The gang’s coming back! After plenty of rumors (with those rumors being consistently dismissed by Pixar execs) we now for sure are getting a fourth installment of Toy Story in 2017–that’s 22 years after the first movie was released. If the timeline stays consistent, Andy will be three years out of college and roughly 25 years old (just like a lot of us who will undoubtedly be skipping to the theater like 10-year-olds come 2017). But with the big announcement came plenty of controversy, with people on both sides of the fence—is yet another sequel really a good idea? Or is Pixar losing the magic?
In my eyes, Pixar can do no wrong. Even the “flops” (I’m looking at you, Cars 2) are blockbuster successes. Their track record is impeccable, and it’s hard to find a kid (or adult) who hasn’t seen and loved at least one Pixar film. Toy Story will forever be my absolute favorite movie of all time (even though I know I’m supposed to be an adult), so when I heard about number four coming along I was conflicted.
Yes, it’s exciting. I’ll get to see Woody, Buzz and the gang one more time without resorting to re-watching the old movies over and over. But at the same time it’s beginning to look like Pixar’s getting money-hungry. With four major films, two made-for-TV shorts, and a TV series involving the Toy Story characters, I think they’re pushing the limits.
But that’s just business, right? And Pixar’s not the first to do this. In fact, Disney can probably be crowned king of all sequel-creators, with nearly every major Disney movie (and some not-so-major ones) given a second and sometimes even a third installment. So what’s the difference? How come it doesn’t hurt Disney but it might hurt Pixar?
My answer: Pixar’s too good for this. Don’t get me wrong, I also think that Disney is perfection and nothing they do can be considered “bad” in my eyes, but objectively speaking their movies can be hit or miss. On one side of the spectrum there are films like Frozen and The Lion King. Then there are others on the other side, like John Carter and The Lone Ranger, that Disney would probably like to forget. And very few of Disney’s sequels get any attention at all, and usually go straight to DVD.
And unlike Disney, Pixar has never had a “bad” movie. Every Pixar release is a huge deal, and every one of their movies is a hit. And Pixar also has a relatively small repertoire compared to Disney, so a failure could damage their reputation more.
In other words, Pixar’s incredible track record could actually hurt them if Toy Story 4 doesn’t live up to expectations. And creating a fourth film in a franchise is a risk, but it’s especially risky because the Toy Story saga has been the most successful for Pixar. So it could not only be a failure from a monetary perspective (although the past tells us that’s very unlikely), but it could also hurt Pixar’s image more than anything. We all have very high expectations, and if the ending to Toy Story 4 isn’t better than the third one, it might be labeled a disappointment. And that’s not a good note to end on.
So no pressure Pixar, but Toy Story 4 has to be perfect. Seriously.