In Hollywood, one thing is almost certain — a successful film will always receive a sequel. With the money rolling in, and success imminent, studios will always flock to get a second instalment made, to capitalize on the attention, and although this enthusiasm generates anticipation in the paying fans and viewers alike, it isn’t always the best route of action. Many franchises have strived and benefitted from this technique, while others have failed miserably.
With this mindset, many expect a sequel to nearly any film that starts a ripple at the box-office, and Pixar Animated Studios know about this more than anyone. With Toy Story on their books, one of the most financially successful trilogies of all time, and several sequels currently in the works, the studio know a little about success. It’s this legendary status and track record that has left some fans somewhat stunned with the reveal of their most recent announcement; where many popular franchises will see sequels in the future, WALL-E is not one of them.
Pixar president Jim Morris recently spoke to Entertainment Weekly, and discussed some of Pixar’s most popular and successful animated films. During the interview, he revealed the following about a potential WALL-E sequel.
“Pete Docter [who directed Inside Out] has an original idea for his next film. Brad Bird, being the director of Ratatouille, is working on The Incredibles and we haven’t really spoken about [a sequel to] that. And WALL-E is close to my heart since I produced it. It would be good to go back and visit that world and let everybody know that the humans actually survived again after getting back to their burnt-out planet. But that was really a love story that had its beginning, middle, and end, so we’re not really planning any further stories in those worlds at this point.”
Where there seems to be little interest in revisiting WALL-E, this might be a good thing for the film as a whole. A great sequel is fantastic to see, but very rare, and sometimes a bad sequel can completely ruin the experience of the original movie. In some cases, a sequel can completely change the mind of a viewer, and sour the film that made them such a huge fan in the first place. Morris has hit the nail on the head here; WALL-E is a unique piece of cinema, and the story itself really doesn’t need expanding.
The film itself is certainly worthy of multiple rewatches, but in an age where money is power, and power is king, it’s nice to see an original film being treated with some respect, and left to prosper in its own greatness. Reboots and sequels and spin-offs are hot property in Hollywood at present — despite the mixed reaction from viewers and fans — and it would be easy to capitalize on the success of WALL-E, which banked a handsome $521.3 million at the box-office. The fact that Jim Morris has no intention of doing this speaks volumes, and is a true testament to the way Pixar have handled their business over the past two decades. He would clarify this in his comments.
“Most studios jump on doing a sequel as soon as they have a successful film, but our business model is a filmmaker model, and we don’t make a sequel unless the director of the original film has an idea that they like and are willing to go forward on. A sequel in some regards is even harder [than the original] because you’ve got this defined world which, on the one hand, is a leg up, and on the other hand has expectations that you can’t disappoint on.”
In the same interview, Morris also confirmed that Ratatouille and Inside Out will not see sequels in the near-future. However, Finding Dory — which has banked $538.3 million and counting since its June release — has kicked off a slate of sequels that continues into 2019 with Cars 3, Toy Story 4, and The Incredibles 2. The business mentality at Pixar is unique, which has obviously resulted in major success. It’s astute business from a studio that knows how to make enticing, original animated movies for movie lovers, and one that is certain to continue into the promising future.
Pixar have managed their output sensibly since their impressive emergence onto the movie scene. Since their inception in 1986, a spin-out that saw them separate from Lucasfilm’s computer division with funding from Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs, they have released seventeen movies — starting with Toy Story in 1995 and its most recent being Finding Dory — which have all received critical acclaim. The movies themselves have earned sixteen Academy Awards and seven Golden Globes, as well as a host of other major accolades. When Disney purchased the company in 2006, as revealed by CNN, Pixar was valued at $7.4 billion.
So, we won’t be seeing a WALL-E sequel any time soon, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy any of Pixar’s other movies. With some of the highest grossing movies of all time in their ranks, it’s really not that difficult to find a film you can love and cherish.
For those of you who want something new, Finding Dory is currently showing in theaters.
[Image via Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Pixar]