Social Navigation

Major Box Office Test for Pixar After ‘Light Years Away’ – The Hollywood Reporter


After one of the most impressive winning streaks in Hollywood history, Pixar has seen its fortunes reverse in recent years, with last year’s failure Light year and its pandemic-era policy of sending its features directly to streaming on Disney+. Now, Pixar faces a major test of brand strength as it prepares for the reveal racistits first original theatrical feature since the COVID-19 hit.

Directed by Peter Son, the film is based on an original story set in a world where people of fire, water, earth and air live together. Among early reviews, the title has an underwhelming 64 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a low number for Pixar. Plus, the film is trailing simple numbers, just $37 million to $38 million during its June 16-18 opening weekend, which it shares with Warner Bros. Pictures. ‘ the light. Only a handful of Disney releases have debuted at less than $50 million. (There were a lot of negative headlines in 2007 ratatouille It opened to $47 million, but the naysayers were proven wrong when the pic turned into a box office sensation.)

Before the pandemic, it would have been hard to imagine such an openness for a new Pixar title. Incredibles 2 (2019) and Toy Story 4 (2020) Both eventually crossed $1 billion. Then, as the crisis raged abroad and in the United States, Pixar and Disney fired onwards In theaters in early March 2020. The film has grossed $133.4 million worldwide as theaters begin to close en masse. The following three Pixar films – Oscar winners 2020 spirit2021 Luca and 2022 turns red – Sent directly to Disney+ in the US and select other major markets, though the box office was in recovery mode by then turns red went out.

Many have criticized Bob Chapek’s previous Disney system of training families to watch Pixar films in the comfort of their living rooms in exchange for promoting the theatrical experience. Light year It is already released on the big screen in June 2022, after several months turns red. Although it was based on one of the most famous studios Toy Story Personality, managed to earn just $218.8 million, an alarmingly low number for a Pixar movie, which is believed to have cost around $200 million to produce.

racist It extended itself to the studio’s past and current creative systems, with Sohn conceiving the story idea after directing 2015 The good dinosaurand was asked to speak at an event in the Bronx, where he was born. When he saw his immigrant parents in the audience, “it hit me very emotionally and I broke down into tears,” he recalled. “The gesture of appreciating their plight and what they gave up and risked for me, really affected me. When I got back to Pixar, some friends and my bosses at the time said, ‘This is your next movie.’”

Observers point not just to the challenges of the pandemic, but to a generational change in its leaders, especially after the 2018 exit of creative director John Lasseter, who departed after acknowledging “missteps” in the workplace that left some employees feeling, he wrote, “disrespected or Uncomfortable.” (He now directs Skydance Animation.) A lot has been made of Pixar’s “brain trust” providing creative guidance for every movie, and that too has seen change. Many of the original Pixar mind confidence that started the company faded away: Ed Catmull, John Lasseter, Steve Jobs, Brad Bird, and the head of story [the late] Joe Ranft and more,” notes Tom Sito, a graduate of Disney and DreamWorks Animation and Professor of Animation at USC.

One animation executive suggests, “Their films bring in a variety of filmmakers, but the richness and depth, which John brought, just isn’t there anymore.”

After Lassiter’s departure, veteran Pete Docter – Who joined Pixar to work on it Toy Story and as director of the higherAnd inside out And spiritHe is the only director to have won three Academy Awards for animation – he has been named the studio’s chief creative officer, and enjoys broad support. “People love and respect Pete. Nobody questions his talents,” says an animator source with past ties to Pixar. “Animation is a long game. You can’t put a lot of success or lack thereof into one movie.” However, in June, Pixar — which maintains its campus in Emeryville, just outside San Francisco — was hit by Disney’s layoffs, affecting 75 employees including Light year exit angus MacLane and producer Galyn Susman.

According to Sohn, racistIt included Docter and Andrew Stanton’s Mind Confidence (Finding NemoAnd Wall-E), along with Dan Scanlon (onwards), Dom Shi (turns red), Julia Chu (a turns red writer) and Brian Larsen (Head of the Academy Award-winning short story Piper).

With Pixar’s next chapter being written, the world of animation itself is becoming more competitive and crowded. This year alone, Illumination Entertainment – the Chris Meledandri-led house of the Minions spin-off – has had massive success in Super Mario Bros movie, which has exceeded $1.2 billion worldwide. Sony Pictures Animation Spider-Man: Through the Spider-Verse, The Oscar-winning sequel in spider verse, It has already earned $208.6 million worldwide since its May 30 release.

Netflix – which has become a powerhouse in animation, with Pinocchio by Guillermo del Toro Winning the Best Animated Feature Oscar earlier this year — the 2023 list includes the expected nimunabased on the graphic novels of the same name, and Chicken Run: Blew the Blockthe long-awaited sequel to Aardman’s Wallace & Gromit Studio The chicken is running.

Pixar’s sister company, Walt Disney Animation Studios, will release the next he wishes (The Story of a Disney Character’s Wish Star) in November. But Disney Animation has also had a mixed record lately, after its 2022 release strange worldwhich only made 73.6 million dollars. Beyond that, Pixar is planning a mix of what they hope will be a dependable sequel and original fare. that inside out A sequel and original weird tale titled Elio Projected for 2024. Fifth Toy Story The movie has also been announced.

Observers have noted that part of Pixar’s success — which includes the 11 Best Animated Feature Oscars — has been the result of it being left to its own devices, with a management team separate from the rest of Disney. Seto says, “SinceToy Story Back in the day, there were executives at Burbank who envied their independence, but no one dared question it when the results were so good.”

Pamela McClintock and Boris Kate contributed to this report.

A version of this story first appeared in the June 7 issue of The Hollywood Reporter. Click here to subscribe.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.