For some time it would be second nature for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures in France to ignore the huge, we’d say wonderful, slice of the Disney empire right on their doorstep, instead premiereing all the latest Disney releases in Paris itself. Since The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, however, we’ve seen a pleasant change of direction — the stars are coming back to Disneyland.

Yesterday evening, it was the turn of Disney’s latest CGI feature. Bolt, an acting dog who plays the lead character in a hit spy TV series, thinks the “action” is all entirely real. In setting out to continue fighting crime after the director calls “cut”, he loses his owner and goes on a wild pan-American trip home with the help of an unwilling cat, , and one of his biggest fans — the scene-stealing Rhino the hamster.

As with most Disney animations, the characters have a whole new cast of voices in France — no John Travolta, Miley Cyrus or — ehm — Mark Walton (the story artist who ended up playing Rhino) heard here. In Lightning/Flash McQueen fashion, the film itself even has a different, though very similar title — Bolt becomes ‘Volt, Star Malgre Lui’.

However, there is still much for those of us not from France to get excited about — both directors of the film, Bryon Howard and Chris Williams, are at Disneyland Resort Paris this weekend to celebrate the premiere, along with modern Disney/Pixar icon John Lasseter himself.

The official photos are out already, let’s take a look:

Bolt 3D premiere
John Lasseter with the new character Bolt — yes, his tag has kept the English name

Bolt 3D premiere Bolt 3D premiere
Left: Mittens the cat joins John Lasseter and Bolt
Right: Richard Anconina, the French voice of Bolt (France’s John Travolta..?)

Bolt 3D premiere Bolt 3D premiere
Left: Gilles Lellouche, French voice of Rhino the hamster, joins Richard Anconica
Right: Omar Sy and Fred Testot, who both play pigeons in the French-language version of the film, with Fred also playing the older cat who appears and — in an interesting change from the original film — Omar playing Mittens the cat, who in the original is voiced by Curb Your Enthusiasm comedian Susie Essman

Bolt 3D premiere Bolt 3D premiere
Left: The directors, Bryon Howard and Chris William
Right: The full cast and crew in attendance, from left to right: directors Bryon Howard and Chris William, voice artists Omar Sy, Fred Testot and Richard Anconica, executive producer John Lasseter, story artist and original voice of Rhino Mark Walton, voice artist Gilles Lellouche and producer Clark Spencer

Bolt 3D premiere
Original Walt Disney Animation Studios crew behind the film: directors Bryon Howard and Chris William, executive producer John Lasseter, story artist and original voice of Rhino Mark Walton and producer Clark Spencer

Bolt, Disney’s 48th animated feature, opens in Germany 22nd January, France on 4th February, United Kingdom on 6th February and Netherlands and Belgium on 11th February. Be sure to catch it in spectacular Disney Digital 3D if you can!

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