Disney announces Toy Story 4, directed by creator John Lasseter, for 2017

A cinema still from Toy Story 3. Walt Disney will extend one of Pixar's most successful film franchises by making Toy Story 4 for release in 2017. -- PHOTO: ST FILE  
A cinema still from Toy Story 3. Walt Disney will extend one of Pixar's most successful film franchises by making Toy Story 4 for release in 2017. -- PHOTO: ST FILE  

Los Angeles (Reuters) - Walt Disney Co will extend one of Pixar's most successful film franchises by making Toy Story 4 for release in 2017, directed by John Lasseter.

"John created Toy Story and directed its first two films and it's great to have him back directing one of our most valuable properties," Disney chief executive Bob Iger said on an earnings call on Thursday.

He called 2010's Toy Story 3 a "tremendous success" with more than US$1 billion at the global box office and US$10 billion in retail sales.

He said that demonstrated that "these wonderful characters are clearly just as relevant and beloved as ever".

Toy Story was the first feature film made by Pixar Animation Studios, in 1995, and gave the famous animated characters, toy cowboy Woody and space ranger Buzz Lightyear a prominent place in pop culture.

The first installment made US$362 million at the global box office, while the second brought in US$485 million.

Disney bought Pixar in 2006 in a deal worth US$7.4 billion.