Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Bob Peterson Dropped From 'Good Dinosaur'? [UPDATE: Confirmed]

Bob Peterson (R) with Up producer Jonas Rivera in 2010
Just when we should be getting the first trailer for Pixar's next feature, The Good Dinosaur, we get instead this news, via Blue Sky Disney, that the studio has removed veteran Bob Peterson as director of the film, slated to open May 30 next year.

This remains unconfirmed, but Peterson was indeed a no-show at the D23 Expo earlier this month, where other members of the production team previewed the film for attendees. Pixar has not yet commented.

While changes at the helm are always worrying, this is nothing new at Pixar, of course, having happened on Toy Story 2, Ratatouille, Cars 2, and most recently, Brave. At least this puts away the theory that Brenda Chapman was replaced as director of Brave for being a woman.
-----
Update (Aug. 30): Pixar president Ed Catmull confirms to the Los Angeles Times' Movies Now blog that Peterson is no longer directing, however a replacement has not yet been named.

"Sometimes directors ... are so deeply embedded in their ideas it actually takes someone else to finish it up. I would go so far as to argue that a lot of live-action films would be better off with that same process," Catmull told the Times.

According to general manager Jim Morris, Peterson is still at Pixar, directing another in-development project. "Bob is still working at the studio, and we hope he will stay here for the rest of his natural life."

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Actually, it doesn't prove anything in any way about Brenda Chapman as there is nothing implying that the 2 situations are in any way connected.

Anonymous said...

I know this is not unprecedented, but kicking Bob Peterson out of his own creation? After like 4+ years of development and 9 months before release? Really Pixar, really?? I was kind of indifferent to their previous directorial changes, but if this is really true, I think I'll quit giving Pixar/Lasseter the benefit of the doubt. Quite a kick in the teeth for me personally.

Christoffer Andersen said...

Hold on a sec. We don't really know what happened, do we?

Perhaps Bob is so good with the early makings of a film, that he left the wheel for Pete Sohn to see it through, while he went on to help push another project off the ground.

I think it is too soon to start raging out over this. Or perhaps I have just missed some information?

{Morgan} said...

This is a rather depressing story, especially since many of us were exciting for The Good Dinosaur promotion to start picking up soon. :(

Tyler (AmishParadise27) said...

I think that this could be just a rumor. I found no evidence on Wikipedia that Peterson was kicked off yet.

Chris Etrata said...

Remember when Brenda Chapman was also kicked off of brave? It resulted in one of pixar's weaker films. Still good but I felt something was missing. Why it got best animated feature over wreck it ralph is beyond me.

Also, remember when pixar would not allow anyone else but themselves to handle Pixar's properties? Lately, I've been seeing sequels from them announced and even allowed disney to make a planes movie.

Anonymous said...

I think Christoffer has a good point. We don't really know what goes on behind the scenes.

Anonymous said...

Bob Peterson removed from his Twitter bio "Been at Pixar since 1995", if Bob leaves he will be dearly missed. :(

Alexandro Fantino said...

Maybe Christoffer is right. Sounds like a thing people from Pixar would do in their golden era (I like to call it that these days). Remember when Joe Ranft left the director's chair to Dan Scanlon for Mater and the Ghostlight? I think this is what's actually happening.

Anonymous said...

1) This proves NOTHING about the motives behind Chapman's removal.
2) Did someone just use "it's not on Wikipedia" as a reliable source argument?

Anonymous said...

I'm a little shocked, considering that the directors that have been replaced in the past haven't had the kind of fame and track-record with the company. And one year until the release date is a little late in the game to be changing directors, isn't it? I suppose it was done with Toy Story 2, but Pixar has changed since then.

Robert Scheribel said...

Anonymous 4: Yet he did not remove "Dwelling in the Cretaceous." You'd think if he wasn't doing The Good Dinosaur anymore, and had removed "Been at Pixar since 1995" because of that, that he would also have taken off "dwelling in the cretaceous."

Anonymous said...

Well this news sucks.
I predict Pixar will pull the feature and bring Pete Docter's film 'Inside Out' forward to take its place.

Anonymous said...

Quick poll: After Peterson, who's next to lose their director's hat? Watch out Docter? Unkrich?

Oh, to be a mosquito on the wall when Peterson was told he was to be removed from TGD! Difficult to want to keep working somewhere when you've been left go from your pet project.

Anonymous said...

Is Pixar's creative talent imploding?
Why would anyone choose to step up to direct a Pixar film in the future? There's a growing likelihood you'd get kicked off before completion.
Is Lasseter now too big for his boots? And more risk averse as a result?
Bob's silence on Twitter for several months doesn't fill me with much confidence. He must be feeling gutted.

Anonymous said...

At least with the update, this means that Peterson is by no means leaving Pixar. That's good news.

Anonymous said...

"Remember when Brenda Chapman was also kicked off of brave? It resulted in one of pixar's weaker films."

Yes, Brenda is still looking at her Oscar for Brave wondering "What if?"

Anonymous said...

Why didn't they boot John Lasseter from either of the Cars films...those films could have benefited from a 2nd pair of eyes...oh, wait...he's the big chief...he CAN'T get booted..

is it safe to assume Bob will retain a directorial credit ala Brenda Chapman?

Mike Bastoli said...

I concur with your first point. And yes, Peterson will probably be credited as a co-director.

Alexandro Fantino said...

Wow! This sucks. Does this mean he was completely removed from the project? Kinda like "Move away! Let us do this!"? Sounds like the ability to deputize is nowhere to be found at Pixar these days. It even makes me wonder about Chapman's replacement, or about Newt's cancellation. What bothers me the most is we will never get to see the original director's vision.

HOWEVER, I don't think I'd like to watch Jan Pinakava's Ratatouille. I guess I'll have to wait until May 30th...

Kyle said...

I think they are contractually obligated to still list him as the director.

Its really sad to see this keep happening though. Being too attached to a project should not an excuse. A fresh perspective is always nice, but those perspectives should not undermine the director's authority. I try to give them the benefit of the doubt but John is making it very hard to now.

Nate said...

@ Anonymous 12

Now now, Cars 2 wasn't all Lasseter's fault, I recall another director who jumped ship at the last minute...

Anonymous said...

I think we'd all like to hear Bob's version of events, but that's not likely to happen any time soon.
Considering these films take 4, 5, 6 years to make, you'd think that would be enough time for the director, producer, brain trust etc, to get the story sorted out. Perhaps this is a sign of a weak story, and with 9 months to go it doesn't leave very long to actually make the film.

Anonymous said...

Brenda Chapman being taken off Brave was never about her being a woman... Where did that come from? It's because John Lasseter and the board didn't like Brave. It didn't have mass appeal for audiences and merchandise and was too dark. There was nothing leaked that ever said the film was in trouble from the director's lack of ability.

One of the things that really bothers me about Pixar is they are so intent on creating such a manufactured view of the studio as flawless, that they don't admit any of their mistakes and they never give a raw view of the problems any of their projects have faced.

From what we know, Ratatouille was helmed by Brad Bird because Jan Pinkava was drowning in his own ideas and the storyboard process wasn't finished, and pre-production was in full swing.

We had Brad Lewis taken off Cars 2 because... well, I don't know why. Probably because John wasn't happy with it and wanted to interfere and piss all over it. But no one seems to care about Cars 2, and he should have directed it in the first place.

What is interesting is how Bob Peterson has been with the company for a long time. One could theorize that there's an inner social circle that's hard to penetrate with all the company structure's red tape. This weakens that theory.

At the end of the day, this is the 4th time a director has been removed from a film project at Pixar. Does the studio care enough that they want the best for their project? Is the director really not cutting it? Was it executive meddling that feared the film wasn't going to have enough mass appeal, wasn't safe enough, or didn't have enough merchandise potential? Too many cooks in the kitchen? We'll never know, because they aren't transparent, and insist on smoke and mirrors to keep themselves looking good.

Anonymous said...

To the person that mentioned Brave not being a weak film because it won an Oscar... a lot of crap wins Oscars. It's a popularity contest that's never consistent. It is not a good gauge for something being good, ever.

Just remember. Shrek won the first Animated Film Oscar, over Monsters Inc. MI is timeless compared to the awful art direction and pop culture references of yesteryear in Shrek.

Brave was weak, and didn't deserve the win the Oscar, as much as my heart goes out to Brenda.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what to say, other than I pretty much disagree with most people here. I don't think the last few Pixar films were bad. I really love Cars 2 and Brave was really sweet once you get into it, it just took a different direction than what many thought, so I love it. Bob Peterson is fine, and Pixar and John Lasseter are not micromanagers. Even wight he director replacements, I STILL think their films are better than what the other companies put out each year, aside from Disney who's been making films AS good as Pixar's films.