Pixar’s Ratatouille Expected To Flop?

For the past 10 years or so, Pixar has been an unstoppable behemoth of an animation house. Every single movie they’ve made has been a blockbuster of massive proportions, and has further solidified their reputation of making quality films. Their next movie, the Brad Bird-helmed Ratatouille, is scheduled to hit theatres on June 29th of this year, and by all indications it should be another box office smash. But for some strange reason, word is slowly trickling out of the Disney camp that the higher-ups are worried about this movie. They’re worried that they don’t know how to market it. They’re worried because Cars didn’t live up to its initial projections. They’re worried that the movie will be overshadowed by the huge number of blockbusters planned for release this summer (incidentally, Erik Davis at Cinematical agrees with this sentiment). Well you know what? I’m not buying any of it!

I remember the exact same crap being said about Finding Nemo. People were saying it would be the first failure for Pixar. It ended up blowing open the box office and still holds the record for DVD sales. I thought Cars was perhaps the weakest Pixar film to date (certainly, concept-wise it was the weakest), and hey, guess what… it still made $244 million! I simply can’t see Ratatouille flopping. If anything might hurt its performance, it could be similarities to the Dreamworks/Aardman flick Flushed Away, which was a commercial dud. I still say that the Pixar name alone guarantees that parents and their kids will come out in droves… not to mention all the Pixar fanboys!

» Related Link: Cinema Blend

  • Goon

    if its put out by Pixar, and is better than your average POS CGI kids film, it will make over 200 million dollars, that they’d think otherwise is just stupid.

    they had my money for this one the second they signed Patton Oswalt to voice the lead character.

  • Henrik

    I hate Pixar. I saw Cars over the holiday, and it was just a horrible as the rest of their movies. I have seen the Toy Stories, Monsters Inc., The Incredibles and Cars and all of them have been POSs.

    The Incredibles had me going for a short while, but in the end was just the same bullshit. None of their movies take themselves seriously. And I don’t mean that they are not dark enough, but all of them are like *wink, wink – look at this nice little reference*. Like the soundtrack for The Incredibles. The Lion King has Timon & Pumba, and singing lions, but it still takes itself seriously. It aims a little higher than the lame chase scenes of a Pixar movie. And Pixar is so fucking pretentious it drives me crazy. Like that scene in The Incredibles “This is not a cartoon! People will kill you!”. Cut to: Kid running away from bad guys tripping over themselves while he’s giggling.

    Not to mention the humor is mindnumbingly stupid in a bad way. The do-do birds in Ice Age are funnier than anything in a Pixar movie.

    The villains in their movies are bumbling baboons who never feel evil in any way. The Incredibles has a wimpy fanboy. It’s laughable. If you want to see a good cartoon, with a good villain and some acting that actually takes itself and the story seriously, watch Prince of Egypt.

    The trailer for this looked ever more idiotic than the rest of their movies. I don’t see any appeal at all.

  • Thos

    Pixar rocks and Henrik is an ass clown.


  • Henrik

    Bah. Why does it always have to get personal?

  • Goon

    man Henrik, i would not want to hang with you. you criticize Pixar for not taking itself seriously (which in itself is retarded) and at the same time call the movies pretentious… what the fuck is wrong with you buddy?

  • That’s what internet message boards are for! Getting personal through text with people from around the world that you’ve never met! Godbless the internet.

  • Goon

    by Henrik’s standards, I should go burn my copy of the Muppet Movie, because Doc Hopper is a buffoon comic character not to be taken seriously. Instead it should have been Dennis Hopper and he should have killed several muppets to show he means business. also replace Steve Martin and Richard Pryor with Judi Dench and Vincent Gallo and actors that can take the story seriously and push it forward. After all, it is a kids film, we dont want them to have fun.

  • Henrik

    The problem is that they are playing both horses. They have the ‘serious’ (which, because of the hipocrisy, I find pretentious) scene of the mother telling the kids that this is not a cartoon and that people will kill them, and then they show the kids having fun while running from bad guys tripping over themselves.

    Good kids movies off the top of my head (some animated ones too):

    Little Mermaid, Lion King, Prince of Egypt, Ice Age, Star Wars, E.T.

    I also would not have a problem if it were kids telling me that Pixar was awesome, and that their movies were not based on cashing in, or great animation, but were only made because there was just so much a story to be told.

  • Nuno

    Ice Age is probably the worst CGI movie I have ever seen. The entire production looks rushed and subpar for a feature film. The entire plot stole from both Monsters Inc. and Shrek and the character and background designs were gaudy. The average movie goer (i.e. Henrik) doesn’t pay attention to that sort of thing so they don’t realise that Ice Age paved the way for low quality crap like Hoodwinked and Happily Never After.

    I don’t remember the part in The Incredibles when “…they show the kids having fun while running from bad guys tripping over themselves.” Since there weren’t any musical numbers, talking animals or pop culture references in The Incredibles and that the running time ran over your average 90 minute animated movie, I can see how a spaz wouldn’t be paying attention towards the end. I remember the bad guys being anything but bumbling as they chased and shot at kids with the intent to kill and the kids were laughing and having fun because they were using their powers for the first time in ways they never had before.

    Did you really just list The Prince of Egypt? Fox’s short lived run of animated movies in the 90s were embarrassing. They simply took classic films like Anastasia, The Ten Commandments and The King and I and made lame, animated adaptions of them.

  • Henrik

    What plot elements from Ice Age were taken from Shrek? I fail to see the resemblence.

    I agree that the animation on Ice Age was nothing noteworthy. I avoided it for a long time because I thought the animation in the trailers looked like garbage. When I was forced to sit through the movie, I was pleasantly surprised to find it hadn’t bothered me at the end. And I had laughed quite a bit. There is more to a movie than the production value, and I do realize that alot of people are into the ‘escapism’ thing, and love to be transported into a fantastic looking world of excitement and wonder, but even in cartoons, you owe it to yourself to look for something else there. Even though the fur on the mammoth doesn’t even compare to the fur on the blue monster in Monsters Inc., it doesn’t make the movie inferior.

    The main ‘villain’ of The Incredibles is basicly a smited fanboy. His tool of destruction is a comedic looking robot. The movie tries to mash seemingly realistic scenes of parents debating how to raise children, with lairs inside volcanoes.

    I don’t remember there being any talking animals in Prince of Egypt. Have you even watched it? The scene where Moses cries after the 10th plague is more emotional than anything in Pixars movies. You have to look a long way for comic-relief sidekicks like Frozone as well.

    Let me just address another thing. I am no stranger to personal abuse, and I do appreciate it when it’s done tastefully. But I’m not critisizing the audience who watch these movies. I am not talking about you, or anybody you know. It’s a little disheartening to have to put up with being called various things ranging from “ass clown” to “average” when talking about movies. I don’t understand the point, nor the need.

  • Well, I think it’s more about the tone of your posts. It sounded to me like you were attempting to be pretty defiant with your “I hate Pixar” post, and it sounded like you were baiting people into giving a rebuttal. Since so many people like Pixar, you shouldn’t be surprised that you got one.

    Name calling’s not cool, but neither is implying that people are idiots for liking something that you don’t. Which is what it seemed like you were saying, although perhaps you didn’t intend it.

  • Henrik

    I do feel a little bad. I am not unaware of the standoff-ish nature of some of my points.

    But I really do hate Pixar. Even though I should probably practice ‘sugarcoating’ or whatever you want to call it, and did so in the past, it never helped. I always ended up saying it blatantly, and if you start off by saying “I dislike” and 10 minutes into the argument say “I hate”, it’s going to sound even more put on and more standoff-ish. Like it will sound like it’s being said just to get a response, or to provoke, to kick it up a notch.

    Even so, I do think that I usually back a strong statement like it up, with a solid argument. That’s why these things sometimes turn into novels, because I want to make clear why I made the statement.

    Oh well, this shouldn’t be about arguing. Just talk about the movies. That’s what excites us.

  • Goon

    “The main ‘villain’ of The Incredibles is basicly a smited fanboy. His tool of destruction is a comedic looking robot.”

    did you happen to forget that the ‘fanboy’ character managed to kill dozens of superheroes before the Incredibles family got to him? Do you have a problem with movies being both funny and comedic? because Brad Bird’s other film, the Iron Giant, is probably one of the top 3 animated films i’ve ever seen, and has about the same mix of seriousness and comedy. How this ends up being ‘pretentious’ is beyond me.

    and I would agree with Sean – if you bait people (and i bait people too so i should know – I hate South Park and I’ve taken heat for it, big whoop) you should expect rebuttals, even stupid ones – you can either stick to your guns and hold your unpopular opinion, but after “Thos” made the predictable followup, you lamented that it got ‘personal’

    Sure, theres nothing inherently personal about your Pixar opinion, but when you go that far against the grain, you dont say “hey why so personal” in response, if anything at all you sarcastically call his response riveting or some shit and move on until someone actually targets the points of your argument. I didnt even think of responding to your rant until you did the ‘why so personal’ thing – by not expecting such a response you seemed like one of those people who thinks their opinion shouldnt be challenged, or that they never said anything against the grain to begin with.

    moving on.

    anyways, if you think Ice Age is better than anything Pixar has done (including Cars which i did not care for and theme-wise is basically a remake of “Doc Hollywood”) really i just throw this onto the pile of other things I think you’re crazy for thinking, which grows about every week.

    “I don’t remember there being any talking animals in Prince of Egypt.”


    “Have you even watched it? The scene where Moses cries after the 10th plague is more emotional than anything in Pixars movies.”

    Moses… talking animals… they’re both fictional characters.

    “You have to look a long way for comic-relief sidekicks like Frozone as well.”

    …and the reason comic relief is bad is because? Even Schindler’s List has fucking comic relief.

    I’m sorry man, I dont think your argument is nearly as strong as your tone.

  • Goon

    “Have you even watched it? The scene where Moses cries after the 10th plague is more emotional than anything in Pixars movies.”

    and I would flat out disagree anyways. example – Toy Story 2 montage of Joan Cusack’s characters back story and being thrown away by her previous owner, who had grown up. Despite hating Sarah McLachlan, being occasionally cynical of montages, and being trained to hate that character at that point in the story – they know that in a movie where toys are humanized, and that many people already empathize with the toys they had in their past as extensions of themselves. imagining something as mundane as one of the toys i had as a kid actually being alive and depressed because i forgot about it, well thats something I havent seen in a movie before, and thats certainly more interesting to me than a bible character being upset after something truly horrific happened.

    likewise, if people were told the story of one persons life being destroyed in the Iraq war, it would probably resonate more than the images on tv of bombs being dropped over the city. following one persons life on United 93 is a little more upsetting than watching the plane go into the building. bad as he is watching Saddam get hanged (and for that matter, Hitlers death scene in “Downfall”) is a bit more upsetting than if noone saw him being hanged.

    In war movies you dont get upset when the background characters get shot, you get upset when the “Bubba Gump” type character dies. Sometimes in movies that exploiting the audience, but its inherently more emotional than this Prince of Egypt example. I cant think of times when Pixar has to resort to exploitative sentimentality with its main characters. Its characters dramatic moments can be as simple as a depressed Buzz Lightyear peeling off his stickers.

  • Nuno

    The way that the mammoth and the sloth met is the exact same way that Shrek met the donkey. The ensuing interactions between the grumpy mammoth who wants to be left alone and the hyperactive, upbeat sloth who tags along and annoys him is a little too similar to the Shrek/Donkey relationship.

    That the production of Ice Age is subpar isn’t the only factor that makes it inferior but it doesn’t help. Cheap gags and typical sitcomish setups aren’t my cup of tea. Also, as a visual artist and fan of visual storytelling, I wanted to tear my eyes out while watching Ice Age. The landscapes weren’t based remotely on reality. Every ice formation and deformed tree looked so unnatural and unintentionally surreal that it was distracting and just screamed, “we don’t know what the fuck we’re doing, but it’s CG, baby!” When I watch a Pixar movie, besides getting an above average to great story, I’m inspired by the beauty and imagination that goes into telling that story. I could watch the Incredibles on mute and be dazzled by the breathtaking cinematography and mind boggling action scenes.

    As far as the personal attacks, I don’t know you personally so I’m trying not to attack you personally. I usually keep it to myself when you post one ludicrous remark after another, but man, you’ve made so many outlandish statements that I can’t take your opinions seriously.

  • Goon

    “I could watch the Incredibles on mute and be dazzled by the breathtaking cinematography and mind boggling action scenes.”

    by these elements alone you can tell whats Pixar and what isnt. Only “Monster House” to me has come close in matching for cinematography. Even in character design – ugh, has anyone seen “Shark Tale?” I havent, just looking at Will Smith’s fish character turns me away.

    I think a lot of people overhype Pixars plots, when really an above average story (at least compared to other movies) told and shown very well will outdo these other studios. To me, Pixar does that, based on everything from scene settings, to how background characters are mixed in. They constantly keep things fresh as it moves along, and they are so well paced that by the end I dont care that I have to sit through another Randy Newman song in the credits. “Cars” to me had the same great cinematography and visuals, however the story wasnt any better than what Dreamworks comes up with, and compared to the other Pixar films it has too much pop culture bullshit, and those other little things they do were lacking. Yet at the same time, they still dont resort to the kind of pop culture crap that would date it the way Dreamworks often does, like having characters sing “Who let the dogs out”.

  • Henrik

    Well… I have grown pretty tired of making fun of people who attack me personally. There are only so many times you can pretend to shrug it off and write ‘riveting’, or ‘great arguments’.

    Truth is I’m not entirely inscusceptible to being called idiotic. It bugs me. I don’t write these things out of my ass, I try and qualify my statements in a serious way. You may think that they are ludicrous, but as long as you can back your opinion up with something credible, I don’t see why it should be regarded as such. As for the reaction… I guess it wasn’t entirely unexpected. I’m not used to it on this site though. And I don’t think it’s unfair to point it out, no matter how unpopular an opinion you express.

    As for the Ice Age thing.. I don’t know. I admit to not having watched it in several years. I don’t own the DVD. I’m not big on cartoons. I’m not big on the kids movies at all, believe it or not. I don’t necessarily feel that a movie has to be 100% realistic in its visual style, in order to work though. I don’t sit there just to watch the nice backgrounds. Pixars money help with the look of their movies for sure. I didn’t think the look of Ice Age was so horrible that it ruined the experience. This debate made it look like I absolutely adore the movie though, which is not the case.

    In Prince of Egypt, the part that made it work for me was the brother-relationship. I’m not a big fan of religion, but I think the story of the brothers was interesting, and it was pulled off in a much more mature way than you would expect from a cartoon. The fact that the stuff comes from the bible I could care less about. I thought the relationship with God in the movie was done excellently, because it was basicly a father/son-relationship. Not to mention it has one of my favourite scores of all time. I enjoy the movie, and I wish it hadn’t been animated and hadn’t had the songs. (And don’t tell me to watch the Charlton Heston version if I want live-action. Please.)

    I mentioned the talking animals thing, because it was suggested that I was unable to pay attention to an animated movie without talking animals.

  • Greg

    Man….this is one hell of a debate. This website attracts some odd people, but it’s always an interesting read. 99% of the time when I go see an animated film I expect it to be funny and make me laugh. That’s really how I judge it. The Pixar films make me laugh more than most comedies do. There were moments in Toy Story and Monsters Inc. when I had tears in my eyes from laughing at something. The other thing the separates Pixar from every other animated film company is their selection of voice talents. You can just grab Brad Pitt, Michelle Pfiffer and Cameron Diaz and throw them in a sound booth, but that in no way guarantees that they’re right for the job. Pixar places this selection almost as important as the animation is. Albert Brooks and Craig T. Nelson can’t get a job anywhere….but they were excellent choices for their roles in the Pixar films.

    I haven’t seen Cars, but I’ve enjoyed every other Pixar film immensely.

    I also support Goon in his dislike of South Park, but Sarah McLachlan is good.

  • Goon

    re: Pixar voices – and thats another reason I have faith in ‘Ratatouille’ – how many people even know who Patton Oswalt is? Those of us who do know him though, know he’s got a great voice and can often make very unfunny words and sentences into funny ones. Its all in his intonation. Well I guess someone at Pixar noticed.

    Dreamworks on the other hand (not all the time but too often) seems to make characters suit who’s voicing them. “Antz” to me was a pretty good film, but the voices arent just voiced by Woody Allen, Jennifer Lopez and Sylvester Stallone – they are Woody Allen, Jennifer Lopez and Sylvester Stallone. The “Shark Tale” trailer doesnt focus on the story or characters, its not “heres a movie about a fish voiced by Will Smith” – its “Will Smith is… A FISH!” – “Shrek” was supposed to be Chris Farley which the more I think about it makes a hell of a lot more sense, and Mike Myers decided after his recording was all done to give Shrek his weird accent. It didnt necessarily turn out bad per se, but it goes to show that the people making that movie were catering to actors rather than to a plan. I’ve noticed in Pixar’s trailers they never really make a huge deal out of the cast, however the other CGI companies do – they have to rely on star power to make up for their obvious shortcomings. “The Ant Bully” really really pushed the star power angle.

  • Henrik

    I will give you that. I thought Craig T. Nelson was pretty excellent in The Incredibles, but I am big fan of him. He is a great actor.

    All the voices in that movie were brilliant. And that’s something that money doesn’t buy, like the cinematography and beauty of the locations etc.

  • Henrik

    Have to mention though… Ralph Fiennes as Rameses is pretty incredible.

  • xxx

    If one hates PIXAR that it does not make any different.Coz a million fans love it opposed to ONe.
    Keep it up Pixar…

  • meshuggah

    And over a million fans loved Hitler. Food for thought, eh.