Pixar Finds Toy Retailers, Wall Street down on “Up”

Leave it to Wall Street to dull the buzz on “UP”, the next movie from Pixar. So far the screenings have had critics abuzz with the quality entertainment Pixar is providing. The Cannes Film Festival has even gone so far as to make it the opening film for the festival. But Wall Street questions how marketable the film really is.

“People seem to be concerned about this one,” said Chris Marangi, who follows Disney at Gabelli & Company. Doug Creutz of Cowen and Company said qualms ran deeper than whether “Up” will be a hit — he thinks it will — but rather whether Pixar can deliver the kind of megahit it once did.

“The worries keep coming despite Pixar’s track record, because each film it delivers seems to be less commercial than the last,” Mr. Creutz said.

I wonder how much of this has to do with The Walt Disney Studios reduction in the number of movies it releases each year. It makes the pressure for each on to perform that much higher. However, Disney CEO Bob Iger doesn’t seem phased,

“We seek to make great films first. If a great film gives birth to a franchise, we are the first company to leverage such success. A check-the-boxes approach to creativity is more likely to result in blandness and failure.”

That’s the standard Movie Mogul response number 12. The real concern here is not whether a Pixar film will make money at the Box Office, it will. The question is will it be another ‘Cars’ level franchise selling $4 billion in merchandise on top of the box office and DVD take. Iger’s point is that it is impossible to make a good film when you shoot for that.

In fact, I’ll go one step farther and says it’s about setting customer expectations. If every time you lure a family in to spend $60 in a movie theater all they see is a giant advertisment to go and buy stuff, the family will stop coming.

(via NY Times)