Pete Docter - Chief Creative Officer - Pixar Animation Studios

Pixar Chief Creative Officer Shoots Down Live-Action Remakes for Pixar Films

Pixar Chief Creative Officer Pete Docter is not a fan of Pixar flicks being remade as live-action films. The animation studio, which is owned by The Walt Disney Company, is known for its innovative computer animation. Its first full-length feature film was Toy Story in 1995, a film which Disney distributed. In 2006, the company was purchased by Disney. In 2018, Pete Docter became the Chief Creative Officer at Pixar. Before that, he directed Monsters, Inc., Up, and Inside Out for the studio. He also worked on countless other projects as well.

Ratatouille - Pixar Animation Studios

Live-Action Pixar Films?

Recently, Docter was interviewed by Time where he shared his thoughts on the matter. The question came in regards to a fan campaign to cast Josh O’Connor (Challengers, The Crown) in a live-action remake of Ratatouille. “No, and this might bite me in the butt for saying it, but it sort of bothers me,” Docter said to TIME. “I like making movies that are original and unique to themselves. To remake it, it’s not very interesting to me personally.”

Docter continued saying that making a live-action film about a rat “would be tough” because “so much of what we create only works because of the rules of the [animated] world.”

“So if you have a human walk into a house that floats, your mind goes, ‘Wait a second. Hold on. Houses are super heavy. How are balloons lifting the house?’” he continued, referring to 2009’s “Up.” “But if you have a cartoon guy and he stands there in the house, you go, ‘Okay, I’ll buy it.’ The worlds that we’ve built just don’t translate very easily.”

Inside Out 2

The discussion came ahead of the arrival of Pixar’s newest film, Inside Out 2, in theaters on June 14. This go-round, Docter is not at the helm of the emotions in Riley’s mind. This film is being directed by Kelsey Mann. However, the success of this movie is very much in the mind of the Chief Creative Officer. “If [‘Inside Out 2’] doesn’t do well at the theater, I think it just means we’re going to have to think even more radically about how we run our business,” he said.

Original Stories Vs. Sequels

Docter continued on and explained that part of Pixar’s current strategy to bring audiences into theaters is to “try to balance our output with more sequels.” 

“It’s hard. Everybody says, ‘Why don’t they do more original stuff?’ And then when we do, people don’t see it because they’re not familiar with it,” he said. “With sequels, people think, ‘Oh, I’ve seen that. I know that I like it.’ Sequels are very valuable that way.” Docter added, “On the other hand, they’re almost harder than originals because we can’t do the same idea again. We have to build on it hopefully in ways that people don’t expect.” 

This balancing act between original stories and returning to known entities all come with the responsibility of not just telling good stories but also balancing budgets and making a profit for the company. Finding the solution to this equation successfully leads to bigger and better things for Pixar. If original films do better in the box office, expect to see more original films. If sequels do better, expect more of those. There is a balancing act, however, of building on the past and building toward the future that also has to be maintained. With the amount of time and investment it takes to make each film, this means that Docter and the rest of the Pixar leadership really have their work cut out for them!

What do you think of Docter’s thoughts on live-action films for Pixar? How about his thoughts on original stories versus continuing known stories? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!