For a studio that went many years making a lot of money without creating any sequels, Pixar suddenly has a few on its plate. With Toy Story 3, Cars 2 and the recently announced Monsters, Inc. 2 (released in November 2012), the animation powerhouse is now more sequel-reliant than it ever has been, something that comes across as slightly disappointing given the studio’s legacy in creating refreshing ideas on a near-yearly basis.
Obviously, this is the inevitable result of commercial success. Following Pixar’s acquisition by Disney, on top of the proven success of franchises like Cars and Monsters, Inc., it was always likely to come up when they got round to it. I’m not even doubtful that these movies will be good – one reminder of Toy Story 2’s reputation should underline that they probably will be excellent in their own right – but it seems that the onus is less on exploring original ideas than it was before.
Pixar’s previous creative daring towards arguably less commercial ideas (WALL•E being a perfect example) seems to be a little lost in all this. In principal, I’m sure that mentality still exists in the studio, but with three sequels now on the cards, it’s not quite as easy to identify that auteur-driven bravery in the new Pixar.