‘The Good Dinosaur’ — Not Good Enough?

The Good Dinosaur, a Disney/Pixar film, will be released on Blu-ray/Digital HD on February 23 which may be a good thing for the film because maybe then it will find its audience. If it seems like it was just yesterday that the film was playing in theaters, you are not far off. The movie was released in theaters on November 25, and it didn’t stay there for long.

The Good Dinosaur is estimated to top out at about $300 million globally, which doesn’t sound too bad at first blush; however, studios spent over $350 million just in production and marketing and isn’t expected to recoup its losses even after sales of the new release. It gets worse when you compare it to Inside Out, the studio’s other animated film released last year. It earned over $856 million worldwide and is in the running for two Academy Awards.

CinemaBlend referred to the recent news as “Pixar’s first fossil” and The Hollywood Reporter said that the film was “facing extinction.”

Despite the low ticket sales, the film is still being touted as quality filmmaking. Along with Star Wars: The Forece Awakens, The Good Dinosaur received three awards this past week from the 14th annual VES Awards including Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature. The film actually competed against Inside Out which only won one award for Outstanding Animated Performance in an Animated Feature.

The Good Dinosaur didn’t just impress the critics. Many children who saw the film in theaters liked it too, including 11-year-old Ryan R., who posted a review on The Huffington Post yesterday.

“I like how it touches our emotions and admit that it made me cry in some parts. I also liked the jokes because they are really funny,” says Ryan.

Another young reviwer, 13-year-old Gerry O., agrees, saying, “This movie is not all comedy, there is quite a bit of drama. In many scenes you feel touched by the characters and even pity them. The whole plot is a large and exciting adventure which allows for some mild action. There is a bigger moral to the story which is ‘discover your voice.'” Their assessment of The Good Dinosaur pretty much sounds like every other Pixar film, doesn’t it? So, what went wrong?

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Disney/Pixar was aware that they had trouble on their hands back in 2013 when they switched out director Bob Petersen for Peter Sohn and delayed the opening of the film a year. Some suggest that Pixar may have spent too much time re-tooling the film. “The Good Dinosaur is Pixar’s first misfire. It’s not a disaster but certainly a lesson learned for the company,” says box office analyst Jeff Bock. “The truth is, they knew a long time ago there were problems. However, it still didn’t fix the fact that this was a story that felt very derivative and contrived by Pixar standards. Pixar’s films are usually the gold standard when it comes to animation, and that’s a difficult perch to attain, and an even tougher place to build your nest indefinitely.”

Although The Good Dinosaur has made the lowest amount of money for a Disney/Pixar film, the second lowest money making film is A Bug’s Life came out in 1998 and was only the second Pixar film ever made after 1995’s Toy Story. Such disappointments are hardly a trend. With that said, there are those who are looking and waiting for Pixar to fail. In a story posted on January 28, Newsy incorrectly identified the upcoming animated movie The Secret Life of Pets as a Disney/Pixar film (it’s actually a DreamWorks production) and questioned if the studio was trying to pass off a similar storyline from Toy Story as a way to “bounce back from ‘Dinosaur’ flop.”

Fans of Disney/Pixar can stop wringing their hands in worry, though. Pixar’s next feature film, Finding Dory, comes to theaters this summer and is expected to gross more than $1 billion worldwide.

[Photo courtesy of Disney/Pixar]

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