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Pixar just might land its first dud

I’ve mentioned before my love of Pixar movies and angst over Cars 2 (based on the trailers). From early reviews, I’m not the only one.

Russ Fischer writes over on Slashfilm.com: ‘Cars 2’ Will Be Pixar’s First ‘Rotten’ Movie

I certainly take no joy in noting this, and curiously enough I don’t think I’ve seen anyone else reveling in the general distaste for Cars 2, either. The prevailing opinion seems to be that Pixar had to swing and miss sometime. That they did so with the film that is obviously the studio’s most commercial effort is balanced by the fact that Pixar co-founder and Cars 2 director John Lasseter very evidently approached the film with no cynicism at all. (Or, I’ll say, that I am willing to believe him when he talks about the film, which he does with a great deal of investment and passion.)

I thought Pixar was going to jump the shark with Finding Nemo (“Really? a whole movie about a fish?”), but happy to admit I was wrong. But like Russ mentions, at some point Pixar is going to produce a dud. Should Cars 2 be the stinker on their record, I still think it is remarkable that they’ve had a great 16 year run. I don’t know that any other animation studio can say that.

Cars 2 opens today nationwide.

Community Comments

#1 John Read
June/24/2011
@ 8:57 pm

I’m a little surprised (and disappointed) you posted this with that title, Alan. You’re personally suggesting that Cars 2 might “be the stinker on their record” based on your opinion of the trailers and a review of a movie by a guy who sounds like he hasn’t even seen the movie, and who states the “general consensus” agrees the movie will tank? This stinks of pre-judgement to me. You’re reporting on negative opinions, yours and others, about something that hasn’t even had it’s opening day yet.

#2 Alan Gardner
June/25/2011
@ 12:34 am

Sorry John. I am entitled to my opinion. I also based it on other critics who have seen it – just not the one cited. Mike Rhode posted a round up four DC critics who didn’t like it.

We’ll see on Monday how it does. I have no doubt they’ll make tons of cash, but I’m predicting compared to other Pixar films, this one is a dud.

My 2¢.

#3 Dave Stephens
June/25/2011
@ 2:21 am

It will make a ton of money. Kids will go crazy for the toys. however, the film makes “Big Oil” the “bad guy” which is sadly (and inanely) a politically correct choice…

Count me out, waaaaay out of watching this one – I agree with Alan, it’s a dud as far as I’m concerned. But I still think it will make money hand over fist, as boys love, Love, LOVE their cars…

#4 Mike Peterson
June/25/2011
@ 2:39 am

I’ve read several reviews of this and they seem mixed, with some admiring the animation and others hating the storyline but no reversals of those, so I guess it comes down to whether you go to look at the handiwork or to see a coherent, compelling story.

What I haven’t ever seen is a firm correlation between quality and money earning capability in this arena. Kids and critics don’t buy the DVDs. Grandparents who will never watch the films themselves but will recognize the franchise are how stinkers like “The Cat in the Hat” end up on the plus side regardless of quality.

Rest easy. Cars 2 will make money. And I understand the graphics are nice.

#5 Bryan Senka
June/25/2011
@ 9:07 am

A lot of people said the same thing about the first Cars. Some people still say it. The only real barometer is the seven year old set, and they are already going crazy over it. That movie is probably going to be a big hit.

#6 Neal Skorpen
June/25/2011
@ 2:01 pm

Pixar has made a lot of great movies, but I don’t think they’re anywhere near the untouchable golden standard they get hyped up to be. The first Cars was a muddled mess, as was Ratatouille. The Incredibles has some serious flaws too. Maybe Cars 2 is just when Pixar stops getting a pass on mediocre output.

#7 Mike Rhode
June/25/2011
@ 3:10 pm

I didn’t like the first Cars much, although I’m a big Ratatouille fan. I also enjoyed Wall-e although I thought it was a VERY slight movie. Toy Story 3 didn’t make me tear up either, although I heard it did for other people.

On the other hand, I’m the only person I know who enjoyed Disney’s Treasure Planet.

#8 Shane Davis
June/25/2011
@ 5:00 pm

Isn’t the whole underlying concept of a sequel a bit of a sell out to begin with? Yeah, I know about the Toy Stroy Trilogy and agree that worked well, but that was very a much character driven series. I don’t think the characters in the ‘Cars’ films are nearly that deep, so isn’t the whole idea of a ‘Cars 2’ simply ringing a cash register?

The beauty of most Pixar films have been their originality; compared to most other animated rot, they’ve usually showed up to the game with something pretty fresh. So a bland sequel seems to be by nature designed to fill the piggy bank. I’ve got no problem with that in principle but I hope it’s not a trend. According to the Gospel of George Lucas, merchandising talks and story/character/plot walks – I hope Pixar hasn’t converted to his Faith of Folding Green At All Costs.

It’d be a pity.

#9 Pete McDonnell
June/25/2011
@ 11:05 pm

The 6-10 year old boys will go, and I’ll be there with my 8 year old. It’s going to be very successful and the critics won’t make a dent in the box office. Pixar doesn’t chase the dollar: ‘Ratatouille’ was an un-commercial idea, and seemed almost deliberately designed to scare off merchandising tie-ins (did any of the fast food chains sign onto the rat in the kitchen merch give-aways with the kids meals?). ‘UP’ wasn’t a commercial concept either. ‘Cars 2’ looks like fun to me!

#10 Mark_Tatulli
June/26/2011
@ 5:24 pm

Yeah, we should all have such “duds”:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110626/ap_en_mo/us_box_office;_ylt=AvXp5ZJDu_OX.L_pBVbH3WRxFb8C;_ylu=X3oDMTJlOWFtbDBjBGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMTEwNjI2L3VzX2JveF9vZmZpY2UEY3BvcwMzBHBvcwM3BHNlYwN5bl90b3Bfc3RvcnkEc2xrA2NhcnMya2VlcHNwaQ–

#11 JD Goldman
June/26/2011
@ 8:17 pm

First off, it was a 25-year run. Second, are you kidding me?!?!? Cars 2 can’t fail, it’s among the best Pixar movies ever, behind: 3) Cars, 2) Monsters Inc., 1) Toy Story 3!

#12 John Platt
June/27/2011
@ 4:25 am

The average sequel will make at least 40% of what the original made and any sequels after that will be 40% of 40% and so on. I remember seeing that on a documentary about the Back To The Future trilogy once.

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