When Pixar released their first movie in 1995, it was instantly a hit. “Toy Story” made approximately $373.6 million in the worldwide box office, and to this day, continues to be a family favorite.
Their reign of the box office didn’t stop there. Since Disney acquired Pixar in 2006, the animation company has released hits including “Finding Nemo,” “The Incredibles” and “Monsters Inc.”
Their films revolutionized 3D animation and brought it to the big screen, creating touching stories for both children and adults alike. They are famous for making something out of absurd ideas that sound like nonsense when you first hear it. A flying house? Talking cars? A rat that’s good at cooking? Pixar has a movie on that.
Then came “The Good Dinosaur.” It was neither a good nor bad movie, but standing among Pixar’s gallery of masterpieces, “The Good Dinosaur” was painfully average. It was Pixar’s first huge flop, making only $332.2 million in the box office — a huge drop compared to the $857.6 million Pixar’s ‘Inside Out’ made just a few months earlier.
This brings up the question: what caused this to happen?
The movie had already been delayed for several years prior to its release. After scrapping and rewriting repeatedly, Pixar went with a very safe route. There was nothing jaw-dropping, surprising or inventive about “The Good Dinosaur.” It was a rather formulaic and dull story.
Afterwards was the stampede of bad sequels. After creating beautiful stories that gained the public’s adoration, Pixar decided to profit off of this and create sequels such as “Monsters University,” “Finding Dory” and “Incredibles 2” which contained nothing but fan service and bad jokes.
In addition, the recent release of “Toy Story 4” felt like a cheap cash grab and, for many fans, ruined the heartfelt ending that “Toy Story 3” gave us.
That might come off as a little harsh, but in the recent years, Pixar has continuously disappointed the general public. While the animation quality has improved, the writing and storytelling quality has not. Their downfall spiral is still continuing to this day, and there’s no indication that it will stop.
Still, Pixar has still been able to pull off the occasional hit. “Coco,” a cohesive story infused with Mexican culture, included stunning visuals and creative storytelling elements that brought many audiences to tears. While watching it in Spanish class, I felt reminded of the innovative spark that Pixar once had.
Despite my intense criticism, I still have faith in Pixar. With upcoming movies such as “Onward” and “Soul” in the books, it’s only a matter of time until another magnificent story will be released.