In a welcome case of “hey, maybe Hollywood does listen to its audience,” Pixar has finally admitted that they plan to “significantly scale back its production of sequels.” In an interview with BuzzFeed, Pixar Animation Studios President Ed Catmull, the studio head shares the obvious: “For artistic reasons…it’s really important that we do an original film a year.”
Well, yes, Ed, and that’s what fans of the animation house have always loved about Pixar’s features – an adherence to originality and creativity that, for a long time, was not present in most other animated outings. And, yes, that’s what we all want more of (and soon). When it comes to the studio’s sequel and prequels, Catmull says, “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.”
In short, Catmull promises (albeit in a bit of a hedged manner) that “we’re going to have an original film every year, then every other year have a sequel to something…That’s the rough idea.”
This news comes after the studio’s announcement late last month that revealed dates for four upcoming features (from 2016 until 2018), a slate of unnamed films that joined their already-announced titles like The Good Dinosaur (opening on May 30, 2014), Inside Out (out on June 19, 2015), and Finding Dory (the single known sequel on the list, due on November 25, 2015). While we don’t know much about the four new features, it’s assumed that one of them will be Lee Unkrich’s untitled film about Día de los Muertos, and Catmull’s comments seem to signal that we can expect at least one sequel (or prequel) in the bunch (based on the “every other year” formula). We can only hope that it’s the one sequel all Pixar fans seem to desire – The Incredibles 2!
The studio didn’t really get into the sequel business until it churned out a third Toy Story film in 2010. Prior to that, Pixar had only made one sequel (1999’s Toy Story 2) in the middle of a ten-feature run. Pixar’s recent rash of sequels – including Toy Story 3, Cars 2, and Monsters University have run the gamut in terms of quality and appeal, so it’s not shocking that the studio is finally wising up to the fact that they need to get back to their original roots for continued viability and interest. After all, they have more than enough talent milling around in Emeryville, so why not tap into that as soon as possible?