With Wall-E holding out hope for a "Best Picture" nomination and two new movies based on original concepts on the way, the best studio in Hollywood isn't going anywhere. Featuring the voice talents of John Travolta and Miley Cyrus, Bolt was reworked by Pixar execs and will hit theaters in time for Thanksgiving. The company has also released a new trailer showcasing the stunning visuals of its 2009 original masterpiece-to-be, Up!. What can Pixar freaks anticipate in the years to come, and could the company be stretching itself too thin?Bolt probably has endured more turmoil than any project Pixar's been involved with, and yet the reworked film looks promising, if a bit too reminiscent of Toy Story in some of the small details. (The film's animators were pressed to complete it in just 18 months, as opposed to the usual years.) Still, if you're going to go over old territory, that's surely the box office success you'd like to replicate. Originally written and directed by Lilo & Stitch creator Chris Sanders, Bolt was completely remade by Pixar's Brain Trust, the team of writers and directors that guide the studio.
Having been fired from Disney in his early career, Pixar CEO John Lasseter uses a far different strategy for his company, one that virtually eliminates the costly and unimportant presence of middle management. When they took over Disney Animation, they instituted that structure:
"(John) has this brilliant combination of a generalist's view and a superfocus on minutiae," says veteran animator Glen Keane, who is directing animator on the upcoming "Rapunzel" (2010). "He can go from a satellite view down to a 1-square-foot view like that," he says, snapping his fingers. "That's very rare." For Lasseter, life is a juggling act between the executive he has become and the artist he remains. "Working at Pixar is like being a trapeze artist, where you're looking across at the other guy to catch you," he noted. Like all great circus artists, he added, "you want to do something no one has ever done before."
Hitting theaters Nov. 26, Bolt will be followed in May by Up! from the Monsters, Inc team, which Lasseter describes "as an old-fashioned Disney animated film." Up! promises to do for old people what Wall-E did for robots. Here's the new preview: Click to view This is just the beginning of the full slate of projects that Pixar plans to roll out over the next few years. None of them particularly scream Oscar like the magical Wall-E, but you can start misting your eyes about a few of them now. First comes Toy Story 3 in summer of 2010. Initially reluctant to return to the characters for a second film, the studio will now complete a trilogy, with Buzz and Woody donated to a day-care center after Andy goes to college. It's written by the guy who penned Little Miss Sunshine. Cars 2 by Ratatouille director Brad Lewis comes the following summer. Although the studio will take on a host of fantasy fairy-tale adaptations that should build on the success of Shrek, we're looking all the way to King of the Elves in December of 2012 from Brother Bear director Aaron Plaise. Taken from the only Philip K. Dick story that could be classified as pure fantasy, King of the Elves is about a regular dude living in the Mississippi Delta who reluctantly agrees to help some crazy-ass elves. Such a long wait. In the meantime, the short film Burn-E from the forthcoming Wall-E DVD will have to suffice.