Features and Columns

A Brief History of Pixar’s Eye-Popping 3D Re-Releases

By  · Published on March 17th, 2014

Fans of Pixar and its particular brand of charming and widely appealing animated outings might be stuck waiting longer than they’d like for a new film to hit a big screen near them – thanks to pushbacks on both The Good Dinosaur and Finding Dory – but the studio may have just announced something exciting enough to appease the (maybe?) rioting masses.

Over at ScreenDaily, the outlet reports that Pixar’s director of 3D production, Josh Hollander, recently revealed at the quite-clearly-named 3D Creative Summit that they the studio is working on 3D re-releases of both The Incredibles and Ratatouille. While Hollander also shared that he and his team have not yet worked out the release strategy for either film, it should not prove to be that hard for them to accomplish, as Pixar has done it no less than four times before. As is the case with most things Pixar, it all worked out pretty okay.

Toy Story and Toy Story 2

Back in October of 2009, Pixar re-released both Toy Story and Toy Story 2 in the 3D format. The films were both already bonafide hits for the studio, so packaging them together into a double feature was a bit of a no-brainer move. Yet the re-release also worked to get fans excited to see Toy Story 3 in 3D as part of that film’s original release, which followed the blockbuster double feature in June of 2010.

The double feature was initially meant for a limited two-week release, but – surprise!! – its success kept it on the big screen for longer, ultimately sticking around for five weeks. The re-release made a tidy sum, pulling in over $30.7m at the box office. When Toy Story 3 hit theaters months later, it made over one billion dollars, surely plenty of those thanks to fans who suddenly found themselves compelled towards 3D completeism.

Finding Nemo

It isn’t just Pixar movies that get the 3D re-release treatment around Disney parts, the animation giant has also reworked some other classic Disney titles for the third dimension, particularly The Lion King, whose success helped contribute to the 3D re-release of Finding Nemo. After The Lion King tore up the box office in 2011, the studio pushed through a number of other 3D re-releases, with Finding Nemo hitting the big screen on September 14, 2012.

The re-release was a huge success, earning over $70m worldwide, reaffirming fan love for the little fish and his goofy dad, and (sadly) priming audiences for that Finding Dory sequel that will now swim in 2016 (not in 2015, as was first announced).

Monsters, Inc.

Echoing the Toy Story 3D re-release plan, Pixar reworked Monsters, Inc. for its own re-release timed to hit before its own sequel hit the big screen. The 2001 hit was released back into theaters on December 19, 2012, with Monsters University following on June 21, 2013.

Although not as big a success as Finding Nemo, the Monsters, Inc. 3D re-release did make a tidy $34m at the domestic box office, and it certainly helped drive fans to its sequel – Monsters University made over $743m at the worldwide box office that summer.

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Which Pixar film would you like to see re-released in 3D next?

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