Starring: Jason Lee, Holly Hunter, et al.
Director: Brad Bird
Opening Date: November 5, 2004
With the recent Finding Nemo being the most financially successful
animated movie of all time it would seem that Pixar (creators of the
Toy Story movies, Monsters Inc. and A Bug’s Life) can do
no wrong – after all, their five movies have grossed a staggering $2.5
billion at the box office, making it the most successful film studio,
picture for picture, of all time.
No wonder they recently felt confident enough to recently sever their
connections with Disney in January of this year.
The way it works is that Pixar makes the movies, and Disney distributes
them. They finance the films together and split the profits. But Pixar
wanted a deal similar to the ones George Lucas have with 20th Century Fox
for the Star Wars prequels, namely that
Pixar would finance its own films with budgets around $80 million and take
100 percent of the profits, and pay Disney a distribution fee. Disney
declined the offer: after all, each Pixar movie makes an estimated $200
million for the Mouse House. Under the new deal Disney would have made
less than half of that.
was probably a bad move for Disney though: the last traditionally animated
movie to make any money for them was the 2002 Lilo
& Stitch while more recent efforts such as
Treasure Planet and Brother Bear bombed at the box office. To
make things worse Disney closed down its American animation division and
announced that it will make sequels to the Pixar movies it has already
distributed – Disney has never made any computer animated movies on its
own though and some analysts fear that these sequels will be so bad that
they will end up damaging Pixar’s reputation in the eyes of the public who
will probably identify the Disney-produced movies with Pixar instead of
Disney. (I suppose these analysts have watched rotten straight-to-video
Disney sequels such as
Peter Pan: Return to Never Land,
Stitch: the Movie and the like recently).
Anyway, Pixar still has two upcoming movies under the Disney deal to make
and one of them will be The Incredibles, which will be released
later this year. The film will be directed by one Brad Bird. Bird is a
Pixar outsider best known for his work on the early
Simpsons episodes and the 1999
animated feature The Iron Giant.
Iron Giant (produced by Warner Bros.) was an
excellent and underrated movie that nonetheless died an early death at the
box office – probably because Warner had no faith in the project (the
Warner animated division was being closed down as Bird was busy working on
the movie!) Will the same fate befall The Incredibles?
After all, no-one is perfect and while many people predicted disaster for
Finding Nemo, this just might end up being the same with The
Besides also being computer-generated, The Incredibles is a
departure for Pixar since (a) it is the first Pixar movie to focus on
humans – thus no cutesy creatures and animals for the toy market (in fact
The Incredibles seems more aimed at boys than girls) – and (b)
Pixar isn’t the only game in town as far as computer-generated (CG) movies
are concerned anymore.
Catching on that traditional animated movies’ days may be numbered and
cashing in on the public’s fascination with the CG process the whole scene
looks positively crowded this year: 2004 sees the release of four entirely
digital films - Shrek 2 and Shark Tale from DreamWorks,
The Polar Express from Warner Bros., and of course The Incredibles.
Could it be that when The Incredibles’ release date rolls around in
November that the public will be fed up with the CG fad?
Update (24 Nov. 2004): Nope, they're not:
The Incredibles opened to incredible reviews and even more incredible
business, namely $177 million at the U.S. box office in the three weeks
since its opening. Already there's talk of a sequel, but nothing
definitive yet. With Disney and Pixar's deal having gone belly up, don't
be surprised if the Mouse House brings out an inferior direct-to-video
sequel of the kind they've been specialising in lately (Mulan 2 -
come on!) one day . . .
Mr. Incredible is a superhero; or he
used to be, until a surge of lawsuits against superheroes submitted by the
people they've saved forced the government to hide them in witness
protection programs so they could lead normal, anonymous lives. Now known
exclusively by his secret identity, Bob Parr, he lives with his wife
Helen, formerly Elastigirl, and their three children Violet, Dash, and
Jack Jack. He works as an insurance claims specialist, and he's fed up
with his pushy boss and his immoral profession, but his wife's worked too
hard to build a normal life for her family to abide his nostalgia for
heroism. When Mr. Incredible's offered the chance to play the role of hero
again by a mysterious informant, he jumps at the opportunity, but when it
turns out to be a trap set by an old nemesis he had a hand in corrupting,
the whole family must reveal themselves to save Mr. Incredible and