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A Pixar Without Ed Catmull Might Be A Pixar Without Disney

ed catmull

From Angela Watercutter at Wired:

Late Tuesday night, after 32 years, Ed Catmull announced he would be retiring at the end of this year. This is not sad news, though—it’s a chance to give Pixar a new future.

I’m late on this news because I was out of town and thus not blogging when the announcement broke (and somewhat silently from what I can tell). I didn’t even hear about Catmull’s retirement until a day after everyone else, and I’ve been stewing in my thoughts ever since.

In the cited piece above, Watercutter details how Catmull’s retirement is “an opportunity, not a loss.” And of course, Catmull himself claimed in his 2015 book Creativity Inc. that it was always his goal to leave Pixar with a strong legacy of lasting leadership (hence, Catmull is staying on as advisor through next July). It’s very Pixar-esque to look at a problem as an opportunity, and for now, I share in the optimism painting this upcoming era, but for a very different reason than even I expected.

It’s looking like Pixar is reclaiming its independence from Disney, albeit one promotion/departure at a time.

Go on…A Pixar Without Ed Catmull Might Be A Pixar Without Disney

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Pixar Is Taking a Break from Sequels After ‘Incredibles 2’

pixar sequels incredibles 2

Turns out that tip I reported was correct after all.

Allanah Faherty confirmed the rumor yesterday on Movie Pilot:

Pixar President, Jim Morris has revealed that after the release of the last sequel on the current slate, The Incredibles 2 in June 2019, the studio will release four original films.

“Everything after Toy Story and The Incredibles is an original right now,” he said. At the moment there are two untitled original films scheduled to be released in March and June 2020, and a further two are in early development, and look “highly likely” to join the studio’s schedule soon.

This is interesting news for a few big reasons. The most obvious one is that this addresses the “sequel-fatigue” many of us have been experiencing with the studio since Cars 2, as well as the doubts people have been having about Pixar’s quality in comparison to Walt Disney Animation Studios’ recent wave of huge success.

But the other big reason we should consider is how this will reflect on Pixar’s massive hit, Finding Dory, which is of course a sequel. The film has been a box office juggernaut in the U.S. (it will soon dethrone Captain America: Civil War as the biggest domestic hit of 2016), and the movie has also enjoyed steadily positive praise from critics.

In other words, this news implies what a lot of us have always suspected about Pixar as a business. Their decisions on which movies to release are not solely driven by short-term numbers and cash grabs. It seems they’re more interested in telling the stories they want to tell.

Note: the top image is a reference to Pixar’s next original film, Cocowhich will release next year.

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