5 Ways to Prep: Cars 3
By George Rose
June 15, 2017
The Little Mermaid. Beauty and the Beast. Aladdin. The Lion King. These four films alone were released between 1989 and 1994. For all that the modern day Disney/Pixar combo pack gives us, we may never get a five-year stretch of genius like that again. Those four films would go on to help define and shape the little prince I would grow into and the little princess that lived inside me. They put a song in my heart and wonder in my eyes. Disney was releasing powerhouse hit after hit. Since Disney obviously loves money, they had plenty of side hustles. Disney World is one of the more obvious ones whereas direct-to-VHS sequels is not.
At the time, I would laugh in my head when I’d see crappy sequel versions of my beloved classics come out on VHS (and eventually DVD). Aladdin 2: Return of Jafar? Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride? What was this crap? How dare Disney take a steamy wet dump on my childhood! Little did I know, they were actually doing us a favor. Regardless of what Disney forced me to buy or rent on VHS, what they released in theaters was perfect and wonderful. I knew as long as they kept this winning formula of magic and music and royalty, they would rule Hollywood forever.
And then as I turned 10-years-old in 1995, something happened. Me and my body and Disney and my world all seemed to evolve at once. I was no longer a little boy (just a young pre-teen) and Disney was no longer a child of the hand-drawn era. We were both growing up so fast. Technology was also growing at insanely fast rates. In 1995, a new era of cinema was born: CGI animation. Pixar was a budding computer animation company with a three-picture deal through Disney to distribute their films. Toy Story was released as the first under this agreement and I was reminded that even though I thought I was a grown man at 10-years-old I would in fact remain a boy at heart forever.
There were so many movies to see, too! Disney kept making attempts at hand-drawn movies (of declining quality and profit) while Pixar dominated the computer-animated marketplace. Pixar followed up the wild success of Toy Story with A Bug’s Life in 1998, another great film. Pixar was proving they could do anything, and for their next trick they would do something Disney had previously refused to do: a sequel. Disney requested it be a direct-to-DVD release and not part of the three-picture deal. Pixar was like, “Nah, man, we got this. We’re crushing it right now. Even though most sequels suck, we think Toy Story 2 will prove that theory wrong.” Disney cried like babies, but with the contract about to expire, they didn’t want to lose their relationship with Pixar. CGI movies were profitable now and hand-drawn animation was a dying medium. In the end, Pixar won the battle and the sequel hit theaters in 1999.
Toy Story 2 earned almost $500 million worldwide and would go on to become a classic for being one of the best sequels ever. Meanwhile, Disney was releasing flops like Dinosaur, Atlantis and Treasure Planet. Gone were the days of The Lion King. The new millennium was upon us. Pixar proved they were the new king of animation with classics like Monsters, Inc, Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles coming out (reluctantly under the Disney banner) from 2001 to 2004. Do you know what animated turd burger Disney released in 2004? Home on the Range. Do you remember that movie? Me neither. Though Pixar had the brains to win most of the battles, Disney had bank to end the war.
Since it was now another handful of years later, more game-changers were upon us. In 2006, Disney bought Pixar for $7.4 BILLION. The long engagement was over and they were finally married with an ironclad prenup. Hands were held, lines were drawn, and the loveless couple would remain together for the sake of the children. Isn’t that the modern day fairy tale anyway? Their first child was Cars, the ultimate symbol of their union. At 74% positive reviews, it was still a better-reviewed film than most of what animation was offering (thanks, Pixar) but also the worst reviewed film in Pixar’s filmography (thanks, Disney). It became clear that while the newlyweds would share a house they would require separate rooms.