So this trailer popped up in my Facebook feed last week.
It’s funny because Pixar’s Inside Out opens in theatres next week and The Good Dinosaur, which only had a teaser up to this point, is also coming out this year. Huh.
To be honest, I don’t really have much to say about the movie itself at this point. The concept is not new but always fun and I have mixed feelings about cartoony CGI. Aside from that, as much as it pains me to admit it, I am a little bit too old to be the target audience for this particular project. This looks to be more on the Cars side of Pixar than on their Up side (pun very much intended). In other words, it’s probably a movie aimed at little kids, probably about the friendship between a sweet little dino and a human kid that will probably be called the CGI E.T. of this generation. How can I tell? Cartoony CGI, pacing, type of comedy, but it doesn’t really matter. The question is not how, it’s why. Why the kiddy and probably mediocre movie right after opening another movie at Cannes? My best guess is money.
Studios may be heartless money reapers, but they also happen to, well, own the money. Money that they can give you to do things, especially if you bring them money. I know what you’re thinking: that’s a lot of money talk. Yes. Yes it is. That’s the point: work for a heartless studio, make them a whole bunch of money, and you might just earn yourself a nice little pile o’ gold to do other things, like your passion projects. Plus, working for big studios opens you doors in another way: it gives you connections. This is a phenomenon that I have seen work before. For example, a little director known as David Slade once made a small, mind-blowing movie titled Hard Candy for less than a million bucks. After he was noticed for it at Sundance, he went on to direct a couple of big-budget movies for bigger studios, including one movie that you may know as the third installment of the Twilight Saga: Eclipse. And then, what did that guy do? He got involved into Hannibal.
Is Pixar really doing one movie for money and one for passion? Maybe. I don’t work at Pixar, after all, so I don’t know what really is happening here. But this type of strategy exists, has caught my attention, and got me thinking both as a writer and as an audience. What would I do to be able to write what I want to write? What would I do to be able to watch or read someone else’s passion project?
I don’t have any easy answers to those questions. I don’t know if I’ll go see The Good Dinosaur just to support Pixar, but I do know that I’m going to watch the new Fantastic Four movies just because I love Josh Trank’s indie work. The world of entertainment is complex and weird, but I guess supporting the people whose work you admire is always a good thing. Or maybe I just like this theory because it would explain why Tim Burton keeps directing horrible live action remakes for Disney. Who knows?
– Anais L