Pixar is reportedly developing a Cars spin-off called Planes for the direct-to-video market. With Cars 2 set to arrive next summer, it makes sense that the studio would try to build on that momentum by releasing a spin-off project around the same time. Of course, when you consider that Toy Story 2 and 3 were both originally considered as straight-to-DVD project, it’s possible that Pixar may eventually want to release Planes will into theaters. But as Movieline points out, Cars wasn’t a huge smash not at the box office, but with its merchandising. Keeping that in mind, it doesn’t make much sense to send the spinoff into theaters when the goal is to push more toys, bedsheets, etc. I’m going to assume that the success of Cars 2 at the box office will also factor into Planes‘ future.
While the past several years had Pixar releasing its most challenging and original movies with Ratatouille, WALL-E, and Up, the studio is currently moving towards established properties. In addition to this year’s Toy Story 3 and Cars 2 for summer 2011, the studio is also working on Monsters, Inc. 2 for 2012. But just because Pixar is trying to expand its coffers, doesn’t mean that any of these projects, including Planes, is going to be a slapshod production that’s unworthy of the Pixar name.