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Pirates! Miley! Disney dishes on new films at D23

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SANDY COHEN | September 11, 2009 07:25 PM EST | AP

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ANAHEIM, California — Johnny Depp, Miley Cyrus, John Travolta, Tim Burton, Nicolas Cage and the Muppets are all set to appear in upcoming Disney films, and they came to the Anaheim Convention Center to tell fans in person.

They joined Walt Disney Studios Chairman Dick Cook on Friday at the D23 Expo, Disney's answer to Comic-Con, for a presentation on the studio's forthcoming film slate.

Depp was welcomed with raucous applause as he sailed onstage in a pirate ship dressed as Capt. Jack Sparrow. He staggered about and embraced Cook, who announced that "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" would be released in the summer of 2011. Depp will also play Tonto in a big-screen adaptation of "The Lone Ranger," Cook said.

Cyrus performed her hit "The Climb" and discussed her role in "The Last Song" – a part Cook said was written just for her.

Travolta, along with wife Kelly Preston and daughter Ella Blue, presented their forthcoming flick, "Old Dogs," set for release in November. All three appear in the film, which also stars Robin Williams.

"I always appreciate the audience's love for me," Travolta said in his first public appearance since the death of his son, Jett, in January.

"I hope they love `Old Dogs' and much as we do, because I've got my baby in it," Travolta continued, referring to his daughter's film debut.

"We'll sign (her) a 25-picture deal," Cook said.

Burton showed footage from his 3-D take on "Alice in Wonderland," which stars Depp as the Mad Hatter and Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen.

"I've always loved the imagery" of the Lewis Carroll story, Burton said, and the opportunity to tell it in 3-D seemed "trippy and great."

Cook announced another Burton-Disney project: The studio will release a feature-length version of Burton's animated short film, "Frankenweenie."

Cage came to unveil the trailer for "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," an adventure film based on "Fantasia" set for release next summer.

"To me, `Fantasia' is the most beautiful movie ever made," Cage said.

He also agreed on the spot to appear in another "National Treasure" film.

A cast of 24 Muppets performed "Rainbow Connection" aboard an old-fashioned steamboat as Cook announced that a new Muppet movie would be coming "very soon."

"It's called `The Cheapest Muppet Movie Ever Made,'" he quipped.

The D23 star-power didn't stop there.

Robert Zemeckis offered a behind-the-scenes look at his upcoming 3-D version of "A Christmas Carol," which features Jim Carrey playing eight different parts. Next, Zemeckis will write and direct a 3-D adaptation of the Beatles' 1968 classic animated film "Yellow Submarine," Cook said.

Jerry Bruckheimer presented a preview of "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time," due next year. He will also helm "The Lone Ranger" production, Cook said.

Guillermo del Toro appeared on video from New Zealand to talk about his partnership with Disney on its new brand, Disney Double Dare You, which will release scary animated fare.

"We hope you take the dare," he said.

The first all-things-Disney convention runs through Sunday. The event's name signifies creator Walt Disney's 1923 move to Hollywood.

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On the Net:

http://d23.disney.go.com/