Thursday, July 15, 2010

Planes! Disney!

I've been looking at artwork for this project over the last year, also talking to artists about it.

Also keeping my mouth shut. But there doesn't seem much point to doing that now.

... Movieline hears that Pixar is currently developing Planes as a semi-sequel and spinoff franchise to Cars, one meant to take advantage of the enormously lucrative direct-to-video market. It’s a format that Pixar has flirted with before — Toy Story 2 was once meant to go direct to video, and Toy Story 3 was originally developed for DVD in a semi-unauthorized fashion by Disney before Pixar head John Lasseter took over the company — but with Planes, Pixar could leverage the Cars brand without diluting its bigscreen appeal. ...

(Apologies to the folks who have badgered me in comments to 'fess up, but breaking out proprietary info isn't my job description.)

However, now that the proverbial cat is out of the bag ....


Anonymous said...

Could this be the beginning of the end? I know I am being dramatic here, but I'm just starting to wonder. All through the past 20 years of Pixar, they have prided themselves on not being a team divided (film unit, DVD unit, etc), then a while ago they announced Pixar Canada to house a shorts and DVD unit.

They can spin this how ever they want, but let's face it, this will divide Pixar employees into "Pixar Premium's" and "Pixar Budget's". Let's not kid ourselves here, straight to DVD films are of a lesser quality than theatrically released films, that's the very nature of a DVD released film, or else they would all be good enough to release in the theater.

Divisions in staff create differences in views, and this can eventually lead to discontent. While Pixar in the past have been good at generally making the employees feel valuable, history has shown that two levels in statuses in people can cause trouble.

Maybe that's why they chose to open in Canada (apart from the tax breaks), so that "Pixar Budget's" won't be able to mingle with the "Premium's" and get visions of grandeur...?

But then again I could be all wrong (and, truthfully, I hope I am).

Anonymous said...

Is it Pixar, or DTS? Thought it was keeping in line with the Tinker Bell franchise where JL is head of the division.

Plane Crazy said...

What no Trains ? What would Walt, Ollie, and Ward say ?

Anonymous said...

you do realise its being animated at Prana in India (low cost location with talent to boot) who did all the tinker bells ?

Anonymous said...

"Planes" is being done at Disney Toons Studio.

Anonymous said...

Pixar learned its lesson in regards to separate quality teams 10 years ago on Toy Story 2 straight to video fiasco. I doubt they will so quickly repeat that mistake!

Anonymous said...

Pixar, Pixar, Pixar....

Why are you doing this to yourself? Because you can? Why is John Lasseter making this company the spitting-image of Disney Feature Animation, after swearing to do things the "creative" way, the "quality" way...

This whole situation reminds me of Star Wars. Where the great Jedi Anakin Skywalker, intent on finding and destroying the enemy, ultimately becomes the enemy. As Obi Wan Kenobi says (paraphrased): "You have become the very thing you have seeked to destroy!"

Anonymous said...

"But then again I could be all wrong"

You are. These are DTV films. They're developed by Disney artists, not Pixar artists. DTV is Union, Pixar is not.

Anonymous said...

Funny.. if you've been visiting Disney and seeing artwork and talking to artists about it, wouldn't it make sense that it's not a Pixar project?

Anonymous said...

@Steve Hulett: If you have been looking at artwork for over a year now could you tell us if you liked what you saw? Also, what kind of buzz did you get from artists or other people working on this project? What did they tell you?

Anonymous said...

Someone who is more "in-the-know" than I, please do not hesitate to correct me here; but I was under the understanding that this was to be a project headed by Pixar Canada. If so, it makes perfect sense, as the focus of Pixar Canada was always reserved for original Pixar shorts starring current Pixar characters (Mater the Greater, Toy Story Toons, etc). To me it makes sense that the studio would also develop a pseudo-sequel, straight-to-DVD release. I had also heard that there were talks about developing "Planes" into a televised cartoon series.

Again, correct me if I'm wrong.

Steve Hulett said...

The project is being boarded, visualized, etc. at Disney Toons in Glendale.

The people working on it, like it.

Who else might be working on it someplace else, I donno.

Aldebaran said...


Is this the project you've been teasing?:

"I was able to get a look at some of the visual development for the next group of Toon Disney features (waay different than Tinkerbell) and my first reaction was: "That's going to make the Mouse a lot of money!"

Because it is a real commercial property.

(And no, I'm not going to say anything about what it is, since the company hasn't announced much about it yet.)"

"There's also a new c.g.i series of features at Diz Toons -- apart from the Tinkerbells -- in early development.

Stories being scripted, characters being developed. (New characters, but cousins of other creations in the Disney empire ..."

Are these planes the cousins you mentioned? Or is there something else being released?

J said...

- Pixar does Sequels = Everyone still supports them and backs them up with little worry because they've never failed us before.

- Pixar does Direct to Video = JUMP!!! Everybody off the bandwagon! Go Go Go!! The Pixar Ship is sinking!

May I remind everyone this isn't the first direct to video release pixar has done. They released all their shorts on DVD and BluRay. When almost all were available with the movies. They released that for money. Remember that this isn't the same Disney Toon Studios that we had in the past. The TinkerBell films have had great reviews and done very well. Remember the Cars films are pretty much John Lasseter BABY. If they are going to exploit his BABY he'll make sure they do it with some quality.

The last thing I have to say as a fan of both Disney and Pixar films (and quality animated films in general), The Pixar company is no longer the Art House they once were, they now have to compete with other studios and bring in a profit to keep the share holders and suits happy.

I personally am fine with them doing Direct to Video projects and other projects purely for the money if they do it with some quality.

Anonymous said...

this is not what pixar north (canada) is working on. DTS is doing story and will be directing, someone else will be doing the production.

Anonymous said...

"I was under the understanding that this was to be a project headed by Pixar Canada. "

". They released all their shorts on DVD and "

This is NOT A PIXAR PROJECT, as stated numerous times before. IT IS A DTV PROJECT! Pixar is NOT INVOLVED.

"The Pixar company is no longer the Art House they once were"

WHEN was Pixar an "Art house?" From day one, they've produced the most challenging kind of popular film you could possibly make--SUCCESSFULLY: The Family Film. They're film engage adults and teens as much as kids.

And the shorts were not "direct to video" by a long shot.

Pixie Arrhh said...

If it comes out and sucks we can blame them and say they're going down hill. Until they do so, Pixar is still the king of animation that Disney used to be.

A lot of people were upset that Pixar was making a third Toy Story film. Why do they want to taint what they've already done, some said. Look at how it's being received, both commercially and critically. Wait until you see this project before you talk about how bad it is.

On it's worst day, a bad picture from Pixar is better than a good picture from anyone else. Everyone should remember that.

Anonymous said...

i wonder if it is most likely to be farmed out to India after the tinker stuff

Anonymous said...

I'd rather them send it to India than send it to whoever animated that awful astroboy cartoon.

Anonymous said...

Aside from Pixar, it's been a long time since Disney has made anything memorable. Their film unit sucks, both live action and animated. I don't think any Disney animated film will ever gross 200 million. Iger's philosophy of just releasing tent-pole event films is flawed. You need to diversify your portfolio. They need to make all kinds of films, big and small, though not all under the Disney banner. And Ross is the wrong guy to turn it around. Marvel is still out for debate, though it seems like a good move when all the complicated licensing deals expire in a decade or so.

The TV unit seems like it's being run by marketing and consumer products. TVA should be making shows for everyone, not just pre-schoolers and teens. Look how big and successful Warner Bros. animation is. Their shows appeal to viewers of all ages. While we're talking about Warner Bros., look at their film unit, they make all kinds of movies and it's paying off.

Occasionally they'll have a few hits (Alice, Pheneas) but more often than not, their product seems like every executive had their hands on it. Also, you don't sell off your content and library. The Power Rangers and Miramax don't exactly mesh with the Disney brand, but their not supposed to either. But they sure pay (or at least did) dividends.

Iger seems more worried about digital distribution alternatives than film making, which is necessary, but in the end, content is king.

The one bright spot seems to be the parks. The investments and creative team they have in place seem to be working and should pay off.

Is it any wonder that ESPN is the one unit that is truly profitable?

Anonymous said...

The Pixar company is no longer the Art House they once were, they now have to compete with other studios and bring in a profit to keep the share holders and suits happy.

Wait... so this is different from when Pixar was their own company, a public company with stock ticker listed on Nasdaq and shareholders? When the company actually had to directly hold earnings announcements with their shareholders back then to "keep the share holders and suits happy"

Now that Pixar is under the giant Disney umbrella (an embrella that encompasses huge entities such as ESPN, Disney Theme Parks, ABC, Buena Vista, Merchandising, Feature Film, and more), they aren't exactly the sole or even primary bread winner for the Disney Company.

Art House? lol
Pixar makes films that appeal to the masses, well made appealing films, but not exactly "Art House" animation.

Bottom line. If Planes is the quality of something like Disney's Prep and Landing short or Pixar's Car Toons, and the merchandising popularity of Cars, it will be an extra stream of much needed revenue in an age of declining box office and dvd/bluray sales.

Anonymous said...

Just Kidding

RJ said...

Why do all these conversations turn into a hate discussion of how stupid someone is. All the hate over something people agree on liking.

Pixar is a company. Companies need money to stay afloat. Pixar needs money. Pixar must explore options to get money. Pixar decided to take a popular merchandise seller and try to get more money from it. Pixar is a company. Pixar needs to make money.

Anonymous said...

Some of these people think they should be the ones to decide that Pixar has made enough money and doesn't need anymore.

Start your own company and stop worrying about what others are making. Go to the films and enjoy them or not. But give the hate a rest.

thedis said...

do you folks complaining about this not realize it takes a massive amount of money to put together the films Pixar makes. The films you love so much. And no matter how much money they bring in it will never be enough to keep the studio going and growing. As they grow they need to find new ways to bring money in to support more projects.

It's business folks.

Anonymous said...

On it's worst day, a bad picture from Pixar is better than a good picture from anyone else. Everyone should remember that.

Well thats just plain ol not true. Kung Fu Panda and How To Train Your Dragon beats all Pixar films but The Incredibles and Ratatouille in my opinion.
Dont say something blatantly subjective and then call them facts

Anonymous said...

Even CARS is better than either kungfu panda or that dragon thing. And has made far more money than both put together several times over.

Anonymous said...

Dont say something blatantly subjective and then call them facts

As if your opinions are any better "facts"?

I thought How to Train your Dragon was much better in both story and camera work than Cars. But I hated Kung Fu Panda.

Lets look at things number-wise shall we? Metacritic might be the closest thing we have in terms of aggregate critic reviews:

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs-
score: 66
World BO: $139.5B

Surf's Up -
score: 64
World BO: $145.4B

Shrek -
score: 84
World BO: $484.4B

Shrek 2 -
score: 75
World BO: $919.8B

Shrek 3 -
score: 58
World BO: $789.9B

Shrek 4 -
score: 58
World BO: $444.1B

Monsters and Aliens -
score: 56
World BO: $381.7B

How to Train your Dragon -
score: 74
World BO: $479.1B

Kung Fu Panda -
score: 73
World BO: $631.9B

Bug's Life -
score: 77
World BO: $363.4B

Monster's Inc -
score: 78
World BO: $528.9B

Finding Nemo -
score: 89
World BO: $866.6B

The Incredibles -
score: 90
World BO: $635.6B

Cars -
score: 73
World BO: $461.9B

Ratatouille -
score: 96
World BO: $624.4B

Wall-E -
score: 94
World BO: $532.9B

Up -
score: 88
World BO: $731.0B

Toy Story 3 -
score: 91
World BO: $561.5B

The only conclusion you could probably draw from this data is that poorly rated films can often rake in boat loads money then critically acclaimed films. I wonder how much Shrek has raked in for DW now?

Personally I thought Dragon was a much better film, and targeted at more mature audiences, than Bug's Life which had a higher overall rating.

I didn't include budget data as we all know how far off the mark those numbers usually are.

Anonymous said...

"rake in boat loads more money than critically acclaimed films"

Anonymous said...

Cars has made Disney close to $6 billion as of this year. Ask any kid about Cars and they go nuts. Ask any kid about KungfuPanda and they say "what?"

Cars isn't even MY favorite Pixar film. But it struck a major chord with a certain generation, and the financial returns provide the facts to back that up.

Anonymous said...

Do you really believe that Cars generated $6 billion in merchandising this year? Do you really believe that Disney gets all of, or even 20% of the money that Cars' merchandise actually does earn. If so, you are the world's biggest fool.

Anonymous said...

Don't try to talk facts to a Pixie. It's been reported that Cars merchandise sales, since the film's release, are at about $5 billion dollars. Total. It's typical for a royalty owner to license a product for a royalty rate of about 8% (and often less for foreign licensing, to help minimize piracy). So we're talking substantial money, in the hundreds of millions for Disney, but hardly a billion dollars every 6 months like the nimrod above claims.

Anonymous said...

The $6 Billion is according to Disney. Lots of ancilliary Cars stuff. Don't see to many shrek or dragon or kungfu panda toys anywhere. Or Ratatouille, for that matter!

Anonymous said...

AS OF THIS YEAR. (accumulation of years)



Anonymous said...

According to this ABC article (, Cars generates $2 billion a year in global merchandising sales. What Disney gets out of that is a secret, but a percentage of $2 billion is not chump change.

Toy Story 3 is expected to bring in $2.4B in global merchandise sales this year, with Disney getting ~$200 mil.

Anyone see the latest Cars related merchandise? Remote control cars with modular, replaceable and swappable parts - body shell, rims, tires, accessories.. you name it, you can buy it! All to be assembled by your kids, coming soon at a Cars assembling station at a Disney store near you!

If Planes takes the same merchandising route, Disney could be raking in moola without the investment in an expensive feature film.

Anonymous said...

So you've confirmed my point, that Disney sees, at best, about 8% of that money. As I said, several hundred million spread over several years is not trivial, but it is also far different from the implication that Cars generates billions for Disney. It doesn't.

Anonymous said...

dw just CAN'T seem to do it right.

yahweh said...

So, the Pixies are thrilled that Pixar/Disney seems to be in the business of making commercials for their licensing and they making fun of DW because they aren't all about licensing the shit out of their films...? Could it be that DW doesn't greenlight a film because it sees it as a potential licensing juggernaut and that Pixar does....?
And yet they contend that the company with more integrity is Pixar....?


Anonymous said...

Wow, you guys are vicious here. So eager to bludgeon each other with your opinions.

kellie said...

Here's the Chinese version already.

Anonymous said...

Pixar has released a direct-to-dvd spin-off with Disney before. Does anyone remember "Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins"?

Anonymous said...

Hey Guys!! the Tink Stuff Looks great, so if Prana India is doing Planes I bet it will be just a GREAT show!

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