Lin-Manuel Miranda? Check. Colorful family musical with a cute animal protagonist? Check. Beautiful animation? Check. License for Netflix to print money? That’s a big, presumptive check right there. Everything about this just-released trailer for Netflix’s upcoming Vivo seems like the announcement of a property shooting for Moana-sized impact.
Vivo is a concept that Miranda originally pitched to DreamWorks more than a decade ago, but was acquired by Sony Pictures Animation back in 2016. It was originally intended for theatrical release in late 2020, but like so many other films during the COVID-19 pandemic, it fell off the release schedule. This spring, it was then acquired by Netflix for distribution. The synopsis is as follows:
Vivo follows a one-of-kind kinkajou (Lin-Manuel Miranda) who spends his days playing music to the crowds in a lively Havana square with his beloved owner Andrés (Juan de Marcos González). Though they may not speak the same language, Vivo and Andrés are the perfect duo through their common love of music. But when tragedy strikes shortly after Andrés receives a letter from the famous Marta Sandoval (Gloria Estefan), inviting her old partner to her farewell concert in Miami with the hope of reconnecting, it’s up to Vivo to deliver a message that Andrés never could: A love letter to Marta, written long ago, in the form of a song. Yet in order to get to the distant shores of Miami, Vivo will need to accept the help of Gabi (Ynairaly Simo) – an energetic tween who bounces to the beat of her own offbeat drum.
A “kinkajou” is a Central and South American tree-dwelling mammal, also known as a “honey bear,” related to the more recognizable racoon, but this is hardly important. What is important is the lovely, Pixar-esque animation in this quick Vivo teaser, which evokes something like the warm tones of Coco in particular. Check out the teaser below—we don’t have an exact release date yet, but “summer” seems to be the plan.