Pixar to Put New Emphasis On Original Movies Over Sequels

Published 2 years ago by

monsters universituy sulley mike review Pixar to Put New Emphasis On Original Movies Over Sequels

Since Pixar first began their bid to take over the world of mainstream animated film in 1995, the Disney subsidiary has been consistently lauded and adored for originality in a body of work that boasted only a single sequel leading up to 2009. A year after that, though, the conversation began to change. Toy Story 3 represented the studio’s 2010 outing, with Cars 2 landing in theaters in 2011. Even when Brave enjoyed its 2012 run, anxieties over Pixar’s new fixation with revisiting past characters and worlds continued to grow; Monsters University was only eleven months away, standalone project Newt had been cancelled, and talk of a Finding Nemo sequel had begun in earnest. The unending stream of praise gave way to a question: where did Pixar’s sense of originality go?

Yesterday, Ed Catmull, president to both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation, succinctly managed to answer that query and assuage fears of an animation giant gone stale.

Speaking to Buzz Feed, Catmull echoed mounting audience concerns over the studio’s sequel/prequel-oriented direction, touching on the motivations behind Pixar’s decision to offer new installments in the lives of Sully and Mike, Mater and Lightning, and Buzz and Woody; he also emphasized the company’s dedication to making brand new films and telling new stories, as opposed to retreading old territory:

For artistic reasons … it’s really important that we do an original film a year. Every once in a while, we get a film where we want or people want to see something continuing in that world — which is the rationale behind the sequel. They want those characters, which means we were successful with them. But if you keep doing that, then you aren’t doing original films.

Catmull goes on to describe Pixar’s strategy going forward to release “one and a half” movies every year; more specifically, they’ll output an original picture annually, and a sequel or a prequel to an existing work every other year. This should be music to Pixar fan’s ears, whether they’re casual viewers or dedicated loyalists. For nearly two decades, Pixar has made a name for itself through ingenuity in storytelling, fresh ideas, and rich imagination, and seeing someone within the company with Catmull’s standing acknowledge the importance of that originality is extremely encouraging.

Dory Marlin Finding Nemo 3D Pixar to Put New Emphasis On Original Movies Over Sequels

Dory (Ellen Degeneres) will be getting her own sequel in 2015′s ‘Finding Dory’.

He’s not just talking artistic sense, though: he’s also talking good business sense. Even a cursory glance at Pixar’s box office history spins a narrative in which their sequels don’t make the same bank as their original films. Of their five highest-grossing efforts, only one- Toy Story 3- happens to be a sequel (and for some reason, nobody finds Toy Story sequels all that offensive in the first place). Outside of that short list, Toy Story 2 sits in the #6 spot while the much-maligned Cars 2 sits in second to last place ahead of A Bug’s Life. (Yes, Monsters University is technically in last place right now, but that film can’t be judged against its brethren as a disappointment or a success until it finishes its theatrical run.) The message here is simple- new movies, on average, sell better than repeats.

Catmull clearly doesn’t mean to put a moratorium on sequels – Finding Dory, that aforementioned follow-up to Finding Nemo, is still scheduled to come out in November, 2015, while Mark Andrews played coy with the idea of making Brave 2, neither confirming nor denying that another Merida tale is off the table. But the Pixar prez clearly isn’t blowing smoke, either. The studio’s release slate is set in stone leading up to 2015, and while Finding Dory is on the docket, so are Bob Peterson’s The Good Dinosaur and Pete Docter’s Inside Out, which have tentative opening dates of May 30th, 2014 and June 9th, 2015, respectively. (That’s to say nothing of Lee Unkrich’s untitled film about Dia De Los Muertos, a potential 2016 release candidate for which they’ve already shown off some concept art.)

As a result, the years ahead look very bright for the beloved animation studio. What are your thoughts, Screen Ranters? Does Pixar’s dedication to making new, original movies put your worries about their recent obsession with sequels to rest? Or would you rather see them continue to mine their existing titles instead?


The Good Dinosaur arrives in theaters on May 30th, 2014. Inside Out arrives in theaters on June 9th, 2015. Finding Dory arrives in theaters on November 25th, 2015.

We’ll keep you updated on Dia De Los Muertos as more details become available.

Source: BuzzFeed

Follow Andy Crump on Twitter @agracru
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  1. Their plan is pretty good. I really don’t mind sequels, especially if they’re sequels to Monsters Inc and Finding Nemo. I don’t view them as a rehash of previous ideas, more like using the characters for a different story, which is welcomed since several people adored those characters.

  2. i want The Incredible sequel

    • + 1000000

    • If there is one, I’m really hoping Brad Bird is the one behind it.

      • Is funny because that’s the one sequel Pixar fans have actually been begging for for years. And the one that isn’t really being discussed.

        • HERE HERE incredible a sequel please! That movie was AWESOME. Bring back SLj and Brad. He’s still interested in a sequel (brad) so I don’t see him out of the directors chair, guys.

          Sequels to movies that are timeless could either be good or bad, but if they make sequels no one is asking for and the studio just makes them (see: cars 2, brave 2) then it’s in vein and not what the fans of Pixar want.

          • Yep Incredibles is the Sequel I most want in Hollywood period…

    • Me too!! Incredibles sequel, but only with Brad Bird’s involvement. NOT without him. I too think that its uber-lame that they make all these uneeded sequels then skimp out on their one movie that was actually open for a sequel

    • You beat me to it.

      Yes, please focus on original titles, AFTER an Incredibles sequel.

    • I’ve been saying this for YEARS. With the huge success of comic book movies and the popularity of superheroes, The Incredibles 2 should be a NO BRAINER! Especially considering how popular and how GOOD The Incredibles was. I really don’t care about Finding Dory or any of the other sequels they have planned. Incredibles 2 would have my behind in the theater opening weekend. I also can’t understand how there isn’t a Marvel comic book about The Incredibles, either.

  3. Sequels bad.

    Original ideas good.

    Except for The Incredibles 2. That totally deserves a sequel.

  4. I would like to see a Wall-e sequel. I think they set that movie up for a good continuation story.

    • You’re probably the only one who wants to see a sequel to that.

  5. I love that Pixar is heading back to original ideas instead of sequels, but I think their biggest issue has become a lack of risk taking. Brave was original, but still incredibly safe and somewhat dull by Pixar standards. They need to be innovative again rather than just churn out cute movies.

    • + 1

      I agree man. Cars 2, Monsters Inc 2, Toy Story 3 (that one was good dont get me wrong), Finding Nemo 2.. There’s no ingenuity there, they’re just safe bets instead of something new and ambitious like their first 10 movies (around 10). Give a movie that’s original like Wall-E, has heart like Up, with unforgettable characters, lets get back to pixars golden age :D

  6. Its funny because everyone wanted sequels to all the Pixar films they fell in love with. Now people are whining because Pixar did what they asked. I personally love more stories to characters i love. I cant wait for Finding Dory, Monsters U is awesome, i hope they sequel the incredibles myself. All i care about is good stories for characters that we love and create new characters for us to fall in love with.

    • Personally I didn’t want MU, Cars 2, or Finding Dory.. But that’s just me.

      • Nope – me too.

        • Me three.

          INCREDIBLES 2 for the win! :P

    • I’m happy about all the sequels they’ve made so far, apart from Cars 2 though. Wasn’t really into the first one so I didn’t check out the second one.

    • Just cause they are going to ne original doesnt mean they will. Finding dori? Seriously next will be up 2 and wall-e 2. The last. 3 pixar films were average and monsters university was the biggest cash grab ive ever seen. Atleast Aardman releases an original film every 3 years and dreamworks tries to be original. Pixar is in a rut imo

  7. I know it makes me a bad movie buff but I’m not a big “animation” fan.
    The 2 main reasons…
    1. I never was. Even growing up I was never a fan. I hate to use the term “cartoon” but as a kid any thing other than Scooby Doo and The Jetsons I never really watched. I know, shame on me. ;)
    2. When my daughter was born my house went into animation overload. Every Disney movie & cartoon on TV was on a endless loop and I just got burnt out on something I already wasn’t a fan of.
    What’s my point???
    Pixar is the exception.
    Their films are amazing. I can watch Toy Story or The Incredables every day and not get tired and when you throw in Wall.E, Finding Nemo, Up and so on and so on the list seems endless.
    I’ll admit Cars 2 was pretty bad but I’d watch that again before 99% of most of the other stuff I endured when my daughter was young.
    So, yeah why I’d love to see Incredibles 2 I’m extremely excited about seeing more original content from Pixar.
    They’ve earned our trust.

  8. Incredible sequel n back to original ideas.. Enough with prequel n sequels .. There best movies were original ideas don’t mess with the formula

  9. Basically everyone here older then 20 will remember this is EXACTLY what DreamWorks was planning 8 years ago.
    The way it’s going to work is while DW will get a new CEO who will bring DW to it’s former early 2000 glory Pixar will become a company that makes sequels rather then new interesting movies.
    Plus I really don’t get one thing:

    We all want the same thing, that brad bird will finally do The Incredibles: Amongst Mortals.

    • Brave could make a pretty good TV series if they wanted to do it, there was nowhere near enough in it to warrant a second outing.

      For me, I’m of the mind that if something’s wonderful and perfect, just let it be. I’m not rushing to see MU, I can’t see how it can be as good as MI. Nemo I thought was average anyway, so I’ve no interest in Dory.

      The exception is Toy Story, it naturally catered to sequels and turned itself into a wonderful trilogy, even the poorest of them (TS2) is prtty darn tooting’ good.

      A sequel to The Incredibles . . . why not just go rewatch the original again? A follow up with most likely be the same jokes again or worse jokes.

      I’d prefer if they leave those perfect films alone and focus wholly on new stuff. I’m sure they can afford it after the recent money gouge that was Cars 2.

  10. sure… they mention this now without word of a incredibles sequel…

    • Brad bird says he slowly works on it every now and then lol

  11. Seriously, Toy Story 2 and 3 are immaculate, Monsters u was great, the only sequel that is questionable is Cars 2.

    • Monsters university was a rehash of adult better films. It was unfunny cliche and most of all played the nostalgia card
      Instead of making a good story. Did it make any sense that mike and sullys boss at the end of the film was the yhetti that they didnt know at all in the first film? Unless i missed something in the first film

      • It was a throw away gag to give John Ratzenberg a scene as they do in every movie. Does it make sense? No. Does it matter? No.

    • Toy story is the exception, i believe toy story 3 is better than the original

  12. Looks like they’ve run out of ideas and reused the old ones as sequels or prequels, what they need are new and fresh ideas.
    If we give them fresh ideas, they’ll buy that idea.
    Too bad we’re not getting credit for that.

  13. Like everyone saying the only Pixar sequel I want to see is The Incredibles 2. That deserves a sequel. The first was amazing and my favorite Pixar movie besides the Toy Story movies.

  14. Here’s the thing; aside from Toy Story, these sequels-prequels aren’t what we wanted. People were more fond of a sequel to Monsters Inc. than a prequel spoofing college life. No one wanted a Cars 2. No one wants a Finding Dory; that’s about to walk the Taken 2 line of failure. Just how many fish are they going to lose?

    Incredibles 2 should’ve been done by now, but I should’ve known better. Disney has bought nearly everything out. It’s all about greed now, that magic Walt left has dissolved into pure greed. They’re just struggling to grab what’s left. When was the last time Disney showed some appreciation for Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Pluto, Donald Duck, or the rest of the gang? They’ve become minuscule characters used in crappy video games and one cartoon for teaching things.

    Disney Channel = dumbed down sitcom TV with below average cartoons.

    I’ve just about had enough with this nonsense. Ironically enough they own Marvel, who has also rubbed me the wrong way recently.

    Grrrrr, I need to relax

    • Actually people wanted a sequel to Finding Nemo. I was hoping for one for years.

    • Who else wants A Bug’s Life 2?

  15. agree you have to keep changing up the story and characters but the one thing you have to keep is the heart of the stories.

  16. All I want is an Incredibles sequel. All I want.

  17. The only Pixar movies I haven’t seen so far is Cars 2 and Wall-E (not gonna count Monsters University but I never wanted that to happen anyway).

    I honestly don’t think any of their films needed sequels. Not even The Incredibles. Then again, I didn’t really like that movie anyway. Only ones I’ve truly enjoyed are Toy Story, Monsters Inc and the first ten minutes of Up.

  18. I don’t mind sequels, but over 5 years between movies is pushing it, over 10 years is ridiculous (esp movies aimed at kids, who are no longer kids by the time the sequel comes out).

    If you use Monsters and Finding Dory as a measuring stick, we’ll see The Incredibles 2 in 2016.

    • More like 2017. Finding Dory is 2015 and it is every other year for sequels.

  19. I love Pixar. I have ever since I saw Toy Story in the theater as a kid and their movies have stuck with me into adulthood. There’s just something about them that make them great for all ages.

    As much as I enjoy the Toy Story sequels and Monsters U, I’m happy to hear they’re focusing on original films. I’m looking forward to The Good Dinosaur next year and Inside Out in 2015. Both sound interesting.

  20. Quite honestly, I love Disney and I love Pixar always have but let’s take a look back on their films together thusfar.
    Toy Story-Good, revolutionary movie for sure but a bit overrated
    A Bug’s Life-Underrated, excellent film one of their very best
    Toy Story 2-It was good, but again a bit overrated; liked the Buzz-Zurg story-line much better than the Woody-Prospector-Jessie one
    Monsters Inc-Good movie; loved the characters of Sulley, Mike, and Randall but I gotta say that Boo is overrated
    Finding Nemo-Good but again I found it a bit overrated especially the character of Dory
    Cars-One of their worst attempts; it was ok but uncharacteristic of Pixar
    Ratatouille-Between this and Bug’s Life, it’s Pixar’s best movie
    The Incredibles-Good; liked the character of Syndrome
    Wall-E-Good, but a bit overrated
    Up-Good, but a bit overrated
    Toy Story 3-Best of the trilogy; the conclusion to the movie is just disappointing to me
    Cars 2-Unnecessary sequel to an unnecessary movie
    Brave-Another unnecessary film from Pixar
    Monsters University-Unnecessary but I’ve heard it was pretty good
    Finding Nemo 2 is unnecessary but it’ll be more Monsters University than Cars 2
    Good Dinosaur and Inside Out sound good always wanted a Pixar-dinosaur movie
    Please no Toy Story 4
    Incredibles 2 and Ratatouille 2 I honestly don’t know
    Bug’s Life 2 I’d like to see
    But more original content, other than a huge team up of all these Pixar characters
    Have heard no word really on Magic Kingdom, the team up of all these Disney characters being headed by Jon Favreau

    • Wow, you’d be such a great movie critic…

      Seriously, you said “good but overrated” seven times. That doesn’t say much other than you’re too lazy to type anything else.

  21. I swear my brother and I must be the only 2 guys in the world who thought that Incredibles was just a Fantastic Four rip and Marvel should’ve sued there arses! Lol

  22. It’s not that sequels are a bad thing because both Toy Story 2 & 3 were great it’s that most of the sequels lost what made the originals so awesome. I always thought that the best thing about Pixar movies is that they cater to both children and adults. The humor in some of their best films are so witty and clever that you could rewatch it when you are fifty and laugh. They just need to refocus on what made them great and stop trying to make a quick-buck because it is a waste of their talent.

  23. We want The Iron Giant 2!