The Pixar Problem

June 24, 2021, 2:14 AM

Here is part two of my controversial debate series:
When you think of pixar your mind immediately goes to toy story or monsters inc. At its prime Pixar would generate blockbuster after blockbuster and then it began to slip. Over the last few years we've seen dissapointments such as the good dinosaur Or onward And even soul. There hasn't been any major debuts worthy of global fame since inside out. Creativity is running low and this is a big problem. Pixar is running on low energy and hopefully it will shoot to the stars as it once was.Wgat are your thoughts on this?

Replies (24)

Edited: June 24, 2021, 6:46 AM

TPM: "Here is part two of my controversial debate series..."

Me: More incomplete and misinformed than controversial -- but I'll bite.

TPM: "When you think of pixar your mind immediately goes to toy story or monsters inc."

Me: Actually mine goes to 'The Incredibles', 'Ratatouille' and 'Soul'. But, carry on, please.

TPM: "Over the last few years we've seen dissapointments such as the good dinosaur Or onward And even soul."

Me: Yeah, 'Soul' won the Academy Award for Beast Animated Feature and Best Original Score. It also won the Golden Globe for Best Animated Film and Best Original Score.

Not really something that might be regarded as a disappointment.

Pixar is doing fine.

June 24, 2021, 7:08 AM

After Pixar was acquired by Disney, they’ve been making a lot of sequels that were more commercially than artistically successful. Most of the original brain trust is gone leading to a lack of quality control and their first flops, Good Dinosaur and Cars 3. Also Disney Animation Studios has been outpacing them in many aspects.

June 24, 2021, 9:14 AM

I agree. I think that while soul is good it won't be as popular as toy story is years later. The brain is getting lost and whil yes I love luca and yes I love the other pixar films, they need to make something original!

June 24, 2021, 9:15 AM

* not original, but more artistically and creatively astounding which is worth sequels and even theme park rides!

June 24, 2021, 11:13 AM

So the "Pixar problem" you reference is that the studio makes award winning films that you don't like?

June 24, 2021, 12:37 PM

No, it's that the general public on a whole, likes it but not to a point thar they LOVE it :)

Edited: June 24, 2021, 12:55 PM

@Themeparkmad - Says who?

Soul has an audience rating of 8.1/10 on IMDB (for comparison Toy Story is 8.3, while Monsters Inc has the same 8.1 rating)
Luca has an audience rating of 7.6
Onward has an audience rating of 7.4
Coco has a rating of 8.4, which is the highest of all Pixar original films
The Good Dinosaur has a rating of 6.7, which is the lowest of all Pixar original films

For comparison, here some ratings for recently released original Disney animated films...

Frozen - 7.4
Moana - 7.6
Zootopia - 8.0
Big Hero 6 - 7.8
Wreck it Ralph - 7.7

Soul is more popular based on audience ratings than every original Disney animated film released over the past decade. I'm not sure where the "problem" is, other than Disney's problem of relegating Pixar releases to standard Disney+ while putting Disney animated films behind an additional paywall.

June 24, 2021, 1:20 PM

Disney has three Pixar theatrical release dates scheduled over the next two years ... Assuming there are still movie theaters.

And 'Coco' was the BOMB, yo!

June 24, 2021, 2:11 PM

I’d like to see future theme park attractions come from one, or more of the movies mentioned above. What recent Pixar movie would make a good theme park attraction?

Edited: June 24, 2021, 2:25 PM

Why do attractions have to come from movies? Some movies just don't lend themselves to theme park attractions, and may not necessitate changing existing attractions to cater to the movie du jour. Pixar movies are known for their heart, which just doesn't translate to dynamic theme park attractions people are interested in these days.

Maybe Soul could be turned into a musical theater show, while Luca could be turned into a Mediterranean-themed play area at Tokyo DisneySea.

June 24, 2021, 2:41 PM

'Soul' should be turned into an adults only jazz club at DHS with the lights low and the AC set on 54.

June 24, 2021, 3:55 PM

What hits me is how for a while Pixar was doing better Disney movies than Disney.

Then 2012 has "Brave" and "Wreck It Ralph" so it was as if Pixar did a Disney movie while Disney did a Pixar movie (and I'll maintain "Ralph" deserved the Animated Feature Oscar more).

Then "Frozen" kick-starts Disney animation again leading to great stuff like "Zootopia" and "Raya and the Last Dragon."

Meanwhile, Pixar still offers amazing stuff like "Soul" but "Onward" and "Luca" almost feel more like Dreamworks pictures. Don't get me wrong, they're still fantastic and amazing but lately, we're getting less pure gems like "Inside Out" and "Coco" and more stuff that doesn't feel as great as we expect from the studio.

I'm sure they still have some genius works left in them but it's no longer "Pixar is the best animation Disney can do" when Disney's own animated features have become pretty damn good.

June 24, 2021, 5:39 PM

And recliners.

June 25, 2021, 3:30 PM

Sorry everyone if I offended you :( Didn't mean to make anyone angry :) I support all opinions! And kine has been swayed to @thcreative!

June 25, 2021, 6:57 PM


June 29, 2021, 10:18 PM

I understand what you mean. When Pixar started, every film was amazing and crafted with so much passion and heart behind it. Each film was different and didn't just cater to kids, but to adults too. I look back on their films fondly and really appreciate how much work was put into each film.

More recently more of their movies haven't been up to the same Pixar level. If another animation studio like Dreamworks or Illumination produced the same product then it would be amazing for that studio... but not Pixar. Not sure if the small dip has to do with Lasseter's absence but they are declining ever so slightly, but that's understandable. Every studio has its decline and hopefully, they'll be able to pick themselves back up.

Soul tho... that was really good. Pixar hasn't been that Pixar-y since Wall-e/UP..

July 4, 2021, 10:50 AM

“And even Soul.”

I thought Soul was one of the best films of last year. Not just animated, but overall, and it is easily in the top of there filmography, which is amazing. People bring up one or two films that they didn’t like. Even Spielberg has had a stinker or two, and on Pixar’s worst days, they are not stinkers. Their worst films may not blow away both adults and children, but they will be entertaining to many. When they are on a good day they will have a film for the ages. The only person that is comparable is David Lean. And, yes, I am serious about that comparison.

Edited: July 4, 2021, 2:34 PM

Postcott: "More recently more of their movies haven't been up to the same Pixar level."

Me: I think 'Coco' is one of the most amazing animated features ever made (2017). As JCV notes "Even Spielberg has had a stinker or two ..." That's just a thing that sometimes happens -- not necessarily a trend.

Please Note: I have not seen 'Luca' but it currently rates a 90 (critics) and 88 (audience) on Rotten Tomatoes.

So ...

July 4, 2021, 10:42 PM

And Luca is also fantastic FTR…

July 6, 2021, 12:00 AM


Yes, Coco was excellent.

Looking back on Pixar's movie lineup, you can see that it becomes inconsistent beginning in the 2010s. The first ten Pixar films were released in about a fifteen-year gap. These films include Incredibles, the three toy story films, Cars, Ratatouille, etc. I kinda point to Cars 2 as the shift in Pixar's quality becoming inconsistent. Cars 2 was such an odd occurrence because it was such a stomp down from their usual quality. Once again, we have ten movies spanning in about a 10-year gap. These films include Cars 2, Monsters University, Finding Dory, Good Dinosaur, etc. This period of Pixar isn't as strong as their first gap of movies.

In short, i'm not saying that Pixar sucks now and have lost their way. In the most recent gap, Coco, Inside Out, Toy Story 4, and Soul were all great films and were up to the Pixar standard, but this gap had so many outliers that was inconsistent with their previous work.

Not sure whats going on with this Buzz Lightyear spinoff/ anthology movie tho... seems weird

July 6, 2021, 1:20 AM

I think Pixar’s best streak was Ratatouille, Wall-E and Up and it was because they were looking to leave Disney with more mature concepts. Since they were acquired by Disney it’s been really inconsistent with creative and financial success.

July 10, 2021, 7:13 AM

Who can show up the original contract between Disney (as distribution company) and Pixar (as creative production company) ?
The REAL contract and the real capital exchange ?
Not just the 2 word 'Disney acquited' simplicication...
I like to see documents.

July 12, 2021, 10:39 PM

So on the "should have released Luca in theaters' thing, keep in mind factors.

Disney was perhaps affected by low take for "Raya and the Last Dragon" which seems unfair as that was in March when thousands of theaters across country still closed.

The timing is important too. June 18th was a week after "In the Heights" which most expected to have a great opening and "legs" to carry. This would have hurt Luca the next week and then "F9" the week after which everyone knew would be a hit. The week after that "Boss Baby 2" and then a packed July of Black Widow, Space Jam 2, Snake Eyes and Jungle Cruise.

Of course, what no one expected was "Heights" would be a huge flop and I put that on having it on HBO Max for free the same day. At one form I saw, the ratio of folks watching it on Max vs in theater was about 20-1.

I'm sure had Disney suspected "Heights" was going to be such a disappointment, they might have put "Luca" in theaters on 18th or even head to head on the 11th. But, hindsight is 20-20 and I think even Disney has to regret they passed on what could have been a nice box office success rather than give away for free to subscribers.

July 14, 2021, 12:40 AM

I show up just to watch TH put on his Disney cheerleader outfit and attempt to make people seem intellectually inferior.

How dare you insinuate anything Disney is not great?

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