There’s no denying that the entertainment business has become increasingly wedded to the comfort and familiarity of sequels and spinoffs. Pixar, however, the Disney-owned unit behind “Incredibles,” has historically prided itself on its creativity and originality, resisting the siren song of sequels through much of the company’s early years.
The animation powerhouse fulfilled that promise with a virtually uninterrupted string of widely admired hits that appealed to adults and children alike — titles like “Up,” “WALL-E” and “Ratatouille.”
More recently, though, Pixar has bet heavily on sequels, preceding “Incredibles” with follow-ups to “Cars” and “Finding Nemo.” “Toy Story 4” is due next year, as is a much-anticipated encore to sibling Disney Animation’s “Frozen.”
This won’t come as much of a news flash, of course, to fans of “The Simpsons,” who conveniently haven’t aged a day during the program’s 30 hugely profitable years. But Disney — with its key cinematic silos Marvel, Pixar and Lucasfilm — is perhaps uniquely positioned to see the challenges that sustaining such franchises entails, from stars getting restless to the casting risks posed by prequels.
In that context, animated sequels — including titles like “Incredibles 2,” which can be produced years after their predecessors — look like a logical business move, the potential tradeoff being that the time, money and effort invested in those projects could potentially come at the expense of fresh ideas.
That assessment might well be premature, and because animated movies takes years to make, the repercussions of “Incredibles” living up to its name financially speaking could take a while to become evident. But if an accelerated pace of animated sequels follows, it shouldn’t require any special powers to understand why.
“The Incredibles 2” premieres June 15 in the U.S.