Disney-based Pixar returned to the Toy Story well for a pair of sequels, and the results were rewarding from both an artistic and financial perspective (Cars 2, by comparison, only did well in terms of box office receipts).
The computer animation studio hopes to replicate the Toy Story movies’ success with next summer’s prequel, Monsters University – and a followup to its second-highest-grossing, Oscar-winning summer smash, Finding Nemo. Moreover, Pixar stalwart Andrew Stanton has been confirmed to return as director for that sequel.
Stanton stumbled with his live-action directorial debut, John Carter, which opened to mixed reviews and failed to recoup its bloated budget (forcing the Mouse House to take a significant loss). Deadline is reporting that Stanton has been dancing around Finding Nemo 2 for several months, and has now officially come aboard – armed with “a concept the studio loves.”
The Finding Nemo 2 situation is simple enough: so long as the computer-animated sequel does well, Stanton will get another shot at live-action directing for Disney. He’s already picked up a pair of Oscars for his work on Finding Nemo and WALL·E. Stanton was also instrumental in the creative processes on the first two Toy Story movies, A Bug’s Life, and Monster’s Inc., where he served as either a co-writer and/or co-director.
Thus, it’s fair to say that Stanton deserves that second chance (especially since John Carter deserved a better turnout, in this writer’s opinion).
Finding Nemo 2 probably isn’t the sequel that many a Screen Rant reader has been waiting for (that honor belongs to Incredibles 2, no doubt). It nonetheless seems like a Pixar project that could follow the example set by Toy Story 2 & 3 – that is to say, serve as a meaningful new chapter in the continuing story of the clownfish Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks) and his son Nemo.
On the other hand: with Monsters University, Finding Nemo 2, and possibly Toy Story 4 on the horizon, some Pixar supporters might start to worry that the studio is abandoning its commitment to original storytelling. There are also standalone Pixar products coming down the pipeline – and the followups which are starting to take shape seem worthwhile (or have potential, at least). So don’t start panicking just yet.
Sandy Schaefer blogs at Screen Rant.