Pixar continues the Cars franchise despite being the most disliked Pixar series.



462 million was the box office for Cars 2006.
560 million was the box office for Cars 2 in 2011.
384 million was the box office for Cars 3 in 2017.
239 million was the box office for the non Pixar spinoff Planes in 2012.

Cars has with the exception of Pixar’s original franchise, Toy Story, has had the most sequels, was the only one to do a spinoff without Pixar producing and is tied for highest grossing Pixar property of all time.

22 billion dollars made total, which is tied with Toy Story, also at 22 billion.

Which learning that shocks a lot of people, because critically and commercially, the movies themselves don’t really do that well.

Pixar has had 25 movies released currently, with 26 coming out next month with Lightyear.

On 25 movies, the average Rotten Tomatoes score is 89%.

18 movies are over 89%.
Two over 80%.
Three broke 69%.
And the only rotten film is Cars 2 at 39%.

Cars are the majority of the below 80% review movies.

Cars is 74%.
Cars 2 is 39%.
Cars 3 is 69%.

The reviews are so much worse over the average Pixar movie, that if removed, the average would be closer to 92% versus 89%.

Financially, they also fall a little short.

Pixar as of 2019, before COVID had a lifetime gross of 14 billion dollars.

At the time, there were 21 movies, with the Cars films all included.

667 million was the average Pixar box office gross at the time.

411 million was the average for the Cars franchise, including the spinoff Planes.

A 250 million dollar drop over the average Pixar film.

Reasons for them not making as much money are pretty simple.

  1. Generally bad or mediocre reviews.
  2. More of a boy leaning franchise, not getting the gender neutral branding of franchises, such as Finding Nemo or Up.
  3. Failed to get appeal targeting older audiences, where movies such as Incredibles succeeded in resonating more with parents over kids.

That said though, it’s still a cash cow thanks to merchandise.

1.5 billion dollars is the average sales for toy cars in the last decade.
That’s about 5% of the total 38 billion dollar US car market.

Cars globally sell billions yearly and the Cars franchise off toy cars with their brand has sold 19.1 billion dollars in total merchandise.

Comparing that, Toy Story, which is also an easy to merchandise franchise with toys has sold 17.8 billion.

Cars would be a higher grossing franchise, if Toy Story didn’t have Toy Story 4 and held as a 3 movie franchise, like Cars.

The reason for bringing this up.

A lot of people have wondered why the franchise continues to exist and get so much attention from Disney, despite being visibly the most disliked Pixar series.

It also is the only one Disney had to intervene and produce a spinoff for outside of Pixar, because apparently Pixar didn’t want to do it and waste a year focused on it.

It’s something which I‘d guess in the next decade is something Disney wants to pursue more and might actually make an entirely new studio devoted to Cars/spinoffs of it, to just focus on pumping out content related to it in order to sell toys, making it a lower quality/earning series, but one that makes a billion yearly selling toys globally.

Just an amusing thing as plans for Cars 4 seem to be developing for a release in 2025-2027.

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