We hope you got a good long look at Monsters University, released back in June, because that’s the last Pixar film you’re going to see for two full years. Yes, we’re now entering a 24-month stretch without a Pixar release in theaters—the longest since 2003.
This recent stoppage in a once-dependable pipeline was caused by The Good Dinosaur, a comedy which imagines a world still populated by these prehistoric beasts. While Dinosaur is not destined for extinction, creative delays led to the sacking of director Bob Peterson (who co-helmed 2009’s Up)—a replacement has yet to be named.
These developments forced Walt Disney Co. to push The Good Dinosaur out of its original May 2014 release date to a theatrical debut on November 2015—the slot once reserved for the release of the Finding Nemo sequel Finding Dory. That movie is now slated to open some time in the summer of 2016.
Still with us? On the bright side, we can expect two Pixar movies in 2015: five months before The Good Dinosaur, we’ll get Inside Out, a story told from inside the emotion-filled brain of a little girl.
Pixar president Ed Catmull, as quoted in the Los Angeles Times, makes clear that the animated studio remains concerned about quality over timing of releases. “Nobody ever remembers the fact that you slipped a film, but they will remember a bad film,” he says. “Our conclusion was that we were going to give the [dinosaur] film some more time.”
Even as Pixar continues its tradition of tinkering with movies and shuffling creative talent—which include a revised story for Ratatouille and the replacement of director of 2012’s Brave—the pressure of having to release a logistically complex big-budget film (typically around $200 million) each and every year may be starting to catch up with the Disney-owned company.
The Good Dinosaur, still without a director, is at least in very capable hands: Pixar vets John Lasseter, Lee Unkrich and Mark Andrews have all pitched in. And if the film’s immediate future may be cloudy, this much is clear: 2015 has just turned into a critical year for Pixar.