Every now and then, the movie world can hit you with an announcement that just doesn’t seem…right.
The animators Pixar (Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo, Up) have emerged with a strange one – ANOTHER Toy Story sequel.
John Lasseter, Director of Toy Story and co-director of Toy Story 2, is to helm Toy Story 4, to be released in June 2017.
Toy Story 3 left us with a beautiful closing sequence full of heartache and loss, as long-time toy-lover Andy let go of his beloved Woody, Buzz and friends. The franchise felt closed. Neatly tied up.
What is it about 4 movies that never quite seems as neat as 3?
Pixar have dabbled in sequels before with middling to no success.
First there was Cars 2 (and soon – Cars 3), which didn’t have much of a chance considering the mediocrity of the original. Then there was Monsters University – a fun prequel but nothing memorable,.
So what do Pixar hope to gain by releasing a fourth Toy Story? Money?
‘A lot of people in the industry view us doing sequels as being for the business of it, but for us it’s pure passion.’ – John Lasseter
Really, John? Are Cars 2 and 3 about passion when there is next to no passion in the franchise from the audience? Both Cars and Cars 2 combined only JUST earned the same amount money as Toy Story 3 alone.
Does box-office denote quality? No. Passion? Yes.
Pixar built its reputation on original content. Between 1995 and 2003 they released 5 original concepts, peaking with Finding Nemo with nearly $1 billion worldwide at the box-office.
And what do you know? A sequel to Nemo – Finding Dory (2016) – is in the works.
Since Nemo the the stream of top-quality content, original content, has weakened to a trickle. There have been 9 movies between 2004 and 2013, only 6 of which were original concepts. Only 1 of these 9 has earned anything close to Nemo – Toy Story 3.
Pixar are attempting to recreate the box-office successes of their infancy by plucking and updating beloved characters from that bygone era.
What they don’t realise is that those box-office successes were earned by producing top-quality original content.
Toy Story 4 will be a huge hit, and so will Finding Dory, but they will do nothing to rejuvenate the Pixar audience as they fleetingly achieved with Up in 2009.
They will be briefly enriched before feeling a familiar hunger for new worlds, new characters and new stories.