It’s a legitimate (if troll-worthy) question and one that was prompted by a joke tweet from Mike Bastoli stating that Cars 3 had already been announced. Although that tweet was quickly disproved (but not before this blogger jumped the gun in retweeting it), it did give pause for thought; just how long will it be until Cars 3 is announced?
The original Cars cost $120 million and raked in about $462 million. Its sequel cost $200 million and brought in about $560 million. These nice grosses aside, it’s reckoned that the franshise as a whole has been worth an estimated $5 billion to Disney.
These we pretty much already know, and a corporation like Disney is highly unlikely to ignore them, especially that last one. Naturally, it has, since the original film came out, gone ahead and created an entire marketing-driven ecosystem for the franchise. There are TV shows, video games and toys that all drive the revenue machine. However, there is also something fairly unique within the Pixar cannon, a spin-off, Planes, that’s destined for cinemas this year.
Overall, Cars remains a remarkably profitable franchise for anyone involved. All the more reason to keep it going as long as possible, right?
Signs Pointing To Yes
Given all the above, a new film is a very likely probability. Assuming demand for merchandise remains at least constant, a new theatrical outing of some kind will be necessary to grow sales in a stock market-meaningful way. Witness all that Toy Story 3 did for that series of films and their related characters and merchandise. Yes, it was billed as a ‘different’ sequel that quasi-completed the tale of Andy and Woody, etc. but it was still a sequel and it still made a ton of money (while leaving the door open for further adventures that have, until now, been of the short variety).
Other indicators that favour more McQueen adventures include the currently-in-production Monsters University and the sequel to Finding Nemo, which although not officially announced has been noted as being worked on by Andrew Stanton; surprising given how early in the process it remains.
Signs Pointing to No
The signs pointing away from a third film are few and far between. Yes, Cars 2 was only the second Pixar sequel to be made, but it was also far from the last. However, at this point only Toy Story has made it into trilogy territory and that was with an attempt at creative wholeness that Cars simply doesn’t have. (Be honest, the world and his dog knew Cars 2 was blatantly commercial in aspirations.) The odds of Cars being given a third, and expensive outing ‘just because’ aren’t overly strong.
Pixar’s slate is also quite full for the next few years with a few original projects slotted in between the sequels. Also working against Cars is the possibility that other Pixar films might be in line for the sequel treatment. Potential suitors include A Bug’s Life, Brave and The Incredibles. (Although this blogger sincerely hopes that one for the latter never sees the light of day.)
The last factor that suggests a ‘no’ is that the franchise is well established at this stage with the toys being a permanent fixture in stores, TV shows on the TV (in reruns), a spin-off in theatrical feature Planes and, the holy grail, areas devoted to the property in the Disney theme parks. With all that in mind, Disney strictly speaking should not need to “jolt” the franchise for a long time to come. A look at how many Disney films from Walt’s time continue to sell is an indication of this.
The Final Answer
Ultimately, without an in-depth look at the financials, it is very hard to say that we will or won’t see another Cars feature film. the head says no but the brain says yes, and on that note, given that it was about 5 years between the originals, I think we can see it being announced within the next 24 months with a release towards the latter end of the decade.
Do you disagree? Let me know in comments!