Pixar Removes Original ‘Good Dinosaur’ Director

Published 2 years ago by

The Good Dinosaur Release Date Pixar Removes Original Good Dinosaur Director

The Good Dinosaur is one of the more highly-anticipated upcoming animated movies, as it’s the first original Pixar film since Brave (2012) and only the second original property since the Oscar-winning Up in 2009. The premise, from director Bob Peterson, “envisions an Earth where dinosaurs never became extinct.” 

Peterson co-directed Up, which fused a sense of maturity and poignancy to an oddball premise (an old man floats his house to South America, with a little kid accidentally in tow), all heightened by some of the studio’s most impressively spare animation and design.

With increasing pressure on the studio to return to its commercially and critically dominant status, Pixar president Ed Catmull announced only a few months ago that the studio would put a renewed emphasis on original films rather than sequels. However, these Pixar originals tend to see more shake-ups at their highest creative levels.

After a period of speculation following Peterson’s absence during the presentation of The Good Dinosaur at this year’s D23, the The L.A. Times confirms that Pixar has removed Bob Peterson as director of The Good Dinosaur.

The Good Dinosaur Concept Art 570x244 Pixar Removes Original Good Dinosaur Director

In an official statement by the studio, Catmull said:

“All directors get really deep in their films. Sometimes you just need a different perspective to get the idea out. Sometimes directors … are so deeply embedded in their ideas it actually takes someone else to finish it up. I would go so far as to argue that a lot of live-action films would be better off with that same process.”

This apparently will not change the film’s release date: May 30, 2014, just over nine months from now. With “various creative choices unmade,” Pixar is now looking to a team of key studio talent to ensure the film’s completion.

Each member of the group – which includes Pixar Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter, Brave director Mark Andrews, the original co-director of The Good Dinosaur, Peter Sohn, and Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich – will be working on a different aspect of the production.

Inside Out Concept Pixar Removes Original Good Dinosaur Director

This move marks the fourth time Pixar has switched directors on a major release. The studio replaced original Ratatouille director Jan Pinkava with Brad Bird, Lasseter himself took over Cars 2 from Brad Lewis, and most recently (and controversially), Mark Andrews took over Brave after the studio removed Brenda Chapman. Given the commercial success of all of those releases (over half a billion dollars worldwide), it’s understandable that Pixar feels justified in making these high-level choices.

Pete Docter, who directed Up, Monsters Inc. and 2015′s Inside Out, has commented on the director selection process at Pixar:

“We take our best guess. We try to diagnose: What are the necessary skills? How does this person measure up? They’re going to need buttressing here, here they totally shine, and try to pair them with the right people. But if you figure it out, let us know.”

The long production schedules and large crew needed to mount an animated film of this size does require a unique set of skills, and multiple directors are common, as are certain shifts in the creative direction. Since the film in progress cannot simply be re-shot, ditching a chunk of completed animation means writing off years of work. Peterson has not commented on what led to Pixar’s decision, but he’s still at Pixar, with another directing project in development. According to general manager and executive vice president of production Jim Morris:

“Bob is still working at the studio, and we hope he will stay here for the rest of his natural life.”

So Pixar clearly has a lot of faith in Peterson, and his removal appears to have been for the good of the film, echoed by Ed Catmull’s comment that “our goal is to make the movie great.” Fans of Pixar’s more inventive, experimental originals like Up and Wall-E (as well as dinosaur fans of all ages) will be waiting to see how these decisions pan out.


The Good Dinosaur will premiere on May 30, 2014.

Source: LA Times

Follow Anthony Vieira on Twitter @malaclyptic
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  1. Seems like a mistake. I mean even lassater couldnt save cars 2 and brave was average imo. Fortunantly for rattatouille brad bird took over he is a genious. I was already put off by the farming dinasaur plot so idk

  2. Sounds like the director became extinct!


    • OOOOOOOH YEEEEEEEEAAAAAAH “taking off glasses”


        • You all messed up the Horatio gag so badly :)

  3. Really looking forward to this film, plus it doesn’t seem like there was much heat behind the scenes. Maybe just simple disagreements.

  4. I have no idea what this movie is about. But they are about 15 years too late. The dinosaur craze ended in the mid to late 90′s.

    • Mid to late 90s?

      It ended in British playgrounds in 1994. The only big lizard movie that gained any attention and excited “wow, how awesome was that?” discussion beyond that year was Godzilla in 1998.

  5. So this is their approach for Jurassic Park IV…Mmmm.

  6. You know, I don’t mind sequels or prequels as long as they are something we want to find out.

    Instead of a “Monsters University”, I would’ve liked to have seen a “Monsters Inc. 2″ or a prequel that didn’t involve Sully and Mike meeting through college.

    Instead of a “Finding Dory”, I would rather…well, just leave “Finding Nemo” as is. It’s a great original film.

    What about a film that revolves around cartoons and sketches coming to life and having an adventure to see the world of their creator, something similar to the Tom & Jerry short “Designs on Jerry”?

    • I like half animated half live action films like enchancted or the pagemaster. I think there is a lot of pontential for films as such. I want a film about a rubber ducky with the ambition to explore outside the tub. How demoralizing it would be to see the wonders outside the tub once the tub is full. Only to see it all go away once the drain starts..

      Animated short would be better

      • that rubber ducky thing as a short is actually an awesome idea.
        kudos dude.

        • Thanks man if only i had animation skills lol

          • Maybe you and I can collaborate one day. I’m actually quite good with animation.

            • Maybe. Simple story but done right could pull on the strings a bit. Nothing like a cute rubber ducky lol

              • Voiced by Elijah Wood.

                Then you have their hearts

                • I don’t know why but that animation idea reminded me of one of the dreams in The BFG (the movie version in particular) with a child who pushed his stomach in the bath and turns invisible and uses that power to chase his teacher while rubber ducks floated around.

                  I might have to dig out the old VHS player and watch that movie again now that I was reminded of it.

                  Cosgrove Hall were the kings of animation back then in Britain. The BFG movie, Danger Mouse, Count Duckula….

                  Ahh, nostalgia.

  7. Honestly I don’t know how to start writing this without breaking into a novel.

    Pixar’s journey has been an incredible adventure…


    The problem is…


    It’s a funny thing…

    … See, can’t happen.

    I blame Disney. Bought in ’06. Last great original film released in ’09.
    Disney makes great movies. No doubt. But Pixar made better ones. Now we will only ever get: Disney’s Pixar.

    • Not entirely true.

      “Wreck-It Ralph” is not Pixar and I found that to be one of the better animated movies in a long time.

      • I’d say it could be a lull.

        I mean, The Great Mouse Detective was in my view the last great Disney animated movie until Aladdin came along 7 years later.

        Like with all movies, sometimes a great idea doesn’t translate into a great movie and when you add in the years it takes to create an animated movie…well, that’s when things get complicated and what could be funny now when concept art is created might not be so hot in 3 years time when the first trailer hits.

  8. Alley Oop out, BC in!

  9. Looks interesting