Disney Needs to Make This Sequel

Hint: It's not John Carter or The Lone Ranger.

Jan 19, 2014 at 11:00AM

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


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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4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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