Disney/Pixar will premiere its first Disney Digital 3-D short film -- TOKYO MATER -- directed by Academy Award-winner John Lasseter, in theaters nationwide beginning December 12. Appearing before Walt Disney Pictures' BOLT, the animated short is the fourth in Disney/Pixar's "Cars Toons" series, inspired by the hit 2006 film CARS.
The series stars Mater the tow truck (voiced by Larry the Cable Guy), Lightning McQueen's rusty but trusty friend. In TOKYO MATER, a routine tow lands Mater in Tokyo, where he is challenged to a drift-style race against a nefarious gang leader and his posse of ninjas. With the help of his friend, "Dragon" Lightning McQueen, and some special modifications, Mater attempts to drift to victory and become "Tow-ke-O Mater, King of all Drifters."
All of the "Cars Toons" are directed by Lasseter (director of CARS, TOY STORY 2, A BUG'S LIFE and TOY STORY) and co-directed by Victor Navone (animator on CARS, THE INCREDIBLES, FINDING NEMO and MONSTERS, INC.) and Rob Gibbs (story artist on CARS, FINDING NEMO, MONSTERS, INC. and TOY STORY 2). Kori Rae (associate producer on THE INCREDIBLES and MONSTERS, INC.) serves as producer.
The previous toons in the series featured Mater as a fire truck in RESCUE SQUAD MATER, a daredevil in MATER THE GREATER and as a bulldozer fighter in EL MATERDOR. These three "Cars Toons" aired on Disney Channel, Toon Disney and ABC Family.
"I'm delighted to be back in the director's chair for the 'Cars Toons' series," said Lasseter, who serves as chief creative officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios and most recently exec produced BOLT. "Mater is one of my favorite characters from CARS and is the definition of true friendship. The world has grown to love Mater as much as we do, and we are excited to take him on new adventures with his best friend, Lighting McQueen."
2-D computer versions of TOKYO MATER will also be available for theaters showing BOLT in 2-D.
Disney/Pixar's CARS 2 will be released in Summer 2011. CARS 2 is being directed by Brad Lewis, producer of the Oscar-winning film RATATOUILLE. In this adventure, all the world's a racetrack as racing superstar Lightning McQueen zooms back into action, with his best friend Mater in tow, to take on the globe's fastest and finest in this thrilling high-octane new installment of the CARS saga. Mater and Lightning McQueen will need their passports as they find themselves in a new world of intrigue, thrills and fast-paced comedic escapades around the globe.