Did Anyone Actually Ask for ‘Toy Story 5’?
During a Q1 earnings call, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that Toy Story 5, Frozen 3, and Zootopia 2 are in development at Disney. He also simultaneously announced that the company was laying off 7,000 workers, seemingly hoping news of yet another Toy Story would alleviate some of the criticism. However, the news only left fans scratching their heads over how there could possibly be demand for a 5th Toy Story film. Now, Frozen 3 and Zootopia 2 were arguably warranted. It has been nearly 7 years since Zootopia premiered, and its complex premise and tackling of social issues have made fans eager for an expansion of the film. Meanwhile, finishing the Frozen series as a complete trilogy isn’t a bad idea.
Toy Story 5, though, that’s another story. Now, don’t get me wrong—I love the Toy Story franchise. Toy Story and Toy Story 2 are some of the most brilliant, groundbreaking computer-animated films. The Toy Story series has made history multiple times by being one of the highest-grossing animated franchises of all time, nabbing an extremely rare Oscar Best Picture nomination for an animated film, and breaking $1 billion in box office earnings with Toy Story 3 and 4.
There’s nothing wrong with the franchise, but this is precisely the reason why Disney should leave it alone. It has already run its course, established an impressive legacy, and promises to be a long-lived classic film series beloved by audiences. Each subsequent Toy Story film that Disney churns out after already wrapping up the series appropriately only increases the risk of the studio tarnishing the legacy of the beloved series.
Fan reactions prove no one wants Toy Story 5
Shortly after the announcement, fans began reacting to the news of Toy Story 5, and the general consensus was, “Why?” TikTok user Straw Hat Goofy pointed out that the announcement of Toy Story 4 already was met with some leeriness due to Toy Story 3 having the perfect ending for Andy and his toys. However, Toy Story 4 managed to “justify” its existence by turning the film’s attention to Woody (Tom Hanks) and delving more into his complex character and the fact that it has always been his story that the franchise was telling. It will be really hard, though, for Disney to think up just as good a story to make an unjustifiable movie justifiable for the second time in a row.
Twitter users had a more humorous approach to the announcement of Toy Story 5 and began poking fun at just how excessive a fifth Toy Story film is. Many pondered what the film will possibly be about and when exactly the franchise will end.
Meanwhile, it didn’t take long for Tim Allen to confirm his return as the voice of Buzz Lightyear. The actor has been involved in several controversies, including Pamela Anderson’s allegation that he flashed her on the set of Home Improvement. His prominence in the franchise made his return expected, but it is still bound to raise some eyebrows given the controversy surrounding him.
So, why is Disney making Toy Story 5?
The fact that Toy Story 5 is so unnecessary makes the film seem like little more than a cash grab from Disney. The fact that it was announced at the same time that the company laid off 7,000 employees in an attempt to save $5 billion definitely backs up the cash grab theory. Toy Story 3 and Toy Story 4 both broke $1 billion in earnings at the box office. In comparison to the box office flops of Lightyear and Strange World, those billions are probably looking very appealing. Hopefully, Disney actually has a grand plan for Toy Story 5. Plopping a half-assed, unnecessary Toy Story 5 in front of audiences after numerous box office flops and expecting to generate a billion doesn’t sound like a strong gameplan.
Disney’s confirmation of Toy Story 5 is also aligned with a growing trend of studios doubling down on franchises. Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount+ With Showtime are just two examples of studios doing this. Warner Bros. has been doubling down on the DCU and Harry Potter film franchises, while Paramount+ With Showtime recently announced they were expanding the TV show Billions with 4 new series and creating 3 new Dexter series, in an attempt to focus on projects with “franchise potential.”
What all these franchises also have in common is recent massive layoffs or threats of layoffs, cancellations of original shows and new films, and emphasis on cost-saving measures. Ultimately, it shows a rather depressing trend of studios being more focused on the bottom line than on art, innovation, and originality. They would rather stick to what they know and stretch every successful project thinly into a franchise than take risks with new and unique content. It remains to be seen how this strategy of overly drawing out a franchise works, but the reaction to Toy Story 5 isn’t boding well for it.
(featured image: Disney)
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