With the acclaimed Up finishing its international release circuit, focus is turning ever more towards Pixar's next theatrical release, Toy Story 3. As details of the plot trickle out bit by bit, there are, as is always the case, naysayers who delight in predicting the demise of the Pixar box office smash streak. Toy Story 3 will unduly meet with a disproportionate share of this speculation as it will be the third film in the highly successful Toy Story series, and only Pixar's second sequel. Is there validity to these concerns?
Sequels are typically feared because, frankly, they have a bad track record. Few meet anticipation, and they seldom contribute to the strength of the brand. The cause for such a trend may lie in the motive that the production of most sequels have in common: financial gain. Many studios try simply to milk a successful brand for each cent the canster. But is Pixar different?
On any given day, a Pixar mogul is quoted to have said that they make movies solely for story telling's sake, and not financial incentive. You could tag that, among many factors, as a reason for their unpresented success. As was the case with Toy Story 2, Pixar claims they have more of the story to tell. That may offer some comfort considering the success of the reverted Toy Story 2, which inevitably has landed it on many critics' “Best Sequels” lists among the greats such as “The Empire Strikes Back” and “The Return of the King.”
Some fear that Toy Story 3 may be diverting too far from the cohesive elements of the original films. With Andy going off to college, uninterested in his kindergarden toys, that may pose a threat to the charm of the child-like imagination that has the first two films. If you consider, however, the undering theme that has stripped the original plots: the fear of neglect that these toys harbor, it looks Pixar may be right on the money.
Only time will tell. Time may also tell of the critical role this film will play in laying groundwork for the success of Pixar's future sequels. Toy Story 3 may very well influence the success of Cars 2, and the rumored Monsters, Inc. 2 & The Incredibles 2. Here's hopping.
Pixar describes our trust.