Here’s what we know: Monsters University, a prequel to 2001′s Monsters Inc. is coming in June 2013. Here’s what we think we know: Finding Nemo director Andrew Stanton has signed on to direct Finding Nemo 2. And here’s what we hope we know: based on a year-old comment from Tom Hanks to a BBC reporter, there may—just may—be a Toy Story 4 already in the works.
Has Pixar gone sequel-crazy? If so, it would be an easy financial decision: Toy Story 3 alone grossed more than $1 billion since its 2010 release and the franchise, which launched in 1995, has earned almost $2 billion in gross box office receipts. And while Toy Story 3 was Pixar’s top box-office success, 2003′s Finding Nemo still holds the runner-up slot for the company, bringing in $867 million so far (not yet counting a 3-D release planned for this September).
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But first comes Monsters Inc. 2, officially titled Monsters University—Pixar’s only prequel to date. Directed by Dan Scanlon (Stanton and Pete Docter are writers), the film will feature Sully (John Goodman) and Michael (Billy Crystal) as college-going monsters, trying to hit the books and earn their way to the Monsters Inc. headquarters.
“It’s how Michael and Sully meet, and plan to become scarers at Monsters Inc.,” Crystal told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s college pranks with monsters. And I wear a retainer. Mike has a retainer.”
With a June 21, 2013, release date confirmed, clips show college pranks will abound, filling the monster-filled halls of Monster University with attempts at more money-making laughs for Pixar.
Along with Goodman and Crystal, expect to see Steve Buscemi, Jennifer Tilly, Frank Oz and John Ratzenberger all reprise their roles from the 2001 movie that grossed more $520 million. Kelsey Grammer will replace the late James Coburn as Henry J. Waternoose III.
And while Pixar refuses to comment on (potentially) in-production movies, Deadline.com reported that Stanton, the writer and director of the first Nemo (who won Oscars for his work on both that film and Wall-E) has signed on to direct a second installment.
For his part, Stanton did tweet the same day: “Didn’t you all learn from Chicken Little? Everyone calm down. Don’t believe everything you read. Nothing to see here now. #skyisnotfalling”.
While various media outlets report that writers and producers have joined the effort and we could see the next Nemo in 2016, Pixar’s won’t confirm the film—at least not yet.
And Toy Story 4 sits squarely in rumorville, with little more than a Hanks comment from 2011 to go on. During an interview, a reporter asked Hanks if he expected his granddaughter would be able to watch a Toy Story 4 movie, and Hanks said he thought another installment was “being worked on.” Of course, there’s plenty of room in the script for another film now that Andy has buzzed off to college and the toys have found a new home with Bonnie. Fans of Woody, Buzz, Jessie and Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head hold their collective breath…
(Of course, Pixar has three original stories slated for 2014 to help us bide our time, including The Good Dinosaur, directed by Up co-director and writer Bob Peterson; an unnamed project from the Toy Story 3 team about the holiday Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead); and a Docter-directed (he did Up and Monsters, Inc.) untitled movie that goes inside the human mind.)
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