Cars holds something of an odd place in the Pixar pantheon. A pet project of the studio’s creative big cheese John Lasseter, it’s been largely looked down upon as one of the “lesser” films produced by the Emeryville bods, and isn’t exactly one of their bigger earners. Unless you take into account the merchandising, which has spawned an empire all its own and which makes it their biggest earner of all. So, naturally, there’s a sequel revving its engine up for release next year and now, according to Movieline, a direct-to-video spin-off called Planes.
Yes, for a team that once stood firmly against sequels (and worked itself to the bone rescuing Toy Story 2 from a DTV grave), there really does seem to have been an attitude shift in recent years, with sequels to some of the big hits like Monsters Inc in production. And with a whole company spin-off (the new Canadian arm of the studio), we’re guessing this could be just the start.
But before leaping to any negative conclusions, let’s have a little faith in the people behind Buzz, Woody and Lightning McQueen, shall we? Toy Story 3 was excellent and no one should count them out as money-grabbing factory-film types just yet.
No one has seen a frame of Planes, which will be set in the same vehicles-as-characters world as Radiator Springs and could well be a charming, fully realised adventure all its own - and some of the Cars shorts were rather sweet.
If Planes is a success, we expect Trains to follow along shortly, followed by Cars 3 and a re-release under the banner title of Planes, Trains & Automobiles, with the ghost of John Hughes shaking his fist in frustration on the corner of the box art.