“Toy Story 4” is coming. Hitting theaters on June 16, 2017, the latest entry in the $1.3 billion franchise about spunky, anthropomorphic toys will be directed by Pixar chief John Lasseter, who’s served as story writer throughout the series but did not direct “Toy Story 3.”
In its 19 year history, Pixar has only directed four sequels including the two “Tory Story” followups, “Monsters University” and cash cow “Cars 2.” Now the company has announced three additional planned sequels: “Finding Dory,” “The Incredibles 2” and, yup, “Cars 3.” Pixar will continue to generate original pictures even as Disney, now hoisted by both Pixar and Marvel, looks to carry its 2014 sequel-rific success into the new year with franchises.
Can a fourth “Toy Story” top Lee Unkrich’s 2010 threequel, only the third animated film ever to be nominated for Best Picture? It won Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song Oscars and was universally celebrated by critics and audiences who’d grown up on the films since the definitive original bowed in 1995.
The story was dreamt up by Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter and Lee Unkrich, for whom Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the gang are like family. “A lot of people in the industry view us doing sequels as being for the business of it, but for us it’s pure passion,” Lasseter told the LA Times. “We only make sequels when we have a story that’s as good as or better than the original. “We don’t just, because of the success of a film, automatically say we’re going to do a sequel and then figure out what we’re going to do.”
Writing team Rashida Jones and Will McCormack (“Celeste and Jesse Forever”) joined the project, and Pixar veteran Galyn Susman (ABC’s “Toy Story OF TERROR!” and “Toy Story that Time Forgot”) is producing.
With no 2014 features, this marks an unusually empty-handed year for Pixar at the Oscars, which snubbed Pixar animated short “Lava” on its shortlist of ten. The Academy deemed it ineligible.