Monday, March 11, 2013

The Pixar Mystery Film


We all know that Pixar Animation Studios doesn't really reveal much about their films when they are first announced. Take 2014's The Good Dinosaur for a good example. It was first announced back in June 2011 for a November 27, 2013 release with no title or premise. Then later that year, we found out what the premise was and who was behind the film when Pixar presented at the D23 Expo but we still didn't get a title... We then got the name of the film in April 2012 when Pixar made their presentation at the annual CinemaCon and revealed additional details. Pixar is usually hush-hush about what's in the works, and that's for the better because it's nice to find out about the film as the release date comes closer and closer...

That all being said, Pixar seems to have made it clear that after Monsters University, the line-up will be The Good Dinosaur, The Inside Out and Lee Unkrich's untitled "Dia De Los Muertos" film. We got a piece of concept artwork for each at the beginning of the year. The Good Dinosaur has been penned for May 30, 2014 for a while; The Inside Out's release date was unveiled during CinemaCon. There's still no release date for Unkrich's film, but I presume (along with many others) that it'll be Pixar's 2016 release. Summer? Maybe not, since the holiday that the film is based on occurs in the first week of November. This could possibly be the first November Pixar release since The Incredibles nearly a decade ago.

So what's next? Well, this is where things get a bit tricky... This past October, Disney announced that an untitled Pixar film is penciled in for a November 25, 2015 release. If the film is coming out on that date, that'll make it the first time in history where two Pixar productions opened the same year. This is because The Inside Out opens on June 19, 2015. Shortly afterwards, we got word that screenwriter Marti Noxon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Glee) had been attached to a Pixar film - but they didn't say which film. She could be working on any of the post-Monsters University films that are in the works... Or maybe this untitled film.

In November, it was revealed that Teddy Newton was going to direct a Pixar film and that Safety Not Guaranteed scribe Derek Connelly would pen the script... Again, it could be that mystery 2015 film. Or maybe something else...


However, I'm thinking that the untitled film will not open on November 25, 2015... Here's why...

When Disney and Pixar announced their big upcoming slate back in April 2008 (which ended at the holiday season of 2012), Newt and Brave (then titled The Bear and the Bow) were scheduled for release in 2011, and Cars 2 was on track for a summer 2012 release.

In late 2008, Cars 2 and Newt were swapped. Cars 2 was now the summer 2011 release, with Newt being moved to summer 2012. Brave stayed in the late 2011 spot, but in early 2010, it was now in the summer 2012 spot. Newt was off the schedule, and the cancellation of that film was confirmed in May.

In April 2010, Monsters University was originally set to come out in November 2012, the same year as Brave. What ended up happening?

Monsters University was pushed back to June 2013, which was expected. What ended up taking the November 2012 spot? Walt Disney Animation Studios' Wreck-It Ralph, a film that was originally planned for a March 2013 release. Note that this was back when the film was titled Reboot Ralph...

As I said earlier, when Pixar first announced The Good Dinosaur, it was announced as an untitled original film - but there were no details on it. The scheduled release date was November 27, 2013. Monsters University already had its summer 2013 date when this was announced, so it seemed like two Pixar films were going to open in the same year. But...

The Good Dinosaur was moved, temporarily leaving it off the release schedule. What took its place? A Walt Disney Animation Studios film... Frozen. The film has kept that date since. Good Dinosaur was pushed back to May 2014, that spot was originally held by The Inside Out. That was moved to summer 2015.

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Theory #1: The November 2015 release will be "Dia De Los Muertos"...

Unkrich's film is presumably set for a 2016 release, given Pixar's #1 film a year plan. But what if "Dia De Los Muertos" is the November 2015 release?

Personally, I can't see that film being the November 2015 release because...

A) Both films were announced separately and have separate pages on Box Office Mojo. We all know that Unkrich is directing the Day of the Dead film and that Darla K. Anderson is the producer. We know nothing about the untitled 2015 film. It was also announced after "Dia De Los Muertos". If "Dia De Los Muertos" was set for November 2015, I think Disney or Pixar would outright say that November 25, 2015 was the film's new date rather than announcing an untitled film (with no other information) that'll open on that date.

B) Day of the Dead occurs on the 1st and 2nd of November. The first weekend of November has already been taken by Blue Sky's Peanuts and Disney-Marvel's Ant-Man. It would be strange for Pixar to have a film about a certain holiday opening weeks after that said holiday.

Now, Disney could've possibly made a hiccup. Maybe they forgot to say that the 2015 film will be Unkrich's film, so sites like Box Office Mojo could merge the page for "Dia De Los Muertos" with the "Untitled 2015" page. But again, the 25th is weeks after the actual Day of the Dead. It's possible that there could be a schedule change, so Peanuts and Ant-Man open on the 25th and "Dia De Los Muertos" will open on the 6th. Or maybe the last weekend of October of that year. That's a very good possibility, but I can't see it happening...

Pixar has never released two films in one year, and it when seems like they will (going back to Monsters U and Good Dinosaur), it never pans out. Pixar takes their time on these films, even on something safer like Cars 2. You didn't see that coming out the same year as Toy Story 3. They adhere to the one-film-a-year plan. I think they will stick with that.

For now, I think "Dia De Los Muertos" is out of the question. I personally think that Unkrich's film will come out in 2016.

From here on out, let's just say that "Untitled 2015" is actually Pixar's summer 2017 release, assuming that Unkrich's film opens in 2016...


Theory #2: Disney's The Name Game will be the November 2015 release...

I honestly believe that the November 25, 2015 spot will be taken by a Walt Disney Animation Studios film once again. Just like how Wreck-It Ralph took the first announced release date of Monsters U, and just like how Frozen took the first announced release date of Good Dinosaur. Disney's The Name Game (which is the film that will be directed by Ron Clements and John Musker) will replace Pixar's mystery film as the November 25, 2015 release. Why's that?

A) Walt Disney Animation Studios typically aims for a November release date nowadays, the only exception being Winnie the Pooh since the executives and marketing department had no faith in that film. They just threw it against Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 and moved on. Bolt, The Princess and the Frog (in limited release), Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph all opened in November. Frozen and Big Hero 6 are penned for November 2013 and 2014 respectively. The Name Game opening in November 2015 makes sense.

B) Walt Disney Animation Studios, like Pixar, is now readying one film for each year. For a while, 2012 seemed empty until the studio moved Wreck-It Ralph from its March 2013 spot to November 2012. They have that covered. I can't see them missing 2015.

C) Summer 2015 is way too crowded. You already have Pixar's The Inside Out opening in June, and the two studios' films almost never open close to each other. It's actually been that way since the beginning. Winnie the Pooh opened a month after Cars 2, but that's because it was thrown out there with little to no fanfare. If Tangled was WDAS' 2011 release, that thing would have never come out in July or anywhere close to Pixar's film. May 2015 is already crammed anyways and July will be too.

Though hits could open in March, April or August, I can't see Disney releasing a Walt Disney Animation Studios film during those months. Ralph might've been planned for March 2013, but I'm thinking that Disney just picks those dates as placeholders of sorts... It's like they know in hindsight when a film will end up coming out, regardless of how it's going along during production. Also, Disney uses March for potential tentpole films like Alice in Wonderland, John Carter and Oz The Great and Powerful. March is big effects spectacle season for them.

August? Well that's only months away from the summer Pixar release, and on Labor Day weekend, the theater count of Pixar's release increases to give that film an extra box office boost. A Walt Disney Animation Studios opening around that time would only interfere, there's already enough animated competition opening after Pixar's films. Just look at last year: Ice Age: Continental Drift opened nearly a month after Brave, and then ParaNorman opened shortly after that followed by Hotel Transyvalnia. No room for Disney there.

It's very possible that Disney Animation's new film will take the November 2015 spot...


Theory #3: The untitled film is Newt...

Don't we all wish this theory will turn to be true?

Newt was a concept that most Pixar fans fell in love with when it was announced. The concept artwork was flat-out beautiful and the story seemed great, though it was familiar. Pixar took familiar stories and pulled nice spins on them before, so what made Newt's story of a male and a female newt that must mate to save their rare species yet they don't see eye to eye any different? Well, apparently Pixar felt that the story was too problematic and the fact that Blue Sky's Rio was coming in 2011 led people to assume that Pixar canceled their lizard tale because of Blue Sky's macaw story.

However, we all knew that the film was to going be directed by Gary Rydstrom. The untitled film has no info surrounding it whatsoever. No director, writer or anything. I think Disney or Pixar would outright say that Newt was going to be the untitled film...


Theory #4: The untitled film is the one Teddy Newton is directing...

Going by the assumption that this 11/2015 film will be a summer 2017 release, Newton's film would be a good guess. It's in development right now, so it could very well be ready for release in 2017. But... I think Disney or Pixar would update the info concerning the 11/2015 project and say "It's a Teddy Newton film that's coming in 2017" or so. There's no pages on sites like Box Office Mojo that say "Untitled Pixar Film" with Newton and Derek Connelly's names attached.


Theory #5: It'll be Finding Nemo 2...

It's the sequel that won't go away. It's still "half-confirmed" to me, because the Los Angeles Times article only used a snippet from an interview with director Andrew Stanton. It had no link to the full interview, and the snippet they used was rather vague despite the fact that what he said pretty much points to a second Finding Nemo. Albert Brooks and Ellen DeGeneres have signed on for it... But Disney or Pixar themselves have not announced that one is in the works.

Then again, Monsters University's development can be traced back to 2007. Hints were dropped until it was officially announced by Disney and Pixar in April 2010. But if Nemo 2 is in development right now, it could be ready for 2017. I think it is going to happen because Toy Story 3 and Monsters University were made to essentially "overwrite" the two planned sequels that Disney's Circle 7 division was going to make during the final years of the Eisner regime. A second Finding Nemo was one of them, so they're going to have to overwrite that one as well.

But if this will be Nemo 2, I think Pixar would outright say it instead of cryptically announcing it. They don't do that when it comes to sequels.


Theory #6: The announcement was all a mistake...

Disney is probably used to announcing two Pixar films coming out the same year. They might've done the same for 2015, expecting the November one to end up being the studio's 2016 release. That all being said, they could've been referring to "Dia De Los Muertos" and forgot that it had already been announced, simply saying that an untitled film was coming that would turn out to be the Unkrich film. But you would think that they'd catch this mistake... This title has been floating around alongside "Dia De Los Muertos" since last autumn!

I think they would've corrected this by now by saying that "Dia De Los Muertos" is coming in 2016 and that it is the planned 11/2015 release. It could be like them saying, "We thought we weren't supposed to reveal anything about 'Dia De Los Muertos', so we only said a new untitled film was coming... But we realize that 'Dia De Los Muertos' was already unveiled back in April. 'Dia De Los Muertos' is following The Inside Out, there's nothing in between."

However, maybe it was supposed to be Teddy Newton's film. Maybe Disney will give us an update and have sites change "Untitled 2015 Pixar Film" to "Untitled Teddy Newton Pixar Film", and change the release date as well...

But, the announcement could've been a spur of the moment mistake. That cryptic untitled Pixar film was all one big mistake or was meant to be something else.

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What is your theory concerning this untitled November 2015 film from Pixar? Do you think it's just a mistake and that it's supposed to be "Dia De Los Muertos"? Or do you think that it's a new project that isn't on track for a fall 2015 release? What is your theory on all this?

Sound off below!

1 comment:

  1. I like theory #3, myself... But that's probably just me being overly-optimistic.

    ReplyDelete