Cars 3 raced its way into the U.S. box office this weekend, crossing the finish line like its longtime champ and franchise star, Lightning McQueen: In first place.
The Brian Fee-directed Pixar film made an estimated $53.5 million, according to Box Office Mojo, more than enough to take the No. 1 spot as its opening weekend comes to a close.
However, if you pay close attention to the reaction and responses on social media from fans and critics, there seems to be quite a few people referencing another hit Pixar franchise that made headlines with its own third installment: Toy Story 3.
Most longtime fans of the Toy Story franchise remember the emotional roller coaster they endured through each part of Toy Story 3. At the time, it was assumed that Toy Story 3 would be the closing chapter of the epic story filled with adventures featuring Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and the rest of Andy’s toys. They may even remember such tear-jerking scenes as when the toys were quickly approaching their tragic death by fire or when Andy pulled even more heartstrings when he passed the symbolic torch to young Bonnie.
Toy Story was essentially the world’s introduction to the Pixar family of films. In addition to building a foundation for a blockbuster franchise, Toy Story paved the way for quite a few other Pixar stories to make their way to the big-screen, including Monsters Inc., The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, and Cars.
“Art challenges technology, technology inspires the art” – Pixar 🙂 pic.twitter.com/aQDp2wGK
— Fachrul A.D. (@iamfachrul) April 13, 2012
More than 10 years after moviegoers fell in love with Woody and Buzz Lightyear, they were introduced to Lightning McQueen and Mater in the 2006 film Cars. Like Toy Story, this particular film was filled with its own ensemble of colorful characters, witty punchlines, and tear-jerking moments. It won the hearts of many people with its expanding world of movies and merchandise.
Just like Toy Story, the Cars franchise welcomed some old faces and introduced a few new ones with its second installment, Cars 2, nearly five years later in 2011. Lightning McQueen and Mater were even closer in the second movie than they were in the first, similar to the growing bond of friendship shared between Woody and Buzz as the franchise progressed over the years.
124) Toy Story 2 (1999) pic.twitter.com/xHvktMta76
— poussey???? (@damon_stilinski) June 11, 2017
— Freeform (@FreeformTV) June 19, 2017
By the time Cars 2 came out in theaters, though, fans were still wiping tears from their eyes after watching Toy Story 3 the year before its release. June 18, 2017 actually marked the film’s seven-year anniversary, which means that seven years have passed since moviegoers first explored their love-hate relationship with Lots-o’Huggin’ Bear.
“Somethin changed that day in Lotso- somethin snapped.” Inktober number 17- Lotso Huggin bear from Toy Story 3
— Teddy Bear (@StuffedTeddy) October 19, 2015
As mentioned, many fans thought Toy Story 3 was the story’s closing chapter (that is, of course, until the news of Toy Story 4 went from rumors and speculation to a confirmed report with a highly-anticipated June, 2019, release date.)
With that being said, it may seem as if Cars 3 is the closing chapter of this particular franchise. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Pixar execs have already confirmed that they are starting a hiatus on follow-up sequels and franchise installments after the remaining sequels on their existing slate have been released.
Since the door is closed on any possibilities of Cars 4 (at least in the foreseeable future) it makes sense why so many people have reacted to Cars 3 in a similar way to how they reacted to Toy Story 3.
Some focused on the emotional ending of an epic story:
Cars 3 was awesome! Went full circle. I cried, like Toy Story 3 cried lol It’s a must see! Cars will always be my favorite Pixar franchise.
— Angeli Menta (@angelimenta) June 17, 2017
If this gives me the feels like Toy Story 3 then Disney animated movies with the number 3 will never be seen lol — watching Cars 3
— Joe Swope (@KenzenCrese) June 18, 2017
Cars 3 is to 00’s kids as Toy Story 3 was to 90’s kids. It provides closure to the characters they grew up with in a really amazing way.
—????mission: max!???? (@forcetasmic) June 18, 2017
There were even some that were simply thrown off by the fact that both Cars 3 and Toy Story 3 made them uncomfortably aware of their own ages and how fast time has flown by since those adventures first began.
Cars 3 is the Toy Story 3 equivalent of making an entire generation of the kids who grew up with the first Cars movie in 2006 feel old.
— nes (@nestorj98) June 18, 2017
Cars 3 will make you feel 100 times older than how old Toy Story 3 made you feel
— cruz ramirez⚡️ (@pandamingo) June 17, 2017
Remember when Toy Story 3 made the millennials feel old? Yeah, well Cars 3 just did that same thing.
— ej (@ejbarba) June 16, 2017
Whether you see the similarities with the emotional ties connecting Toy Story 3 and Cars 3 or not is up to you. However, both of these movie make one point crystal clear: Pixar has once again proven its uncanny ability to tug heartstrings, produce tears, and make imagined and animated characters seem better than real life.
[Featured Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]