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

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