Pixar boss makes live-action promise following Disney backlash

The chief creative officer at Pixar, Pete Doctor, has revealed that he has no interest in releasing live-action remakes of their existing films.

Pixar Animation Studios are renowned for their critically acclaimed and commercially successful cartoon feature films such as Toy Story, Cars, and Soul. In recent years, however, the studio has struggled to bring audiences into cinemas.

Pixar’s last two films, Lightyear and Elemental, both failed to meet box office expectations, leading studio bosses to rethink their creative vision and business strategies, and potentially return to old projects that are certified fan favourites.

That said, live-action remakes seem well and truly off the cards according to Pixar’s creative director. In an interview with Time magazine, Doctor was asked about the ongoing fan campaign for Ratatouille (2007) to be made into a film starring The Crown’s Josh O’Connor as Remi the rat.

Doctor responded: “No, and this might bite me in the butt for saying it, but it sort of bothers me. I like making movies that are original and unique to themselves. To remake it, it’s not very interesting to me personally.”

On the subject of live-action films, the Oscar award-winning director said: “It would be tough. So much of what we create only works because of the rules of the [animated] world.”

Referring to the much-loved 2009 film, Up, Doctor said: “If you have a human walk into a house that floats, your mind goes, ‘Wait a second. Houses are super heavy. How are balloons lifting the house?’ But if you have a cartoon guy in the house, you go, ‘Okay, I’ll buy it.’”

He added: “The worlds that we’ve built just don’t translate very easily”.

Josh O’Connor and Remy in ‘Ratatouille’ (Letterboxd and Pixar)
Josh O’Connor and Remy in ‘Ratatouille’ (Letterboxd and Pixar)

Many fans were relieved by the news. One fan posted on social media, writing: “Thank god, Disney already ruined a lot of their classics by making soulless cash grabs.”

Doctor’s comments follow after Disney’s decision to make a live-action remake of its 2016 hit Moana was met with considerable backlash.

The forthcoming adaptation will see Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson reprise his role as Maui. The film is slated for release in 2026.

Disney’s Moana, that is getting remade into a live action version in 2026 (Shutterstock)
Disney’s Moana, that is getting remade into a live action version in 2026 (Shutterstock)

Many fans were left puzzled by the move, wondering why Disney would select a relatively recent animated film for a live-action release. The remake will come less than a decade after the original and will follow just one year after the animated sequel, Moana 2, which will be out in cinemas in 2025.

Meanwhile at Pixar, the box office disappointment of recent releases means the future of the film studio is uncertain.

Speaking about its next film, Inside Out 2, Doctor said: “If this doesn’t do well at the theater, I think it just means we’re going to have to think even more radically about how we run our business.”

The film, a sequel to the 2015 film starring Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, and Bill Hader, is out in cinemas on 14 June 2024.