Tuesday, October 15, 2013

That Second Sequel...


Remember when Disney CEO Bob Iger stated months ago that more sequels were in the pipeline after Monsters University?

"On the animation front, Pixar continues to create great value for our company too. We are very excited about Monsters University which opens next month. Pixar’s slate of films for the next five years includes fantastic original stories as well as some great sequels to their previous hits. And as we recently announced, we are in production on one of those sequels, Finding Dory, featuring Ellen DeGeneres once again as the voice of Dory, one of the most beloved characters from Finding Nemo which was one of the most popular and profitable movies to date."

Back when that was leaked, I wondered what the cryptic next sequel would be. I mean, either Mr. Iger made a mistake and assumed more were coming... Or Pixar is indeed working on two sequels, Finding Dory being the first of them like he said.

Well, I think we've got our answer...

And this bit/possible confirmation probably slipped under all of our radars, because I don't know anyone who was aware of this...

What is the next sequel you may ask?

You may have expected it... Or not...

...

Cars 3...


That's right... Cars 3...

Michael Wallis, who has written extensively about Route 66 and is also appropriately the voice of the Sheriff in both of the Cars films, flat out mentioned at the 22 minute mark of this recent interview that a Cars 3 is indeed happening. He also stated that it will take place back in Radiator Springs and it will also explore Route 99.

Now, before anyone panics - or gets excited, depending on who you are - let's just consider a few things...

Maybe Wallis knows Lasseter personally, and Lasseter said he'd like to do another Cars film with a Route 99 setting. Maybe Wallis assumes that if Lasseter wants to make a third Cars, it'll happen. So this may be the case, because honestly, I don't think anyone at Pixar wants to do another Cars film. I don't think they even wanted to really make the second one to begin with. As many of you may know, it is my theory that Cars 2 was green lit because Bob Iger wanted a second one based on the merchandise sales of the first one, and successfully coaxed Lasseter into revisiting his universe... His very personal universe! And Lasseter is an executive, so...

But... Maybe Cars 3 won't be a Pixar film. Wallis didn't mention Pixar specifically (interestingly enough, he said he wasn't fond of the second film - probably because it gravitated away from Route 66 and the charm of the first film) during the interview. Maybe it'll be a DisneyToon film produced for the obvious buck, so that Pixar doesn't have to make it and further risk their reputation. I mean, they're already getting way too much heat over two very troubled productions (normal for any film studio, period) and another film that wasn't exactly the best thing since sliced bread.


Then you might ask, why would Lasseter allow the direct-to-video studio to handle the third outing in his series? Well, Disney was totally content with making the Planes series theatrical, something that really should not have happened because, look at how many people have mistaken Planes for a Pixar film! Maybe Lasseter would have another crew do the film rather than the Pixarians, maybe the people at Pixar aren't too proud of Cars 2 and wouldn't want to make another one. DisneyToon, on the other hand, is another story. They'd probably make one if they had to. Some fans might not mind its existence as much since Pixar isn't the studio making it.

So if it does turn out to be true, what would I think? I wouldn't be phased at all. I wouldn't be annoyed. I won't mind...

A Cars 3 existing does not bother me, because I understand that Disney probably really wants it and that Pixar once in a while has to sacrifice artistic integrity now that they are a corporation (that is, if Pixar will be the ones to make it), and are part of a massive corporate mega-empire that is run by a man who loves franchising things. A while back, I said I had seen the Cars franchise as something of an Ice Age-esque series for them, one that's guaranteed to make easy money worldwide and through merchandising sales. As of now, sales have topped $10 billion!

As long as we get something like that and not a sequel to another one of their other films, I'll be fine. I'll take a few Cars sequels over a Toy Story 4 any day, because I personally don't want them to make another one of those - the trilogy is perfect as it is. I've said that I'd accept a Brad Bird-helmed Incredibles sequel, but I don't really want Pixar to make sequels in general. I don't hate sequels, I just don't think every film needs one. Luckily, Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3 are fantastic, Monsters University is good and is also not an insult to the original in my eyes, and Finding Dory has the potential to be great... But I always think in my head when they announce a sequel, "Okay Pixar, you can stop there."

It's funny how many people rip Pixar apart for a few sequels. This is a studio that continues to make original productions that don't happen to be based on any pre-existing source materials, this is a studio that will release a sequel many years after the original regardless of whether people think the wait was too long or not. This studio even outright confirms to the press that a director has been removed from one of their films, most other studios don't really take the time to do that. You certainly didn't hear much about the person who was booted off of How To Train Your Dragon, or the six people that were to direct Hotel Transylvania but didn't, now did you?

It's also funny how people are okay with a studio like Sony Pictures Animation releasing four sequels in a row: The Smurfs 2Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, The Smurfs 3 and Hotel Transylvania 2. That's okay? DreamWorks making quite a few sequels is now okay? I thought everyone hated the studio for doing that 5 years ago. It's totally fine if Blue Sky makes Ice Age and Rio sequels? No one holds those studios to the standards Pixar is held to. If you ask me, I think Sony Animation, Blue Sky and DreamWorks are all capable of making animated masterpieces as much as Pixar is... But that's another story for another rant.

Look, I understand, Pixar didn't make sequels for a while though evidence does suggest that they wanted to make a third Toy Story as far back as 2002, and they supposedly kicked around a follow-up to Monsters, Inc. way back before the Disney acquisition. But also remember that Toy Story 3, Monsters University and Finding Dory had to be made due to the existence of the prepared Circle 7 versions. Cars 2 was, in my eyes, definitely pushed on Pixar by Disney due to the merchandise sales (there was no finalized Circle 7 script), and it'll be the reason why a Cars 3 will exist, not Pixar is "out of ideas". Pixar has many original films coming, two will be out in 2015 while many other projects are secretly being cooked up. Of course, to those who don't know of the studio's upcoming slate, Pixar would be out of ideas. People act as if Finding Dory is the next film from the Emeryville studio.

I don't warmly welcome Cars 3, but I'm okay with it existing. Personally, I'd be fine with DisneyToon producing it, I'd prefer that Pixar not make it, give it to DisneyToon and just continue with what they are doing so that the franchise can still please Disney brass and the millions of children who love it. In a better world, John Lasseter would say "no" right to the faces of Disney's suits and declare that Pixar will only make original projects, but we know that would not fly in an empire like Disney. Better that than a Toy Story 4 or a subpar sequel to another one of their films. Cars 2 already disappointed a lot of people, so a third Cars really would not hurt. It's not needed, but it's not the worst thing ever either. I'm okay with it existing...

That is, if what Michael Wallis said was true. What do you think? Rumor? Mere assumption on his end? Or do you think a third Cars is definitely happening?

Cue the beginning of the blogosphere apocalypse in 3... 2... 1...

2 comments:

  1. I don't think people are "ok" with Sony Pictures Animation making four sequels in a row. I think people are just less passionate about that studio (and the other studios mentioned). They have considerably less vocal fans than Disney/Pixar, so the upset just doesn't get the attention and spotlight.

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  2. True, but I'm surprised that not one person would think "4 sequels in a row? How about more original stuff like Surf's Up and Cloudy?" The only thing about Pixar is, like I said, they had a history of being sequel-averse and are thus viewed in an entirely different way.

    I just personally think it's unfair that a studio like Sony Animation (or anyone else) is looked at as an inferior studio and/or has less passionate fans because of their current released product. In my eyes, they are capable of producing anything, especially an animated masterpiece. Thus explains my "they're ok with 4 sequels" comment, it's basically a jab at how Pixar is perceived and how people don't look at other animation studios as companies capable of matching Pixar's brilliance. But of course, lots of people see Pixar as that studio who sacrifices money/profit for artistic integrity when not knowing reality: They are a business and are part of a massive corporation. I just wish it sunk in for others.

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