Sunday Discussion: Are Sequels Bad News for Pixar?
by Alex Billington
April 13, 2008
With the release of Disney and Pixar's complete animation line-up through 2012 last week, it seems the biggest concerns lies with the fact that Pixar's schedules includes numerous sequels. I hate to bring this up, I really hate it, but I've got to ask the question - are sequels a bad thing for Pixar? I love Pixar more than just about any other movie studio out there. Even after making 8 movies in over 13 years, they've never made a bad one, not even Cars. I wish I could say that Pixar will live on forever making great movies, but for the first time in years, it seems people believe these sequels may be the downfall of our beloved Pixar. I say no, they're not bad, but I'm not the only one in this discussion.
Pixar's line-up includes Wall-E this year and Up next year, two original movies. However, in late 2009, Pixar is re-releasing Toy Story in 3D, which will be followed by a re-release of Toy Story 2 in 3D and eventually the release of Toy Story 3 (in 3D) during the summer of 2010. In 2011 (three entire years away), they'll be bringing two original movies - Newt and The Bear and the Bow. And then in 2012 they're also bringing Cars 2, yet another sequel. In addition to the concern about sequels, it also needs to be mentioned that Pixar has always released (at most) one movie a year and never more. That'll all start changing in 2009 when we get Toy Story in 3D and it will stay that way culminating into the actual release of two new movies in 2011.
The reason there is this concern to begin with is that typically sequels never live up to the original. Most people believe that very few sequels in history are better than the original; exceptions being the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Star Wars trilogy, Terminator 2, and so on. I'm guessing that to stay away from this stigma, Pixar has never considered making sequels, besides Toy Story (and everyone loved Toy Story 2 anyway). Brad Bird has even publicly said that it's not in Pixar's consideration to ever make them. However, I think Pixar is smart enough to know when they have a good story that will turn out well and I think both Toy Story 3 and Cars 2 have one. Just because not everyone liked Cars doesn't mean it a) won't have a good story worthy of being made and b) couldn't possibly turn out better than the first one.
Given I'm one of the biggest Pixar fanboys out there, it's very hard to get me to change my opinion on the studio. Plus I think they've still never made a movie that wasn't amazing. I might be one of the few defending Cars, but at least it was a well-made movie. And when most think about it in depth, they'll probably end up saying that Cars was their least favorite Pixar movie, but at the same time still a very good movie. I've heard possible plots for both Toy Story 3 and Cars 2 and they both sound like they'll be great. I'm even looking forward to Newt - but that's not the topic of discussion here. However, I still believe that Pixar won't falter no matter what they make.
Unfortunately I think Disney is putting a little bit of pressure on them to do things a certain way, like put out two movies a year, but besides that, they're not going to fall apart just because they've got sequels on their line-up. Their persistent releases speak more words than a few speculations and that's what counts the most. While I'm looking forward to movies like Wall-E and Newt the most, I don't think either Toy Story 3 or Cars 2 will be the downfall of Pixar. If anything, I think it will show us that sequels could be as a good or better than the originals. That's how much faith I have in Pixar.
What do you think - are sequels bad news for Pixar? Are Toy Story 3 and Cars 2 signs that even Pixar is running out of original stories? What can we expect for the future of Pixar - continual improvement or eventual downfall?