Walt Disney Pictures
Pixar Animation Studios
recently announced that Monsters, Inc. is now the second highest-grossing animated film of all time. Pixar, as you’ll recall, is Steve Jobs’ other company — he heads it up when he’s not busy at Apple.
Combined domestic and international receipts for Monsters, Inc. have put it over the US$500 million mark, and it’s set records in Japan, Mexico and Spain as well. Disney’s The Lion King still holds the all-time record, with receipts well in excess of $700 million. But perhaps more exciting for Pixar movies fans than the success of Monsters, Inc. is the release of some additional details about Pixar and Disney’s next three film collaborations.
First up is the movie that Pixar has already talked about in some detail — Finding Nemo, coming in summer, 2003. The movie is the story of a father and son fish separated in the Great Barrier Reef who must find each other again. Celebrities contributing voice talent to the project include Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Willem Dafoe and Geoffrey Rush.
During the holiday season of 2004, Pixar and Disney are set to release an action-adventure comedy called The Incredibles, which tells the story of a family of superheroes living undercover in the suburbs that have to save the world. Directing is Brad Bird, whose previous credits include the animated movie The Iron Giant.
A year after that, in the holiday season of 2005, Pixar and Disney will release Cars, an adventure comedy that features animated automobiles. The movie returns John Lasseter to the director’s chair. Lasseter directed both Toy Story movies and A Bug’s Life.
Pixar has produced a string of enormously popular computer-animated films starting with Toy Story, and continuing with A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2 and Monsters, Inc. It’s been an enormously successful if occasionally contentious partnership. Earlier this year, those frictions surfaced between Pixar and Disney when Steve Jobs
disputed information offered by Disney CEO Michael Eisner
during a quarterly call to financial analysts.
Pixar contends it has only three more pictures to make as part of its current deal, while Disney’s Eisner claimed to analysts that the number is five — three original motion pictures and two more sequels to the offerings Pixar has already made.
Past differences seem to be set aside. Disney Studios chairman Dick Cook said that his company is looking forward to working together with Pixar on the next three films, while Walt Disney Feature Animation president Thomas Schumacher called the Pixar creative teams “geniuses.”
“We are thrilled that ‘Monsters, Inc.’ has become our most successful film to date, and are equally excited about our upcoming three films,” said Jobs.