Pixar to Scale Back on Sequels; Hopes to Release a Follow-Up Every Other Year

     June 27, 2013

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There’s no doubt about it: Pixar has lost some of its luster.  The animation studio used to be the company that could do no wrong, but following its first truly disappointing film—Cars 2—Pixar’s subsequent output has yet to receive the same universal acclaim that was previously almost guaranteed.  This year’s Pixar release, Monsters University, has fared a bit better than Cars 2 and Brave as far as critical acclaim goes (I loved it), but there are still plenty who claim that the pic is not “up to snuff” with regards to the very high bar that the studio set in its initial run.

One of the main complaints against Pixar in recent years is the studio’s new propensity for sequels.  Now Pixar Studios President Ed Catmull says that the plan is to scale back on follow-ups in the near future, with the aim of making one original film a year and alternating sequels only every other year.  Hit the jump for more.

ed-catmull-pixarPrior to the brilliant Toy Story 3, Pixar had only made one sequel (Toy Story 2) out of a total of 10 films.  But of the studio’s past four films, only one has been an original outing.  Personally I think most of the flack that Pixar is getting has to do with just how bad Cars 2 was, but while the production-troubled Brave was in no way a terrible film, it didn’t necessarily feel like the Pixar we’ve come to expect.

With Andrew Stanton working on the follow-up Finding Dory as we speak, some are worried that Pixar has “sequel fever.”  Speaking with Buzzfeed, however, Pixar chief Ed Catmull says that the studio is well aware of possible overkill and wants to focus on more original content in the near future:

“For artistic reasons … it’s really important that we do an original film a year,” says Catmull, who also serves as president of Walt Disney Animation. “Every once in a while, we get a film where we want or people want to see something continuing in that world — which is the rationale behind the sequel. They want those characters, which means we were successful with them. But if you keep doing that, then you aren’t doing original films.”

Catmull went on to say that the studio’s strategy going forward will see original fare hitting theaters more frequently than sequels:

It’s part of what Catmull says is a strategy to release “one and a half” films a year. “We’re going to have an original film every year, then every other year have a sequel to something,” he says. “That’s the rough idea.”

finding-nemo-doryPixar has been trying to release two films a year for some time now, and if you’ll recall the original plan was for both Brave and Monsters University to hit theaters last year.  As of now, 2015 will see two Pixar films opening: Up director Pete Docter’s Inside Out on June 19th, and the aforementioned Finding Dory on November 25th.  If that plan sticks, don’t expect to see another Pixar sequel or prequel until 2017.  Fingers crossed for The Incredibles 2.

As a refresher, here’s a look at Pixar’s upcoming release schedule as it stands now.

  • The Good Dinosaur – May 30, 2014
  • Inside Out – June 19, 2015
  • Finding Dory – November 25, 2015
  • Untitled Pixar Film about Dia de los Muertos – June 17, 2016
  • Untitled Pixar Film – June 16, 2017
  • Untitled Pixar Film – November 22, 2017
  • Untitled Pixar Film – June 15, 2018



  • George

    June 2016: Dia de los Muertos
    June 2017: Incredibles 2

    • peter

      november 2017: Up 2 the adventure continues
      june 2018: new movie
      November 2018: toy story 4
      i also expect a 3 cars and monsters movie, probably another bugs life, wall e 2 etc etc

      • Strong Enough

        up 2? yeah right lmao

  • Doug

    It’s funny that the “comic book movie” hasn’t gotten a sequel yet.

    • sricandra

      you mean superhero movie – comic books aren’t always about superheroes

      • Doug

        Ha ha, very true! I’ve got comics all over my floor right now, and none of them are superhero stories.

  • peter

    r.i.p. pixar now you just become an animated studio like the rest

  • ThisGuy01

    Don’t see how this is a win-win scenario. They basically admitted their plan is for 50% of their work from now on will be uninspired sequels.

    • http://twitter.com/JimboMunty Jim Muntisov

      33%, Pixar are rolling out a new film a year, but every other year they are also releasing a sequel, I think that’s good that we dont have to wait long periods of time for new pixar titles, like from Up to Brave, which was 3 years.

      • MarvelWatch

        You have to realize that they suffered from a huge change in plans.

        “Cars 2″ got bumped up by a full year from it’s originally scheduled 2012 berth, around the same time that “Brave” got delayed due to creative issues, and around the same time that “Newt” got cancelled.

        And even this year’s line up got moved around… if you recall, their dinosaur film was going to be this years thanksgiving release, before Disney decided to bump it back in favor of one of their own animated films.

        So if things had worked out as first desired, we’d have gotten “newt” and “Brave” in 2011, “Cars 2″ in 2012, “Monsters U” and “The Good Dinosaur” in 2013, and “Inside Out” in 2014.

      • http://www.gotham-news.com/ Pietro Filipponi

        Until they can prove they will stick to the 3 films every two years principle I don’t believe it. That’s asking a lot from a studio that hasn’t been at the top of its game for a few years. They’ve had scheduling issues every year since TS3. One new film every other year with sequels in between would work fine as long as the sequels aren’t forced.

    • Nick

      I take it you have read the script to finding dory? What’s to say these are uninspired sequels? Troll. MU make a prequel without the heart of the original (boo) and make it just as meaningful

    • Tim

      Apparently sequel = uninspired. I learn something new every day!

    • Gendry

      Uninspired sequels huh? Like the Toy Stories of the world getting all the praises and Oscars and billions in the bank? Like the Monsters Universities of the world where most other studios, animation or not, would kill draw those audience to theaters and earn those box office numbers and possibly become the best animated movie of the year?

      If I have a modicum of photoshop prowess, I so would make a Joker meme where it says: “Dreamworks plans for six Kung Fu Pandas and four Train Dragons and all sort of spinoffs, no one bat an eyes. Pixar announce a sequel and everybody loses their mind.”

      Seriously, those studios are not able to even wait for the first entries to breakeven before jumping straight into serial sequel production (examples are ten a penny: Shrek, Panda, Dragons, Ice Age, Rio, Despicable Me, Croods, etc.). And the public laps all those sequels up like it’s going out of style. Yet when Pixar does a sequel/prequel (11 years after TS3, 12 years after MI, 13 years after Finding Nemo, no less), people make it sound like an unforgivable crime. Pixar needs to get back on their feet? Give me a break. They are fine, and always have been.

      • Taylor Sierra Middlerfield

        actually dispicable me, rio, and ice age are not BY dreamworks neither is epic. DM was made by llumination entertainment, and rio IA, and epic are all by blue sky

      • Gendry

        I know all that. My post wasn’t specifically to single out Dreamworks, but all those studios together in their sequelization.

  • Nick

    I seriously hate how it is so “hip” now to bash what is otherwise universally liked. Have we all become so excited to see failure that we view success through a pessimists eye? I mean this studio brought us up and toy story 3 in ’09 and ’10′respectively. I really liked brave, and had brave been from Dreamworks it would have been JUST as celebrated as how to train your dragon. Cars 2 is what it is. It is a movie that is for kids and not the layered and mature story we have come to expect, but that being said, I hated cars 1 so to expect the sequel to bring the studio “back on track” is ridiculous. Monsters university was FANTASTIC!!, I loved every moment and I was totally expecting it to be a hollow kids movie, especially with no Boo. Sequels coming about this long after the originals should show more bad than good. This studio is waiting roughly a decade between sequels, it just so happened that the original stories took place around that long ago so it is all coming at once.

    Another point to keep in mind is they are giving us the sequels THEY want not the ones we want (incredibles2) and if that says anything, it’s that they have a story to tell and it’s not just for the money. Toy Story 3, Up (not as much) Brave and MU have all had basement critics clambering that pixar is not what it used to be. You all can have how to train your dragon and wreck it Ralph and rio. 2/3 of those are excellent but not to the par of MU or TS3. They are exactly equal to Brave.

    • Wilsonvolleyball

      I agree, while I didn’t see Brave or Cars 2, I didn’t want them to fail or hate them. I think there are some of the best artists and most innovative people working at Pixar. I’m really excited for MU (haven’t watched it yet) and Inside Out and the Good Dinosaur sound like really original films.

      • Nerdgasm

        I don’t understand what your rant is really about. I don’t think that anyone was HATING something Universally liked. Universally Cars 2 was hated. Not liked by the masses. And there is a lot of nay saying about MU. I did not enjoy MInc. I thought there was heart missing and it just didn’t get me jazzed like their films normally do. I put Minc. In the same ring as Cars and Finding Nemo. And it IS for the money – number one MARKET WISE Cars is the best selling product that Pixar has, and the original is the worse rated ORIGINAL movie they had made before it’s sequel. Toys and Merch passed up Toy Story EONS ago and in the BILLIONS! Nemo was the same thing, it was a phenom. Most Zoos and Aquariams made a shit ton of money off of that film and is close third to Toy Story in Merch sales at the park itself. And monster is actually in 4th to the merch that is sold at the park. Look at the numbers. So yes it is for the money. They are Disney which MEANS to sell out which is fine they are in teh business of making money. Won’t see me complaining.

        Further more when A lot of these movies are hitting in the 90-100% percentile [Yes using RT.] And all of a sudden from Up that scored a 98% Your next films are Toy Story 3, Cars 2, Brave and MU… 3 outta 4 are sequals and only ONE out of four got their normal score…Toy Story 3 was the only one that scored above 90%. Cars 2 didn’t have a high bar to clear the first being terribly recieved and it failed. Brave was a dark and unapologetic fairytale that took the unapologeticness out of it in favor of being light hearted fair [which I dunno about any of you but some of the kid films i grew up with weren't happy go lucky but still taught and had heart beyond their years.] and MU to me had the most to live up to. Cars was written off as a marketing ploy to sell toys…DUH!… but MI was not that way and lot of people loved it cause of the hearts of the main protagonists, the juxtaposition of the world and the hearts of the characters plus the creativity. i never saw what those people did but i wanted it to succeed and it didn’t. It’s time for pixar to get it’s feet back cause they are in stormy weather now.

      • Nick

        Maybe reading isn’t a strength of yours, I agreed that cars is mostly a kids movie to generate sales. Also disney does not dictate the movies made by pixar. Disney pockets the merchandise sale and disney markets and distributes. You put monsters inc and finding nemo at the same level of cars so I don’t think you get it really, but these characters generate that revenue in merchandise because they are beloved. Some of them have more stories to tell and while pixar is a company that strives for financial success, they always put the story above the rest.

        The Cars franchise is the only exception where the characters were not strong and the story was not top notch, but that’s not to say the intention was a quick cash grab, it is simply their only misfire in quality. Financially it is a huge hit.

        Point is, pixar has not dwindled and for a studio only putting out a movie per year, and TS3 being 2010, all of this “fading magic” talk is ridiculous and MU proves it. Everybody just wants to see a giant fall

      • Wilsonvolleyball

        Soooo…this wasn’t really a reply to me, right?! ;)

      • Nick

        Lol nope not to you

      • Taylor Sierra Middlerfield

        i liked cars 2 and cars 2 has a major fandom so don’t say bad stuff about C2 or ur gonna get flamed by fans espically since this is the internet

    • Duder NME

      ———Another point to keep in mind is they are giving us the sequels THEY want not the ones we want (incredibles2) and if that says anything, it’s that they have a story to tell and it’s not just for the money———

      Thank you! This needs to be shouted from the end of the universe, inward. It was never about the fanwanks, who never knew that Toy Story would be “TOY STORY” until it smacked them upside their heads. Filmmaking is a gamble. Filmgoing is a gamble. That’s why the surprise of a touching film is so sweet. That’s why there is still no formula for success. That’s why not all audiences are created equally. All I can hope for is that Pixar never loses the need to make films for themselves first, instead of for Demograph X and Fan Contingency Y. That’s what worked for Tex Avery, et al.

    • Taylor Sierra Middlerfield

      also they want to give us TI2 so technically ur wrong about that

  • MarvelWatch

    Actually there are two Pixar films scheduled for 2017… summer and fall, in a pattern that matches the 2015 lineup.

    2015 – Inside Out (Original)
    2015 – Finding Dory (Franchise)
    2016 – Dia De Los Muertos (Original)
    2017 – Original
    2017 – Franchise
    2018 – Original

  • Wilsonvolleyball

    On the one hand I’m glad they’re still doing original films at all and not just reboots, sequels or prequels to their existing films. On the other hand I’m a bit sceptic about this timeline of when to release an original and when a sequel, because it shouldn’t be about continuing a world but finding another story worth telling. Announcing to release a sequel every other year could mean they strayed away from this idea.

    Anyway, I loved the Toy Story sequels, didn’t watch Cars 2, but I’m really excited for MU, so I’m not really disappointed, I just think there are still so many places to go and stories to tell, no one has thought of, before making sequels.

    • Nick

      Things I would keep in mind, no reboots. The prequel MU is not done in the vein of recent prequels (telling a story similar to the original but not effected by the events of the original) but done as a way to revisit the characters and develop them further. Watching MU did almost everything right, and it’s BEST quality is that when I rewatched monsters inc afterwards, I felt closer to the characters. It is not a reboot, a reboot implies the original is out of date or done wrong.

      Also I really don’t think they’re just telling stories to make money. They have just a few directors that they use for these projects, it is tight knit and they wait until they have the right story to tell before they put something out there. The incredibles again goes to show, this has been asked for but will not happen until they have the story right. Forget the Cars franchise, that is a super effective franchise for making kids smile and selling toys, but it’s not the pixar we know..

      And PLANES IS NOT A PIXAR MOVIE. People seem to place that in as one of their spinoffs. That is a disney massacre

      • Wilsonvolleyball

        I completely agree. I wasn’t referencing Pixar’s history when I was talking about reboots, prequels and reboots but more about the general trend in the film industry. Actually, I wanted to point out that while Pixar does sequels, they’re still doing original films, too and don’t just lean back and pop out sequel after sequel.
        So, while I’m a bit skeptic about the 50/50 approach, I wholeheartedly embrace their intend to make original films at all. Furthermore, Pixar makes great sequels and after your exerience with MU I’m even more excited to see it. Hopefully this weekend.

  • chris

    I thought Planes a Pixar movie.

    • Nick

      No it is a spinoff of cars. But purely a disney product. Also, it was originally meant to be direct to DVD, which should say a lot about the overall quality of the movie. TS2 was meant to be direct to DVD too so it’s not always a telltale sign

      • Jordan

        Toy Story 2 was originally meant to be direct to video also, but it impressed enough to become a theatrical release.
        I’m not defending Planes, I probably will never watch it, but saying “which would say a lot about the overall quality of the movie” is a little unfair, I think. It’s like admitting you already view the film negatively based solely on that one fact.

      • Nick

        Try reading where I say TS2 was meant to be direct to DVD too so it’s not always a telltale sign.” Please read before embarassing yourself

      • quickshade

        Your both wrong actually, Disney planned on making Toy Story 2 a direct to video release, and even put it’s own people on it to get it done. It wasn’t even going to be a Pixar release, BUT when John L and Steve Jobs finally got their meeting with disney one of the deals was no direct to video sequels and Pixar retains all creative rights to their properties, It was at this point the movie was turned over to Pixar fully and they started working on it, At the same time They were finishing up A Bugs Life and John was getting ready to take his first vacation in 10 years when he was asked to help make Toy Story 2 a movie and not the “messed up, sloppy” movie it was. Anybody that has access to Netflix should watch the Pixar documentary, It’s really amazing what that company has done and the challenges they faced.

  • milo

    “There’s no doubt about it: Pixar has lost some of its luster.” I’d say there’s plenty of doubt about it. People have been saying “pixar is losing it” with virtually every release for years now. Honestly, we’re talking about the studio that has probably had the best track record, other than Cars 2 they haven’t made a bad movie, and all have done well at the box office. And even with the sequels, other than Cars 2 they have made exactly the kinds of sequels people want to see – if a movie is great, who cares if it’s a sequel (as long as they’re continuing to make new projects as well)?

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  • http://vijayasimhabr.wordpress.com/ jay

    I am on board with this. Sure, cars franchise has brought in billions of the dollars for Pixar/Disney but Cars 2 is amongst the worst movies ever made. It is the only Pixar movie that I went to watch and wanted to stop watching half way through.

    • Duder NME

      Jaws: The Revenge wants a word with you.

  • markomd

    Steve Jobs’ death may condemn Pixar to an early death, too. Oh well; no cheers for Disney.

    • Nick

      Jobs was a means to fund them, he had no creative input and his involvement was purely financial. His incredible faith in them kept them alive in their early days but Jobs has not been a pixar factor for years.

  • ickles

    The idea that they are planning to make sequels at a certain frequency instead of only when they have a great idea shows how far they have fallen.

    • Nick

      This is not saying that it is an ongoing deal, for the next slew, that is the process they intend to follow. Pixar has walked away from man half finished products to avoid disappointing an audience. You fucking babies are so pitiful. Pixar is addressing their biggest critique head on and still people read into it to bitch. Ts1 and 2 and cars 1 and 2 are the only 2 sequels to be released closely to each other. Obviously they wait for the story to come before forcing it. I hate you

  • lightful

    I’m still waiting for The Incredibles 2. If you want to do sequels do it on that film.

    • Duder NME

      They will when Brad Bird is ready. And he’s not ready. Try to enjoy Tomorrowland instead.

  • Methos

    It’s the fact that after Disney bought Pixar they rushed them into making squeal, before the bought the company Disney pressed Pixar for years to make Toy Story 3. And after the purchase with Cars as a huge licensing money making machine of coarse they wanted a sequel. You have to remember this is a company that guts all of its classics and turns them into fast money making direct to video sequels. I just found out that there are 3 Lion Kings!

    • Taylor Sierra Middlerfield

      three well when are they gonna release the third one? they already have simba’s pride and 1 1/2 out

  • Jeremy

    Finding Dori is one that i know will make it… everybody wants to see it already and it doens’t even come out till 2015 so everybody is so anticipated to watch it.

    • Jeremy

      Although CARS 2 was a little edgy. I really did love the first movie, but they went to Japan in the second one and it kinda threw everybody off that. And this PLANES coming out kinda having a feeling its going to be the same way.
      It may have a chance.

    • Jeremy

      Although CARS 2 was a little edgy. I really did love the first movie, but they went to Japan in the second one and it kinda threw everybody off that. And this PLANES coming out kinda having a feeling its going to be the same way.
      It may have a chance.

  • BOB

    TURBO ALSO LOOKS AWESOME. It will make it. A sequel maybe not. Depends on how the first one goes. I’m definitely going to see Despicable me 2. Now Incredables 2 IDK. the first movie was pretty cool. but Idk what or how this next one will take place.

    • Taylor Sierra Middlerfield

      saw it as well it was pretty good for a sequel but i wanna see how smurfs 2 is as well along with that cloudy sequel.

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  • Duder NME

    Why do fanwhiners insist on thinking that emperors have clothes? Everyone’s got more than one Dune, Heaven’s Gate, Jack, Terminal, and Cars 2 in them, and not everyone in the audience uniformally hates them either. Living a legacy is a self-defeatist prophecy, especially when judged by those who can’t do or teach.

  • https://plus.google.com/u/0/101936112823141032944/about TheNinjaMax

    *Only* every other year? Does anybody else miss Pixar before they decided to make full-length toy commercials?

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  • Ciaran O Brien

    me personally, there never should have been a cars 2 (cars 1 was fairly generic), monsters 2 was pointless while toystory 2 and 3 were good. Much as i loved it, i don’t see the need for a wall e 2 while incredibles and finding nemo are crying out for sequels. I really think an up 2 could have promise, we already explored carl`s character and his new life so why not delve into russels life, especially his relationship with his father and why not look at dugs hatred of squirrels lol