Wed. Apr 17th, 2024


Pixar has experienced a significant drop-off in profits in recent years, with lower-scoring films and box office struggles.
The departure of the head of Pixar, John Lasseter, and the impact of the pandemic have contributed to the company’s struggles.
There has been backlash against Pixar for attempting to create more inclusive plotlines, which has generated online discourse surrounding their new releases.

Pixar is one of Disney’s most important assets and has been known for releasing several classic movies, but in order to fix the recent drop-off, the studio is taking a step back. Pixar has always been known for creative and original franchises telling stories that are about things dissimilar to humans, but who struggle with the same problems. This is often through the pattern of giving emotions to inanimate objects. Recently, the company has done this by telling the stories of elements, sea creatures, and mythical creatures. Pixar’s most recent films, however, have faced box office struggles and other challenges.

Those negative results can be surprising considering how many incredible movies Pixar has released. Until 2020, the Pixar movies were consistently earning good results in critical and financial terms. There had been lower-scoring Pixar movies before, but those numbers were not as low as anything released in recent years, which includes the box office struggles of Lightyear and Elemental. For the upcoming Pixar movies to put the studio back on a successful track, they will have to avoid the mistakes made in recent years.

Pixar’s Releases Have Struggled In The Past Few Years

In the past few years, Pixar has really struggled with its releases. Since Toy Story 4, there has been an extreme decline in profits and advertising for their films. Many things have gone wrong for Pixar, the first of which is the head of their company leaving. Just after the release of the latest Toy Story installment, John Lasseter stepped down from his position as head of Pixar because of sexual assault allegations that came against him. While his leaving the company was in good taste, it does bring the question forward of how the studio restructured itself after that.

Another aspect to consider is the pandemic. While it is easy to blame the pandemic for the loss of quality in a lot of things, cinema and media especially took a hit. Pixar released several movies throughout the pandemic, including Onward and Luca, but their success was minuscule in comparison to movies that were released pre-pandemic. Even since their films have started releasing in theaters again after the pandemic slowed down, films like Elemental—the most recent Pixar release—saw minimal profit from its run in theaters.

Related: Toy Story 5: Confirmation, Returning Characters & Everything We Know

There has also been an unfortunate backlash against the company for trying to create more inclusive plotlines in their films. While there haven’t been LGBTQ+ characters at the forefront of their theater-released films, they have had background characters, like Alisha Hawthorne in Lightyear. There was also backlash against Pixar’s Turning Red, due to its normalization of talking about puberty. Although this isn’t the only factor, it has sadly generated some sort of controversial online discourse surrounding the studio’s new releases.

Disney Is Smart To Handle A Struggling Pixar Like Marvel & Star Wars

Disney has faced problems with several of their franchises. The MCU has been one of Disney’s biggest money earners for years, but as the saga has picked up popularity, the company started overproducing new TV series for Disney+, and 2022 did not see any billion-dollar Marvel movie. Star Wars picked up the same way in product increase, yet it also saw canceled projects, announcements that didn’t come to fruition and negatively-received properties like The Book of Boba Fett. This pattern for two of the company’s most important brands caused the releases to be slowed down so more effort could be put into each individual project, both in Star Wars and Marvel.

This is the same method that Pixar is now taking. Normally, Pixar releases two films a year, but with Elemental being the only Pixar film being released in 2023, this is the first break taken to set a new pattern. The same is expected to happen in 2024, and it is actually good news for the studio. First, it allows Pixar to focus on the content they release being the best quality possible. Secondly, it creates demand. With fewer of their product being released with better quality, audiences are going to be much more excited to go and see Pixar’s new films in theaters.

Pixar’s Elio Now Being Released In The Summer Is Still A Good Sign

Pixar’s Elio had its release date pushed back from March 1, 2024, to June 13, 2025. While pushing back a release date significantly could mean trouble for the film, the change could actually be good for Elio. Firstly, March is not a guaranteed hit month for blockbusters. A summer release, even if in 2025 and not 2024, may give Elio, an original IP, more room to be a box-office success. If Pixar plans to release only one film per year in the foreseeable future, saving them for major slots, such as the summer window, is a good strategy. Elio, as well as the other Pixar movies releasing after Elemental, have to feel like must-see theatrical events.

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