The perfect track record of the Pixar Studio is in danger of being tainted with the release of next summer’s Cars 2. The original 2006 film has the lowest Rotten Tomatoes score in the entire franchise with a dismal 74%, making it the only film in the entire series to score lower than 90%. Cars is also the Pixar film that has the lowest worldwide gross of any film since the year 2000. However, the Cars franchise has earned the studio over $2 billion in merchandise sales since its release, which makes it seem like making Cars 2 the first non-Toy Story Pixar sequel is a money grab. However, the Cars characters have also appeared in more original short films than any other Pixar films’ characters, so the minds in Emeryville must get some sort of inspiration from the vehicular ensemble.
The sequel brings back the voice talents of Owen Wilson as the race car Lightning McQueen and Larry the Cable Guy as the rusty pickup truck Mater. It will be co-directed by John Lasseter, the Pixar CEO who directed the first film, and Brad Lewis, the producer behind Ratatouille. The sequel will be a globe hopping endeavor where the Cars travel to such countries as England, France, and Italy.
The brief glimpse that can be gleaned from the 30-second teaser indicates nothing special. It looks like the film is trying too hard to continue to sell Mater as a hilarious character, but it feels like his shtick is getting old. We will find out next June if Pixar has what it takes to keep their phenomenal streak alive or if this signals a downward trend for the animation studio.
Check out the teaser trailer below and the concept images after that.
Cars 2 will be in theatres in the U.S. on June 24, 2011.