Since 2006, it has been a given that we would see a Pixar film released during the summer season every year. The first indication that this streak was at risk of ending arrived with the news that The Good Dinosaur director Bob Peterson had been taken off the project. The film, which was scheduled to arrive in May 2014, was taken over by a collection of Pixar veterans such as John Lasseter and Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich, but no replacement director was named. For an animated film that was less than one year away, it signaled significant trouble. Today, we have received confirmation that The Good Dinosaur is indeed being delayed into 2015, leaving next year as the first without a Pixar feature film in eight years.
Pixar shared the news through the Los Angeles Times, with a statement by studio president Ed Catmull:
“Nobody ever remembers the fact that you slipped a film, but they will remember a bad film,” said Pixar’s president, Ed Catmull. “Our conclusion was that we were going to give the [dinosaur] film some more time.”
It seems that with the rapidly approaching release date, instead of trying to rush a subpar product, Pixar made the decision to delay the film into 2015. It could not have been an easy decision, especially with the reliable intake of hundreds of millions of dollars the studio has been known to bring in year after year. For those who have been questioning the quality of the studio’s films recently, this should be positive news – delaying a film more than a year and leaving a giant hole in the 2014 calendar for Disney and Pixar, rather than racing to complete a film and compromising the story and characters in the film is huge.
The film’s new November 25, 2015 release date is causing a ripple effect. Andrew Stanton’s Finding Dory has also been pushed back, as it originally occupied the November 2015 spot. Dory is now scheduled to open on June 17, 2016. Pete Docter’s Inside Out remains untouched, with its June 19, 2015 date making it the next Pixar feature film that we will see in theaters. Stanton explained to the LA Times, the reasoning for the ripple effect:
“We can’t have the amount of labor it takes to do these movies at the same time because it becomes unsustainable economically,” he said in an interview in June. “But it means if one director has a problem, everybody’s connected to the same bed sheet. You pull one end and it makes wrinkles in the other one. It’s a new problem.”
You have to go all the way back to the 19-month gap between The Incredibles and Cars to find a year without a Pixar film. Actually, the two-year difference between Monsters University and Inside Out will be the longest stretch between Pixar films since Toy Story 2 and Monsters Inc. arrived on November 24, 1999 and Novemeber 2, 2001, respectively. Seeing a Pixar film every year is something that we have been taking for granted. Although there are certain to be a collection of great films in 2014, it will be devastating to miss the opportunity to view a new film from the Emeryville-based animation studio. Considering the alternative, though, it is incredible that Disney/Pixar made the challenging decision to delay the project. It brings to mind the oft-referenced John Lasseter quote:
“Quality is the best business plan.”