Disney Needs to Make This Sequel

Of all the entertainment companies in the world, Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) arguably boasts the most impressive knack for creating enjoyable, profitable sequels.

And why not? Each of the world's top six grossing films last year were sequels, and at the head of the pack was Disney Marvel's Iron Man 3, which grossed a staggering $1.2 billion in global ticket sales. Meanwhile, Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA  ) Universal's Despicable Me 2 trailed a distant second with "only" $935.2 million, followed by Lion Gate's (NYSE: LGF  )  The Hunger Games: Catching Fire at $848 million.

In fact, while only three of Disney's 10 films released in 2013 were sequels -- the other two were Monsters University and Thor: The Dark World -- they still accounted for more than half, or $2.6 billion, of Disney's company-record $4.7 billion at the box office last year.

And Disney has no intentions of slowing down, either. In 2014, audiences will be treated to Muppets Most Wanted, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Planes: Fire and Rescue. Better yet, Disney has already slated Avengers: Age of Ultron and Star Wars: Episode VII for 2015. Then in 2016, they've announced both Alice in Wonderland 2 and Finding Dory.

This little robot could be huge
But as long as Disney remains on its sequel binge, here's some food for thought: I think WALL-E 2 should be next.

Disney WALL-E 2

See how sad WALL-E looks, Disney? I bet a sequel would cheer him up. Image credit: Disney

Why WALL-E?

First, absolutely every character in the original was endearing -- whether a robot, an immobile human being, or that weirdly adorable cockroach. If that wasn't enough, the quasi-dystopian story was at once scary, heart warming, thought-provoking, and hugely entertaining. Best of all, WALL-E's conclusion perfectly sets up filmmakers to take it in virtually any direction they choose to depict humanity attempting to rebuild the planet it ruined.

And besides, it's no mystery Disney Pixar makes great films in the first place. WALL-E was no exception, taking home a slew of awards including both an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Best Animated Film in 2009. In case Disney's wondering whether movie-goers would love a follow-up, remember WALL-E also earned a 2009 People's Choice Award for Favorite Family Movie.

What's more, though WALL-E did require a huge $180 million production budget, it still garnered a respectable $521.3 million globally after 28 weeks at box office. That may not sound like much given Iron Man 3's enormous take last year, but keep in mind the first two Iron Man films only earned $585.2 million and $623.9 million in 2008 and 2010, respectively. And yes, I'll admit that's a tough comparison since coinciding characters and storylines from Disney's Marvel brand have made Iron Man all that much more popular.

More pertinent to our Pixar conversation, then, is the fact every follow-up movie Pixar has created to date has proved more successful than its predecessor.

Take Cars and Cars 2, for example, which brought $462 million and $559.9 million globally in 2006 and 2011 -- and that's not to mention DisneyToon Studios was also able to spin off its Planes franchise from Cars last year. Then there was Monsters Inc., which earned $528.8 million in 2001 only to be trounced with a $743.6 million total from 2013's prequel in Monsters University

Last but not least, consider Pixar's three Toy Story movies, the individual totals from which successively increased from $362 million in 1995, to $485 million in 1999, and finally to an amazing $1.06 billion in 2010.

Here's why WALL-E 2 hasn't happened...yet

So what's holding WALL-E 2 back?

First, shortly after WALL-E's theatrical run concluded in early 2009, writer/director Andrew Stanton insisted he had nothing in mind for the characters going forward. He then elaborated,

We work on these things for so long that we have a hard time simply thinking that the [first] film is ever going to be done. I'm not against sequels, and I've certainly experienced personally and seen secondhand great sequels, but I don't go in with that intent.

However, Stanton has definitely warmed up to the idea since then. When asked about a sequel to either Finding Nemo or WALL-E on Twitter in early 2012, he offered this coy reply:

Image source: Twitter

Today, he's working as the director of 2016's Finding Dory -- a project that was recently pushed back by seven months from its first late-2015 release, after Pixar realized it needed more time to perfect an earlier original film, The Good Dinosaur.

Unfortunately, that means WALL-E 2 won't happen for at least another few years. In the end, however, Disney should have plenty of reasons to make sure it's next on Pixar's to-do list.

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Read/Post Comments (13) | Recommend This Article (9)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 12:58 PM, jerrylousalem wrote:

    If anything from the Disney/Pixar marriage needs a sequel - it's The Incredibles. I am not sure what about Wall-E screams for a sequel.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 1:01 PM, BJShipley1 wrote:

    I disagree on your choice. "Wall-E" was the perfect self-contained story with a clear-cut ending. While it would be nice to see the characters again, I don't think a sequel fits in with the tone of the ending.

    But "The Incredibles" was made for a sequel. Why hasn't that one been done yet?

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 1:11 PM, Cosmic wrote:

    2 weeks ago, I was just talking about "Wall-E" and how much I loved that movie. A sequel would be great though as posted prior, it was neatly tied up already. That doesn't mean he can't have a new adventure there or elsewhere with additional robot friends and some humans.

    "The Incredibles" is definitely a great one for a sequel as well.

    I'm 52 and would go see both sequels with my wife and adult kids :) .

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 1:33 PM, subzerofan7 wrote:

    I Have To Agree with The Other Posts The Incredibles Not Wall-E That Deserves It The Most The Ending Of The Movie Left Us All Hanging And I Screamed For A Sequel Afterwards Pixar Not Fair!

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 4:13 PM, TMFSymington wrote:

    Hey Folks,

    Thanks for reading and for the comments so far! For the record, I agree "The Incredibles" badly needs a sequel. That's why I called for it last year! (See here: http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2013/07/20/disney-need...

    As I wrote then, "The Incredibles 2" will all depend on the schedule of Director Brad Bird and his quest for the perfect storyline. However, he did just finish "Tomorrowland" and has no new Pixar films announced since serving on the creative team for Monsters University -- so who knows? Maybe "Incredibles 2" could be up next.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 4:14 PM, TMFSymington wrote:

    (Sigh) End paren broke my link: Try this instead: http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2013/07/20/disney-need...

    Fool on,

    Steve

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 4:21 PM, macoan wrote:

    While the Incredibles would be a good movie to have a sequel, I think it would be a bad choice since by the time it would be out 2017 or so, the world will be very burnt out on Superhero movies.

    The film stuido's can't remember that people like variety, yet they are planning more and more superhero movies.

    Don't get me wrong, they are good - but one of these movies are really going to bomb... not because it's a bad movie, but people will be burnt out on them.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 5:58 PM, DocEagle wrote:

    The key to any sequel is answering the question "What's next for the character?" Doing a sequel for Wall-E makes about as much sense as a sequel to Snow White. Honestly, the story ended and there's really no further place for the characters to go.

    The Incredibles--as noted--is a story whose format was built for future adventures.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2014, at 10:18 AM, mmh12345 wrote:

    forget Wall E.....I think they need to do a sequel to the Incredibles!! That is such a great movie!!

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2014, at 12:22 PM, TommyBoyce778 wrote:

    Wall E was great, it's one of my favorite films of the last 20 years but I can't really see a sequel coming. It's not in the public conscious anymore and I have seen the little robot virtually ignored by people at Disneyland.

    Now, The Incredibles would probably be their best bet. EVERYONE wants that sequel. It would be an easy Billion. Maybe even bigger than their Marvel films.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2014, at 1:16 PM, miteycasey wrote:

    I'd rather see The Incredibles sequel.

    It could be another franchise.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2014, at 3:41 PM, oatmeal33 wrote:

    Unless you adjust for inflation, comparing the box office totals between films released in different years/decades isn't very valid.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2014, at 5:49 PM, TMFSymington wrote:

    @oatmeal33, ^^ Point taken. In fact, I'm glad you brought it up, because it's worth noting Cars 2 & Monsters University both technically underperformed their predecessors after accounting for inflation in the U.S.

    Still, that ignores that they were both still massively profitable, and that Cars also spawned DisneyToons' Planes franchise.

    We should also remember it's exceedingly difficult to accurately measure worldwide ticket price inflation -- and without exception, overseas audiences have accounted for significantly higher percentages of the total for every Pixar sequel made so far. (For some easy-to-digest tables, see here: http://boxofficemojo.com/franchises/chart/?id=pixar.htm )

    Fair enough? Thanks again for reading, and Fool on!

    Steve (TMFSymington)

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