LOS ANGELES Following years of speculation about whether it would be produced, the sequel to the Oscar-winning animated film "Finding Nemo" will be released in 2015, studio Disney-Pixar said on Tuesday.
"Finding Dory" will focus on the absent-minded and chatty blue tang fish voiced by comedienne Ellen DeGeneres, who was a big hit with audiences.
"I'm excited that it's finally happening," DeGeneres said on her daytime talk show, "Ellen."
"I read the script and it's fantastic, it's hilarious, it's warm, it's everything that you want it to be," she added.
Andrew Stanton, who co-directed 2003's "Finding Nemo" with Lee Unkrich, said the film will centre on Dory reuniting with her "loved ones," much like the family-focused plot of "Nemo."
"There is no Dory without Ellen," Stanton said in a statement. "She won the hearts of moviegoers all over the world - not to mention our team here at Pixar."
Stanton said the movie will be set in part along the California coast and take place about a year after "Nemo." It will include characters such as clown fish Nemo, his father Marlin and the Tank Gang.
The film is set for a November 25, 2015, release, the day before the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday that coincides with the start of the holiday film season.
Speculation about a "Finding Nemo" sequel has floated ever since it became a top-grossing animated film. It took in some $922 million (610.3 million pounds) at worldwide box offices, ranking fourth among animated films, according to box office tracker website BoxOfficeMojo.com.
"Finding Nemo" won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2004, and was also nominated for three other Oscars.
Disney-Pixar is a subsidiary of Walt Disney Co..
(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Philip Barbara)