wishes. Writer Allison Moore says his motivations are not honorable, stating that “Magnifico seems to think wishes are just ideas. But they are a part of your heart—the very best part of your heart! Yet he’s holding them inside these wish bubbles—hundreds of them—and most will remain there forever because that’s how he controls the kingdom—by giving false hope”.
- Alan Tudyk as Valentino, a goat whose wish to communicate comes true after Star’s magic grants him the ability to talk.
- Angelique Cabral as Queen Amaya, King Magnifico’s wife and the queen of Rosas.
- Victor Garber as Sabino, Asha’s 100-year-old grandfather who is waiting to be granted his wish.
- Natasha Rothwell as Sakina, Asha’s mother.
- Jennifer Kumiyama as Dahlia, Asha’s best friend who is the royal baker and the unofficial leader of “The Teens”. She was inspired by Doc from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
- Harvey Guillén as Gabo, a boy who is cynical but has a heart of gold and is part of The Teens. He was inspired by Grumpy from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
- Niko Vargas as Hal, a joyful girl who is part of The Teens. She was inspired by Happy from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
- Evan Peters as Simon, a strong boy with a big heart who is part of The Teens. He was inspired by Sleepy from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
- Ramy Youssef as Safi, a boy who is plagued with allergies and is part of The Teens. He was inspired by Sneezy from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
- Jon Rudnitsky as Dario, Asha’s rosy-cheeked and wiggly-eared friend who is part of The Teens. He was inspired by Dopey from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
- Della Saba as Bazeema, a shy girl who is part of The Teens. She was inspired by Bashful from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
November 22, 2023
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