Lee Unkrich, director of Toy Story 3, announced on Twitter that Pixar's billion-dollar movie will re-release in American theaters this weekend for the Labor Day holiday. Fans of the film may be pleased to hear the news, but what is the point, really?
Avatar grossed $750 million in its 34-week domestic run - $77 million of which came in its first three days. The first five days of the Avatar: Special Edition re-release has only mustered up $4.8 million domestically. Basically, the greed of James Cameron did not pay off.
Avatar is the most financially successful film of all time and couldn't repeat that success with a re-release. Toy Story 3 is one of the most critically acclaimed movie in years, but nothing guarantees a profitable second run. What is the real motive behind this move?
The filmmakers will argue it is about giving the fans what they want, but it is obviously about the money. Money runs Hollywood and the more they get, the more they want. It is one thing to re-release a classic film years later to preserve its status as a cinematic legend (Blade Runner Director's Cut in 1992) and another to milk the cow (Titanic 3D in 2012).
Many of those re-releases are different than the original - much like Avatar's extended version now in theaters. But they all come back years after the initial release, sometimes decades. To re-release a film before the original is even out of theaters is borderline ridiculous. It's even worse that the second run is the exact same movie.
After only 11 weekends, Pixar has already felt the billion-dollar tingle and made the decision to re-release their highest-grossing film. Who knows where the decision came from, but director Lee Unkrich made the announcement via Twitter:
"Hey, America! Want one last chance to see Toy Story 3 on the big screen? We'll be back in over 1500 theaters for Labor Day Weekend!"
Toy Story 3 recently delivered Disney its second billion-dollar film in one year. You'd think the company would take a vacation on their yachts, but they must have their sights on Avatar's unprecedented box office - which nears $3 billion worldwide.
It is also possible that Disney recently made some kind of gamble with various mafia organizations and now owe billions of dollars to those organizations. It's more likely the re-release has to do with the profitability of a franchise that will only die when the studio lets it.
Ultimately, the move deserves scorn from the rest of the film industry. Toy Story 3 still has plenty of time in its initial theatrical run. When the allotted release window is over, it is time for the next money-maker. The situation is reminiscent of the one kid in high school who always had to top your story.
These other films work just as hard to get into theaters and a film that's already made $1 billion has the audacity to take hard-earned audiences away from the patient competitors. But then again, that's precisely what they are - competitors. All's fair in love and the movie biz, as the saying goes...
How do you feel about the Toy Story 3 re-release? Is it a big studio bullying the competition or do you genuinely want it to stay in theaters?
Toy Story 3 extends its theatrical run on September 3rd, 2010.
Source: Lee Unkrich Twitter
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