As the summer season swims along, Pixar's Finding Dory is proving that it's safe to go back into the water, if you are a forgetful blue tang with family issues. While rival summer blockbusters are coming up short, the Pixar sequel keeps dominating at the box office, sailing past the $500 million mark globally and quickly climbing the ranks of all-time Pixar hits. In time, it's expected to pass Toy Story 3 as the highest-grossing Pixar film in the U.S. Pretty impressive.

Seeing as how Finding Dory is poised to kick off a string of sequels from Pixar, which will include Cars 3 and Toy Story 4, we wanted to step back and see what the animation giant could learn from the unheralded success of this new film, as well as reflect on previous Pixar sequels that might have mis-stepped on their long journey to the big screen. Finding Dory is a smash. What can it teach Pixar about sequels, and what we actually like about them?

There's No Such Thing As 'Too Much Time Has Passed'

Animated films take a very long time. So Pixar can't be cranking out new movies with the frequency of a live-action franchise. Finding Nemo, the movie that introduced Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) to audiences, came out in 2003. Most of the kids enjoying Finding Dory today were just twinkles in the eyes of current parents back then. But that's kind of the point. Even though the sequel arrives 13 years after the original movie -- light years in Hollywood speak -- Dory now has the ability to appeal to an older generation who now have families of their own, as well as a new generation who don't know Nemo and Marlin, but are excited to get to know a fresh cast of fish. I'm sure a huge chunk of the audience for Finding Dory is made up of moms and dads who were single when Nemo opened, and who now are rekindling their passion for Pixar by bringing their own kids to the theaters years later. Know what this means? Bring on A Bug's Life 2!

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