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 here 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.

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Surprise, ‘Incredibles 2’ Is Pixar’s Biggest Box Office Hit Ever

incredibles 2

What does the success of Incredibles 2 mean for Pixar, Disney, and everyone else? Especially if they didn’t love the studio’s latest sequel? 

From Jessica Rawden at Cinemablend:

Previously, that accolade went to Finding Dory, a movie that grossed a little bit over $486 million domestically and a little over a billion worldwide. Incredibles 2 has been a much bigger winner domestically, making more than $602 million in North America and another $562.5 million worldwide. It’s current total has it at $1,164,826,913 (via Box Office Mojo), which means it has topped the movie that just kept swimming to become Pixar’s highest grosser. It’s also notable because a few weeks ago, the sequel was already the first animated movie to gross over $500 million domestically, and now it’s north of $600 million.

As Rawden mentions, Frozen is still the highest grossing animated film of all time, but Incredibles 2 is hot on its heels, just recently surpassing Minions.

Now, box office only says so much about the quality of a film, but it does paint a compelling picture, one that at this point can’t be denied. In order for Pixar to maintain their high standards with original content, they made the controversial decision to bank on sequels over a decade back. We now see Finding Dory and Incredibles 2 to be among the most profitable films of all time, animated or otherwise, and on the horizon there’s Toy Story 4 and a slew of original stories essentially funded by this box office success.

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All Three of Pixar’s Billion-Dollar Movies Are Sequels. Now What?

Pixar

From Animation World Network:

Incredibles 2 became just the seventh animated film to cross the $1 billion mark at the global box office. It is Disney’s fifth animated and 18th-ever billion-dollar release and joins Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War as Disney’s third release to reach the $1 billion milestone this year.

Egregious success for Disney in 2018 aside, Pixar is now the first animated studio to release three films with $1 billion worldwide box office. And all three of these films are sequels: Toy Story 3Finding Dory, and now Incredibles 2. And yet people wonder why Pixar continues to make sequels in the first place. Money speaks louder than critics, I suppose.

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The Real Reason Why Pixar Keeps Making Sequels

sequels

I’ve commented on this topic a lot, particularly this week with the release of Incredibles 2, but Victor Luckerson seriously nails the rise of Pixar sequels with this piece on The Ringer.

How Pixar Became a Sequel Factory:

This decade has been different. Pixar’s next 10 films included six sequels or prequels, among them the newly released Incredibles 2. Its next movie is Toy Story 4, an addendum to a conclusive trilogy that no one asked for. In addition to its two sequels, there has even been a Cars spinoff, Planes, which recalls the low-budget direct-to-video sequels Disney pumped out in the ’90s.

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Review: ‘Inside Out’ Is More Than Some Feelings

Directed and produced by the dream team behind Up, this new story is all about the struggles of growing up. Its lessons aren’t cliche, however, in that the final message isn’t simply “do whatever makes you happy.” This is a staple of children movies that Inside Out rightfully tosses in favor of emotional truth.

‘Inside Out’ Is Getting Rave Reviews

inside out reviews

Pixar’s latest film recently debuted at Cannes Film Festival in France, and the reception so far has been overwhelmingly positive.

Kenneth Turan during an interview about the film with NPR’s Steve Inskeep:

Turan: Well, there’s a lot of stuff to like here. Just this morning, “Inside Out” played. This is the new film from Pixar. It’s by Pete Docter, who directed “Up.” It’s a really fascinating, unusual, computer-animated film about what goes on inside the mind of a young girl, the different emotions that hide in her mind, each emotion played by a different actor. It’s very funny. It’s very inventive. And it’s really moving, kind of in the way “Up” was.

Inskeep: And so you came out of that movie with a smile on your face?

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My Day At Pixar (And Early Thoughts on ‘Inside Out’)

Last week, I had the opportunity to visit Pixar for two days and watch the first 56 minutes of Inside Out. It’s been a lot to process, but I’ve condensed the experience into a post you can read here: Behind-the-Scenes First Look at Inside Out, INSIDE Pixar Headquarters! It was a