If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Pixar is apparently looking to give 'Cars' the same trilogy treatment it gave to 'Toy Story'...sort of. For while now, since the release of 'Cars 2' in fact, they've been quietly working on a spin-off to their film series about anthropomorphized motor vehicles called 'Planes.' As you may well have guessed by its less-than-obfuscating title, 'Planes' centers on aircraft the same way 'Cars' centered on, well, cars. The plot revolves around a small-town airplane who dreams of competing in a prestigious around-the-world air race, if only he could confront his fear of heights. Jon Cryer ('Two and a Half Men') stars as the protagonist Dusty Crophopper. The movie was originally slated to be a direct-to-video release, but now it appears the studio is adopting a new strategy. They will be releasing 'Planes' in theaters on August 9th, 2013.
Cue the nay-saying Darth Vader soundbite. My problem with this plan is not based on an inherent aversion to direct-to-video material. The fact of the matter is, there is a great deal of fantastic foreign and genre cinema that, for whatever reason, does not get theatrical distribution and winds up slated for VOD or home rental platforms instead. The prevalence of exceptional films being turned out even within budgetary restrictions has completely altered the landscape of direct-to-video release platforms. However, the last time Pixar had a title they promoted from DTV to theatrical...it was 'Cars 2.' I don't mean to beat a dead Pinto, but 'Cars 2' was easily the weakest film in Pixar's catalog and it doesn't appear that anything was learned from that failure. Combine this with the inexplicable re-releasing of all their old films in theaters in 3D and I have to say I'm worried Pixar is going down an unfavorable road. Hopefully 'Planes' will at least be better constructed than 'Cars 2,' lest it nosedive.
What do you guys think? Could 'Planes' work? Should the studio have moved it to theatrical or left it DTV?