Few studios have a reputation quite as stellar as the one enjoyed by Pixar. The animation giant has a legacy of great work dating back to the original Toy Story, and that seems poised to continue with tomorrow's release of Coco. The Dia de Los Muertos-inspired film is Pixar's most musically-driven project to date, but will it ever go even further down that road to pursue a full-blown Disney musical? According to Coco director Lee Unkrich, it's something Pixar is open to as long as a director brings an excellent story to the table. Unkrich explained:
The studios open to doing it. We haven't, but if a director comes along who has a passion to do that, I know John would be fully supportive.
So it's not that Pixar has any issue with the possibility of making a musical. It's just not something that has necessarily been attempted at the studio yet. As Lee Unkrich pointed out in our conversation, the higher-ups at Pixar are open to the idea of exploring that style of movie, but it would take a genuinely passionate filmmaker to come to Pixar with a good idea. Of course, what that good idea would look like remains to be seen.
Such an approach to animation feels like a somewhat stark contrast to other animated films produced under the Disney banner. While Pixar hasn't made a musical yet, Walt Disney Animation Studios has nearly perfected the art over the years. This is even evident in the inclusion of the Walt Disney animated short film, Olaf's Frozen Adventure (a Frozen spinoff and a gap-bridger for Frozen 2) ahead of Coco's theatrical release.
On that note, in response to my own reference of a "Disney musical" in my question, Coco producer Darla K. Anderson made sure to chime in and note that if Pixar does pursue a musical somewhere down the line, it will endeavor to carve out its own identity and break away from other musicals made under the Disney banner. Anderson said:
I would say it's a full-on Pixar musical. Not a Disney musical.
Of course, until we get our first Pixar musical, Coco will stand as the next best thing. The film isn't a musical in the traditional sense because all of the songs take place within the world, but it's clear that the folks at Pixar did their homework to create an authentic sound for the Mexico-based story. Coco has already started to clean up at the box office and make a serious impression with critics, so it seems logical to assume that this potential success may only embolden Pixar to take more creative risks down the line.
Coco will debut in theaters tomorrow, November 22. If you're looking for more of what CinemaBlend thinks of the film, then check out our in-depth review and our handy To 3D guide. As for the next year of silver screen releases, you can check out our 2017 movie premiere guide and our 2018 movie premiere guide to see what else Hollywood has in store!