Talk about a big switcheroo, Pixar has played musical chairs with two of their upcoming sequels.
The Incredibles 2 and Toy Story 4 have swapped spots. The Incredibles 2 is now set to open on June 15, 2018, while Toy Story 4 - being pushed back for the second time - will open on June 21, 2019...
Honestly, I'm not surprised that The Incredibles 2 has surged ahead in development. Director/writer Brad Bird is a lightning-fast problem solver, a skill that he probably got from his days on The Simpsons. Exhibit A is the first Incredibles, which he worked on for four years, most Pixar films take longer journeys to the big screen. Exhibit B is Ratatouille. In early 2005, the Pixar brass removed Jan Pinkava from the 5-year-old project, and that was around 2 1/2 years before the picture's summer 2007 debut. Bird turned it around so fast, and the resulting movie... You wouldn't even think for a second that it had all those troubles!
The Hollywood Reporter implied that Bird's Walt-like method was indeed the reason why these two sequels were swapped. An "accelerated production schedule", the insiders say.
Toy Story 4, with its new summer 2019 date, will nearly coincide with the 20th anniversary of Toy Story 2. Some are reading the delay as a bad sign, thinking that Toy Story 4 is having multiple story troubles and might be beyond saving. I get that a lot of us don't want Toy Story 4 (I wouldn't flinch if it were cancelled tomorrow), but I think it's simple: Incredibles 2 surged ahead, Bird knows what he's doing, and there's a huge demand for a sequel. Toy Story already got two sequels and spin-offs, this is the first Pixar-made Incredibles anything in years. They probably figure that we can wait for another Toy Story, and that a lot of folk have been waiting a long, long, long time for an Incredibles follow-up.
|The old D23 poster, I know.|
Toy Story 4, should it keep its current release date, will have taken 7 years to make. That's not unusual for a Pixar film. Let's keep in mind that WALL-E, counting all its early iterations, took fourteen years to get to the big screen. Some projects come together faster than others, and if Pixar needs more time to really make what is actually one of their riskiest film, that's fine. Toy Story 4 has a tall order to fill, and that's living up to one of the rare perfect trilogies, and being the follow-up to what was such a perfect ending. Maybe a whole story change is in order right now (I'll be brutally honest, I don't really dig the whole idea of Bo Peep being pushed back into the story), or they're trying their damnedest to make something impossible work.
Or maybe, as a friend of mine suggested, it's because of director John Lasseter. Lasseter, ever since the acquisition ten years ago, has been a super-busy man. Not only is he running Pixar, but also Walt Disney Animation Studios, DisneyToon Studios, and he's also a key person in the theme parks and elsewhere. I was shocked when he said he was directing the film, because he really doesn't have all the time for that... Or does he? I know he directed Cars 2 from his iPad in less than a year, and that movie was a mess. To be hands-on, he'd either have to put some duties aside, or really multi-task like a pro.
Before anyone brings it up, I'm aware that Josh Cooley is a co-director on the picture. At Pixar, however, a co-director is not necessarily a second director. It's more like the director who handles things on the lower deck of the ship. Lasseter's Walt Disney Animation Studios uses this model, but often times, more than one person is a main director. Take Zootopia for example: Main directors were Byron Howard and Rich Moore, and there was one co-director: Jared Bush. Perhaps Toy Story 4 needs a second "main" director, so why not move Cooley to the position?
What say you?