The Playlist

Discuss: Is The Golden Age Of Pixar Over?

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • July 17, 2012 4:09 PM
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  • 23 Comments
With the news today that Disney and Pixar are moving forward with a sequel to their beloved 2003 masterpiece "Finding Nemo" (to be helmed, once again, by Andrew Stanton, apparently newly freed from director jail after this spring's notorious flop "John Carter"), it is another indication that Pixar has truly been absorbed into the Disney bloodstream. Even though it's arguably one of the least open-ended movies Pixar has ever made, Disney is intent on wringing more dollars from its name brand and all the squishy toys that can be made from various aquatic wildlife. It's enough, with Pixar's recent string of sequels and the creative fogginess of this summer's "Brave," to wonder: is the Golden Age of Pixar truly over?

So Long Barsoom: Andrew Stanton To Direct 'Finding Nemo 2'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • July 17, 2012 1:53 PM
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  • 25 Comments
Let's see how the small market of fans eager for a "John Carter" sequel are going to take this. Following a tumultuous production, a botched marketing campaign in what turned out to be one of the biggest flops of the year, costing Disney $200 million, we figured it would be interesting to see where Andrew Stanton landed next. Well, the open arms of his longtime home Pixar are welcoming him back to direct a sequel to one of their biggest movies.

Weekend Box Office: 'Ice Age: Continental Drift' Provides Box Office's Last Gasp Before 'The Dark Knight Rises'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • July 15, 2012 11:49 AM
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  • 5 Comments
And lo, there was an 'Ice Age' franchise. “Ice Age: Continental Drift” looks like it will continue the winning tradition of animation studio Blue Sky’s crown jewel, opening at a decent $46 million. Despite the fact that the lead characters of this franchise should be extinct by now, this past-due series still managed to generate solid opening numbers despite a summer that has already seen openings from “Brave” and “Madagascar: Europe’s Most Wanted.”

Weekend Box Office: 'Brave' Is Pixar's Thirteenth Straight Number One Debut

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • June 24, 2012 12:42 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Thirteen films. Thirteen straight hits. All number one movies. It wasn't a surprise to see "Brave" climb that mountain, the fifth-highest opening in Pixar history, even if the numbers are coming in very close to last year's relatively underwhelming "Cars 2." That film wasn't a disappointment as much as it was a "disappointment" -- it outgrossed its predecessor by nearly $100 million and moved serious toys. "Brave" may be looking at similar global business, but without the toy support that made "Cars" a juggernaut, if it performs similar to "Cars 2" domestically ($191 million) people will again start discussing the chinks in Pixar's armor. That being said, "Cars 2" was considered a creative low water-mark, and it dropped 60% in its second weekend, neither of which can be said for "Brave," which should have more traditional animation legs. Expect at least $200 million domestic, probably more, and another victory for Hollywood's premiere hit factory.

Director Mark Andrews Talks Replacing Brenda Chapman On 'Brave,' The Future Of 'John Carter' & More

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • June 21, 2012 11:06 AM
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  • 45 Comments
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times – Mark Andrews, who makes his feature directorial debut this weekend on Pixar's heavily hyped, medieval girl-power romp "Brave" (taking duties over for Brenda Chapman, who parted ways with the film – more on that in a minute) was also an assistant director and co-writer on "John Carter," Disney's massively budgeted sci-fi spectacle that crashed and burned like an out-of-control Martian spaceship. Few filmmakers have been in the unenviable position of being involved in huge (and occasionally troubled) productions this close together.

New Set Of Character Posters From 'Frankenweenie' Premiere; Pixar Debuts New 'Cars Toon' Short

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • June 20, 2012 1:24 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Disney has unveiled a series of character for this Halloween's "Frankenweenie," a black-and-white stop motion feature from Tim Burton and Disney that was based on a short film of his that got him fired from the studio back in the mid-eighties (seriously). The posters and characters look appropriately Tim Burton-y (maybe a little too much – some of the characters seem like slightly redressed designs from "The Corpse Bride" and the dog looks very "Family Dog"-esque). In other Disney animation news, the studio has quietly slipped a new "Cars Toon" short film onto iTunes and Amazon, which ties in directly to the new Carsland section of Disney California Adventure.

Watch: Four Very Slightly Different Teaser Trailers For Pixar's 'Monsters University'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • June 20, 2012 7:21 AM
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  • 1 Comment
We'd hoped that last year's "Cars 2" was something of a blip on the Pixar track record. A disappointing film, to be sure, made to keep the merchandising behemoth alive (and it doesn't hurt that John Lasseter is an auto-nut), but we figured the studio's near-impeccable run of greatness would swiftly return. But the word on "Brave," which opens this week, has not been encouraging. Most of the reviews, including our own, have suggested that, while it's not as cynical as last year's Pixar entry, it's failed to meet the high standards we've come to expect from the animation giants.

Pixar Head John Lasseter Says Pixar/Marvel Movie A Possibility

  • By Benjamin Wright
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  • June 19, 2012 1:20 PM
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  • 4 Comments
If there’s one person who should be able to instill some hope in fans wishing that Disney’s stake in Marvel and Pixar studios could lead to a collaboration someday, it would probably be animation stalwart and Pixar founding father John Lasseter. While Pixar has been generating quality films from “Toy Story” to this week’s release of “Brave” (our review here) for some time, the acquisition of Marvel Studios still feels fairly recent, and the overwhelmingly creative folks at Pixar don’t seem the type to pick up a franchise for a quick buck.

Review: Pixar's 'Brave' Is A Powerful But Wobbly Feminist Fairy Tale

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • June 11, 2012 12:00 PM
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  • 35 Comments
There are a lot of firsts associated with "Brave," Disney/Pixar's new feature, set in the misty Scottish highlands. It's the studio's first period piece ("The Incredibles'" captivating retro-futurism doesn't count, it seems), their first fairy tale, and their first film led by a female character (in this case Princess Merida, voiced with strength and conviction by Kelly Macdonald). It was, at one point, also the studio's first movie directed by a woman (Brenda Chapman). And it's these firsts, combined with a charming atmosphere and layers of genuine heart, that make you want to love "Brave" more than you actually do. Because for all these breakthroughs, "Brave" feels hopelessly safe, less a Pixar trailblazer than yet another entry in the Disney princess line of films and products. Brave it is not.

Willem Dafoe Still Baffled By Failure Of 'John Carter'; New Pixar Stamps Introduced

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • June 5, 2012 10:43 AM
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  • 17 Comments
Today "John Carter" will be released on DVD and Blu-ray and, presumably, will be seen by a much larger audience than what turned up it when it was released theatrically this past spring. (The Blu-ray is a handsome, features-packed affair well worth picking up if you feel any love for the movie.) The film, which Disney recently admitted would cost the studio $200 million in lost profit, quickly became a cautionary fable about what happens when you try to launch a franchise based on a century-old property that no one much remembers anymore. One of the film's stars, Willem Dafoe, who played a Martian warrior named Tars Tarkas, is still baffled by the critical and commercial indifference the film received.

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