Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Just Don't Say



In the recent years, Disney Animation and Pixar have wisely kept their lips sealed on when they'll be releasing their films in the future…

In Disney Animation's case, we have no idea what's hitting theaters after Big Hero 6 explodes into theaters this coming autumn. But yet we do, if we follow patterns and go by what folks such as Honor Hunter (of Blue Sky Disney) have told us. We all know that Zootopia is pretty much next film after the superhero epic (the D23 announcement pretty much sealed the deal), but Disney never officially stated that Zootopia is in fact coming out on March 4, 2016. We know little bits and details on Giants and Moana, which logically should be the 11/23/2016 and 3/9/2018 releases respectively. Dean Wellins' "space race" film (or according to a list on Variety, Cosmic 3000) will either be the 11/21/2018 release or not. Last we heard, not much progress was being made on it.

In Pixar's case, all we know is that Inside Out hits next summer, The Good Dinosaur follows in the fall and Finding Dory swims to the cinemas in June 2016. We have no idea what will hit on 6/16/2017, 11/22/2017 and 6/15/2018.

Like I said many times before, that's good. I prefer not to know for a long while, but it's still fun to predict.

Why do I prefer not to know? Your mileage might definitely vary, but to me, things are more exciting when kept in secrecy. You speculate, you put theories together, you have no idea what's coming or how things will turn out. When it's all announced, you look back on your predictions and you have that feeling of "finally!"

Also, it's a great way to keep the pressure at a minimum inside the studios. Give your crews a deadline, but don't set a release date for their film in stone. A lot is riding on it when you do that, just look at The Good Dinosaur!

Up until last summer, The Good Dinosaur was set to open two months from now. When it was announced that the film was pushed back to Thanksgiving 2015, the disappointment was very sound. Also, the director was removed from the film and now Pixar is in the process of restarting it, retooling it so they can make the best movie they possibly can.

Now what if Pixar never told us that the film was set for 2014? What if we just knew that a dinosaur epic was in the works at the Emeryville studios?

Let's just say it's 2011 again. Pixar locks a couple of release dates: 5/30/2014, 6/19/2015, 11/25/2015 and 6/17/2016… For a while, they don't say what's coming out on those dates. Monsters University comes out in the summer of 2013, inside the studio it is determined that The Good Dinosaur won't be ready for 2014 like they had planned. We don't know that it was even planned for 2014 to begin with! In mid-2014, with Inside Out moving at a very good pace, the release date is confirmed for the very first time: June 19, 2015. Cue excitement and sighs of relief, but nobody knew that the dinosaur film was once set for 2014, nor that Inside Out was set for 2015… Thus you eliminate any disappointment or possible impatience.

Disney Animation seems to be doing that right now. They probably want the teams to work on the upcoming films at their own pace. Zootopia could be the spring 2016 release or the fall one, they just haven't inked the final date just in case. *knock on wood* I think when Big Hero 6 opens, we'll get a confirmation about Zootopia and perhaps Giants. By that time, they'll be ready to go full steam ahead.

Just keep us in the dark for a little while, and keep the crews in the dark too.  Exact deadlines could possibly bring lots of pressure (not to mention fighting over release dates, competition, marketing deals, etc.), we don't want the wizards at both studios to make questionable decisions. Give them breathing room, give them a reasonable deadline: "We want it by 2016." DreamWorks ought to do this too, since they schedule 2-3 films every calendar year.

We live in a world where first pick is a big deal. Get that date before anyone else! That's fine and all, just lock the date and don't say what will hit theaters on that very day. Disney Animation and Pixar got the right idea - the first time in years - last May. Four slots picked from both houses, just the dates. No "Zootopia in March 2016!" or "Day of the Dead in June 2017!"

Smart, smart thinking. Fox followed suit, locking dates for DreamWorks, Blue Sky and Fox Animation films… But they didn't say which films they would be! All of the 2017 and 2018 (sans one - Blue Sky's Anubis is slated for March 2018) releases are currently undetermined. Sony Animation did the same, too, with two untitled 2016 and 2017 projects.

Now the fun part… Predicting. These are some current predictions of mine. Who knows if they'll come true or not, but since we don't know what's coming out on those dates, we get to have fun and predict… So I say, predict away! Be sure to post yours…

Here are two scenarios I created…

SCENARIO #1

Inside Out - June 19, 2015
Zootopia - March 4, 2016
Finding Dory - June 17, 2016
Untitled Day of the Dead Film - October 7, 2016

Giants - November 23, 2016

Everything is pretty what we know here, Zootopia in the spring and Giants in the fall. Those dates remain the same.

Lee Unkrich's Day of the Dead film has been in the works since 2011, or maybe even earlier. I can definitely see Pixar scheduling it for a fall 2016 release, because the actual Day of the Dead holiday occurs from October 31-November 2. To release it in the summer or around Thanksgiving just wouldn't seem right. Also, you can release big money-makers in October. Just look at Gravity!

Everyone argues "But kids are in school!" Hogwash, adults make Pixar films successful. Animated films that make over $200 million domestically do so because adults go to see them, it isn't just kids dragging their parents. Parents make the ticket-buying decisions, so they'll go see what they think looks good. Why else did Frozen make so much yet The Smurfs 2 or Escape from Planet Earth didn't?

Also, Warner Bros. just proved that you can release an animated film in February to huge success. The Lego Movie looks like it'll finish up with over $250 million, so there's that. Pixar can open a film anytime in the year and it'll still open well. Why's that? Because they've earned the respect of adult moviegoers, and those moviegoers hit the cinema on opening weekend. Why do Pixar movies normally open with over $60 million domestically while other studios' offerings don't? Even the dreaded, arguably kid-oriented Cars 2 opened with $66 million. DisneyToon's Planes, by contrast, opened with $22 million. Kids are totally making these things successful, right? Right??

The Pixar name has box office power.

Anyways, Unkrich's film should be ready by 2016. I assume it's been quietly worked on (concept art was released), because again, a summer or holiday season release doesn't seem appropriate. Earlier, I had predicted that it would come out here in June 2017 while Mexico gets it around October… I don't see that working anymore, I think Disney and Pixar will take the risk and release it near Halloween. Also, Ed Catmull said we'll be getting an original film ever year. Finding Dory might not be the sole 2016 Pixar release…

Now you're probably wondering… Where the heck is The Good Dinosaur??

I honestly think at this rate that the dino picture will be pushed back. No new director has been announced (Pixar, if anything, would at least say who is directing - they wouldn't keep that under wraps), word on the street is that it needs even more time. All they have right now is less than two years to get this thing out, and there's no director behind it. I think it's getting pushed back again, either way.

Of course, we'd all love to see the geniuses at Pixar make something epic in less than two years and get the thing out by Thanksgiving 2015 - similar to Toy Story 2's final year of production. Problem is, again, with the release date inked… Disappointment and frustration will ensue if another delay is announced. (Remember, it's not going the way of Newt. Newt is not dead, either.)

After Pixar announces that the dino has been moved, DreamWorks puts Kung Fu Panda 3 (still set for December 23, 2015) in the Thanksgiving 2015 spot, so it doesn't get hammered by Star Wars: Episode VII.

The Good Dinosaur - June 16, 2017
Cars 3 - November 22, 2017

Anyways, Good Dinosaur is great in this spot. Now they have a good 3 1/2 years to get it together, and hopefully we hear about the new director soon.

Cars 3, I think, will hit before The Incredibles 2 because it was semi-confirmed by Michael Wallis (the voice of the Sheriff) last summer. Also, Disney would probably want Pixar to bang it out and strike the iron while it's hot. Again, it's probably not meant to be a serious project, just a vehicle - pun intended - to keep the Disney suits happy.

Moana - March 9, 2018
The Incredibles 2 - June 15, 2018
Cosmic 3000 - November 21, 2018

Moana and Cosmic 3000 debut when expected, Brad Bird jumps right into The Incredibles 2 when Tomorrowland is nearing completion in early 2015. This gives him a lot of time, plus he's probably been developing it for a while. He's had ideas for a long time, or so he has said. I said earlier that the film would debut in 2018 at the earliest, and the demand is extremely high for it, so I bet Disney would want Pixar to get to it soon.

Untitled Teddy Newton Film - March 8, 2019
King of the Elves - June 21, 2019
Untitled Mark Andrews Film - November 20, 2019

Then we have Teddy Newton's film for the spring, a first for Pixar since the October date for 'Day of the Dead' worked out just fine. June and November aren't the choice dates anymore. Over at Disney, Chris Williams fires up King of the Elves after finishing Big Hero 6 with Don Hall. Mark Andrews gets his film out the same year, Disney Animation and Pixar will reach a happy medium. One year, Disney will put out two films. Another year, Pixar puts out two films.

Untitled - March 6, 2020
Newt - June 19, 2020
Untitled - November 25, 2020

… And given what Mr. Catmull had to say about Newt recently, it's possible that Pete Docter - who was supposed to direct it after Gary Rydstrom was out - will revisit it once he completes Inside Out in 2015. But this is all optimistic predicting right here. This year, Disney has two films ready.

SCENARIO #2

Inside Out - June 19, 2015
Zootopia - November 25, 2015


In this scenario, Zootopia becomes the next Wreck-It Ralph for Disney Animation. Wreck-It Ralph was originally pegged for a March 2013 release, but the story was moving along so well, it was bumped up to November 2012. 2012 was vacant at the time, no Disney Animation film was set to come out that year. But then Disney was able to fill the gap, because the wrecker tale was shaping up to be great. It was more than ready to go, and thus it was released earlier than planned.

Also, who had that November 2012 date first? A Pixar film did… Monsters University! In April 2011, Monsters University was moved to June 2013, Wreck-It Ralph took its original date.

Let's just say this happens to Zootopia. Next month, Zootopia is deemed more than ready to go full steam ahead. Instead of releasing it in the spring, they release it in the Thanksgiving spot. Good Dinosaur is moved back so they can perfect it, so Disney Animation nestles their movie into that spot. Everyone wins here, poor DreamWorks still has to release Kung Fu Panda 3 in the jaws of death… Unless they opt for October 2015. Then everyone really wins.

Finding Dory - June 17, 2016
Untitled Day of the Dead Film - October 7, 2016
Giants - November 23, 2016

Everything is the same this year. Now we have a year-long gap between Zootopia and Giants.

The Good Dinosaur - June 16, 2017
Moana - November 22, 2017

Here, Pixar doesn't put two movies out in 2017. That allows Disney to release Moana in the Thanksgiving spot, to have another November musical event much like Frozen and Giants. It'll be more than ready in this scenario, too.

Cars 3 - March 9, 2018
Cosmic 3000 - June 15, 2018
The Incredibles 2 - November 21, 2018

With Moana in the holiday event spot, Pixar gives Cars 3 a quiet March release. Dean Wellins' space epic is saved for the summer, and The Incredibles 2's fall release date gives Brad Bird even more time to perfect it.

King of the Elves - March 8, 2019
Untitled Teddy Newton Film - June 21, 2019
Untitled Mark Andrews Film - November 20, 2019

Untitled - March 6, 2020
Newt - June 19, 2020
Untitled - November 25, 2020

8 comments:

  1. My predictions for 2018 Disney releases:

    Moana - March 9, 2018
    The Incredibles 2 - June 15, 2018
    Mickey Mouse - November 21, 2018

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  2. In your next news segment you should report that I just got an email saying "Your Amazon.com order of "Chipmunk Adventure BD Combo..." has shipped!" I saw this in the theaters as a kid and it is near to my heart like "A Goofy Movie" that no one knows about...but should. :)

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  3. Here's my predictions:
    Walt Disney Animation Studios Untitled Movie - June 2016/2017/2018/2019/2020
    Pixar Untitled Movie - November 2016/2017/2018/2019/2020

    That's just my guess since I prefer Disney to release a Walt Disney Animation Studios output on June and Pixar output for November since I grew up with June date for Disney Animation and November date for Pixar. Disney Animation and Pixar will have to get there June and November dates fixed respectively.

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  4. Looks like "Cosmic 3000" really IS the name of Dean Wellins's "space race" film after all:http://whois.domaintools.com/cosmic3000.com

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  5. Four GREAT films with Oscars or "nominations"
    (Three original films, one sequel)
    -Toy Story 2 (1999)
    -Monsters, Inc. (2001)
    -Finding Nemo (2003)
    -The Incredibles (2004)
    Ending this “season” with a GOOD (not great) film:
    Cars (2006)

    2. Four GREAT films with Oscars
    (Three original films, one sequel)
    -Ratatouille (2007)
    -Wall-E (2008)
    -Up (2009)
    -Toy Story 3 (2010)
    Ending this “season” with a GOOD (not great) film:
    Cars 2 (2011)

    So my predictions are:
    Four GREAT films with Oscars or at least "nominations"
    (Three original films, one sequel)
    -Inside Out (2015)
    -Finding Nemo (2016)
    -The Good Dinosaur (2016)
    -“Day of Death” (2017)
    Ending this “season” with a GOOD (not great) film:
    Cars 3 (2017)

    As we can see, Pixar releases a super sequel every three years (not including Cars)
    2010: Toy Story 3
    2013: Monsters University
    2016: Finding Nemo
    2019: ????
    Following patterns, I think Pixar will release “The Incredibles 2” at the end of the decade.
    2019: The Incredibles 2

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  6. I just wish Disney gives a hand drawn animation a chance.

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    Replies
    1. Nobody said they were done with hand-drawn animation. They're still doing hand-drawn shorts, and still combining the artform with CG seamlessly with some of the shorts they've done.

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