Thursday, February 17, 2011

'Cars' spin-off 'Planes' confirmed; 2nd 'Toy Story' short coming with 'Muppets'

Disney has announced plans to release Planes, a direct-to-video spin-off of Cars, in Spring 2013. This confirms most of the story we first heard in July of last year.

According to the official press release, the feature length film will follow "Dusty, a small town dreamer who longs to enter the most epic around-the-world air race, despite his fear of heights."

Planes is not being produced at Pixar Canada in Vancouver as previously believed, but at DisneyToon Studios in Burbank. Pixar publicity tells me that the movie is "not a Pixar project". Although based on Pixar's franchise, it will apparently not be branded as "Disney•Pixar".

This isn't the first time that Pixar characters have been 'borrowed' by an outside creative team at Disney. Beginning in 2000, Walt Disney Television produced the animated series Buzz Lightyear of Star Command that aired on ABC.

Pixar chief creative officer John Lasseter explains the reasons for this spin-off:
"We had such a great time exploring the world of Cars over the course of two films, so it seemed only natural for us to see where our imaginations would take us in a film where planes were the main characters.
By expanding the Cars world, Planes gave us a whole new set of fun-filled situations and a great opportunity to introduce some fantastic new characters
The team at DisneyToon Studios has done such an amazing job creating a heartfelt story filled with great comedy, adventure, and emotion."
Speaking at a Walt Disney Company investors conference this morning, Walt Disney Studios chairman Rich Ross said that Planes would be followed by other projects "that kids absolutely love".

That wording could suggest that, like previous DisneyToon Studios projects, Planes will be geared towards a younger audience.

Variety reports that Ross also spoke about the pair of Toy Story toons coming this year. That's right—the Toy Story "Hawaiian Vacation" short attached to Cars 2 will be followed by a second! That one will be attached to Disney's The Muppets, which opens on November 23.

This is, for sure, the biggest news to come out of Disney/Pixar in a while. I know everybody's going to have an opinion, especially about Planes. Please share yours in comments; I might put in my two cents worth as well.


Kyle said...

Im always game for seeing more of my favorite characters in the theaters again. Especially since I don't think anyone was expecting a short to be attached to the muppets any way.

I do think it runs the risk of overdoing it when it comes to Pixar releases though. Im not complaining that we're getting one with cars 2, but they need to focus on original stuff from then on. no reason future toy story shorts can't be made for Disney channel and eventually release on its own blu ray like Cars-toons. though one major plus with theatrical releases is we are way more likely to get people like Tom Hanks to reprise their roles.

As for Planes, ehh, I don't see it as hurting anything, as it is this is my least favorite pixar franchise, so I don't even care if it diminishes the brand. I can accept Cars being a cash cow for kids like. Just don't you dare do something like that with your other movies pixar.

Jason said...

Awesome! Im already excited to see the Toy Story short, but I didnt know there was a second one in the works.

Anonymous said...

Woooo for the 2nd Toy Story short!!!

Meh for the Planes spinoff...

Darrell said...

Planes oughta be pretty good actually.

And... I personally think that they should just wait until Cars 2 comes out on DVD to put the new TS short... considering the fact that everything in 2011 after Cars 2 from Disney is garbage (except *maybe* National Treasure 3, but that's kind of having high expectations).

Nini said...

I'm sure like most others, I'm not overly excited about Planes. I might be marginally more interested had Pixar Canada had some part in it but seeing as it's being farmed out to DisneyToon, I don't expect the usual Pixar magic.

The Toy Story short sounds like a good idea and I'll be definitely wanting to see that. I wouldn't really like to see other Pixar franchises end up being milked dry and run into the ground much like Cars seems to be (though I wouldn't say no if they wanted to make something A Bug's Life related, it's like the black sheep of the Pixar stable and needs more love!)

Brentorama said...

Oh god, more characters with those eye designs... Let it end for the love of god!

Anonymous said...

I am incredibly relieved that Planes is not a Pixar project.

DisneyToon can make it every bit as horrible as they wish; so long as Planes is no longer a potential threat to the Pixar reputation, I'm just fine.

John Smith said...

And just like that, Pixar has jumped the shark. Stay classy Lasseter. Whore out everything you worked for, for a quick buck.

Toy Story 3 party favors said...

This is awesome! Toy story is an all time favorite!

Nate S said...

All I have to say about the planes idea is yuck. Sounds dangerously close to an 10-20 year old Disney strategy for exploiting your characters/film ideas until the entire brand loses its sheen. Maybe it'll work though.

Anonymous said...

The disneyfication of Pixar is in full swing and Lasseter is the point man.

Nobody at Disney remembers how they destroyed their studio by making subpar films and flooding the market?

I sure hope Lasseter is making a lot of money because he has sold his integrity.

TS short on a sequel which sets the stage for a spin off? Yeah, could something be a bit more marketing department oriented?

Pixar is gone.

Chris said...

I suspect the statement from John Lasseter is what Bob Iger told him to say, not what Lasseter thinks. I suspect Disney wanted a spinoff and when Pixar couldn't think of an idea for Planes, it was given to Disneytoon Studios. Expect the usual crap from Disneytoon studios rather than the pixar magic. Also think back when Disney tried to farm out Toy Story 3 to its Circle 7 division. This wouldn't be the Toy Story 3 of today. I wouldn't have a problem with Planes if this was produced at Pixar. It seems like, however Planes wouldn't be even at the same level as Cars, much less Toy Story 3 and more like Cinderella 2, Return to Neverland, Belle's Magical World, Tarzan 2, all the sequel crap.

jo said...

BIG mistake.there going to over do it.

Dan Ang said...

I think they know that making direct to DVD videos is a strong market, and one they want to capitalize on so let's just be glad they're doing it with semi-original properties like Planes and the Tinkerbell series, other than by making A bug's Life 2 and RataTWOie

Brentorama said...

I am curious as to how they'll pull it off. Cars have wheels, moving parts so they can at least attempt believable acting and gesticulation. Planes however, they're static tubes with faces. What kinds of design leaps are they going to make to have these things carry any screen interest? I dont know. Thomas the tank engine in the air? I'm not super stoked about this one, just curious.

John Smith said...

I guess I owe a better explanation, so I don't sound inflammatory.

I am very concerned Pixar and Lasseter are getting arrogant. They are expanding at an alarming rate with Studio 2, Canada, and now this.

They climbed mountains to overcome the injustices of western animation controlled mainly by Disney. I was very concerned when they were forced to merge with them to keep their IPs.

Now I feel like they are going down the exact same path of ruin as Disney.

Pixar has made healthy profit on each and every one of their original films. More than enough to keep the studio in the black. Then add in merchandise and home video sales, and there should be no reason to need to expand at this rate. They are going to bite off more than they can chew.

They wanted to do a film a year. Now they want to do 2 films a year, plus shorts, plus home video, maybe even TV soon. I agree with Toshio Suzuki from Studio Ghibli that you dilute your brands when you treat costumers and your products as nothing more than a means to an end. Business and art can co-exist, but not when you sacrifice one for the other.

I mean, ice cream is great, yes? Yet, it's not when you have it every day. It loses its appeal when it's not a rare treat, but a common occurrence. The same can be said for Pixar pumping out more and more, regardless of how good it is.

I don't even go see Pixar films in the theater anymore, because I know I can watch it 5 months later on Blu-ray. I use to go see them because I knew the home video release would be far away, and they would be spending time on making it great so it would be worth buying. Heck, now the home video release is done at the same time as the film, and the extras are lacking.

In the beginning it wasn't about money. It was about the story, the art, and making a great film. Now it seems Lasseter has lost sight of all that is important. He has forgotten the people, the films, and instead focuses on making a well oil machined that makes as much money as possible and growing his 'empire.' He has let power and fame go to his head. It's childish and short-sighted.

When was the last time the Artist's Corner was updated at Why does it even exist? Sure, I know you want to spend your time on making great films, but if you don't have the time to have a little fun and out reach to your fans like you use to be able to, do you really think you're going down the right path?

You can call this hyperbole, delusion, or whatever you please. Just remember, the farther up you go, the farther you can fall.

Anonymous said...

I agree with brentorama, Cars wasn't a movie with no potential because they could use they're wheels as arms and legs, but planes? How can you do anything with that, they can't use their wings because they have to use them to fly, they could use their tiny wheels that they have for landing but that would be like
T-Rex arms to them. I will enjoy seeing this to find those things out!

Kyle said...

That's a good point, I don't see them using their wings as arms. They do have wheels for landing, but its not a very prominent feature. And would they be in the air most of the time? could be awkward visually.

SLam23 said...

Maybe they will use the wings for emoting, but I guess it will be a challenge to get the same results from planes that they got from cars. At the least it will be great kiddie fodder. Both of my kids (ages 2 and 4) gobble up everything that is Cars-related and it struck me how the first Cars movie doesn't have any real scary scenes in contrast with for example Sid's dog from Toy Story 1 or Bruce from Finding Nemo. Was that on purpose from the get-go? Nice Blog by the way, can't believe I just discovered it!

Anonymous said...

Pixar has been unique because they have been one of the few studios to focus on the original story, not on the amount of money they make. Discounting Toy Story, and now Cars, Pixar's stories have been new and unique, a piece of art fans would look forward to seeing.
I'm not too thrilled with the "Planes" idea. Both Disney and Pixar need to stick to new stories. Every Studio creates sequels and they've sucked the imagination out of Hollywood by doing so. I'm glad that "Planes" is not under the Pixar name but am looking forward to seeing some new, original material after "Cars 2".

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous February 21, 2011 5:51 PM

With Toy Story 3 doing so well, and with Cars 2 being greenlit probably for marketing potential, I think they've gotten a taste of how much money they can make.

Let's face it. Most people don't have an original thought in their heads. Anything that's new and scary and they run for their security blanket. Why fund something original, unknown, and risky, when you can do something that's guaranteed to sell due to a pre-existing market?

After Cars 2 is Monster's Inc. 2, and then Brave. I can only hope they will continue to concentrate on original films.

In my opinion, to try something new and to fail is to succeed far greater than riding on the coat tails of the tried and true.

Anonymous said...

Is there A cars 3 comin out