Earlier this month, The Atlantic published one of their lengthy essays on Pixar Animation Studios. The writer claimed that it the animation studio was “the best on the planet” until “Disney bought it.” It’s a claim that is well-presented and had to do much with Disney’s safe bets on creating more of what is already popular.
That popularity comes from what they call “franchises” and insiders have reported that Disney CEO Bob Iger has pushed each of Disney’s film studios (live-action and animation) to create more content that concerns those franchises because they make money.
But the filmmakers in the studios, most notably Pixar, are wanting to make more than just money. They want to make great original films with original stories and original characters. It’s in their DNA and was spelled out by one of Pixar’s chiefs and co-founders Ed Catmull in his book about the studio.
To help the studio go back to their roots in creating original films and convince leadership they can be successful, Pixar recently announced the creation of an experimental shorts division. The task of that division is “to create short films without executive oversight, to explore new creative visions and increase studio opportunities.”
The key phrase to note is “without executive oversight,” meaning that the shorts will be free from mandates given by Iger and other leaders at Disney who want more of what the Company calls “franchise reboots.” While these shorts may not make it into theaters, they at least will continually have talent within the studio thinking about fresh ideas that might ultimately make their way into a future feature film.
And that can’t come soon enough, as Pixar isn’t set to debut an original film for the next few years after this November’s release of their newest original film “Coco.” With the mediocre success of past sequels like “Cars 2” (voted Pixar’s worst movie) and “Finding Dory,” it’s clear that audiences want more original content from the studio that once held the title of being the best at doing it.