Rumor: Has Director Bob Peterson Been Removed from Pixar’s THE GOOD DINOSAUR?

     August 26, 2013


Trouble could possibly be brewing for yet another Pixar project.  The studio famously goes through a rigorous development process on each of its films, and in the past some behind-the-scenes changes have worked out for the better: John Lasseter replaced Toy Story 2’s original director and reworked the entire film with just nine months to go before release, and Brad Bird replaced director Jan Pinkava on Ratatouille and made significant changes to that film.  However, recently Pixar has had some production troubles on films that failed to live up to the studio’s previous Gold Standard.

Now it appears that next year’s Pixar film, The Good Dinosaur, may have lost its director just nine months before its release.  Hit the jump for more.

bob-peterson-the-good-dinosaurLasseter once again stepped in on Pixar’s 2011 film Cars 2, replacing previous director Brad Lewis and taking the pic’s story in a different direction.  Unlike Toy Story 2, however, the result was Pixar’s worst reviewed film thus far.  The studio went through yet another difficult production with the 2012 release Brave, as director Brenda Chapman—who developed the film from inception and came up with the story herself—was removed from the film and replaced by Mark Andrews during production.  Brave was a commercial success, but it wasn’t the creative rebound that many were looking for after the disappointing Cars 2.

Now Pixar might be going three-for-four with regards to replacing directors, as Blue Sky Disney (via /Film) reports that director Bob Peterson and producer John Walker have been removed from 2014’s The Good Dinosaur by John Lasseter.  The report claims that Lasseter is still trying to meet the film’s May 30, 2014 release date and is hopeful that a new director can get the project back on track.  Peter Sohn is listed as a co-director on the film and appeared at D23, so one imagines he could be a potential replacement director.  That said, the report doesn’t have any specifics with regards to who might be stepping in.

This is an as-yet unconfirmed rumor so we don’t know for sure if Peterson and Walker have been removed, but both were absent from Disney’s big D23 presentation for the film so that’s a bit of a red flag.  Personally I’m hoping that this report is unfounded; Peterson has been with Pixar since it’s inception and has had a strong hand in many of the studio’s best films.  The Good Dinosaur was poised to be Peterson’s chance to shine solo after co-directing Up, and I sincerely hope that remains the plan.

For those unaware, The Good Dinosaur takes place in a contemporary society in which the dinosaurs never went extinct.  The voice cast is led by Lucas Neff, Neil Patrick Harris, Bill Hader, Judy Greer, John Lithgow, and Frances McDormand.  If you missed any of our D23 coverage of the film, check out Dave’s panel recap and Steve’s interviews with Neff, Greer, co-director Peter Sohn, and producer Denise Ream.


  • zz
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  • Jay

    Uh oh.

  • Baby Jean

    It seems to me that with all the successes Pixar’s been having since Toy Story, they’ve sort of drifted from their early process of taking time to craft a great story and a great movie, and are now in the business of making these pictures at a higher frequency. Some of it is due to their being a part of Disney, but it’s also due I think to the fact that they’re bigger now than when they started. So they have to turn a much bigger profit each year. With so many movies in development, it’s going to be increasingly hard to maintain release dates, so they’re going to have to find a balance if they want to still be viewed as the best in the business. If they don’t, we’ll have more Cars 2, Planes, and less Wall-Es, Toy Stories… :/

    • Nick

      So many movies, it’s just one over year?… As the article states, this happened with ratatouille and toystory 2… The article neglects a bugs life where the made massive overhauls to rework things. They’re fine and everyone hoping for bad is harping on cars2…

  • Lance

    It’s the fact they’re having to create more movies on a more hectic schedule now that’s causing them to falter. Either that or creative fatigue has set in.

    Pixar’s brand is too important for them to stay in a prolonged slump. If they need to cut back to making movies less frequently, Disney ought to let them do that.

  • True Pixar Fan

    Unlike people online, myself and most audiences believe Pixar is doing the right thing. I’m sad that Bob Peterson has likely been removed, but he doesn’t seem the type to me to hold a grudge about or anything. And to those who keep referring to Cars 2 as the bad one, it’s not. It’s a great film and very intellectual. Not my least favorite, and it was just as much of a success as the other Pixar films. It’s funny how much people online despise John Lasseter. He’s not perfect but he directs and produces great films – all are great, none are bad, I say. I’ll stay faithful to Pixar because I think that is probably would a good fan would do. I do hope the best for Bob Peterson, though, I wish things could have turned out differently, but I trust Pixar more than I trust the critics and assumers.

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