News broke last week that Pixar were making a direct-to-video feature film called Planes, a kind of spin-off sequel-ish film from the World of Cars. Bleeding Cool have learned that this isn't quite true.
The film is being developed and designed at Disney Toon Studios, where the storyboarding and layout work will be completed, and after animation, the final edit and sound mixing will be carried out there too. You can check out a list of direct-to-video sequels that the studio was responsible for on Wikipedia.
Does this mean that the actual animation is going to be carried out at Pixar? Again, no.
According to one of our sources, much or all of the animation is set to be carried out by Disney-contracted animators based in India. Previously these have been responsible for work on the Tinkerbell straight-to-DVD films.
So what involvement do Pixar have? At the moment, we have no idea. They surely will be involved in some capacity, if only as consultants. It might be reasonable to assume that the initial premise originated within the walls of Pixar, and John Lasseter is said to feel very protective of the Cars franchise so I'm sure he's keeping a close eye on proceedings.
In response to my request for formal statements, I have been told only that "Disney does not have a comment regarding your enquiry about Planes."
There was a sharp knee-jerk reaction to the very notion of Pixar making a direct-to-video title, and people began to doubt the quality of the project. Now I fear that Planes will be written off entirely, seeing how far from the epicentre of Pixar magic it is being produced. But that's not fair. At all.
For all we know, Planes could be a flat-out masterpiece and one of the greatest productions ever to bypass the cinema screen – something more and more movies are going to do as we go forwards, anyway. The people working on the film certainly think it's going to be a good film. They stressed to me that the film has "great characters" and "a tremendous story", and I'm inclined to believe them.