EDITORIALS

Sunday Discussion: Are Sequels Bad News for Pixar?

by
April 13, 2008

Pixar

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?

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  • Jojo
    Pixar realized late that they can make $1+ billion from their classic movies if they do a sequel.
  • Nathan
    I am huge pixar fanboy, and I am there with you defending Cars. I saw the previews for Cars and though "Oh man, is pixar loosing it?" and then BAM, amazing once again. I won't question Pixar's decisions until they make a bad movie. Steve Jobs is still the biggest individual stock holder in Disney and I think he will ensure that Pixar maintains its quality.
  • B33
    If the sequel is called for, then yes I can see justifying it. A Cars sequel was uncalled for but will still more than likely be acceptable and have a good chunk of the box office just like every other film from Pixar...
  • Lightning
    I've learned to trust Pixar. They know what they're doing and do not sacrifice quality for anything. I'm sure these movies will be fine. If they were sequal crazy, then the Incredibles (a movie with an ending that shouted sequal) and Finding Nemo (one of the best received movies) would have made the list. Obviously they had their own reasons to continue with Toy Story and only add Cars (and yes, I'm a big fan of Cars).
  • Darrin
    why cars, cars sucked. make an incredibles sequel. incredibles was good.
  • d
    Agreed with Darrin. For the most part, if there's any Pixar movie that was lacking, it was Cars, IMO. Toy Story 3? Awesome. Look as far as I'm concerned... when I examine that list of what's coming out... wipe the 3-D versions of Toy Story one and two off the schedule. YES obviously there's a lot of work involved, but you're pitching this as if it has to be the entire Pixar team working on turning a completely finished movie into a 3-D movie. Somehow I think they'll have most of their teams/talent working on the other movies.
  • Brad
    There's nothing at all wrong with Cars, I welcome a sequel. But I would absolutely LOVE an Incredibles sequel (You hearing me, Brad Bird?). That movie is more then deserving of one, possibly the best Pixar film i've seen. I also trust Pixar with sequels, their movies have always been about wonderful stories above and beyond money making.
  • bltzie
    toy story 3? BRING IT ON!!! cars 2? MEH!
  • troy
    toy story 3! cant wait, toy story 2 was even better than the original and i'm looking for the same in the 3rd. As for cars, it was a good movie, but hopefully they can build on the good characters they already have.
  • Tony
    Incredibles is without a doubt the best candidate for a sequel, or even a set of sequels. It has franchise potential written all over it. However, the reason I think Cars is getting a sequel is because it is the least regarded of all Pixar's movies (even though it was a good movie in it's own right; much better than most the crap that studios put out now a days). Because of that, I think Pixar wants to take a second stab at it and try to elevate Cars to the same pantheon as the rest of its movies.
  • nha
    Yeah making a sequel to cars is a really odd/bad decision. I mean Finding Nemo, monsters inc and The Incredibles are the most obvious for sequels... so why pick the least profiting and in my opinion the most boring one to make a sequel to? PIXAR - Make a change to your list before u regret it.
  • Stuart Mellor
    I love love love pixar. I am so excited for WALL-E its kind of unreal. I don't think sequals are the downfall, they prooved that with Toy-Story2.
  • BorisBC
    WTF? I thought Cars was one of their best! TBH I didn't think much when it first came out - I usually stay away from movies that have merchandise in Target months before the actual movie comes out, but once I sat down and watched it, I'm a super huge fan. That start.. awesome, totally awesome. About the only criticism I could give it is it's a bit long. Otherwise, I'm all for a sequel.
  • Don
    Cars is getting a sequel because it made TONS and TONS of money from merchandise. Wasn't as good in the box office, but the merchandise makes Disney loads of cash.
  • I don't think its bad to make some sequels, if they raise the bar or at least keep it at the same level. Besides, its not the sequels that count. It's about the new movies, like Wall-E and Newt, which make Pixar a Rockstar. Those show the true power and strength of Pixar; original family stories with revolutionary visuals. If they keep making movies like that then there will be no downfall or what so ever for sure.
  • wow, im surprised that there are people who didn't like cars, i thought it was a great movie. now i didn't like ratatouille as much (sorry if thats a spelling error), but I still think it was way beyond that happy feet movie. my friend who works at pixar as a storyboarder (hey robert!) told me a while back that it is more disney that wants the sequels then it is pixar, but i thought pixar had all the creative control now? anything else you find out about this would be great. ill see what my friend has to say about this.
  • Lightning
    as a follow up, Disney announced lat lat year they hav taken in over $2 BILLION in Cars merchandise ... I'll hunt down the link for that figure, but that should give some indication to their logic. One could take this as it was a popular film, and the demand for the sequal will be there.
  • Alex, it is two sequels. I am sure they have good plot lines. I mean, it isn't like they are making 100 sequels! Anyway I liked CARS but I do think THE INCREDIBLES should get a remake before CARS.
  • Curtis
    I trusted Pixar not to screw up any of there movies so far so i wont lose faith in them.
  • It's sad that Pixar is double or triple dipping. They've been innovative year after year (for the most part). I'd much rather see them continue to release one movie per year...and that release, more often than not, NOT be a sequel. Unfortunately, I am one (of the many apparently) who found CARS rather boring...and least deserving of a sequel. For all the praise it got, I'd say RATATOUILLE would run a close second. If they could do something to live up to the first INCREDIBLES, I'd love to see that. It's their finest work to date. I think we have enough "remakes" and "sequels" in the world. Keep it fresh, PIXAR!
  • Like Stuart (comment 12) said, these guys practically invented the animated theatrical sequel back in '99 with Toy Story 2, which was arguably better than the original. Sure, Disney does their direct-to-disc sequels for almost all of their animated flicks, but no previous animated sequels are coming to mind that were successful in theaters.
  • Ricky
    I am a little late on this, but i just heard from a friend who is working on the audio for Toy Story 3. There are some plot details now. All of the toys get dropped off at a Daycare when Andy leaves for college. Sounds interesting to me. About the post. I don't think Pixar can fail with sequels. Cars, may have been a risky choice from an adult perspective, but Cars is a sure fire hit with kids. I tried to explain this to a friend when the original movie first came out. What is not attractive to a child, especially a boy about a car with big giant eyes for a windshield and a mouth for a bumper? Pixar was brilliant to make that into a movie in the first place. Kids LOVE that movie, and I mean watch it on repeat more than any Pixar movie....aside from maybe Toy Story. So while it may not be most adults favorite Pixar film, it's probably #1 or #2 on the kids list....and they're the ones that matter with a film like this anyway. Toy Story is a no brainer, they could make at least 5 of those movies before people got annoyed with them. Now if they make a Bugs Life sequel....then we've got something to complain about.
  • Jason
    I think a sequel to 'Cars' is a MUST!!! My 6 children loved, and I do mean LOVED every character in the movie. We own all of Pixar's movies on DVD, and 'Cars' is the only one I've replaced 4 times now, because it gets played sooooo much. My children HAVE to have their 'Cars' fix at least once a week. My children range in age from 2-15, and they all love 'Cars' the most. I just asked them tonight which movie they love the most and they all say 'Cars', and when I mentioned a 'Cars2' coming out, they screamed that they want to see it now. My bad, I should have waited, because now my kids will scream (at least the younger ones) to see it until it releases. I regret that Pixar won't be releasing 'Cars2' until 2012, because my wife and I too enjoy watching it, as it DOES teach good family values, like kindness, love, fairness, and priorities in life. My kids all got it except for maybe the baby. I love Cars. I personally think that Cars is the best animated movie EVER MADE. Thank you soooo much Pixar for your dedication to detail and hardwork in 'Cars.' I know that 'Cars2' will be even better than the original, if that's even possible. Jason
  • Kyle Sinclair
    It seems as though Pixar is taking Disney's approach to moviemaking. Because Steve Jobs is such a big part of Pixar, the studio clearly had the same marketing skills that Apple has: They don't make very many different products, but what they do make, they make PERFECTLY. Because of this, every Pixar movie has been well worth the wait. Now, many cite Disney's choice to make dozens of sequels simply to cash in on the franchises as the company's downfall. All those unremarkable, straight-to-DVD movies ruined Disney's reputation. But it wasn't just the sequels - they made so many random, secondary movies that came and went without any lasting effect (Treasure Planet, Brother Bear...) Knowing this, I'm frightened by Pixar's line-up. If they begin producing movies in bulk, as Disney did, their movies will suffer without the same attention to detail that was given to their entire line-up to date. I love Pixar, and I hope they prove me wrong.
  • Fac
    I absolutely agree that Pixar is one of the best studios out there and that all their movies have always been well done. The worst of the bunch would be, in my opinion, Cars, The Incredibles, and A Bugs Life as their worst of all but still none of these movies are bad to say the least. All the others are true classics especially Up, Finding Nemo, Ratatouille, Monsters Inc, and Toy Story's 1&2. Regarding Cars 2 I hope they know what they're doing because Cars alone was just fine and really doesn't need a sequel. It might be worse than the original. But, I agree and have faith in Pixar and hope they prove me wrong. Now all of you who are saying that sequels will be the downfall of Pixar, I only slightly disagree. I don't think it will be the sequels themselves, but now that they're going to be producing more than 1 movie a year, they won't be taking as much time on each 1 and that may prove to be their downfall. I really honestly hope I'm wrong and hope once again they know what they're doing. Lastly, I just want to say that I am at least looking forward to The Princess and the Frog, sort of, not going out of my way to see it though, Toy Story 3, duh! everyone is going to want to see this, I hope they've recreated the magic that started it all..., Rapunzel, something relatively new, and especially The Bear and the Bow, which seems to have an interesting story, and Newt, which just looks adorable and, in my opinion, has the making of another Pixar classic to add to our collections.

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