Results have been decidedly mixed for animation directors associated with the moneymaking Pixar studio transitioning into live action. While The Incredibles and Ratatouille director Brad Bird earned rave reviews for Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, his ambitious follow-up Tomorrowland was one of the biggest box office duds of 2015. Similarly, Finding Nemo director Andrew Stanton’s John Carter failed to light up the box office and, similar to Tomorrowland, earned a lukewarm critical reception, on the whole.
Stanton is now looking to rebound with the upcoming sequel to Finding Nemo, titled Finding Dory. However, fans who had feared Stanton would be out of the live-action game for good can apparently rest easy, as the filmmaker now says that he’s eager to get back to work in that area.
Speaking to Cinemablend, Stanton explained that he misses the spontaneity of directing live action, something which for logistical purposes is a rare commodity when directing animation:
“I’m not getting any younger, so I’m probably going to flop to live-action for a little bit. Because it’s quicker and it’s a little bit more of the opposite… It’s the antithesis of animation. Animation you get to control everything, and it’s awesome in that sense. But there’s no spontaneity, and it takes a long time! And so there’s high risk for the complete opposite reasons of live-action, but I need a little bit of short term spontaneity — to play with that.”
There has been no indication of what projects Stanton may be looking to tackle in the live-action realm after Dory – a film that is expected to become one the year’s biggest hits and a return to box office form for Pixar after the under-performance of The Good Dinosaur last year. Fans angling for a revival of the John Carter franchise, however, are likely to be let down as Disney has made no indication that it intends to continue with the series, after Stanton’s first installment opened to middling ticket sales and lukewarm reviews (despite several decades in development across multiple studios).
For now, all eyes will be on Finding Dory, which is hitting global theaters in the wake of Disney Animation’s (a separate entity from Pixar) Zootopia becoming a $1 billion worldwide smash and a summer season that has some people in Hollywood nervous about “sequelitis” after the box office failure of Alice Through the Looking Glass and the diminished returns for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. The original Finding Nemo was one of Disney and Pixar’s biggest hits to date, and right now expectations are that Dory could fly to similar commercial heights.
Finding Dory opens in U.S. theaters on June 17th, 2016.