What is the most successful movie studio of all-time? Is it Warner Brothers with its classic dramas dating back to Casablanca. 20th Century Fox with its string of blockbuster summer spectaculars? Paramount and its legion of big-time studio stars? MGM and its classic archive of musicals? Nope. Not them or Universal or RKO or Miramax or even Disney. The one studio that has a better track record than all of them combined? It’s Pixar, the little animation studio that can’t miss.
This independent company essentially invented 3D computer animation and since turning that art into a full-fledged entertainment studio, has put together the greatest run in Hollywood history. They’ve created 8 feature-length animated films since 1995 and when it comes to both box office and critical success, they nailed them all. Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2, Monster’s Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Cars, and Ratatouille. They are a perfect 8-for-8.
All of those films absolutely cleaned up at the box office, and here’s the even more amazing part–they were also pretty good. No other studio anywhere has ever had a string of hits like that.
That’s the secret to their success that so many other filmmakers can’t seem to grasp. If you want your movie to be successful, it helps to actually make a quality film. Crazy, but true! Pixar’s films are cute enough for kids, smart enough for their parents, and meaningful enough to pull the heartstrings of even the most jaded moviegoer. Meanwhile, other animation studios churn out mindless drek that wouldn’t charm anyone older than three-and-a-half. (Ok, technically Pixar has always been a partner with [and is now owned by] Disney, but the main arm of that old school animation house hasn’t put out a good movie since Beauty and the Beast. Pixar reigns despite their influence, not because of it.)
But the key is in the story and nobody tells a good story quite like Pixar. They paint vivid characters that are more expressive and sentimental than Mark Whalberg and few films-live or animated–can move you like the titles in their library. Now it looks like they may have even found one to top them all.
Wall-E is the first completely original movie all summer–i.e., it wasn’t a comic book–that we’re genuinely excited to see. The early glimpses we’ve gotten look phenomenal and the reviews so far are even better. An unheard of 98% on Rotten Tomatoes. And the little guy doesn’t even have a face!
Long story short, if you’re looking to be entertained and you want to take your kids (or even a grumpy old man) somewhere were they might actually sit quietly for two hours, then this may be your best bet all summer. Heck, you will probably like the movie even more than they do. After all, these guys have never failed you before, right?