In a State of the Cinema address, Ed Catmull (president of Pixar) explains that Pixar needs to do sequels because they may go financially bankrupt without their profit, but they can't do all sequels or they'll go creatively bankrupt. Lindsey Collins, Vice President of development and producer of Finding Dory, said the reason for so many sequels clumped together like the current slate of movies from the past and next few years is because they are having trouble spreading them out and they cants predict how they'll come together.

Catmull also talked about his and Lasseter's ensurement of Pixar creative independence and their changes to Walt Disney Animation Studios after the acquisition in 2006.

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I still want to know what kind of messed up financial plan these guys have where every film can be a financial success and they still need a ton of sequels (yes, I know Good Dinosaur bombed. Every sequel was greenlit before that). And where this only became an issue now. 

Also, maybe if money is that huge an issue then cut the budgets a bit ? That way they're spending less to begin with, get a bigger profit, and breaking even is easier. I know I'm going to get some kind of response about quality, but everything I've seen come out of the other studios (well, Dreamworks and Disney) has been gorgeous and they spend less. 

(I'd actually be really interested in some kind of breakdown of where budgets go in big budget CGI films. With specifics, like if they picked a specific movie and went "This much went to the lighting department, this much went into tackling this challenge, etc.". Can't seem to find anything unfortunately.)

And see, crud like this is why I don't trust Morris. This claims can't tell how these films will end up lining up, and they NEED sequels, but the dude can defend his inaccurate information by claiming he's capable of not only solidly knowing the line up but that there'll be 13 years of nothing but originals? Someone has to be wrong in that scenario.

And does this mean we can stop with the whole "The toy factory that is Cars helps finance more risky films!" claim, or is the company so financially screwed up they need seven sequels AND two multi-billion dollar toy franchises just to stay afloat?
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Andrew Wellman
I'm guessing that--on paper, anyway--a sequel would have fewer of the development costs associated creating and designing new characters, locations, etc. The thing is, "TS3" and "MU" both introduced a slew of new characters and locations, so I'm not sure how much money is being saved.

There's also always the possibility that Pixar counts on the sequels to underwrite projects less likely to generate revenue--the shorts have always been something of a boutique offering.

Finally, there's the question of how much money Pixar Canada might have lost, as well as aborted projects like "Newt". In other words, Cantmull seems to be implying that the revenues from sequels are supporting more than the production of other feature films. But I'm really only guessing here.
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Pixar Post - T.J.
Good observations regarding Pixar Canada, Newt, and The Good Dino. Cars 3 has been around for a long time as well and I believe it was over the 5 year mark as well. 

Regarding Bonnie's comments - I'd bet they're having those conversations about reducing budgets for sure, but we'd never have insight to that since any comment he would make about finances or struggles could send Disney stock prices in a tizzy (so he's going to be very broad in those types of comments). 
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Gray Catbird
Maybe it's not that they are at risk of literally going bankrupt, necessarily, but that they have to live up to revenue expectations? Revenue expectations which could have been heightened once Disney acquired Pixar.
Regarding sequels being a money-saver, in the article Catmull mentions that sequels are easier to market, but considering the enormous campaigns Disney/Pixar lead for some of its sequels (like TS3 and Cars 2) compared to the relatively muted marketing of The Good Dinosaur, I wonder how much money is really saved in there.
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