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John Lasseter Confirmed as Last Minute 'Cars 2' Co-Director

by
June 24, 2010
Source: Jim Hill, SlashFilm

John Lasseter

And by last minute I mean the final year of production. Today just so happens to be the exact day, one year from now, in which Pixar's Cars 2 arrives in theaters (June 24th, 2011). After hearing rumors for months, Jim Hill Media (via SlashFilm) has confirmed with Disney reps that John Lasseter has returned to Pixar (after moving to Burbank, CA to become the new Chief Creative Officer of Disney) to work on Cars 2. See, it was reported back in February that Lasseter, who normally spends most of his time in LA working on Disney projects, had returned to Emeryville because "there have been story problems that needed to be addressed."

Before anyone freaks out about this, it's not actually uncommon for Pixar movies to go through some rough spots. As Peter from SlashFilm explains: "Any employee of Pixar will be the first to tell you that every movie they've made has been a disaster at one point, that the key to their sucess [sic] is reworking and reworking a project until it becomes something great." Apparently that's exactly what happened with Ratatouille, and that movie turned out fantastic in the end. Word is that Cars 2, which is the one sequel older Pixar fanboys do not want to see, was having "massive story problems" and that Lasseter, who created and directed Cars, returned to fix the issues, helping out Brad Lewis, who is making his directorial debut on this new sequel.

Jim Hill says: "The Disney reps were quite up front about the fact that the Chief Creative Officer of Pixar and Disney Animation Studios is now working side-by-side" with Lewis. Concerns aside, Disney "anticipates that this June 2011 release will be a worthy follow-up to that 2006 Pixar release." So apparently Lasseter will indeed receive official co-director credit on the film in the end, which also isn't uncommon. Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich co-directed Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc, and Finding Nemo before he was given the reigns all by himself on Toy Story 3. So for now it doesn't sound like there's anything to be worried about.

In fact, this might be good news. I trust Lasseter and I think he's definitely got some creative genius in him, which is why I'm assuming (or maybe just hoping) that he came back to make sure that the sequel would be incredible, not just okay. And maybe this means that they're trying their hardest to make sure that Cars 2 doesn't have any story issues like the first one. Although it's debatable, the story and characters are the main reason why so many people consider the original Cars to be one of their least favorite Pixar movies. It's not bad news, but it's certainly very interesting. Cars 2 will still hit theaters next summer, 365 days from today!

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  • almartva
    Well you are right about one thing,cars is my least Favorite Pixar movie but most likely I will see number 2 anyway. This article reminded me about the whole mess they had with Ratatouille but it turned out to be one of their best so I'm not worried.
  • Voice of Reason
    Still not going to see this in theatres.
  • I loved Cars. It is one of those movies that you need to see more than once to really appreciate the value. Besides, it's was made for a younger audience like "A Bug's Life." I'm glad that Pixar are facing the challenges because they will overcome them and make a great film. 😀
  • Moon
    I'm sorry but have you even heard what the story to this mess of a movie is? Mater works as a spy car while in England. It just sounds kind of pathetic. I absolutely love Pixar but I think this will be their first misstep.
  • dRailer
    Cars is the Pixar movie I like the least as well.
  • Jackson
    Whoa #3. Cars is in no way like A Bug's Life. That one was clever, beautiful, and had a very imaginative story. Cars was a bunch of talking vehicles in a desert. Don't compare one of the best to Cars, because it was only ok.
  • cyn
    I didn't care for the movie, but seriously tho, whatever the storyline, its marketing gold. Pixar Cars are like crack to kids. My nephew will freak when this comes out.
  • MIKE
    I wonder what made them go through with Cars in the first place. I mean as everyone has said, Cars isn't their best work, one would think an Incredibles sequel would come out before a Cars one. Still I trust Lassater, and if Pixar is Pixar, they will polish off the mess that is the story of cars 2.
  • artman
    #8 an Incredibles sequel would be something everyone wants to see. Cars 2 just doesn't need to be made. I can't see the reason why they would make one. we'll see i guess. i know pixar hasn't failed yet, i just pray that this isn't a misstep. maybe after this they'll go with something thats not a sequel. something new.
  • ShriekoftheVulture
    just because a bunch of whiny people on the internet hate Cars doesn't mean everybody does. Cars was a huge hit and has lots of fans.
  • Clover
    No one wants a Incredibles sequal unless Lassater directs, the first was lame. Toy Story 1 2 and 3 are still the best things Pixar has ever done.
  • Edward
    #11 - "no one wants an Incredibles sequel unless Lasseter directs"? Speak for yourself please, in my opinion The Incredibles is the one Pixar movie that CRIES OUT for a sequel. It's one of my favorite superhero movies, live-action or animated.
  • The Real Doc Brown
    I still have never been able to get past 30 minutes of the Incredibles and have tried 3 times......worst of the Pixar universe besides Wall-E. Lassater did not direct Incredibles and it shows. And I think the comment above was " unless Lassater directs."
  • otphj
    I'm sorry #13 but your in a huge minority in both cases. @#9, The obvious reason Cars 2 is their sequel is because it has turned out to be such a huge cash cow for them. I really have no problem with that since in the long run I get what will still be a watchable movie, and Pixar gets more money to go do bigger and greater things. Win, win. I ripped this directly from wiki: "The Mattel-produced 1/55 scale Toy Cars were some of the most popular toys of the 2006 Summer Season. Dozens of characters are represented, with some having multiple versions available. Several stores had trouble keeping the toys in stock, and some models are still difficult to find because of being shipped in lower numbers than other characters. Some online Disney enthusiasts are comparing it to the same shortage that Mattel faced with its Toy Story line in 1995. On August 14, 2007, the die-cast Sarge car, made between May and July 2007, was recalled due to "impermissible levels of lead" used in the paint. Another Cars product which followed the Disney-Pixar Cars Die-Cast Line were miniature versions of the characters which were painted in different colors to represent different events. These are called Disney-Pixar Cars Mini Adventures. Also, Lego will make some sets for the sequel." On June 22, 2006 Disney Consumer Products announced that Cars merchandise broke records for retail sales based on a Disney-Pixar product, recording 10-to-1 more volume than Finding Nemo
  • L
    Cars is also my least favorite Pixar film. While it had the same great humor as most Pixar movies, it lost that spirit that makes Pixar movies great. I can't explain it, but it just wasn't there. While Toy Story deserved the sequels, they just need to stick with original stories
  • Mark
    Cars is my least favourite Pixar film. That said, it's not a bad film and I like it (an interesting homage to Doc Hollywood). I'm not that excited by Cars 2, but Toy Story 2 was great, and Toy Story 3 really knocked it out of the park, so clearly they know their way around sequels. I'm withholding judgement till I see the film. The studio's done 11 films, every single one a critical and finacial success. No other studio in the world can make that sort of claim or even anything close to it. Every new film they make has always got critics saying "This'll be the one that'll break their streak" and they've never been right. Maybe Cars 2 will be that breaks the streak, but I certainly don't want to be the person that calls it first.
  • dave13
    Cars is a very well done movie that is much more subtle than Pixar's other films, especially with little details. Watch Cars more than once and you'll come to really appreciate it. I fell asleep the first time I watched Cars. Then I saw it a couple times more with a friend and now I think it is a great film. And even if it is Pixar's weakest film, its still leagues stronger than most films produced. And that is saying quite a lot. I have faith that Pixar will succeed with Cars 2. I also find it interesting that most comments about not liking Cars still end with a wait and see attitude, an attitude not found so strongly with other production companies. Pixar rocks.
  • Mark
    #17 Agreed.
  • DinoChow
    Cars is my least favorite Pixar movie, but it's still an amazing, wonderful film, and Lasseter proved himself a genius a long time ago. This is great news.
  • Jeeze
    Bring Jeremy Clarkson back as Harv!
  • #6 The only comparison I had with Cars and A Bug's Life was the age of the audience. I never compared the quality of the story or the imagination. I will agree with you that A Bug's Life was better, but I think Cars is quite creative as well. Besides, I find it interesting how Pixar will interpret the cars from other nations. That should be fun to watch and I hope Luigi will be back! :)
  • I watched the movie "Bolt" over the weekend and enjoyed it alot. I'd like to let the director John Lasseter know how much I enjoyed it but I can't find an email to contact him at. Does anyone by chance know where to contact him? There appears to be nothing for this on the Pixar site.
  • jjboldt
    It gets old how Cars gets a bad rap. I enjoyed that one far more that Ratatouille which is the dumbest one in my opinion. At least story-wise. Visually, Ratatouille was phenomenal. But a rat talking to a dead chef? How am I supposed to get into that? Cars has far more memorable characters than Ratatouille and to be honest, people thinking otherwise are one of the few times that my mind is boggled here. My top 3 Pixar movies are Finding Nemo, Toy Story and then Cars. My least favorite are The Incredibles and Ratatouille as the least enjoyable. I guess I just find it more humurous when the main characters are not humans and there is very little humans in it. Whether it's fish, toys, cars, bugs or montsters, it's easier to laugh at than watching human-like characters trying to be funny. And the rats in Ratatouille are not funny or memorable. I say bring on Cars 2.
  • Edward
    #23 again, I disagree with you on The Incredibles, but I appreciate that you have a well-thought-out rationale for your preference, rather than just calling it "lame" as #11 did. I can respect you for that. :) For my money though, one of the coolest set pieces in any Pixar movie is the scene in The Incredibles where Elastigirl gets stuck in the door and stretched all over the place. I have only seen Cars once, though, when it was originally in theaters....did not get around to purchasing the DVD. I think perhaps I should queue it up on Netflix and give it another viewing.
  • jjboldt
    #24 I should clarify. While The Incredibles and Ratatouille are my least favorite, I still at least like The Incredibles. I don't care for Ratatouille at all. So I should point out there is a big gap between them. Ratatouille is the only Pixar film I didn't like so it is easily last in my book. Of all the ones I like which is all the rest of them, The Inredibles is last. But I do like it.
  • Julesgm
    @3 I've seen Cars 3 times and I still do not appreciate it and A Bugs Life is way better than Cars. just saying. I love all Pixar Films but Cars and The Incredibles are my least favorite. They're the movies that collect dust in my collection, as a matter of fact, I think its time to bag'em and put them in the attic.lol If Larry the Cable Guy is in here count me out.
  • buckhunter
    CARS is most certainly the best Pixar movie they have made yet. I have watched it hundreds of times and every single time I find it enjoyable and funny. I certainly hope Pixar is not listening to the critics and changing the sequel to please them. CARS is a masterpiece and if that were not true then you would not still see their merchandise everywhere. Where is the A Bugs Life merchandise? Where is the Ratatouille merchandise? There is none because no one really cares. The CARS merchandise is still around because it is a classic and adults and children alike want and are calling for more merchandise. Stores can hardly keep Mater on the shelf. CARS has new fans being born everyday and its easy to see why they are still a favorite 5 years later.
  • 1-7
    Cars, ugh, it's just so... average. Can't get excited for a sequel. The only reason it's even getting made is because the merchandise is freakishly popular.
  • DBarnes
    I have watched the Pixar movies at least 100 times each, own all the DVDs, Cars is a fav in our house and has many of the characters that are fab, the message about friendship and life is wonderful for kids. People shouldn't judge movies on one or a few viewings. The Incredibles is my kids least fav but my least fav is Ratatouille, for a movie about rats I prefer Flushed Away. Loved Toy Story 3 and I think everything Pixar does is in it's own league. I wish they did more the time between new movies seems very LOOOOOOONNNNNGG!
  • AndyC
    As many people have said above, even the perceived mis-steps from Pixar are still waaay better than the majority of movies released today. And if you consider that Cars is still Disney's biggest merchandising earner four years after it was released (it made more money from merchandise in year 2 than in the year of release!) and that merchandising revenue is considerably greater than the movies themselves earn, then I think you have your answer as to why they're developing a sequel. However, I'd also like to concur with those above who suggest that Cars improves with multiple viewings. I was no particular fan of it on theatrical release, but now that I have a young son who watches many of the Pixar movies over and over again I have to say that Cars stands up to repeat viewings better than any of the others in my view. So on that basis I have to say that I'm thoroughly looking forward to Cars 2.
  • Eli Gordon
    I figure that Cars 2 will be better than Cars. After all, Pixar is good at sequels. I mean, they made Toy Story 2, right? And that was phenomenal. They made Toy Story 3, too, and that was also phenomenal PLUS it was a 2nd sequel, which usually means that it'll be terrible. But if Toy Story 2 and 3 were both phenomenal films, I think Cars 2 will be phenomenal, too, or at least flawless.

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