Douglas Fairbanks Sr. in "Don Q, Son of Zorro."
The L.A. Times's Claudia Eller examines the course correction of Pixar Animation:
Pixar, with 'Toy Story 3,' shows increasing reliance on sequels
Three of four coming films at the pioneering animation studio, long known for its originality, are sequels. The trend is a reflection of the commercial considerations driving Disney studios, which bought Pixar in 2006 ...
[C]ommerce, and plenty of it, is the guiding rule of Disney under the stewardship of Chief Executive Robert Iger. He is fashioning Disney, once principally concerned with family entertainment, into a consumer giant built around "brands" and "franchises ..."
Why anybody would be surprised that sequelitis is Pixar's new mantra (disease?) is a mystery to me.
As long as Hollywood has been around, the place has replicated (or tried to replicate) the hits that have gone before. Chaplin made a hell of a lot of films, one after the other, of this twitchy little man with baggy pants, derby hat, bristle-brush mustache and bamboo cane. The Pawn Broker, The Kid, The Gold Rush, The Circus, there were dozens and dozens of them, each remarkably similar to one another.
And Harold Lloyd made two features a year centered around an eager go-getter who wore tortoise shell glasses and got into hair-raising scrapes on the sides of tall buildings or the tops of runaway trolleys, over and over again. Douglas Fairbanks made a long series of swashbucklers riding a horse, swinging a sword and fighting e-vil.
Most of these were not, strictly speaking, sequels. But let's be honest. They had the spirit of sequels, since they all sought to replicate the tried, true and familiar. The fact that the characters' names were different from picture to picture doesn't undercut the idea that Tinsel Town in its infancy and Tinsel Town in late geezerdom chases box office grosses with movies it believes will generate maximum sums of cash: vehicles with well-worn, sure-fire (they hope) formulas, already audience tested.
Pixar, once small, daring, and bankrolled by Steve Jobs, disdained sequels. but that was a long time ago in a land far away. It has now become part of the mainstream Hollywood dream machine, and marches to the drumbeat that started with Charlie, Harold and Doug (with his sequel to Zorro) a century ago.
Are we shocked that the studio in Emeryville has fallen prey to the old siren song?