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What sort of ripple effect will Disney's decision to push back "The Good Dinosaur" 's release date have?

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What sort of ripple effect will Disney's decision to push back "The Good Dinosaur" 's release date have?

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Do your remember that scene from the original "Jurassic Park " where -- as that off-screen T-Rex stomped around the paddock which he was about to escape from -- his footfalls were so heavy that they actually cause ripples in those water glasses which Tim & Lexy are drinking from?


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Well, Disney's decision to push back the release date of "The Good Dinosaur" from May 30, 2014 to November 25, 2015 is bound to cause some ripples too. But not in the ways that you might think.

Obviously, this is going to cause some upheaval on the Consumer Products side of things at The Walt Disney Company. If only because Mouse House reps have been meeting with & then signing contracts with licensees to produce "Good Dinosaur" products for the better part of two years now. All so -- once the Spring of next year arrives -- retailers around the world would then have been able to sell t-shirts, action figures & plush toys that looked just like Arlo, Spot, Cliff, Ivy and Forest do in this movie. And now because the release date of this particular Pixar production has been pushed back by 18 months ... Well, that then means there are suddenly a whole lot of people who create products for WalMart, Target et all who have to scramble around and make other plans.

And trust me, folks. The people who work for Disney Consumer Products are not happy that "The Good Dinosaur" has been pushed back from May of 2014 to November of 2015. If only because this now means that "The Good Dinosaur" will be following "Jurassic World" (which is supposed to be released on June 12, 2015) into theaters.


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"And what's so bad about that?," you ask. Well, in the brick-and-mortal retail world, there are only some many endcaps, so much shelf space to go around. And if WalMart &Target already have a ton of "Jurassic World" material that they're still trying to sell off / get rid of by the late Summer / early Fall of 2015 ... Well, that then might mean that they'll be a bit conservative when it comes to ordering "Good Dinosaur" toys. Which -- again -- could have a significant ripple effect / negative impact on DCP's overall earnings for late 2015 / early 2016. Not to mention the hole that pushing the release of this Pixar production back 18 months is going to put in Consumer Product's financial projections for the end of fiscal 2014.

And then -- provided that the current average wait time between a film's theatrical-release and then the DVD & Blu-ray release of this same film holds -- "Jurassic World" should be hitting store shelves during the first week of October 2015. Which is just seven weeks or so before "The Good Dinosaur" opens in theaters.

Now let me make a prediction here (which -- I know -- on the face of it will initially sound very dumb. But this is how the media works these days): In the weeks out ahead of "The Good Dinosaur" being released to theaters, you're going to see a number of stories in the entertainment press about whether moviegoers will actually buy tickets for a second dinosaur film less than six months after "Jurassic World" opened in theaters.


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And let me make a second prediction here. In those articles which ask "Will 'Jurassic World' 's success at the box office undercut ticket sales for 'The Good Dinosaur' ?," you're going to see lot of these same authors pointing to how "Olympus Has Fallen" supposedly undercut "White House Down" 's ticket sales this past summer.

Anyway ... Enough with the bad news: Let's talk about the movies that will most likely benefit from Disney's decision to push back the release date of "The Good Dinosaur." These include the two animated features that will now be opening ahead of the release date that this Pixar production just vacated -- "Rio 2" (which opens in theaters on April 11th) and "Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return"(which opens in theaters on May 9th) -- as well as the DreamWorks Animation film that was originally supposed to bow two weeks after "The Good Dinosaur," "How to Train Your Dragon 2" (which opens in theaters on June 13th).

Oddly enough, another movie will probably benefit from this Pixar production's postponement is "Planes: Fire and Rescue." The sequel to Disney "Planes" (which -- to date -- has earned $83.3 million domestically and an additional $55.8 million overseas) is slated to  be released to theaters on  July 18, 2014. And given that the Marketing department at Walt Disney Studios will no longer have a Pixar production to hype in the late Spring / early Summer of 2014, you can expect that "Planes: Fire and Rescue" will now get a full court press. So it will be interesting -- what with all of the additional marketing that the Mouse can now be expected to do for this DisneyToon Studios production -- to see how "Fire and Rescue" 's grosses compare with the original "Planes" box office totals this time next year.


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Also, it's worth noting here that pushing back "The Good Dinosaur" by a year may actually wind up being a good thing. Not only because it will then give the folks up in Emeryville the time that they need to fix this film's story. But also because (to borrow that old cliché) absence sometimes does actually make the heart grow fonder.

To explain: There are those who study Hollywood history who suggest that one of the main reasons that "The Lion King " racked up such huge numbers at the box office during the Summer of 1994  (i.e., $312.8 million domestic ) was because it had been over 18 months at that point since the last Walt Disney Animations Studios production, "Aladdin ," had been released to theaters (And just in case you were wondering: That Ron Clements / John Musker movie was released to theaters back in November of 1992. And "Aladdin" earned $217.3 million domestically,  $286.7 million overseas for a combined worldwide box office total of  $504 million).

At the very least, it doesn't look like an 18 month delay will have all that much of a negative impact on "The Good Dinosaur" 's box office potential. Looking back on the last time something like this happened (i.e., there was a year-and-a-half long gap between the November 2004 release of "The Incredibles " and the June 2006 release of "Cars "), Brad Bird's superhero saga made  $261.4 million domestic, $370 million overseas for a grand total of $631.4 million worldwide. Whereas John Lasseter's tribute to small town living sold $244.0 million worth of tickets stateside, $217 million to foreign filmgoers. With "Cars" combined worldwide box office totals coming in at $461.9 million.


Copyright Disney Pixar. All rights reserved

So long story short: If "The Good Dinosaur" worldwide box office totals are eventually on par with "The Incredibles" & "Cars," no one has to worry about Pixar Animation Studios becoming extinct anytime soon.

In the meantime, here's hoping that the folks up in Emeryville who have been tasked with fixing "The Good Dinosaur" get a handle on this film's story problems very, very soon. Because -- based on the concept art that's already out there -- there are already a lot of little kids around the world who'd love to get their hands on an Arlo & Spot plush.

Your thoughts?


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UPDATE: And in the 24 hours since this story was originally posted on JHM, Walt Disney Studios has made further adjustments to its theatrical release schedule for 2014, 2015 and 2016 to compensate for "The Good Dinosaur" being shifted from May of 2014 to November of 2015. Disney "Maleficent" -- which was originally supposed to be released on July 2, 2014 -- will now open in theaters in the "Good Dinosaur" 's old slot, May 30, 2014. Meanwhile, because the "Good Dinosaur" is now supposed to open in theaters on the date that was originally reserved for "Finding Dory," the release date of this Andrew Stanton film has been pushed back to June 17, 2016.

Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Given that -- at the D23 EXPO -- Pixar's reps eluded to the fact that they were already in the process of overhauling the storyline of this "Finding Nemo" follow-up. That -- after a screening of "Blackfish" on the Emeryville campus -- Stanton & his production team were no longer comfortable with setting this sequel in a SeaWorld-like park where the animals are kept in tanks & cages. So now, Pixar's in the process of rewriting "Finding Dory" storyline so that the fish who are on display at this seaside theme park can come & go as they please. If they want to do that, that is.

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  • So where do all these changes leave "Inside Out"?

    EDITOR'S NOTE: As far as I know, "Inside Out" is still going to be released on June 19, 2015. "The Good Dinosaur" 's various story problems are supposedly going to have little or no impact on that Peter Docter movie. Or so I was told earlier today by the folks I was talking with at Pixar.

  • Is there any indication of what the problem with this movie is?  Obviously many animated movies have "growing pains", but it seems really weird that Disney rolled out "The Good Dinosaur" at D23 with apparent confidence and then reveals in the next week that the director was fired and the movie is delayed for 18 months.

    EDITOR'S NOTE: What I've heard -- without getting into specifics here -- is that "The Good Dinosaur" (in its current form, anyway) is that it just didn't deliver on the promise of the premise. I mean, when you hear that Pixar is making a movie about dinosaurs, you expect big, big things. Likewise when you hear that this film is set on a version of Earth where the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs didn't hit ... Well, that's an pretty intriguing concept. But how do you stretch that story idea out so that it then supports a 90 minute long animated feature?

    Basically it was decided that the rescue mission that Pixar's Brain Trust had been running on "The Good Dinosaur" these past few months wasn't going to be enough to set things right. That the Studio needed more time to get all of the project's story elements in balance, so that this Pixar production can then really deliver on the promise of its premise. Which is why "The Good Dinosaur" wound up being pushed back from May of 2014 to November of 2015. So that the artificial pressure of having an already locked-in release date for this film could be released. And then the folks at Pixar can concentrate on what's really important -- which is fixing the story.

  • Jim -- Can you clarify for me if "The Good Dinosaur" is based on the book "The Good Earth"...the title "The Good Dinosaur" is just so awkward, unless it really is based on "The Good Earth" and this is Pixar's way of telegraphing that.  For those who don't know, "The Good Earth" was a Pulitzer Prize winning book from 1931 written by Pearl S. Buck (who went on to win the Nobel Prize for literature). The story is about life in a poor Chinese farming village before World War I. There was a movie version made in the 1930s that won the Oscar for actress Louise Rainer, who played the lead female character named O-Lan. A few years ago, Oprah Winfrey chose "The Good Earth" as one of the last selections for her old book club and the book became popular again for a while.

    O-Lan seems phonetically similar to "Arlo", which is a character in the Pixar film "The Good Dinosaur".  That might just be a coincidence, but to me it feels more like an homage.

    "The Good Earth" is a complicated and adult story, but at it's heart there's a family of farmers that becomes impoverished because of the machinations of a villainous uncle and has to move south for a while; while there, the father of the family steals money and jewels during a food riot and the family then has enough to move back to their old land...and also buy the land of the villain who forced them to move south in the first place.

    I wonder if Pixar is doing "The Good Dinosaur" since China is such an emerging market and right now they are experiencing millions of people moving off farms and into cities...so the story is relatable to them.  The concept art we've seen from "The Good Dinosaur" indicate the evolved dinosaurs in the movie are all farmers (triceratops became bulldozers, stegasaurs make the rows for the crops with their tails, T-Rex puts the seeds in the holes using tiny arms, etc.). So, it could fit that this is the story of a farm dinosaur who has to go on a migration of some kind...and along the way he meets the little human spot, who will no doubt end up being a help or solution to whatever problem forced Arlo the dinosaur to move off his farm originally.  

    When I heard that Pixar was doing a movie about dinosaurs being alive today and having evolved since the meteor passed them by, I was very excited because I thought it would be like Dougal Dixon's "The New Dinosaurs" book...where he drew pictures of what dinosaurs would look like today if they continued to evolve and had adapted to the current Earth climate and geology. Hint: think of animals currently living today, like leopards or elephants or giraffes or lions and then just replace these with dinosaur-looking versions that are about the same size and shape. Dixon did not have dinosaur-human hybrids or intelligent dinosaurs in his book.

    But I think that's what the general public expects when they hear "a world where dinosaurs never went extinct". They picture something other than dinosaurs working together on a farm and growing crops.  I can tell you what my husband and sons thought when they first heard about 'The Good Dinosaur":  they thought it would be about a dinosaur city, or it would be like that old cartoon "Dinosaucers" where those dinosaurs had space ships and were intelligent..but still looked like T-rexes and triceratopses and whatever.

    My sons kept asking me if there is a "Bad Dinosaur" since this movie would be about the "Good Dinosaur", or if most dinosaurs were bad but then there was this good one named Arlo that the movie would be about. I can't imagine Pixar making a movie where all the dinosaurs are "bad" save for Arlo...so that's where I got the idea in my head that this movie is actually based off "The Good Earth" and that story about the Chinese farming village.  It's the only thing, to me, that explains such a clunky and awkward title from Pixar.

    Especially since the trend with Disney projects is to use one-word titles like: Ratatouille, Tangled, Brave, Frozen, Cars, etc. I would have thought Pixar would have named this movie "Arlo" or "Spot", after one of the two main characters.  

    There has to be a reason behind "The Good Dinosaur" and it's weird title.  Jim, can you give any insight on it?

    EDITOR'S NOTE: To my knowledge, there's no link between "The Good Dinosaur" and "The Good Earth." I mean, yeah. The Chinese family that Buck writes about does spend a lot of time working the land. And in the original opening sequence for "Good Dinosaur," we see Arlo & his family (as well as all the other dinosaurs who live in this peaceful agrarian community) working the soil and harvesting crops. But beyond that, these stories then go off in two very different directions.

    Oh, and from what I was told last night, Pixar still hasn't got a handle on how to fix "The Good Dinosaur." There are those in the Company's Brain Trust who are reportedly pressing for a Page One rewrite on the project. While there are others who believe that a more surgical approach (a new scene here or there. A new character or two. Some dialogue that then clarifies this story's aim and gives the audience a sense of who they should be rooting for in this movie) is needed.

    Since there's no clear consensus in-house up in Emeryville (Not yet, anyway) ... Well, that's one of the main reasons that "The Good Dinosaur" 's release date got pushed back from May of 2014 to November of 2015. That and the fact that the powers-that-be at Pixar have yet to settle on a new director who'll then work with Peter Sohn as a replacement for Bob Peterson.

    Long story short, BNBM: This situation is still evolving. But Pixar (which has grown tired of all this negative coverage of "The Good Dinosaur" and believes that the entertainment press is now needlessly piling on, trying to make hay out of the fact that this one animated feature is dealing with some pretty serious story issues) would prefer to now make all of its repairs to this project out of the spotlight. So just be aware that it could be a number of months before we then hear any more about what's being done (more importantly, who's been appointed) to fix "The Good Dinosaur."

  • if Disney is now delaying the good dinosaur it proably means they want some more extra time to work on it . even though their merch department now has to find a plan b and also will lose money from it due to shelves clogged with Jurrasic stuff and consumers may not want any more dino merch then.

  • I don't think "Jurassic World" and "The Good Dinosaur" are similar at all in terms of merchandise. The "Good Dinosaur" stuff will be bright and colorful and geared towards younger kids. The "Jurassic World" stuff will be aimed at teens and adult collectors (aka, grown men who buy toys and keep them in their boxes).

    My younger brother had ALL the Jurassic Park dino toys when they came out. This was back in 1993 or 1994, around then.  I was already in college and he was still in grade school...and I remember us buying him different dinosaurs and the little people action figures that came with them. He had a complete set.  The dinosaurs looked realistic at first but then they started coming out with neon-colored ones and ones that were a mix of two dinosaurs, like mutants. That was toward the end of the line for those toys.  

    I also remember Jurassic Park sheets and curtains and tee shirts my brother had. And there was a cool computer game he had at one point where he could build his own Jurassic Park on the computer, like SimCity (I looked that up right now and the game was called "Operation Genesis").

    I assume that the sort of merchandise for Jurassic Park will be similar in 2015 as it was in 1994. They will have the dinosaur action figures that will look realistic and will have figures of the heroes in the film.  There will probably be a lot of stuff for iPad and video games. And then all the bedding sets and shirts and whatever. Like they always do.

    I have two sons: DS9 and DS12.  I actually think they are far enough apart in age that if this stuff was coming out today that my older son would like the Jurassic World stuff and my younger son would like the Good Dinosaur stuff. But I don't think it's like a Coke versus Pepsi thing where you have to choose one thing...I think these actually complement each other because the little boys will be excited about dinosaurs because their older brothers like the Jurassic World stuff...and then the little guys can have the Good Dinosaur stuff.

    I really don't see 12 year olds and older wanting Pixar merchandise. "That's for babies" is what my DS12 says. But my younger boy is ALWAYS wanting to have things that his big brother has...and I just have to find age appropriate equivalents for him.

    I think having Jurassic World and Good Dinosaur come out close to one another helps both movies, actually.  They both have dinosaurs...but that just means that summer 2015 has a big dinosaur theme at birthday parties and everything. The stories for these two movies are so different though.  No one could get them mixed up, unlike those two White House movies where for the life of me I could not tell you how the plots were any different, except that in one the president was Aaron Eckhardt and in the other they had Jamie Foxx.

  • I agree that putting out a dinosaur movie in 6 months after Spielberg's film is risky. But kudos to Pixar for recognizing that something didn't feel right. It seems Pixar's rep has taken a slight hit over their last 4 films. 3 of those were sequels (albeit very creative and well-done sequels). Brave was very solid, but had a 3rd act that seemed rushed or unfinished, supporting the much-publicized production problems. Cars 2 got particularly ripped, and as good as Monsters University was, everyone had to end their movie critique with, "for a prequel, it was really good". There's no doubt Pixar hears all that, and wants to get back to being the studio that puts out only extremely creative, high-quality, original films.

    I like "BradyNBradleysMom" name-change idea. There's no doubt  the 2 dinosaur films will be WAY be different in every way, but the average movie-goer isn't very smart. Having the word "dinosaur" in the title, in my opinion, might be a bad idea.

    Any chance Disney/Pixar moves something to the 4th of July weekend, which I believe was the date originally set for Maleficient?

    A few years ago, on a Labor Day weekend, 4 Pixar films were in theaters. Seeing Up and Wall-E on the big screen again was awesome. I've longed wished that Disney would put Songs Of The South in theaters for a short run. They could add a disclaimer before the opening credits or tweak parts that they deem too insensitive in today's climate. Yeah, that's probably a pipe dream. I'd settle for Pinnocchio or Jungle Book.

  • Didn't "Volcano" come out after "Dante's Peak" and do better?  Didn't "Armageddon" come out after "Deep Impact" and do better?  And "White House Down" followed "Olympus Has Fallen" and did better.  I think following "Jurassic World" will be a good thing!

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