"Finding Dory" is now enjoying its third weekend at the top of the box office, but Pixar President Jim Morris says the studio is already moving away from sequels like this follow-up to 2003's "Finding Nemo."
The next three years will feature already-announced sequels "Cars 3," "The Incredibles 2" and "Toy Story 4," along with the original "Coco" in 2017, but beyond that at least the following four Pixar films will be new properties.
“Most studios jump on doing a sequel as soon as they have a successful film," Morris told Entertainment Weekly, "but our business model is a filmmaker model, and we don’t make a sequel unless the director of the original film has an idea that they like and are willing to go forward on."
In practice, that means that if the director of an earlier Pixar film is now working on a new concept, he or she is out of commission for a sequel -- in turn putting any potential sequel on hold, as well, because the studio only rarely will assign a different director. Morris said that "Inside Out" director Pete Docter is working on a new project, and Brad Bird, busy with "Incredibles 2," has no plans for a new "Ratatouille" movie.
“Everything after 'Toy Story' and 'The Incredibles' is an original right now,” Morris said. Two films are already on parent company Disney's schedule for 2020, though the titles have not been announced, and Morris said that two additional movies are in early development.
Morris also explained that the run of sequels over the next three years was not entirely on purpose, but ultimately did fit Pixar's strategic plan.
“Our plan had been to make an original every year and a sequel every other year," he said. “If we add the next films after the current ones, it actually comes out to exactly that: seven sequels in a spate of 21 originals, from the time we were acquired by Disney. So it’s penciled out to be the same portfolio, just not in the order we thought they would be." He said this was down to when various directors had their ideas for sequels and original projects.
"Finding Dory," directed by Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane and starring Ellen Degeneres, Albert Brooks and Ed O'Neill, is in theaters now.