Will Disney do a Big Hero 6 sequel?

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Frozen is still the all-time domestic box office hit for Disney Animation Studios. Second on that list is The Lion King. The third was Beauty and the Beast, with Big Hero 6 now taking that spot. So what’s the secret to Disney’s recent success? There are many factors, but one major one, according to Disney Animation president Andrew Millstein (via Variety), is that the studio focused on “elevating storytelling and putting filmmakers at the center of the process.”

It’s a sad reality, since a lot of studios don’t have that mentality (it’s all about what the studio wants). Disney Animation was like that for a while with Michael Eisner running things, until Bob Iger took over and brought in others who took a cue from Pixar. For Big Hero 6, the story was about Baymax, the lovable and huggable robot, and Hiro, the child genius. Big Hero 6 co-director Chris Williams says, “It’s the absolute key to the film and the reason the film resonates with audiences.”

You can thank Ed Catmull and John Lasseter for Disney Animation’s new approach. They both are in charge of Pixar, and back in 2006, they were brought in to run Walt Disney Animation Studios. They brought over some of the culture of Pixar to the Disney Animation team which included more power to the creative team and a focus on teamwork. This allowed animation directors, writers and story artists to share notes and collaborate with ease, and thus the Story Trust took over the “bake-off” competition.

“The change was about the Pixar team sharing ideas with us, sharing their key principles,” Millstein says. “‘Hero’ is one example of what we’ve learned over the years and our embracing some of the Pixar DNA.”

“So the Story Trust spent most of our time on their relationship,” says Williams about the film having 80% of Baymax and Hiro being together. “The movie centers on loss, and so we all talked about our own experiences. We made ourselves vulnerable once the doors were closed, when we were in the sacred space of the storyroom.”

So what does that mean for the future of Big Hero 6? Will we be getting a sequel? Williams quoted Lasseter’s statement: No sequel will ever get made unless the directors want one and feel strongly that there is a story that needs to be told.

“If it’s not a great story, it won’t be a great movie,” Williams said. “The crew deserves a great story. And we have expectations from the audience, who grew up with Disney animation. They deserve a great story too.”

There you go. If there’s a worthwhile story, then we can get a worthwhile movie.

Would you like to see a sequel to Big Hero 6?

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John Nguyen
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