While it certainly hasn’t hurt Pixar at the box office, (Monsters University’s $82 million opening was the studio’s second-highest grossing first weekend) there have been complaints among fans and critics that Pixar is rehashing old material in lieu of original concepts. This issue was vocalized when Cars 2 was released, with accusations that Pixar was sacrificing quality for merchandising profits (Cars merchandise, including scale models of several of the cars, broke records with an estimated $5 billion in sales).
Pixar has heard the complaints loud and clear and have announced that their goal is to release one original film a year. Studio president Ed Catmull spoke with BuzzFeed, and had this to say:
For artistic reasons … it’s really important that we do an original film a year. 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.
Pixar is also amping up their quantity of films, with 2015 seeing the release of Inside Out on June 19th, and Finding Dory on November 25th, which would mark the first time Pixar has released two films in the same calendar year. Inside Out is an original concept which is set from the perspective inside the mind of a young girl. Finding Dory is the follow-up to Finding Nemo, but the only sequel on the studio’s upcoming calendar. Prior to those two, Pixar has The Good Dinosaur set for release on May 30th, 2014. The film takes place in a world in which dinosaurs never went extinct.
Of all the studios to sell out, Pixar would be the last one you would expect, so it’s nice to hear that they’ve taken the criticism to heart and will use their creative minds to come up with new stories. As long as the new projects can maintain the stellar quality of their earlier work, we’ll forgive them for Cars 2.