Pixar postsTuesday June 22, 2010
Jordy's Review: "Toy Story 3" (2010)
The following is a review of "Toy Story 3" by my nephew, Jordy, 8 going on 9. "Completely unedited" as his mother writes. Yes, with pride.
Toy story has always been a good movie because it shows what true friends do for each other. Toy story 3 is no different. Some scenes will make you want to cry (especially for moms) some scenes will make you laugh, and in some scenes you’ll want to make the movie shut up (like when this monkey with creepy eyes starts screeching like an idiot). But the point of the movie is the friendship between the toys, and I have to admit, this has a really good chance of winning animated movie of the year.
Toy story 3 starts off showing Andy playing with his toys in an imagination world. After that, it shows Andy growing up, and, before you know it, Andy is going to college. Woody and his friends must survive Andy’s decision on where they go, the toddlers later into the movie, and more. The story in TS3 makes sense, and it could happen (except the fact that toys don’t come alive, of course). The toys think that Andy has abandoned them and then they hop in a box that is in Andy’s car and the car takes them to Sunnyside daycare. (Watch the movie if you want to find out what happens, because I don’t spoil)!
The ending, in my opinion, is one of the best movie endings I’ve ever seen, and it is a great way to end a movie, because I cried when I saw it. There are lots of new, funny characters like Ken, who, in real life, is supposed to be made for Barbie girls, and it’s very funny to see the romance of them. TS3 is better than Toy story 2, but is it better then the first one? How about you go see the movie, and you decide which of the three is the best. Then vote for your favorite one at Erik Lundegaard’s website. Toy story 3 deserves it’s spot in the animated movie great’s, and it’s an experience that you’ll probably never forget. (It also has a great short called Night And Day. (Or you could call it Day And Night).
By Jordan Muschler
Hollywood B.O.: Toys Find Homes; "Hex" Hexed
The original "Toy Story" was in many ways about that moment in our history when the astronaut or spaceman (Buzz Lightyear) eclipsed the cowboy or sheriff (Woody) as the hero in the imaginations of boys everywhere. Pin it somewhere in the early 1960s—about the time Tom Hanks was Andy's age.
It could also be about that cultural moment when science-fiction eclipsed the western as our pre-eminent genre. Even as boys imagined themselves as astronauts, for example, Gene Roddenberry still had to pitch the original "Star Trek" as a western: "'Wagon Train' to the stars," he called it. Now it'd be the opposite. And it wouldn't sell. "It's like 'Star Trek'...but on the dusty plains!" Yeah, have fun with that.
Well, sci-fi still soars and the western has still seen better days. Sheriff Woody rides off into the sunset as perhaps our last, great, popular western hero in "Toy Story 3," while the film's main competition this past weekend, "Jonah Hex," a western, got bucked. "Toy Story 3" won the weekend with an estimated $109 million take, while "Jonah Hex" finished eighth—eighth!—with $5 million. Not even a battle. It helped that "3" was a beloved sequel, universally acclaimed (98% RT rating) and in more than 4,000 theaters, while Jonah Hex was an original, universally panned (14% RT rating), and in 2,845 theaters.
But eighth? Behind the fourth weekend of "Prince of Persia" and the third weekend of "Killers"? Yeesh.
"Hex"'s per-theater-average ($1,800) was the second worst of the summer—behind only "MacGruber," which grossed "$4 million in 2,551 theaters for $1,585 per in May. Everything went wrong for "Hex," including its title, which now seems like bad foreshadowing. What's next? "Joe Box Office Bomb"?
In other news, and despite the competition from "3," "Karate Kid" did surprisingly well, falling off only 47% and taking second place with $29 million. It's already grossed more than $100 million. "The A-Team" fell off even less, 46%, but it had less to fall off from; it grossed $13 million. "Get Him to the Greek" lost over 100 theaters but dropped only 38%, while "Shrek" couldn't handle "3" and fell by 65%.
Here's a puzzler: With "Toy Story 3" opening, and with "Shrek" as nose-holding backup, people still plunked down $2.6 million of hard-earned, global-financial-meltdown money for "Marmaduke"? But that thing's almost gone, finishing 10th, and its total domestic gross ($27 million) is about 2/3 of what "Toy Story 3" grossed on Friday alone.
"Toy Story 3," by the way, was the best opening for a Pixar movie ever—beating out "Finding Nemo," which made $70 million in May 2003. This is true even when adjusted for inflation. ("Nemo" winds up with $92 million adjusted.)
Full chart here.
And don't forget to vote for your favorite "Toy Story" movie here.
Poll Story 3
The poll below was recommended by my nephew Jordy. Vote early! Vote often!
Review: “Toy Story 3” (2010)
WARNING: A TOY CHEST FULL OF SPOILERS
“When I was a child I spake as a child,” 1 Corinthians 13:11 begins, “I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man I put away childish things.” Sound advice. But what if you are the childish thing? That’s the dilemma of “Toy Story 3.”
Pixar’s “Toy Story” is essentially “The Godfather” of children’s movies—critically and popularly acclaimed, redefining the genre, with a lot of time between second and third installments—so one holds one’s breath with this third installment. No one wants another “Godfather III.”
We don’t get it. We get a fun and funny adventure movie with bittersweet moments, but also moments when the people at Pixar had to choose between the daring thing and the safe thing, and, despite their daring over the last few years with “WALL-E” and “Up," chose the safe thing. It’s hard to fault them. The daring thing is almost too daring for adults, let alone kids.
The movie opens in the insane world of a child’s imagination. A train robbery is being foiled by Sheriff Woody (voice: Tom Hanks) and his gal Jessie (Joan Cusack), but the train robbers, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head (Don Rickles and Estelle Harris), blow up the bridge, leaving the train full of screaming orphans (troll dolls) on a collision course with disaster! So Woody rides his horse next to the train, hops on, and applies the brakes. Too late! The train plummets into the chasm... only to be lifted up by, ta da!, Buzz Lightyear! (Tim Allen) The bad guys are about to be brought to justice but instead bring out their attack dog with force field. Ah, but the good guys have a dinosaur (Wallace Shawn) who eats force fields! Ha! But then the baddest guy of all, Hamm the Pig (John Ratzenberger), arrives in his giant pig spaceship and unleashes the monkeys, the barrels of monkeys, and the monkeys grab our heroes and hold them and stretch them every which way until... we’re out of Andy’s imagination and into his world, where his mom is filming his playtime adventures with a camcorder. It turns out, too, that this particular playtime was a long time ago. The toys are now sitting in the dark of the toy chest, where they haven’t been played with for a while, and Andy’s about to leave for college.
(A quick aside: I know this is a kid’s movie but you do have to wonder about Andy. Dude’s 18 and he still has a chest full of toys? In his room? And he’s taking Woody, his oldest, bestest toy, to college? That’s a guy who’s never getting laid. Or a guy who will eventually work at Pixar.)
His mom wants him to divide his things into one of four possible destinations—college, attic, daycare center, and trash—and she suggests the daycare center for the toys. Andy, affronted, unable to throw away what was once precious but is no longer relevant (we’ve all been there), sets Woody aside and puts everyone else into a trash bag for the attic. But it’s mistaken for trash-trash and taken to the curb. The toys affect a breathless escape, but, affronted by Andy’s treachery, and over the protestations of Woody, who saw all and remains loyal, happily get into the box destined for daycare. They want to be played with again.
I love that idea, by the way: Toys desperate to be played with. (We’ve all been there.)
The place is called the Sunnyside Daycare Center, with a sign outside featuring both sun and rainbow. Inside, our friends are greeted by friendly toys, including Lotso (Ned Beatty), a purple bear whose fur is worse for wear, and who walks with a cane, but who still smells like strawberries. He shows them the sights and takes them to another room, the Caterpillar Room, guarded by Big Baby, a plastic doll with one eye creepily half-closed. “Here’s where you folks will be staying!” Lotso says. But it’s a trap. They’ve been put in the toddler room and when the toddlers arrive, they do what toddlers do. They destroy. This is survival of the craftiest. Lotso and the others want to live as long as they can, and someone has to be sacrificed to the toddlers. For Buzz and the others, escape becomes necessary.
It’s a familiar scenario. Too familiar? It’s reminiscent of both “Toy Story 2” (the escape from the clutches of Al, the toy collector), and that great “Simpsons” episode where Maggie and the other babies in the daycare center devise a “Great Escape”-like plan to get their binkies back. But it works here because the director (Lee Unkrich), and the writers (Michael Arndt, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Unkrich), get all of the details right. The initial escape attempt, through the inevitable slanted window above the doorway, is a veritable Rube Goldberg contraption, while the movie allusions—including the “night in the box” schtick from “Cool Hand Luke”—are subtle enough to not get in the way. Plus the dialogue is great. “Let's see how much we're going for on eBay,” a dejected Hamm says at one point.
But I particularly like the way they use familiar, sometimes generic toys for specific jobs. Thus the warning system for the bad guys, their eye-in-the-sky manning the security cameras, is one of those screaming monkeys with clanging cymbals. On the periphery you have a Fisher-Price chatter telephone, delivering cryptic warnings to Woody, or giving up the good guys at just the wrong moment. (Dude can’t stop chattering.) Lotso and company use the instruction manual for Buzz Lightyear to essentially reboot him back to his factory-model personality, while Ken (Michael Keaton), all ‘60s lingo and fashion, insists, in late-night poker games with the more manly toys, “I’m not a girl’s toy! I’m not! Why do you guys keep saying that?”
But the most brilliant use is Big Baby. Huge and lumbering, with a lazy eye like Forest Whitaker, Baby is the silent enforcer, a terrifying figure. Until she opens her mouth. Then out comes the gurgle or sigh of an infant. Big Baby really is just a baby.
The escape plan is a team effort, full of betrayals and counter-betrayals (is that a “Star Wars” homage with Lotso and Big Baby?), and our guys wind up riding the garbage truck with Lotso to the landfill, where they are put on a mechanized path to incineration but are saved at the last minute by the most unlikely of deus ex machinas.
It’s here, particularly here, with its echoes of “WALL-E,” that I wondered if “Toy Story 3” might not say something deep and meaningful about our consumerist society, our throwaway culture. Doesn’t happen. The lesson is there for anyone who wants it, but it remains in the background, while in the foreground we get more palatable lessons about loyalty and teamwork and going home.
Except what’s home for these guys? That’s the dilemma their adventures obfuscate for 90 minutes. In many stories, we start out in a safe place, we go off on a dangerous adventure, we get back to the safe place a little wiser. But these guys don’t have a safe place anymore. Or they don’t have a place where they are both safe and useful. They’re safe but no longer useful at Andy’s, and they’re useful but not nearly safe enough at Sunnyside. The toys go back home, in essence, so Andy can make the decision he should’ve made at the beginning: where their new home is going to be.
(One wonders what resolutions Pixar toyed with. Leaving our friends in the landfill? Incinerating them? Imagine Woody’s plastic face melting off like the Nazis at the end of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” A moment of trauma for the kids in the audience but a lesson for a lifetime about what happens when we throw things away.)
Can we watch these movies and not think about our own toys? I used to have an army of stuffed animals to whom I gave names and personalities. Pooh Bear was the small but tough leader. Old Snoopy, the first stuffed Snoopy I owned, was big and dull—his parts couldn’t move well—and he tended to stay on the periphery, his tongue hanging out. New Snoopy, his replacement, was cute and playable—his parts moved, he could dance—but he eventually lost an ear or an arm (or an ear and an arm?) in a fight with a sibling. The most memorable, in his own way, was King Kong (Real name: Chester O’Chimp, 1964, Mattel), the stuffed monkey with the plastic face and the felt hands, who had a pull string and voice box, and said things like “Let’s go the zoo and see all of the wild people!” and “I’m just a little chimp! Duddly duddly dum.” He, too, eventually lost an arm. Whatever happened to them? What landfill did they wind up in? It’s sad just thinking about.
Can we watch these movies and not think about ourselves? What happens when we are no longer useful? What the toys go through in “3” is essentially what we will all go through. First we’re useful; then we’re not; then we’re taken to a home where we may be abused. We live in a throwaway culture where we’re the last thing thrown away.
“Toy Story 3” doesn’t want us to think about this too much, of course, so it gives us its bittersweet ending, where Andy finally, reluctantly, takes his childish things and gives them to Bonnie, shy Bonnie forever hiding behind her mother’s legs, where they will be both useful and safe. It takes a long time to get there. In Andy’s reluctance to let go, one sees the reluctance of Pixar itself, which began its empire with Woody and Buzz and Hamm and Rex (my personal favorite: always so excited; always so wrong), and finally has to put away its childish things.
This ending is both mature (in letting go of childish things), and not (the implication that the childish things, now with Bonnie, carry on to infinity and beyond). It’s a kind of a lie, but it’s a forgivable lie since it’s the same lie we tell ourselves every day. Yes, experience is fleeting. Yes, kids grow up and go out into the world. But we live forever.
What's Brooks Barnes Got Against Pixar?
I imagine this isn’t a great morning to be Richard Greenfield. He’s the market analyst at Pali Research who earlier this year downgraded Disney stock because he felt Pixar’s latest movie, “Up,” had a poor outlook. Brooks Barnes quoted him in the New York Times last April:
“We doubt younger boys will be that excited by the main character,” he wrote, adding a complaint about the lack of a female lead.
I wrote about this back then—slamming not only Greenfield but Barnes and the Times for getting their facts wrong by ignoring international markets—but after two months Greenfield’s quote looks even daffier.
It contains two complaints.
The first is about Carl, the lead character in “Up,” an old man in a medium designed for kids. He’s a legitimate market concern. That’s Greenfield’s territory.
The second complaint is about the lack of a female lead, which is a PC rather than a market concern. In fact, it’s the opposite of a market concern. Most movies don’t have female leads because most market analysts feel there’s no audience to support them.
Worse, “Up” has a prominent female character: Ellie, who’s the engine for the entire story. It’s such an odd comment from a market analyst. Maybe that’s why Barnes presented it without quotes.
Greenfield, I’m sure, is waiting to see how “Up” does in its second weekend, as well as internationally, before he issues his mea culpa—if in fact market analysts issue mea culpas. I doubt they do. Otherwise we’d be drowning in them. But for the record, in its opening weekend, “Up” made over $68 million, which is the second-best opening for a Pixar film, after “The Incredibles.”
Barnes’ mea culpa, such as it is, comes in his usual post-weekend box-office article in today’s Times, in which he uses the word “marketing” six times, including in the first graf:
Rapturous reviews and a colossal marketing campaign sent “Up” into the box office stratosphere over the weekend.
And then this in the fifth graf:
Strong opening weekends can be bought with big marketing campaigns, of course, so the coming weeks for “Up” and its performance overseas — where recent Pixar titles have made the bulk of their revenue — will be important in the evaluation of the film’s financial success.
Both of his statements are true—particularly the fact that strong opening weekends can be bought—but why mention all of this, and so stridently (six times), in connection with “Up”?
Was “Up”’s campaign particularly intensive? We don’t know. Barnes has no figures, just the say-so of other studios, along with some anecdotal information.
So is this the usual m.o. for Barnes? Does he often talk up the marketing campaigns of successful weekend films? Yes and no. Mostly no. In his post-“Star Trek” article, he attributed its success, in part, to a “megawatt marketing campaign”— but only once, and in the second graf. Meanwhile, he makes no mention of marketing for the opening-weekend success of such films as “Hannah Montana”, “Fast and Furious” and “Monsters vs. Aliens” earlier this year.
Does this mean those films didn’t rely on marketing to succeed? Or the relied less on marketing than "Up"? No one knows. Because no one has the figures.
Barnes’ “Up” piece, in other words, feels a little like ass-covering. He focuses on marketing to explain why a film he thought wouldn’t do well did.
Me, I would love it if every Monday Barnes gave us the marketing budgets for, say, the top five films. To compare and contrast. That would be fascinating reading. But they're not available and so all he has is adjectives (“megawatt”; “colossal”) and a seemingly scattershot approach to writing about marketing.
Here’s something, for example, Barnes doesn’t mention as a reason for the success of “Up,” but which, if I were writing that piece, might be my lead: It’s a Pixar movie. And Pixar means something to millions of moviegoers around the world. It means quality.
Review: “Up” (2009)
WARNING: MYRIAD, COLORFUL, FLOATING SPOILERS
“Have you seen ‘Burden of Dreams’?”
“About Herzog. About the making of ‘Fitzcarraldo.’ At one point, Herzog, a little mad, directs locals in the Amazon rain forest to move a houseboat from one navigable river, over a mountain, to another navigable river. He didn’t need to do it that way but he did. And it becomes the heavy, physical representation of his dreams—and the price other people pay for them.”
“I want to do the same with a house.”
“You want to move a house over a mountain?”
“I want a house to represent dreams. And the burden of dreams.”
“I thought we were talking about a cartoon.”
“We are. Initially it’ll be glorious. The house will rise up, powered by a mass of colorful balloons, out of an American city, because the owner of the house, an old man, doesn’t want to sell out to developers and this is his only way to escape.”
“Wait a minute. Old man? I thought we were talking about a cartoon. For kids.”
“He’ll have a stowaway. A kid. A boy scout. And together they’ll float all the way down to South America.”
“’Like America...but south!’ That’s a line we already have.”
“They’ll land...but on the wrong side of Paradise Falls. And through a series of misadventures the old man will be tethered to the house, which will float slightly above them. And he’ll have to drag that floating house across this great expanse to Paradise Falls.”
“You want an old man. To drag a house. For hours.”
“Because he wants it in a certain spot. That’s his dream. And that’s the burden of his dreams.”
“I thought we were talking about a cartoon. For kids.”
“But he has to give up a lot to get the house in that spot. And once he does, once he realizes his dreams, he’ll realize his dreams weren’t worth it. That it was the other stuff that mattered more. So he starts throwing shit out of the house to get it light enough to fly again.”
“Please tell me you don’t say ‘shit’ in this movie.”
“Of course not. It’s a cartoon. For kids.”
“What happens in the end?”
“They live happily ever after.”
“I like that part.”
Or so I imagine the pitch for “Up.” Does Pixar even have to pitch anymore? To whom? Disney? Those losers? They’ve got a lousy recent track record, while no one’s recent track record is better than Pixar’s. The director of “Up,” Pete Docter, directed “Monsters, Inc.,” which made $250 million in the U.S. and over $500 million worldwide. The screenwriter of “Up,” Bob Peterson, wrote “Finding Nemo,” which made $339 million in the U.S. and $864 million worldwide. This decade, none of their movies has made less than $200 million in the U.S. and $400 million worldwide. Their movies have the added advantage of being spectacularly good.
“Up” is no different. It begins with a 1930s newsreel, “Movietone News,” focusing on an Errol Flynn-like adventurer named Charles Muntz who extols his young viewers, “Adventure is out there!,” and it ends with the notion that it’s not our adventures but the mundane things in life that matter.
On his way home from the “Movietone” theater, Carl Fredrickson, a young, would-be adventurer, hears a voice talking up the same kind of Charles Muntz-like adventures he’s imagining in his head. It’s a girl, a very talky, very tomboyish, almost Peppermint Patty-like girl named Ellie, and the two of them plan great adventures together, including following Charles Muntz down to Paradise Falls in South America. She has an adventure book, into which she’s pasted a few items; then she’s written STUFF I’M GOING TO DO. The rest of the pages are blank. There’s a life to be lived.
Then we see it lived. Carl and Ellie get married. They buy a house. She works at the zoo and he sells balloons at the zoo. They want kids but can’t have them. Then Ellie dies, and Carl is 79, alone, and living in the house they fixed up together, surrounded by a massive development project to which he refuses to sell out. After he accidentally attacks one of the construction workers, he’s declared a public menace and is scheduled to be put in a home. They come for him the next morning. At which point he releases the balloons, and the house, tearing itself from its moorings, soars away toward South America. It’s a great, glorious scene.
But he’s got a stowaway—a kind of modern update of who he used to be. Russell is a talkative, enthusiastic wilderness explorer in troop 54 who needs only to “assist the elderly” to become a senior-grade wilderness explorer. “The wilderness must be explored!” is his credo. He’s also hapless. Earlier Carl sent him on a snipe hunt, and stowing away was a mistake, and he’s got absentee-father issues. But now he’s along for the ride.
Let me just say that I laughed out loud a lot during this movie. I mean belly laughs. They weren’t cheap laughs, either, but imbedded in the small details of life. The way Russell, seeing pictures of young Carl and Ellie in their aviator/adventure gear, says “Goggles,” like he’s swallowing a laugh midway through. The way, post-storm, he pokes a sleeping Carl, then says, “Whew! I thought you were dead.” The way the rare South American bird, who is named “Kevin” by Russell even though it’s a girl, squawks at Carl.
Most modern cartoon franchises try to be hip. They ape the cheaper aspects of our culture by having animated animals shake their booty, or sing, or party, or try to be famous. It’s as if the entire world, even the animal world, is made up of dopey 14-year-old boys. Which, of course, is the studio executives’ worldview.
Pixar movies focus on cultural moments rather than pop-cultural moments: that early 1960s period when astronauts replaced cowboys as heroes for boys everywhere; the difference, and similarities, between 20th-century “adventurers” and 21st-century “wilderness explorers.” Pixar doesn’t need to point to a pop-cultural phenomenon (that has nothing to do with the film) to get laughs. Two of the moments mentioned above were funny to me simply because they reminded me of my cat: the way she pokes us, incessantly, to wake us up; the way she squawks at me when she doesn’t get her way. It’s funny when she does it and it’s funny when Russell and Kevin do it. The humor is part of life, not apart from it (i.e., on television). Put it this way: In “Up,” there’s a dog, a talking dog named Dug, and he’s more real than most live-action dogs on screen. What makes him funny isn’t that he’s not like a dog—that he stands on his hind legs and sings a rap song, for example, as he might in other animated features—but that he’s exactly like a dog. Pixar finds humor intrinsically within the object.
And drama. And sorrow. At Paradise Falls, Carl, burdened by his house, chooses the house, and what it represents, over Kevin, and Dug, and even Russell, and what they represent. Then he sits in it, alone, his longstanding dream finally realized, and he looks through Ellie’s old adventure book, and the unfulfilled promise of STUFF I’M GOING TO DO. But the pages beyond that page aren’t blank; he’s shocked to find they’re filled with the life he and Ellie lived together. This fact recalls something Russell said earlier about his father: “I think the boring stuff is the stuff I remember most.” That’s what Ellie filled her pages with: the boring, everyday stuff we discount but that means the most. On the last page Ellie includes a note to Carl: “Thanks for the adventure. Now go have a new one! Love, Ellie.” And as he does, as her words inspire him to throw out most of the stuff in his house to get it aloft again, to get back into the adventure, I sat there, a 46-year-old, tearing up.
Is it a lie? Pixar tells us an adventure story that tells us it’s not the adventures that matter.
I don’t think it’s a lie. I think they’re getting at one of the more profound things movies can say.
A good movie leaves us with a mood. Last week I left “L’Heure d’ete” feeling that life is sad, and the stuff we accumulate, that seems precious to us, is just a burden to others, even when it’s legitimately, aesthetically precious. Remember the last lines of “American Beauty”? Lester talks about how, now that he’s dead, he’s grateful for every single stupid moment of his life. But that’s not the mood the movie leaves us with. It leaves us with a wish for that feeling.
“Up” actually leaves us with that feeling. I left the theater grateful for every single, stupid, boring moment of my life.
Near the end of the movie, Russell says to Carl: “Sorry about your house, Mr. Fredrickson.”
“It’s just a house,” he responds.
Betting Against Pixar
Do I have the energy on this Monday, when dozens are dead from an earthquake in Italy, to get worked up over the state of the movie world? Not even the movie world, really, but the business side of the movie world? Yeah, those guys.
First New York Times writer Brooks Barnes pats Universal Studios on the back for both “Fast & Furious,” which made $72 million over the weekend, and for reviving the “Hellboy” franchise last summer, which, Barnes writes, the studio turned “into a hit after Sony Pictures Entertainment passed on making a sequel.” Apparently Barnes forgot the role Guillermo del Toro played. At the same time, his use of the term “hit” may be a slight exaggeration. Yes, the film made $34 million its opening weekend. Then it dropped off 70 percent and struggled to make $75 million. Nothing to sneeze at, but, in Hollywood terms, is that a “hit”? For a superhero film?
Richard Greenfield wouldn’t think so. In the Business section of the paper, Barnes (back again) writes how Greenfield’s firm, Pali Research, recently downgraded Disney shares because of — get this — a poor outlook for the next Pixar movie.
Whoa. So is the Pixar movie, “Up,” screening poorly? No. It’s screening extremely well.
Pali has a problem with the lead, an old man voiced by Ed Asner: “‘We doubt younger boys will be that excited by the main character,’ Greenfield wrote, adding a complaint about the lack of a female lead.”
Others pile on. “'The worries keep coming despite Pixar’s track record, because each film it delivers seems to be less commercial than the last,' said Doug Creutz of Cowen and Company."
Barnes then looks at said commerciality of Pixar’s films and agrees. Compared with the $405 million “Finding Nemo” made in 2003, he writes:
Pixar’s last two films, “Wall-E” and “Ratatouille,” have been the studio’s two worst performers, delivering sales of $224 million and $216 million respectively, according to Box Office Mojo, a tracking service.
Well, yes and no. Actually, no and no.
According to box office mojo, a tracking service, “Nemo” made $339 million domestically. The $405 million figure? Apparently that’s in all of North America. So Barnes isn’t even comparing similar box office totals.
Still, if you look at unadjusted domestic box office, yes, it appears Pixar, while still doing great business, isn't doing as well as it used to:
|4.||Toy Story 2||$245M||1999|
|9.||A Bug's Life||$162M||1998|
The last two Pixar films are stuck there at sixth and seventh, and the only reason they’re not at the bottom is because we’re not adjusting for inflation.
But that’s domestically. Other countries see films, too, right? So what does the worldwide gross of Pixar films look like? Here:
|6.||Toy Story 2||$485M||1999|
|8.||A Bug's Life||$363M||1998|
Now Pixar’s two most recent entries rank third and fourth. Hardly "each less commercial than the last."
Forget for a moment that a financial services firm thinks it’s in a situation to basically pass notes to the most successful movie studio of the past 10 years. Even within the narrow parameters in which these guys are talking — the business side of things — they don’t know what they’re talking about. How awful is that?
On the plus side, these guys did make me excited to see "Up." Opening weekend.
Twitter: @ErikLundegaardTweets by @ErikLundegaard