Wow! No one saw THIS coming.
In a stunning announcement, Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger let the world know that " [Toy Story 4](movie:335430): is happening - and is scheduled to hit domestic theaters on June 16, 2017.
As "Entertainment Weekly" reports:
in a somewhat surprising twist it will be written by Rashida Jones, formerly of NBC’s "Parks and Recreation", and her screenwriting partner Will McCormack (who penned the 2012 indie romantic comedy "Celeste and Jesse Forever".)
However, the magazine goes on to reassure fans of the franchise:
The story was conceived, however, by the Pixar brain trust: Lasseter, "Finding Nemo:‘s Andrew Stanton, Up and "Monsters Inc."‘s Pete Docter, and and "Toy Story 3"‘s Lee Unkrich.
Iger who revealed the news in a quarterly earnings call for investors late Thursday afternoon, did not say whether Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Wallace Shawn or any of the other actors who voice the toybox crew will be returning, but it’s inconceivable that a movie would be made without them.
However, the mag says that instead of unbridled euphoria at the news, many - from fans to company executives - wonder if a sequel is necessary or truly wanted:
Fans reacted to the news with what can only be described as uncertainty, taking to Twitter to wring their hands in worry. Most people, including many within Pixar, felt Toy Story 3 was a perfect close to a beloved trilogy, and are hesitant about anything that might sully that legacy.
In a statement, Lasseter tried to calm those nerves: “We love these characters so much, they are like family to us,” he wrote. “We don’t want to do anything with them unless it lives up to or surpasses what’s gone before.”
That seems to be the main rub among those who thought three films was enough.
First, there are those that seem to feel three is a perfect number. That four is pushing it somehow. They often cite films like "Rocky IV" as an example. It is hard to remember how vilified it was when it first came out - but it made tremendous dough and is now considered a classic.
Then there are those who feel the third film was as close to perfect as possible and a "Toy Story 4", even if it's brilliant, will detract from that.
But giving in to that kind of thinking means we would never have gotten films like "The Godfather Part II".
Others state that the long wait between installments will hurt a fourth installment. There WILL be a gap of seven years from "Toy Story 3" to "Toy Story 4". This kind of gap has hurt to varying degrees recent sequels like "300: Rise Of An Empire" and "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For".
To be fair, that long a wait between installments DOES usually hurt a franchise.
However, for an exception to the rule, you need look no further than "Toy Story" itself.
1995's "Toy Story" grossed a whopping $191.7 million in domestic box-office. "Toy Story 2" arrived four years later, which is about the length of a gap between installments that most executives feel starts to hurt a franchise.
All 1999's"Toy Story 2" did was surpass it's predecessor by a substantial margin, raking in $245.8 million domestically.
There was then a whopping ELEVEN YEAR GAP until 2010's "Toy Story 3" hit theaters. The same fears many have now were experienced then.
Instead, through home video, and kids who were now grown and took THEIR kids, "Toy Story 3" smashed all kinds of records and wound up with a stunning $415 million domestic take.
That improvement cannot be chalked up to ticket-price inflation either.
The domestic haul of "Toy Story 3" remains the highest out of 14 Pixar films. The only Pixar film to have sold more tickets as of today is 2003's "Finding Nemo, which grossed $457 million domestically when adjusted for inflation.
Which leaves us with the final major worry/complaint - namely, that Pixar is tarnishing their brand by increasingly churning out sequels.
Sorry, but this is bunk.
Since 2011's "Cars 2" is the example cited most often, we'll start with that. Even that much-maligned effort came out FIVE years after 2006's "Cars". That's hardly "churning out". There is still no official release date for "Cars 3".
2013's "Monsters University" came out TWELVE years after 2001's "Monster's Inc."
When "Finding Dory" hits screens on June 17, 2016 it will be THIRTEEN years after "Finding Nemo".
"The Incredibles" first hit screens on November 5, 2004. There is a possible Pixar film on the schedule in 2016, and "Untitled Pixar Films" on the schedule in 2017 and 2018.
Which means, at best, there will be only a TWELVE year gap "The Incredibles 2" has to deal with and possibly as long as FOURTEEN YEARS.
The point? That when Pixar says "The story matters", they mean it.
They liekly could have had five or six installments of some of these franchises by now. But they wait until they feel they have the right story.
These people CARE about what they do!
As a result, fans should welcome "Toy Story 4" with open arms. It's sure to be fantastic!