Today the official title of Disney/Pixar's "Finding Nemo" sequel was unveiled, along with select plot details and a confirmation that at least one big time cast member (Ellen DeGeneres) is set to return (Albert Brooks will be back too). Andrew Stanton's "Finding Dory" will hit cinemas in the fall of 2015, which was enough for us to wonder what, exactly, the high profile sequel will mean to Pixar (and we came up with some pretty interesting answers, admittedly). Grab your scuba gear and get ready to go back down into the big blue world.
1. A Return To Glory For Andrew Stanton
Andrew Stanton was always one of the most well regarded of Pixar all-star filmmakers, having had a significant creative hand in every feature from the studio since their first, 1995's groundbreaking "Toy Story," and scoring what was, at one point the highest grossing animated feature of all time with 2003's "Finding Nemo" (based on a script he had developed and written on his own). Stanton is also creatively restless, following up the phenomenal success of "Finding Nemo" with the more difficult, almost experimental "WALL-E," which featured very little dialogue and sharply pointed satire. When he wanted to make an adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' "John Carter of Mars" both Pixar and Disney got behind him (for a while anyway). It was only after the eventual "John Carter" (released without the Pixar name but remaining, for all intents and purposes, the first live action Pixar movie) lost a reported $200 million for Disney that his place in the hierarchy was called into question. Disney, for its part, was desperate to have him remain and Stanton, who a lengthy New Yorker profile revealed to be singularly driven to an almost unhealthy degree, was desperate to have another hit. A period of time originally scheduled for the writing and pre-production of another "John Carter" was quietly allocated, instead, for work on another "Finding Nemo." "Finding Dory" will undoubtedly restore Stanton to his vaulted place in the Pixar chain of command and has a shot at once again becoming a massive hit. It also guarantees that, combined with "The Avengers 2" and the seventh "Star Wars" movie, Disney is pretty much going to outright own the 2015 box office.
2. This Is The First Time Two Pixar Movies Have Been Released In The Same Year
For a while there was a fuzzy thought that a Pixar "mystery movie" had been scheduled for the fall of 2015, although this was far from certain, considering that the way that Disney is currently structured, Pixar movies come out in the summer and Walt Disney Feature Animation projects come out in the fall (of which there are a number in active development, including the Rumplestiltskin riff "The Name Game"). So the mystery slot could have just as easily gone to one of the Disney projects (or something else entirely – keep in mind that Disney owns Marvel and Lucasfilm, and that a rich library of characters and titles can be found in both). Many online film journalists claimed that the fall 2015 slot would be occupied by a fourth "Toy Story" movie (our sources, back then, claimed that this was "possible but unlikely"). Instead, it's "Finding Dory," which makes much, much, much more sense. If Pixar continues with this aggressive production and release schedule, it will more actively compete with DreamWorks Animation, which currently releases two movies a year (this year it's "The Croods" and "Turbo") and has flirted in the past with kicking that number up to three (it seems unlikely now, given the studio's financial woes, but is still a possibility). We hope the Canadian Pixar campus is ready for the extra workload…