SMART CHOICE

Pixar says it’s committing to more original films in lieu of sequels

Obsession
Glass
Obsession
Glass

While Hollywood suffers from a decades-long case of sequelitis, the world’s premier animation studio has signaled that sequels are not its priority.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Pixar president Jim Morris said that the beloved studio has no sequels planned after 2019. Three of its next four releases will be sequels (including Toy Story 4 and The Incredibles 2), but after that, it’s all originals, all the time.

“Most studios jump on doing a sequel as soon as they have a successful film, but our business model is a filmmaker model, and we don’t make a sequel unless the director of the original film has an idea that they like and are willing to go forward on,” he said.

Here’s Pixar’s schedule for the next few years:

  • June 2017: Cars 3
  • Nov. 2017: Coco (original)
  • June 2018: Toy Story 4
  • June 2019: The Incredibles II
  • March 2020: Untitled original film
  • June 2020: Untitled original film

Morris said that two more original films are planned after the two in 2020. The Incredibles II is the last sequel on Pixar’s slate—for now.

Pixar’s eschewing of sequels comes at a time when Hollywood sequels, in general, have fallen on hard times. A long string of sequels and reboots have been poorly reviewed and performed poorly at the box office, so much so that studios are reconsidering the appeal of franchises.

But Pixar’s pledge to make more original films has nothing to do with its sequels doing badly. In fact, most of the studio’s recent sequels, like Finding Dory, have dominated box offices. And despite fans of Up and Inside Out clamoring for sequels, Pixar is apparently committed to developing new stories. It’s what the studio has always done best, dating back over 20 years to Toy Story.

And, yet, it’s corporate compadre Disney Animation Studios may be indicating that it’s ready to jump back into sequels after a long stretch of making originals (Pixar and Disney Animation Studios are both owned by Disney, but exist as separate studios). Last week, Disney Animation announced it is making a sequel to Wreck-It Ralph, its first sequel since Fantasia 2000 (released in 1999). It’s also likely that Disney Animation develops a sequel to the wildly successful Zootopia, which was a huge win for originality in a sea of sequels, reboots, and remakes.

None of this means Pixar is abandoning sequels entirely. The studio may add a sequel or two to its schedule over the next few years. Sequels aren’t all bad, especially in the hands of such smart filmmakers as the ones Pixar employs. But the animated studio has clearly recognized that sequels are not all they’re cracked up to be, and that original stories can not only dazzle audiences but also offer the same, if not better, financial opportunities.

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