I've seen a lot of articles by people about the Lamp changing its strategy... But I don't think they're looking close enough at the very evidence that they're quoting. Some sites are reporting that Pixar is going to curb the output of sequels over the next few years. I can tell you that this is absolutely not so. But on the same note, they aren't increasing them either. How can this be? Simple. It's business as normal and for some reason a few reporters/writers/bloggers had misinferred a statement by Ed Catmull as a change in direction. It isn't. This is simply a statement of a business strategy that's been in place for some while now. Here's the statement from an interview at Buzzfeed:
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.
We’re going to have an original film every year, then every other year have a sequel to something. That’s the rough idea.
Have you looked at the fourteen films that the Emeryville branch of Disney North has made? How many original films? How many sequels/prequels were there? A lot of people want to think of John Lasseter's fertile garden as pure and pristine, without any hint of corporatism or desire for profits. Wrong. Only four years after their first film, "Toy Story" did a sequel come out. "Toy Story 2" was the first sequel, but it was only their third film. In other words, they had already planned a sequel by the beginning of production of their second film. The difference between Pixar and other film studios is that they actually wanted to do films that had a story to them. Lasseter and Catmull didn't want to churn out films for the sake of dollars, but wanted to have films worthy of those dollars the public spent.
Now, everyone is saying that they're going to slow down with the production of sequels. There have been 14 Pixar films and four of them are sequels. Now if you do the math it turns out that the number you come up with roughly is a little less than a third of films are sequels. Now, look at where Catmull is talking about a new film once a year and a sequel every other year. That would add up to ten new films in a decade, and five sequels in the same decade. Out of fifteen films, that would mean a third would be sequels. Does that seem like they're going to pull back on making sequels? No, it looks like almost the same amount of new versus sequel films as what has been made over the past two decades. It's simply a continuation of what has gone on for a while explained by one of the men responsible for it. The only difference is that the production has ramped up to a film a year.
Now, I don't think this means we'll get an announcement of "The Incredibles 2" anytime in the near future. When Brad Bird comes up with a story that he feels is worthy of making, he'll call up John and say let's make it. And there is no way that Pixar wouldn't make the film if he had a story he wanted to film. But we can look forward to seeing more adventures in the worlds Pixar created in the future. See how simple that was? A lot of smoke, no fire. Pay no attention to these droids. Nothing new to report here.
Move along, move along...
Hat Tip to /Film.