EXCLUSIVE: Pixar Developing Cars Spinoff Planes

Cars may not have been Pixar's biggest moneymaker when it was released in theaters, but the franchise has been a monster hit when it comes to merchandise, raking in several billion dollars in a relatively under-the-radar fashion. Next summer's release of Cars 2 should boost that figure even further, but then again, kids may be in no rush to replace the Lightning McQueen plush toy they already bought back in 2006. How do you refresh the brand? With planes, of course.

Movieline hears that Pixar is currently developing Planes as a semi-sequel and spinoff franchise to Cars, one meant to take advantage of the enormously lucrative direct-to-video market. It's a format that Pixar has flirted with before -- Toy Story 2 was once meant to go direct to video, and Toy Story 3 was originally developed for DVD in a semi-unauthorized fashion by Disney before Pixar head John Lasseter took over the company -- but with Planes, Pixar could leverage the Cars brand without diluting its bigscreen appeal.

That's a priority for Lasseter, who took the reins at Disney after an era where the company cranked out uninspired DTV sequels to some of its most beloved properties (Cinderella II and The Lion King 1 1/2, anyone?). Then again, Lasseter may have relaxed Pixar's early hesitation about getting into the sequel business: in addition to Toy Story 3 this year and Cars 2 next year, 2012 will see a bigscreen follow-up to Monsters, Inc.



Comments

  • The Winchester says:

    Remember that Simpsons parody of Pixar, "Cards"?
    We're like, two movies away from that becoming a reality.

  • SunnydaZe says:

    Hey, I like Lion King 1 1/2! Very funny, based on Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, and the best of the straight to DVD.
    (well, I say best but since it is the only one I have seen I guess I can't really say)

  • TurdBlossom says:

    Yet still nothing on a sequel to The Incredibles? Incredible.

  • jodi says:

    i'm so frustrated with the commercialization of pixar. the whole appeal is their counter-industry bravado. "wow! who else would green light a movie about mute robots!?" "wow! how bold to make a movie about an elderly man for children!" now they choose their sequels based on merchandising opportunities (agree with Turdblossom on the incredibles being the best candidate for a sequel, story-wise). i think it's obvious to anyone that cars was the most dreamworks of all pixar's movies (i mean that as an insult), and it's a shame they would pick it for their next sequel.

  • HoJu says:

    ^ The reason is simple: children love the f@ck out of Cars. It's outgrossed Micky Mouse himself to become Disney's biggest merchandising juggernaut.
    So, why not exploit the movie nobody really cares about - and that children love - rather than risk "ruining" one of their classics with a follow-up.
    The more money Cars-related stuff makes, they can finance more stuff along the lines of Wall-E, Up, etc. Riskier more original stuff that *won't* move merchandise (ala Ratatouille).
    Also, they won't make an Incredibles sequel until that film's writer/director Brad Bird *wants* to make a sequel.

  • ed says:

    Pixar, you are such a two-faced hypocrate!!!
    First, you make cheapquals to your own films (like Disney.) Next, you cancel several ambitious projects with the fear they won't make as much $$$ (like Disney.) Now, this! Wake me up when you make "Toy Story 1 1/2," in which the whole movie is narrated from the sidelines by Al the toy collector.
    I hope this news is false.

  • eva says:

    Seriously??? Tou people who disliked Cars, but claim to like Pixar, are idiots. true it do as well as other Pixar films, but it has a lot of heart and adult humor in it. Did anyone catch the 'free bird' reference? It ranks up there just like any other Pixar film. Just watch it one more time. How can you not love Mater?

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