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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

Good News Everyone!

Pixar Restores My Faith, Plans To Dial Back on Sequels and Make One Original Film a Year

Pixar’s been in a bit of a slump as of late. Not a huge one. But of their last three features, two have been sequels that’ve fallen short of the Pixar standard. Don’t get me wrong; I like Monsters University. But it’s just OK. And when you’re known for Wall-E, Up, and the Toy Story trilogy, merely-OK sequels kind of stand out like a sore thumb. And Cars 2? Let’s not go there.

But worry not, animation fans. Pixar has announced that in the coming years they’re going to cut back on sequels in favor of increasing their output of original films to one a year.

Did anyone else just hear a choir of angels?

Said Pixar Animation Studios President Ed Catmull:

“For artistic reasons… it’s really important that we do an original film a year. Every once in a while, we get a film where we want or people want to see something continuing in that world — which is the rationale behind the sequel. They want those characters, which means we were successful with them. But if you keep doing that, then you aren’t doing original films.”

According to Catmull the strategy is to release “one and a half” films a  year, with one original film every year, “then every other year have a sequel or something. That’s the rough idea… [Pixar chief] John [Lasseter] and I take very seriously the fact that we need to get [our] people up to the level where they can tell original films.”

One of those people is Bob Peterson, who co-directed Up and is taking command of his first film with The Good Dinosaur, which takes place in a world where dinos never went extinct. In fact, of the four upcoming films Pixar has announced, only one, Finding Dory, is a sequel.

In my mind, this news couldn’t be better. It allows for sequels if people want them and if there’s a creative reason to make them—like with Toy Story 2 and 3—while eschewing more autopilot fare like Cars 2. And if an original film per year seems like a bit much, keep in mind the fact that Pixar films take years to make, and as such production on multiple films already overlaps. If it didn’t, we’d only get one film every four-five years. One original film a year is doable; it just means they’ll have to throw more resources into production. The fact that they’re willing to do that, where they could just crank out Cars 2, 3, and 4… well, it speaks very highly of them.

(via: BuzzFeed)


  • Daniel

    This totally made my Friday. As an admitted Pixar fanboy, their recent trend of sequels has left me feeling disappointed and more than a little sad.

  • TheGeek

    One word: Yay!

  • Matt

    Isn’t Planes, a spiritual successor to Cars, coming out this summer? And I thought I read that a sequel to Planes is already in the works, too.

    Of all the stories to create sequels from, the Cars universe interests me the least. I’d rather see more Wall-E or Incredibles (and that’s even IF I have to see more sequels)!

  • Kathryn (@Loerwyn)

    Planes is under Disney, not Disney Pixar.

  • Kathryn (@Loerwyn)

    I watched Cars 2 on Wednesday night – it’s really not that bad. Compared to Pixar’s output, yes, the whole Cars franchise is pretty much the weakest of the lot (with Cars 2 being the weakest still), but it’s not a bad film on any level. It was a fair attempt at blending Cars with a more ‘traditional’ movie, though I felt it took the violence a bit far.

    But I don’t care if Pixar make sequels or ‘original’ films. What I care about is that they’re crafted with the same loving care, level of skill and brilliance that Pixar are world-famous for. Heck, two of their BEST films are sequels (Toy Story 2 and 3).

  • Anonymous

    And Disney hopes you remember that when Planes crashes.

  • Anonymous

    People talk about Cars 2 being weak but rarely mention that the first film, which wasn’t a sequel to anything, was already much weaker than anything Pixar released before. And it’s worth mentioning that they only released 4 sequels in total and that 2 of those (Toy Story 2 & 3) were improvements over the original and 2 of the best films they ever released.
    My point is, people make too much of the “sequel” label. Whether they release sequels or original films, Pixar’s golden age seems to be behind them. While I’m sure we will see other classics made by them, some movies will miss the mark now and then and there’s nothing we can do about it.

  • CyberIstari

    However, I will forgive Finding Dory, just because I adore Dory, and Ellen DeG. did such a brilliant job with her voice.

  • Guymelef

    The Incredibles is just begging for a sequel.

  • realinvalidname

    Just the other week, the irony hit me that we used to trash Disney for sequels (2′s for The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Hunchback of Notre Dame, and even Cinderella) while praising Pixar as the original, and how things seem to have reversed (Disney doing Wreck-It Ralph and Frozen while Pixar cranks out sequels). Hopefully, they’ll stick to this announcement

  • Mark Brown

    “more autopilot fare like Cars 2.”

    Nicely punned.

  • DarthBetty

    I will go and see every Pete Doctor movie they produce.
    According to the The Pixar Story, (from what I can tell) a lot of their sequel push has been and seems to be according to Disney’s heavy influence and want to sell toys toys toys. Luckily it seems with Toy Story it worked in the positive. John Lasseter was very adamant about if Disney was going to force them to do sequels then Pixar would have control. I’m sure this isn’t exactly the case now, but I’ve still got faith in the dude and his crazy intense amount of passion.

    My opinion is that Pixar still produces amazing shorts and original films unlike any other company currently in the works. They still operate from a more foreign mixture of heartache and love. That American films in general have difficulty understanding, especially in the “kid film” department.

    I’m really glad they are toning it down on the sequels though. Still looking forward to The Good Dinosaur and Inside Out!

  • Rebecca Pahle

    I’m totally going to pretend it was intentional.

  • Mina

    Ahhh! My biology brain is going to have a hard time suspending disbelief for a movie about a world where dinosaurs didn’t go extinct. That would change the entire course of animal evolution!

    But on topic, I’m glad at this news too. Sequels are fun when they’re good and about characters you love. But original stories are, to me, more fun.

  • Nikki Lincoln

    I consider Planes to be a sequel….

  • Hannah

    THIS! If I wanted a sequel to any movie, it would be The Incredibles! I don’t understand why they’re coming out with Planes. Is cars super popular with the kiddos or something because it is by far the weakest of all the Pixar movies.

  • Hannah

    It’s under Disney though. Not Pixar.

  • Aeryl

    YESSSSS!! I want MOAR Dory, so that one I don’t have a problem with.

  • Aeryl

    Brad Bird wants to do one, he just doesn’t have story to tell, and doesn’t want to make one, just to make one.

  • Anonymous

    Disney is doing Planes, Pixar has no part in it.

  • Anonymous

    It’s probably an easy merchandise thing. I’d imagine they sold a lot more Cars merch than Incredibles merch, sadly. I haven’t seen Cars because honestly I have no interest.

    I love the Incredibles though and they way it ended really made me think they were setting up for a sequel. I think one of the things I really love about it is it could’ve just as easily been live action and still been great.

  • Anonymous

    Indeed! Toy Story 2 and 3 were fantastic movies that continued telling the stories of characters we cared about and showed some ffulfilling development of their characters. I don’t mind sequels like that.
    My only worry with Finding Dory is that they won’t be able to reach the pinnacle Nemo did. Imo actually the best of all the Pixar movies in terms of story telling!

    Fingers crossed.

  • Miss Cephalopod

    I’m in animation school right now and a few months back we had a talk by a guy who’s worked for Pixar for well over a decade. He said that he personally didn’t like Cars, but that it’s the biggest merchandising machine they have right now, and that if it helped finance a “riskier” film like Brave, he was all for it.

    Now that should be taken with a grain of salt, of course, but I do agree that it’s awesome that there will be more original Pixar films again. Yay! Although I’m really looking forward to Finding Dory, I love Dory <3

  • Michelle

    “it’s the biggest merchandising machine they have right now, and that if
    it helped finance a “riskier” film like Brave, he was all for it”

    Maybe if Disney had merchandized the heck out of BRAVE instead of CARS, it would have been a merchandising machine?

    *shakes head at marketing departments*

  • Laura Truxillo

    I honestly thought that poster was a Cracked photoplasty until I saw it in the theatre.

  • Lyndisty

    ::sigh:: I really wish people would quit putting down the Cars movies. I absolutely without a doubt adore the first one, and I don’t feel that the second one is as bad as everyone seems to think. Do I think they need to stop there? Yes, because it can only go downhill, but really, Cars has a lot going for it. Likeable characters, a story that, while cliched, is still worth telling, and, yes, marketability. There’s nothing wrong with marketability, especially if it keeps the company making more movies.

    It just makes me sad that one of my favorite Pixar movies is constantly getting crapped on, that’s all.

  • Anonymous

    That is great news!…but I’m still completely fine for when Pixar decides to do an Incredibles 2 film. As long as Pixar believes their sequels are warranted and up to the caliber of their other films, I’m all for it.

  • Miss Cephalopod

    That’s a valid reply and I agree with it, though it does seem to make sense to keep the proven method to bring in the money running on the side. Their biggest financial support are the franchises of Winnieh Pooh, Disney Princesses, Toy Story, Cars and… one more that I forgot, right now. Those are the things that sell the most lunch boxes, shirts, birthday party kits, socks and shampoo and do so reliably, so they keep churning them out to evade the financial risk of the other projects.

    It’s annoying as hell, for sure.

  • Katharine Ellis Tapley

    I think the reason people aren’t as big fans of the Cars movies is because the others that weren’t human focused were easier to anthropomorphize. There’s a lot of subtlety in Cars that you only really get if you’re into actual cars (especially in the first movie). Everyone was/is into Toys. Everyone knows bugs and monsters and superheros and adorable old people. Not everyone saw Doc Hudson roll into the courtroom and said “Ooooh, a Hudson Hornet!” or caught all the references to racing movies of the 60′s.

    Most of the Pixar movies were made for everyone. I think Cars was made by fans of a certain genre, for fans of a certain genre and their 4-year-old kids.

  • Anonymous

    I liked Cars. I though it was an unusual choice for a film (and thus in Pixar’s usual line) because both its primary message of “slow down and enjoy life” and its secondary message of Route 66 and small-town nostalgia were more suited to adults than to kids. Most kids don’t need to be told to “slow down” because they like a fast pace of life and they don’t have enough work to be workaholics, and they’re not old enough to be nostalgic for things.

    But it worked really well, and it seemed popular enough despite poor critical reviews. I think most people’s problem was that they were applying too much Fridge Logic (where are the people?) rather than accepting the premise for what it was. Which is, really, like complaining that it’s not actually possible for balloons to lift a house.

  • aggieagatha

    About time….

  • Maggie

    That’s kind of how I feel about Cars 2, too. It’s actually a pretty good kid’s movie. However, Pixar has been really good about making animated movies that are more than just stuff for kids, so that means something like the Cars franchise manages to stick out like a sore thumb.

    That being said, I’d rather watch something like Cars or Cars 2 over any of the Chipmunks/Smurfs, etc. movies any day.