We got something wholly rare in 2015, a year with two Pixar movies. While Inside Out just won the Best Animated Feature Oscar and is well on its way to becoming a classic, the other, The Good Dinosaur, has the ignominious distinction of being the animation studio’s first flop. Undergoing a number of rewrites, recasting, and other behind the scenes problems, it was delayed, and did not perform well when it was released last November. Still, it has found a new life on the home video market and found an audience.
The Good Dinosaur just hit the home video market—it was released on Blu-ray and DVD on February 23. Despite it’s middling box office gross and tepid reviews, Variety reports that it topped the home video sales charts during it’s first week, knocking the latest James Bond adventure, Spectre, down to number 2.
During its theatrical run, The Good Dinosaur only earned $122 million at the domestic box office ($313 million worldwide). While that’s not terrible by many standards, considering Inside Out raked in nearly three times that in U.S. theaters a few months earlier, it was a let down. It is also the lowest grossing Pixar movie ever, more than $40 million behind the next lowest, 1998’s A Bug’s Life.
Similarly, the reviews of The Good Dinosaur weren’t exactly savage, but there was an air of disappointment to them. Over the years, Pixar has become so dependable and set so high a standard that even a mediocre movie feels like a let down in comparison to the rousing critical and financial successes we’re used to seeing from the animation studio. The consensus seems to be that it’s not bad, but it’s bad for Pixar.
There were problems for the film from the beginning. The Good Dinosaur was originally slated to hit theaters in 2014, but production problems delayed that, which is why it opened in 2015. At one point, after the voices had been recorded, the story and script were stripped down, totally overhauled, and completely reimagined. While the cast expected to come back and rerecord the new material, they were all replaced with new actors. The lone exception was Frances McDormand, who retained her role.
All of the trouble is really too bad, because, at its core, The Good Dinosaur has an interesting, "what if" concept. The premise is that the asteroid that hit the Earth and caused the dinosaurs to go extinct missed and as a result, humans and dinosaurs evolved side by side and shared the world with one another.
This isn’t the first time a movie that was ignored in theaters has found a new life on home video. Just look at Dredd a few years back. Hopefully as we get farther from the negative publicity of its theatrical run, public opinion will soften and more people will give The Good Dinosaur a chance.