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Friday, November 10, 2017

Cars 3 Expands Pixar’s Legacy

Written by Jon Williams

Cars 3 is out this week on DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K UHD. No doubt your young patrons have already cultivated quite a hold list for the latest installment in the adventures of Lightning McQueen. The series began in 2006 with Cars, which introduced Owen Wilson as the voice of the race car who learns about friendship during an unintended pit stop. The movie also featured voice work from Bonnie Hunt and Larry the Cable Guy, not to mention Paul Newman (in his final role), George Carlin, and, of course, John Ratzenberger. Cars 2 followed in 2011, and in 2013 the series spun off into Planes (which got its own sequel, Planes: Fire & Rescue, in 2014).

Cars 3 is just the latest in a long line of high-quality, very popular animated films from Disney-Pixar. Pixar began as a division of Lucasfilm before breaking off into its own company in 1986, with Steve Jobs as chairman. In 1991, the company agreed to produce three feature-length animated movies for Disney. That resulted in the first fully computer-animated film, 1995’s classic Toy Story, and the rest is history. They finished out the 1990s with A Bug’s Life (1998) and Toy Story 2 (1999).

Pixar had a contentious relationship with Disney during the first half of the 2000s, but you wouldn’t know it from the quality of their output. They began the decade in 2001 with Monsters, Inc., starring Billy Crystal and John Goodman. That was followed in 2003 by Finding Nemo, an underwater adventure that is currently Pixar’s highest-grossing non-sequel with over $380 million at the domestic box office, good for #30 of all time. Then in 2004 came The Incredibles, about a family who (some more reluctantly than others) must use their superpowers to save each other and their city.

In 2006, Disney cemented their partnership with Pixar by purchasing the company. The first Cars movie was the first released after the sale, although it was developed and made independently. Going forward together, the two companies finished out the 2000s with Ratatouille (about a rat who learns how to be a chef), WALL-E (about a robot who finds love), and Up (about a man who attaches balloons to his house to go on a wonderful adventure).

Up to that point, Pixar had traditionally not produced sequels, with Toy Story 2 being the lone exception. That changed in 2010 with a third installment, Toy Story 3, and then Cars 2 the year after. They’ve since followed up both Monsters, Inc. (with Monsters University in 2013) and Finding Nemo (with 2016’s Finding Dory, the #9 highest-grossing film of all time with over $486 million). They’ve also continued to make quality original films, with Brave in 2012 and both Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur in 2015.

Pixar makes wonderful, timeless movies that will continue to be popular with young patrons, and that their parents will enjoy just as well. With Cars 3 now available, and with their next movie, Coco, releasing in theaters on November 22, now is a great time to make sure your Pixar collection is complete.

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