Problems for Pixar?

I’m seeing lots of articles like this, spelling out doomsday for Pixar and the Walt Disney Company:

Has anyone seen Elemental yet? What do you think? Is this a bad sign for the company? Pixar has made some of my favorite movies!

I haven’t seen it. I don’t have plans to see it.
I also haven’t seen a lot of marketing about it.
I don’t think their last couple/few movies have been very compelling stories

I haven’t LOVED any of them for at least 5 years, though I did really enjoy both Soul and Luca


That’s fair. They really don’t seem to be trying that hard. But that can’t be good for Disney.

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I kind of feel like Pixar is making movies that are less universally adored and relatable. Some people love them, while others… don’t.

Take Luca. My son LOVED it. I, however, thought it was a waste of my time.

When you have movies that have more naysaying about them, even if they are beloved by many, it is harder to get the word of mouth advertising out there. I have no qualms, for example, recommending Inside Out and TS 1, 2, and 3, etc… But many if the newer films were just okay…
Nothing I would necessarily recommend.

I think there are also forces that have been stacking the deck against Disney in general. They have been struggling to gain the trust of their audience in the same way that used to be automatic, for a variety of reasons.


I’ve been getting the feeling that Disney is making it difficult for Pixar movies to succeed, and by contrast, they’ve been over-promoting Disney Animation films. Why would they want to do this when Disney owns both studios? It makes me wonder if they have long term ideas to dissolve Pixar and fold them into Disney Animation.

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I saw it and enjoyed it (and the theater was close to full - all the showings on Friday at the theater I go to in NYC were either sold out or marked “almost full”). BUT the marketing for it was only slightly better than Strange World in terms of helping audiences know what it fully was about. Yes, you got the whole “elements don’t mix” thing - but I never got that that stems from feelings around immigration and such. (Though sadly in today’s day and age I’m not sure that would have made it play any better, especially in some regions of the country.)

That said, I’m super confused by what the heck Wish - which is Walt Disney Studios, not Pixar - is supposed to be about from its marketing.

As much as people say they want original stories, the box office seems to show that they want something familiar.


I think Disney+ has also likely slowed down the Disney box office quite a bit. They seemingly have trained us to wait a couple months and we can watch it at home for “free”, so folks that were on the fence about going to see it in the theaters have started to wait instead of venturing out and they don’t even need to buy the Blu-ray to catch it. Balancing those two revenue streams is difficult and I’m not sure Disney has found that perfect balance point to maximize the sum as of yet, if there is one of course…


This is a good point. I’m definitely finding myself in this category…and not just about Disney stuff. Right now, there are several movies at the theater that I want to watch. Indiana Jones, GotG 3, Spider-Man, etc. Do I plan to see any of them AT the theater? Nope. The only movie that’s coming out soon that I plan to go to the theater to see is The Marsh King’s Daughter.


I saw it yesterday and I loved it! I don’t watch any cable (only streaming services) so I hadn’t seen any ads for it, and was honestly not sure what to expect. I thought it would be like Inside Out based on some of the commentary here.

The theater I went to was nearly full on a Sunday afternoon. It also opened on Fathers Day and Juneteenth weekend which might have played against it?

There is also a boycott Disney movement - and I haven’t seen discourse about it (im not on social media) but I found myself wondering if an immigration story AND a very brief introduction of a sibling (edit: of a sibling, not sister! I didn’t realize the sibling was non-binary with they/them. That’s amazing!) and their girlfriend is keeping some people away. Which :roll_eyes:

Personally, I loved it, and I thought the story it told was so very moving. It was beautifully animated and a great story. Two adult women next to me were crying and I do think that it really played on emotions for some.

I would go see it again - but will most likely just wait to watch it on D+ when it comes out.


Me too! But I’m sure I’ll go see it - the creators of Frozen and Moana…I’m hoping it will tell another girl empowerment story, which I always want my boys to see.


The Pixar Brain Trust is pretty much gone. I’ve seen Elemental and it just didn’t click with me. However, the worst part about going to see elemental is the Pixar Short they show prior to the movie. It’s called Carl’s Date. This is short is what is wrong with the new generation at Pixar.

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I think this is available on D+

Now you have me curious to go watch it

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I just don’t think Carl would ever go on a date again. Ellie means that much to him-

I don’t know. Ellie did mean a lot to him, and obviously Carl had mixed feelings about dating again. It was mostly about the relationship between Carl and Dug rather than a new girlfriend. I think Ellie would’ve wanted him to date - and I feel like the short was cute. It’s not my favorite Pixar short but I certainly don’t think it was bad.


I guess I think about the fact (having not seen the short at all) that at the beginning of Up nobody would have thought Carl would have become a surrogate Dad by the end. People change and so does what they want - and that’s okay.


In fact, you could argue that in Up, Carl had to learn to move on WITHOUT Ellie. Him going after their dream all by himself was a way for him to start letting go and being his own person without her. So, I guess I could see dating being a possible logical next step.


Disney+ has made it difficult for new IPs to find an audience in the theaters. They are really failing at marketing these movies.

Moviegoers are not willing to take a chance and shell out $$$ for an unknown product when they know in a few months it will be available via streaming for no additional cost (if you’re a current subscriber). Moviegoers are more willing to pay for familiar franchises. Spiderman, Super Mario Brothers, Toy Story, etc. They need to get really extra interested in something new, especially kids since they are going to be the ones making adults go to the animated films.

Disney and Pixar have got to make the new IP a “High Concept”, easily communicated storyline. IMHO, they are failing to get the message across with Elemental. The title does not communicate what the story is about, and the tagline “Opposites React” provides little help.

Compare it to a successful IP, Inside Out, with the tag line “Meet the little voices inside your head”

I really don’t have an idea what Elemental storyline is but Inside Out promo does stir interest. They need to follow the KISS principle. Just one dumb guy’s view.

Dreamworks has a new movie coming out in about a week, Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken. The title alone gives you an idea of what the plot is, and it has an easy concept, Kraken vs Mermaids. Let’s see if this movie performs better.


I saw Elemental and really enjoyed it! My wife and kids loved it as well. I am surprised I knew so little about it going in. Not sure why Disney / Pixar were so quiet on the marketing.

There are a lot of movies out or coming out soon: The Little Mermaid, Guardians of the Galaxy, Across the Spider-verse, Elemental, The Flash, Indiana Jones, etc. And a lot of those are Disney cannibalizing themselves. It’s going to be tough for any of these movies to clamber to the top of the pile. More likely they’re each going to take a piece of the viewership pie. There’s a bit of a traffic jam of new movies now that the pandemic era is coming to a close.


For me, it isn’t about watching at home for free, it is waiting to see if there are any land-mines that will make me not want to see it with DD.

I remember when Disney had another label they used for movies that weren’t G rated because they didn’t want to tarnish the Disney name. (sigh) Back in the better-old-days. Back then, you didn’t have to worry about the main character in an animated kid’s movie having an O.

It made me sad while we were at Disney World. Opening weekend for, I think Red, was while we were there, so they were advertising it in the parks. Walking around I thought, “It would be neat to see a new Disney movie on a Disney trip rest day.” Then I got sad after thinking, “Nope, I can’t know whether I’ll want to watch it yet. I’ll need to research first.”

Not saying they’ve all been bad recently. For example, I need to re-watch CoCo because I totally missed the ending when I saw it in the theater because I was crying so hard. DD wasn’t as impressed.

I’m interested to hear more about this - I’m not sure what movie you are referring to or what the concern is.