It's true that since the high of Toy Story 3, their output has not been their best. Cars 2 was critically savaged, and Brave and Monster's University had mixed receptions. But having had an almost unprecedented run of such unparalleled quality it was perhaps inevitable that their luck had to run out eventually. Many blame the Pixar/Disney merger for this supposed decline, suggesting that their increased reliance on sequels is at least partly down to losing their independence. Compare this to the fortunes of Disney themselves, who have had a very strong run of late, thanks to Tangled, Wreck It Ralph and most of all Frozen. The latter has even surpassed Toy Story 3 in the all-time box-office ranking.
But we say.. not so fast! We at AFA don't really subscribe to the notion that Pixar's best days are behind them. Sure, the increased numbers of sequels is a shame, but it's not as many as Dreamworks pump out. To really get a grip on where Pixar are headed though, you need to look into their future. 2014 is the first year since 2005 that we've not had a new Pixar film, but beyond that there's a lot to look forward to. There may be a few sequels incoming, but there's also a number of very interesting sounding original films too- two next year alone- that could very well be the next Wall E or Up. So there may have been a few bumps in the road but it's far too early to be writing off Pixar completely.
Take a look at the Pixar's upcoming slate and see if you agree...
The Good Dinosaur (2015)
Frankly "Pixar does dinosaurs" is enough of a pitch to sell this on it's own. It's instantly appealing to the inner child in us all -unless, I guess if you were one of those rare kids who didn't go through a dinosaur phase. The film will deal with the friendship between a dino and a human named spot, and it was originally planned for release in 2014. It has been delayed due to production problems, and original director Bob Peterson (co-director of Up) has reportedly left the project. Before you get overly concerned though- it's worth remembering that numerous other successful Pixar flicks have had similar behind the scenes troubles and changes of staff, from Toy Story on.
Inside Out (2015)
Peterson's Up co-director Pete Docter is helming next year's other Pixar film Inside Out. Of all the studio's upcoming releases this has the most intriguing pitch- it is a story told from the perspective of the emotions inside a little girl's brain. Not only does this idea have huge potential, but the decision to tell the story from a female perspective sets it apart from most of Pixar's output. The voice cast includes Amy Poehlur and Mindy Kaling, while Toy Story 3's Micheal Arndt returns on screenplay duty.