Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Disney and Pixar

The behemouth that Disney/Pixar are, they released a list of animated movies that will be coming out from now until 2012.

And what a list it is.

First thing I noticed is that now Disney owns Pixar, the almighty dollar has superceeded Pixar's stance on doing sequels. I'm speaking of Cars 2. The original movie was pretty lackluster and they are doing a sequel of it? If you claim that it is anything other than an attempt to capitalize on the enormous money that merchandising will bring in, I will quickly label you as an idiot.

Let's just go year by year through the list.

"Wall-E" from Pixar and "Bolt" from Disney. The former looks good and I'm interested in seeing what they do with it. The latter, ahh, umm, I can't say I'm looking forward to it. The character designs turn me off. Not to mention that Disney's animated films have been subpar at best. We'll see if Lasseter was able to help out with that one. No excuses.

"Up" from Pixar sounds a little strange. The synopsis left me a little cold. However, I have faith in Pixar more than anyone else. Even if they are doing a Cars sequel.

"Toy Story" will be re-released in stereoscopic 3-D. Once again, Lasseter has been trumped by the almight dollar. Not long ago, when questioned about turning his films in 3-D, he pretty much scoffed the idea. I guess his bosses put the screws to him.

"The Princess and the Frog" marks Disney's return to 2D animated features. I wish them good luck, but I'm going to bet that it doesn't do well. When/if it fails, Disney will once again pull the rug from out underneath 2D. And although Lasseter really wants to keep 2D alive, we can see how his influence is fading at the company. It won't matter what he wants. Almight dollar takes precedence at the mouse house no matter who is "in charge".

"Toy Story 2" in 3-D. Cha-Ching, Cha-Ching

Yippeeee! "Toy Story 3" comes out in Summer of this year. Starring all the original cast members. Except for the dead ones anyway.

"Rapunzel" finally has a release date. And that would be Christmas of 2010. I'm very interested in this one. Not so much in the story, but how Glen works out as a director. I'm hopeful he successfully pulls off the switch.

Where the hell did "Newt" come from? We all knew that Gary Rydstrom was directing a feature at Pixar, but I didn't know the storyline. Not until now. Sounds entertaining enough. It will be interesting to see how he transitions from audio guy to Pixar director. Speaking of that transition. For all you people working at Pixar with dreams of directing your own feature. Good luck. Sounds like you are better off leaving the company and trying somewhere else. Ever since Brad Bird, it looks like new director talent is being imported. Not groomed.

Speaking of grooming versus importing. Brenda Chapman will be directing "The Bear and the Bow" for Pixar in this same year. Ms. Chapman did work on Cars, so she does sorta fit the grooming definition. But really, she came from other studios. Having previously directed other hits as "The Prince of Egypt". I don't know this woman, but I have heard she is really talented. I'm just poking fun with the POE comment.

"Cars 2" releases in Summer of 2012. This one is being directed by Brad Lewis. Damnit! Am I going to have to eat my words on Pixar grooming its own director talent? Brad was the producer on Brad Bird's Pixar films. I guess it's still a little different than an animator clawing his way up.

Man, I'm really out of the loop. My head has been burried too far in my work. Never heard of "King of the Elves". This thing will release Christmas of 2012, and will be directed by Aaron Blaise and Robert Walker. It comes from Disney Feature and I'm assuming that it is a CG film since it will be released in "Disney Digital 3-D".

There you have it, the feature release schedule from Pixar and Disney. I like to bag on Pixar, but really, they always do a good job and I'm sure TS3 and Cars2 will be super stupendous!

However, I do get the feeling that Lasseters power is slowing evaporating. Just a gut feeling based on a few things that are happening. Oh yeah, he will remain the king of animation at these two studios, but mark my words, if he makes a decision on anything that will potentially pull money from the Disney coffers, that decision will be overruled. No matter how defiant he was in the past about it.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps a less cynical reason to make a Cars 2 movie is to make a better one and erase the relatively (for Pixar) disappointing reception of the first one. The success of the merchandising makes this retry possible.

No matter what you and many others may think of Cars, that movie was very close to Lasseter's heart. Perhaps, like him, you have to have the heart of a young, car-loving boy (or girl) to feel the same way. Vroom vroom!

And is it such a bad thing to make money? For Pixar, that's what enables them to make a living (at such an exalted level) doing what they apparently love.

Anonymous said...

Cars may not be everyone's cup of tea, but more kids know more of those characters than just about any animated film in recent memory. It's pretty damned popular, whatever you think of it (and it looks incredible on blu ray). I believe it was the second highest grossing film the year it was released.

But the really annoying co-producer guy on the Ratatouille dvd is directing Cars 2? That's just weird.

- Tim - said...

Apparently the imported-not-groomed idea is taking another hit: Doug Sweetland is directing the new short that will show in front of Wall*E.

Staloren said...

let me know when Doug directs a feature. :)

Staloren said...

It's so close to his heart, that he gave someone else the directing job on it.

The point I was trying to make is that Pixar is going down the same road DreamWorks and Disney are. Sequels. Despite previous claims made by Lasseter himself.

I just don't buy that there was so much story ready to go it deserved a sequel on its own merits. It's all because of the merchandising. Lasseter is singing a new tune, thanks to pressure from his bosses.

Money talks. That's fine and all. I probably wouldn't of even cared if it weren't for Lasseter and Steve Jobs going crazy on the conference call a few years back bitching and moaning about sequels.