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John Lasseter Removes Bob Peterson As Director of “Good Dinosaur” [UPDATED]

The LA Times has confirmed that Bob Peterson has been dropped as director of Pixar’s 2014 feature The Good Dinosaur. The news of Peterson’s dismissal was first revealed by Blue Sky Disney on Monday, August 26th.

This would mark the third time in Pixar’s last four films that a director has been replaced mid-production: the other times were in 2010 when Brenda Chapman was replaced by Mark Andrews on Brave, and Brad Lewis was also taken off Cars 2 and replaced by Lasseter himself.

The unsettling trend at Pixar began in the mid-2000s when Jan Pinkava was booted off Rataouille in favor of Brad Bird. Another publicly announced project, Newt, which was to have been directed by veteran Pixar sound designer Gary Rydstrom, was canned entirely. Lasseter’s fondness for directorial musical chairs extends to his creative leadership role at Disney Feature Animation where he yanked Chris Sanders from the director’s chair on Bolt.

Ed Catmull, who confirmed the news to the LA Times spun the story awkwardly, first by indicating that Peterson’s dismissal was due to his over-enthusiasm for his own project, and then by suggesting that live-action films should follow the Pixar model and replace their directors more often:

“All directors get really deep in their films. Sometimes you just need a different perspective to get the idea out. Sometimes directors … are so deeply embedded in their ideas it actually takes someone else to finish it up. I would go so far as to argue that a lot of live-action films would be better off with that same process.”

According to the Times, twenty-year Pixar veteran Peterson remains at the studio and is developing another project. However, if history is any guide, the other three replaced directors—Chapman, Lewis and Pinkava—ended up leaving Pixar after their demotions.

No new director has been named on The Good Dinosaur even though the film is due in theaters in nine months. Diffrent people at the studio are helping to guide the various parts of its production, including Lasseter, Lee Unkrich, Mark Andrews and Peter Sohn, who was Good Dinosaur’ original co-director.

UPDATE (2:19am ET): Bob Peterson acknowledged the situation on Twitter tonight with positivity and good humor:

  • hellohue

    These statements that follow such events always feel worded in an incredibly diplomatic way. All we can do then, is make informed guesses. These decisions often turn out to be story ‘problems’, so with 20-plus years of experience as a story artist, it’s difficult to completely accept that Peterson is simply finding it hard to ‘finish it up’. Then again, story troubles could always be worked out from within that department, surely, without removing the director. Though it does seem like a creative conflict than production/schedule troubles.

    Yes, films are a collaborative medium, yes the Pixar brain trust is a formidable council, but I worry that for them to remove a director at such a late stage will result in a watered-down whisky, that more comfortably ticks boxes in test screenings. Why do I get the feeling that ‘get the idea out’ somewhat means ‘shoehorn in a climactic set piece ending that ramps up because that’s what is supposed to happen’?

    • superbiasedman

      “Why do I get the feeling that ‘get the idea out’ somewhat means ‘shoehorn in a climactic set piece ending that ramps up because that’s what is supposed to happen’?”

      I’m guessing it’s because that appears to be what happened with Brave.

      • cetrata

        I thought that fight was rushed.

    • guest

      I was thinking of Brave. The elements suggested so much more than what the story turned out to be. It’s like they didn’t think things through, didn’t finish. I wish I could see Brenda’s version.

      I also wish I could see Glen Keane’s Rapunzel. I keep wondering what that would have been.

  • Ju-osh

    Someday someone’s gonna remake the ‘Jessie’s song’ montage from Toy Story 2, only it’ll star the fired Pixar directors. It’ll open with behind-the-scenes clips of the dismissed directors’ early, happy days at Pixar…followed by their gradual falling-out with the humbly self-titled ‘Brain Trust’…their removal from their respective films…and ending with their inevitable exit from the studio a few months after the films’ release (for PR reasons, natch).

    Sarah McLachlan’s weepy warble has already saved countless dogs and cowgirl dolls. Just imagine what it would do for animation directors!

  • Caitlin Cadieux

    This is concerning to me primarily because I believe that’s what led Brave to sink into a stew of general mediocrity with some disappointing chunks of potential floating around in it. I liked Brave, but it was muddled and came out the worse for it, with every direction they tried to pull it in still plainly visible in the final film.

    I don’t know what to think about this, but I’m having a hard time understanding why this is so necessary — I’d also be inclined to think yanking a director off a project so close to its theatrical release would mean it’s essentially too late in the process to save the movie if it needed saving. It’s a weird lack of commitment to see a film through from start to end, and a real lack of faith in the directors. Once or twice, maybe, but it’s obviously a trend, so I have to wonder why these directors are repeatedly not trusted to see a film through to completion.

  • Tril

    It doesn’t matter; it will win the Oscar anyway just for being Pixar (Cars notwithstanding).

    • canimal

      Personally I hope The Boxtrolls wins. If not that then HTTYD2. Anything but another repeat of Brave’s undeserved win.

      • Dan Siciliano

        Let it go, canibal, let it go! So many arguments about the Brave/Wreck-It Ralph controversery…can we just move on

      • jmahon

        There were quite a few good movies released then but I feel almost personally robbed that Wreck-it Ralph, a movie that exemplified the merits of originality, did not get it.

        • I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic. Wreck-It Ralph was about as hackneyed as it got.

          • Funkybat

            Uh, I kind of doubt he was being sarcastic. You are the first person I have ever heard call Wreck-It Ralph “hackneyed.” I and most fellow animation artists I know felt that Wreck-It Ralph was a fantastic film, not 100% perfect but overall a triumph for Disney. Most of my friends wanted to see either Paranormal (also a great film) or Ralph win the Oscar, and seeing it go to Brave was a major letdown. If you want “hackneyed” go watch “Frankenweenie.”

          • I have no comments to make about the animation artists you know, but Wreck-It Ralph was one of the worst films I ever sat through the first half of. After a parade of obnoxious characters, unfunny jokes and telegraphing every second of the ending, I decided that life was too short to subject myself any further. A bunch of cameos of characters from video games that I could just go play does not make it a good movie, and there was not one iota of originality in either its “learning to accept who you are” story or how it delivered.

        • Paranorman and Frankenweenie were better IMO. It was a strong batch of nominees all around.

      • Lewis

        Paranorman should have won hands down this year

        • William Bradford

          I would’ve given it to Paranorman for unique look and tone, but I did feel it needed a bit more editing compared to Brave. Wreck-it-ralph was splendid, but really I thought Brave broke the Pixar mold more so. I thought Frankenweenie was a bit bland

          • guest

            I would have given it to ParaNorman for story. I might have pulled back a little because of one crucial shot I thought was cut way too short (aagh!), and one plot line I thought was blown for a throwaway joke, but… I keep thinking of how well it said something I think really needs saying now. It’s just a gift. Loved Norman’s hair. Loved Courtney saying “You’re adults!” Angry Aggie was amazing. And Alvin’s dancing, c’mon, you gotta love that.

            I left a comment above that I wish I could have seen Glen Keane’s version of Rapunzel. I’m a Keane fan, I seriously respect his talent. But I also wish I could hear a Keane-Lasseter debate on ParaNorman. The Sleeping Beauty twist in it, doesn’t it tweak both Disney and Pixar in a really fabulous way? Thinking back to this 2010 CloneWeb interview:


            CW: What would you say of John Lasseter at the position he occupies now. Is he the new Walt Disney?

            GK: He’s really John Lasseter. He is not Walt Disney and it’s good that way, because there’s only one Walt Disney and one John Lasseter, but I’ve known John Lasseter since he was eighteen, a long time. John has created a studio that represents his spirit. And Walt Disney has created– There are differences between Pixar and Disney. If you reduced Pixar to a phrase it would be: “Wouldn’t it be cool if?” Like if a kid was looking at their toy: What if the toy could talk? All their films are like this.

            If you reduced the Disney films it would be: “Once upon a time… ” There is big difference. “Once upon a time” – it’s make believe. It’s the atmosphere we breathe in the two studios and John is president of both but for the first couple of years it was a constant fight for him to accept that Disney is not Pixar. They’re completely different. Now he’s started to respect the differences between the two. It’s important to realize Disney is Disney, Pixar is Pixar. And John is John and Walt is Walt.

            Wouldn’t it be cool if saving the world depended on a reading a little girl a fairytale?

            Maybe this comment belongs here, maybe not. Long story short, I don’t know John Lasseter, but if he’s futzed I’d like to think he could be unfutzed.

  • DJ

    Lasseter needs to realize his role at Pixar is to oversee the studio as a whole and not to micro-manage individual productions. There are 3 movie’s (I think that’s correct?) at different stages of production at Pixar. Shouldn’t he be focusing on the other two films that are still in a development stage rather than the movie that has less than a year to it’s release (what can he actually change that will effect the film this late in production?). Is having a director that’s “to into” their film really that bad of a thing?

    • jérôme

      You must realize that although the announcement is made today, Peterson has been off the film for many months…
      John Walker is off the project and he got time to jump on Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland as executive producer so that wouldn’t surprise me if this whole decision had been made one year ago more or less.

    • Hugo

      Who are you to define Lasseter’s role? They have a president to do that, and he seems pleased. If you don’t like the burger or the way it’s made, don’t buy it. But you have no room to say who should be doing what.

  • Obligatory Star Wars Quote

    “The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.”

  • z-k

    There it is; handful of people is spot on.

  • Ken Martinez

    How did that The Who song go again? “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss…”
    Has anyone stopped to consider that this repeated whitewashing of an authorial POV from feature animation has resulted in the current glut of samey, mediocre films that are almost indistinguishable from one another? That this distrust of creators is why animation is in such a terrible rut?

    This is only going to get worse. Pixar will eventually get to the Hotel Transylvania level of spending 10 years and five directors to make a single stupid picture.

    • guest

      You’re reminding me of something Brad Bird said about the way animation studio producers diffuse the power/authorship of directors:

      Brad Bird: Another thing: Walt Disney has cast such a long shadow over animation, and Disney itself was more of a producer’s studio than a director’s studio. That has helped [encourage] the idea that [animation] is a process, rather than an art that’s guided by a vision. Walt Disney was in effect the director of those great films. He wasn’t a good director when he was [literally] directing, as a viewing of any of the few short films he’s credited as director make clear, but he was an excellent director in terms of directing his directors. But I think that notion, that it’s a system that creates an animated film, and not a person, has been kind of bound up in how people perceive animation. The John Lasseters and the Miyazakis of the world are in the minority. For the most part, we have films that are directed by two or three guys, and which one is the author?

      Barrier: They’re anonymous.

      Bird: I don’t think that’s always the case. I think that John Musker and Ron Clements have a signature style. But in many cases a studio will put two or three people together as co-directors who may not even like each other or respect each other’s work. It’s used as a way to diffuse power rather than coalesce a vision.

  • z-k

    There’s the weird mix of their hashing out of every idea possible per
    animatic review, loving the thing to death and pouring alot of blood and
    drawing hours in it; yet at the same time holding to a philosophy of “Don’t be too attached to your story; you ultimately have to ship it, warts and all”, and moving on. (Andrews has been quoted at least a few times as saying that he has no personal interest in the story once the thing leaves his hands.)

    I think the latter is where the temptation for the formulaic comes into play; 3+ years on and we need to wrap this thing up somehow; find the simplest and clearest way to tell a story. Which isn’t bad at all, simple can be elegant; but it can tend to homogenize story solutions, or lead to the temptation to do so, especially when your source material isn’t especially eclectic or your financial concerns are as large as theirs are. This is where the braintrust presumably comes into play.

    They always use the term “organic” to describe the process there; “Creativity is messy”. Which is another way of saying that quite a few story threads are pulled and severed well into the game – amazing that this happens at all, given the aforementioned financial – but alot of that depends on how much personal clout the director has.

  • Blasko

    I find this line so chilling: “Sometimes you just need a different perspective to get the idea out.” Calls up the grim spectre of The Thief and the Cobbler. To me, it translates into: “Sometimes our creative staff can’t bend to our timetables, approved themes and merchandising goals.” I can’t imagine this approach is going to help Disney Pixar recruit talented young directors and visionaries. As a moviegoer, I’m now actively avoiding their films.

    • I can’t see myself avoiding their movies if they make another great one (InsideOut has potential) but Pixar really seems like a toxic environment for new blood. Certainly no longer high on the list of places I want to work.

      • MC

        But.. but… free cereal! It’s a worker’s paradise! The DVD extras told me so!

        • G Melissa Graziano-Humphrey

          Disney Feature also has free cereal. ;)

  • sterfish

    I understand that replacing directors on animated films is common but the amount of times it has happened at Pixar in such a short time is really an indictment of their current culture. As far as I know (and please someone correct me if I’m wrong), none of the brain trust has ever been replaced on a film. There’s seems to be little to no trust in anyone outside the brain trust and that’s a bad thing.

    • Mesterius

      Actually… Pete Docter was developing Wall-E early on, but he couldn’t quite get the film to work (if I remember correctly, I’ve heard him say that he didn’t know what to do with the second half of the story). So Andrew Stanton took it over. Pete Docter went on to develop Up instead.

      • That’s interesting. In my opinion they never really figured out a good second/third act for that movie. It felt disjointed to me, and distracted as soon as they started going for humor with the obese characters and other robots.

        • z-k

          Some say they had at one point considered having the cast of characters thrown into an arena, complete with gladiator bots.

      • Pete worked on the story early on (like, years before the film was even greenlit) but I don’t think he was ever in the director’s chair to my knowledge.

      • cetrata

        Pete doctor left Wall e, he didn’t get booted off. Meanwhile, each new director gets booted off of a pixar project. Bob Peterson will likely leave Pixar because no member who got booted off stayed at pixar.

  • canimal

    This is an idiotic comment. The entire issue about Brenda’s dismissal was that the first time Pixar ever had a woman helming one of their films, she wasn’t allowed to finish it and they gave it to a man instead. Considering there’s a 95% chance Pete Doctor is going to be replaced by yet another white male, you have no point. Animation is not a woman’s world and you are absolutely delusional for thinking otherwise.

    • z-k

      Besides those in HR, have worked alongside quite a few board artists, character designers, managers, etc. that were women. Am pretty sure those studios aren’t statistical outliers.

      • SarahJesness

        True, but how many are directors, or are in other high positions? It’s an issue in the entire film industry, not just animation.

        • z-k

          So the contention is that despite the positive PR they’d receive, studios don’t want female directors, even though they have a pool of female talent to choose from; not rather that like an offshore oil rigging job, the realities of the job description – most notably the hours and stress required – is the natural arbiter, regardless of gender.

          • SarahJesness

            There’s kind of this idea in the film industry that women will watch stuff for men, but men won’t watch stuff for women. So studios are reluctant to make films for or about women, and sometimes this results in fewer women being given prominent positions.

  • Size8

    with many more movies coming out at double an year can this sort of perceived micromanagement be considered encouraging to pixars would be directors and would it mean twice as many replacements……no offense to catmull but his experience comes in computational geometry not storytelling so the weight of his reasoning without being in the dug out lies mute

  • Alex Dudley

    Too many cooks in the kitchen, seems like.

  • jmahon

    it seems you’re the one bringing up gender in this conversation, I’m sorry to break it to you.

  • Close3k


  • Anon

    It’s just a PR thing until the movie is released and his contract expires. Chapman was also on payroll and working on several projects in development at Pixar but when the movie was released she left.

    Also Peterson removed the “been at Pixar since 1995” from his Twitter bio. Doesn’t seem something one would do if they planned to stay there.

  • John

    Get your facts straight. Brenda never said she was fired because of her gender nor that Lasseter is a woman-hater. She said more than once the reasons were creative differences. Other people made this a gender issue, not Brenda. You cannot deny there are very few women directors in the industry. It’s not a coincidence. Gender inequality is very real.

    And I’m glad Brend talked about her experience at Pixar. It was about time someone spoke up about the so-called “director driven” studio which is constantly presented in the press as a cereal-eating utopia.

  • Who knows though. Maybe the movie wasn’t working in its present state, and Lasseter and team knew ultimately it just wasn’t going to be the best movie it could be if Peterson continued directing. Just because he wasn’t able to direct all the way through production doesn’t mean he didn’t do a great job on many aspects of the film as a lead creative.

    There are definitely examples of great films that came out of late replacements (Brad Bird or Rat, and Tartakovsky on Hotel T), so I can actually buy into Catmull’s explanation. Maybe the project just needed a fresh set of eyes. The fact that Lasseter switches directors so much might also reflect on the studio’s commitment to get a project right, even if it’s a hard decision.

    • Ken Martinez

      I cannot bring myself to recall a messier film with a more schizophrenic tone and more forced pathos than Hotel Transylvania. Every one of its multitudinous retools was on display.

      If all these movies “weren’t working” before leaving their respective directors’ control, isn’t that a damning indictment of Pixar’s greenlighting process? That they’ll spend millions upon millions of dollars upheaving crews and retooling films because John Lasseter can’t seem to get it right the first time? Are we expected to believe men and women with decades of experience and prior film credits suddenly can’t be trusted to make “the best movie”?

      All these retools certainly make for bland, digestible movies that aren’t “bad”, but that’s only because any uniqueness or originality has been hacked out by committee. I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that Brad Bird has ditched animation completely, before he could become the next director to get bounced.

  • Ultramanimator

    Although not as widely publicized, Doug Sweetland was replaced by Dan Scanlon on Monsters University. So that would make it 4 for 4.

    • Anson J

      I wasn’t aware of this. Sad. “Presto”, IMHO was one of Pixar’s best shorts, if not THE best.

  • Steven M.

    This is gonna be a long, painful trip for Pixar.

  • Bob Harper

    One of these days, some of these talented directors, who get shafted by the execs, will band together and with the help of a billionaire start a studio that will show the status quo a new standard of storytelling – oh wait a second!

    • Guest

      I find it weird that Lassater, once a pioneer and proof that a person who doesn’t quit his vision can do remarkable things, now behaves like the very same people who fired him in the first place. What gives?

      • Some guy

        This always happens once the guy in charge becomes “The Man”. It was probably inevitable.

    • …and maybe they can even try out a medium that Disney has no faith in, like 2d?

  • Chris

    Interesting. It’s very hard to tell if this is a good thing or a bad thing for the movie. I mean it’s possible Peterson really had lost control of the ship. Plus, Ratatouille and Brave both turned out great despite their change overs (and Cars 2 was just a bad idea from the start) so who knows.

    • Mesterius

      Ratatouille turned out great. Brave didn’t.

      • Raven M.

        I know a lot of people really like Ratatouille, but the number of concepts introduced in that film (that ultimately go nowhere) is staggering to me. Its directorial issues are evident all the way through.

        • Mike

          I’ll bite. Let’s hear ’em then.

          • SarahJesness

            Personally I was wondering why the crappy chef guy (I forget his name) never revealed to the world that rats were intelligent.

        • Roberto González

          I kinda agree with Raven M. I think he will explain it better than me, but there are a lot of things that didn’t seem to be especially relevant to the plot, like the whole thing with Linguini and the inheritance. Actually at the end of the film Anton Ego seems to be the only important aspect of the whole story (apart from Remy, Linguini and Collete).

          I thought the movie was pretty good, but not perfect. Pretty close to Brave in that aspect, though I’d give that Ratatouille was a more original concept. It managed to make a funny animal type of story into some sort of subtle comedy about high cuisine, which is not your typical family-oriented subject or tone, while Brave borrowed from Brother Bear and introduced subjects more frequent in Disney movies, like princess and family. It was still pretty good, though.

  • Jake

    There is a HUGE problem going on here. The last four Pixar movies have seen their original director replaced. If that isn’t bad upper management I don’t know what is. I don’t want to hear the crap about how Lasseter isn’t willing to put out a movie that isn’t the best it could be. Pixar’s last four movies have not been masterful pieces of work. They have hovered around being average animated films with a superb touch of animation, design, and sound work because of the team of talented artists behind the movies.

    Pixar was able to attract such talent because of their stance as a “director driven studio”. It was Lasseter who said, “I want someone who has this burning desire to tell a story that they want to tell”. Well Lasseter, you will NOT get people to share with you their burning desires if you continuously take them off their project because you don’t agree with the way they want to tell the story. Lasseter of all people should know how it feels to be kicked off a project he believes in. I have heard him tell the story more then once of his experiences at Disney and being kicked off of “The Brave Little Toaster”. He called the time after he was kicked out of Disney the lowest part of his career.

    What the last few years of director changes shows about Pixar and John Lasseter is a lack of belief in it’s artists and a fear that they will fall off their pedestal. You can not be creative in an environment like this. The more Lasseter and the other authorities at Pixar try to control the storytelling at their studio, the more great storytellers with their “burning desires to tell a story they want to tell” will go someplace else.

  • d. harry

    Is John Kahrs going up to Pixar to replace Bob??

  • Alex

    Well, I’m (hesitantly) willing to give them the benfit of the doubt. But if the ‘Good Dinosaur’ turns out to be a mediocre movie like the other last 4 movies. Well, that’s it for me. It would be an affirmation that the Braintrust model can’t be trusted (I couldn’t resist). They are able to churn out solid movies, alright, but not extraordinary ones, the ones that helped them to build their reputation. The lack of taking risks, or to break out of their traditional story structures with the obligatory chase in the 3rd act instead of a sincere catharsis, is a clear sign of creative decline. And we’ve seen in the past how this turns out with one of the former leading animation studios.
    I think Ratatouille was a huge exception, where this switcheroo barely worked out, but Brad is an execeptional guy with the Midas touch.
    And we don’t know what happened behind the stage, and we’ll probbably never know. But it shouldn’t become the norm, to replace a director as soon as they clash with their opinions.
    As someone mentioned before: they’re already so far into the project, that they must have approved the general story beats and themes years ago. But to swap a director this late in the game, doesn’t make much of a difference fot the outcome of the story of a movie, unless they re-schedule.

    Just wait and see.

    • Funkybat

      I feel like Pixar lost something vital with the death of Joe Ranft. Nothing coming from there has really been the same since he died. While the big name directors and Steve Jobs were very much the public face of Pixar’s success, a lot of the credit for that success belonged to Joe as well. I believe Joe was an irreplaceable part of the magic of Pixar’s first decade as a feature studio.

  • Alessio

    I’m getting the feeling that Pixar is firing people from directing in order to make the films more marketable. Nowadays, american comedy is pretty popular and pretty much any american animated movie is a shallow comedy. I also find strange how Lassater is doing the same thing Disney did to him before Toy Story.
    I also thought Brave was going to be deeper, maturer and better if Chapman wasn’t fired (she also made The Prince of Egypt, a mature movie which is anything but a full comedy film). While Mark Andrews, to me, seems the classical commercial animated comedy film director.

    • SarahJesness

      Yeah, I’ve been wondering about the marketing aspect of all of this myself. Really started thinking about it with Cars. At the time of release, it was considered Pixar’s worst/least good movie. Putting aside my feelings about the quality of the film (bland, much?) I will say that it was suited to a sequel like, at all. Everything was wrapped up pretty well at the end, no “What happened to this character?” or “Sure, they saved the day, but they still have to deal with X!”. One reason the Toy Story sequels worked was that they dealt with issues that would exist in their world but were never really addressed in the previous film. Cars had nothing of the sort, so I was perplexed that it, of all movies, got a sequel. I’m quite certain it came down to marketing. The amount of merchandise on that movie was insaaaaane.

  • Kyle_Maloney

    As far as I know it was always Lee Unkrich, not counting the Circle 7 incarnation of course. The rest of the brain trust put it into motion, but I don’t think they had anyone else before him.

  • SarahJesness

    I’m wondering how this will play out. I’m not the only one who thinks that the replacement of Brenda Chapman for “Brave” is what caused a lot of the problems in the film. If director replacement really is happening more frequently at Pixar, well, that might be cause for concern. Pixar is one of the few animation studios that can put own really good movies on a regular basis, it would be a shame if they’re starting to falter. From the sounds of things lately, Lasseter seems to be trying to take more and more control over individual projects, and that’s what really concerns me.

    Guess we’ll have to see the final film to determine if this was a good decision. Sometimes it is better for a director to be replaced, and unless one is behind the scenes it’s hard to tell if it will be better or worse for the film.

    • Chris

      “I’m not the only one who thinks that the replacement of Brenda Chapman
      for “Brave” is what caused a lot of the problems in the film.”

      How’d you know? For all we know the shift in directors might have been for the better. The only explanation I have heard, was that Mark tried to balance out the characters, because way too many, had too much screen time.
      And honestly, the last thing the film needed was more characters fighting for attention.

      That Brenda’s version should be any better is pure speculation.

  • Jake

    I was including “The Good Dinosaur”. The original director for “Cars 2” was Brad Lewis, the original director for “Brave” was Brenda Chapman, the original director for “Monsters U” was Doug Sweetland, and the original director for “The Good Dinosaur” was obviously Bob Peterson.

    The other interesting thing about looking at Pixar’s last few years of replacing directors is the record of the original director compared to the record of those who took their place. Else then Brad Lewis, you can easily suggest Pixar got rid of the more successful artists. Brenda Chapman had more storyboard success, especially in feature animation, then Mark Andrews. Doug Sweetland was nominated for an Oscar and won two Annie’s, compared to no noticeable public recognition by Dan Scanlon. And though we don’t know who will be the replacement director on “The Good Dinosaur”, Pixar just removed a man who helped direct one of only three Animated films in the history of cinema to be nominated for best picture (in the movie “Up”).

    I am not trying to demean the replacements. However, it really is hard to believe none of these directors could handle their stories. More likely the truth is John Lasseter and the other decision makers at Pixar want people they can control and who will make the story they want, not the orginal directors story (However, they seem just fine taking the directors ideas before they get rid of them).

    • d. harry

      That last point you made is interesting, since Bob has now started developing another idea at Pixar. Maybe you’re right. Keep them from getting great backend deals by firing them off of a project (IF they even get backend deals) and simply get a great project for the company. I’m sure they don’t want to many guys getting credit for creating a great film lest their fees go up on subsequent projects.

      • Taylor

        Have any of you ever worked with a director in your life. Or in a feature film?

        When someone is given the golden key to the director’s seat, it is their responsibility to DIRECT with full awareness of the studio’s limitations. Brad Bird knew how to play the game, and he flourished.

        If you ask most people who have worked with these “directors”, you will get similar responses. The director didn’t know what they wanted. the director got lost, or expected the braintrust to “find the story” for them.

        The failure is not just with the studio heads. The biggest failure, I’d say, is on the woman/man who was granted $150+ million to craft a film, and squandered it

  • Alex

    I agree, it’s the best of the bunch. But honestly, it didn’t bring anything new to the table, the way Toy Story 2 did. In fact it was a re-hash of the themes & topics from Toy Story 1 plus the villain-twist from Toy Story2. I just wished the movie would go into a different direction, but it took quite predictable turns.

    It’s not a mediocre film, I enjoyed it, but on the other side it isn’t a movie that got stuck in my heart or memory.

    But that’s just me.

  • ttarkA113

    Wow, I didn’t see this one coming. This is hugely disappointing. I’ve been waiting for Pixar to make a dinosaur movie since I was a kid, and I’ve been waiting for Bob to direct a movie since I learned who he was a decade ago. I can’t tell you how excited I was to hear that Mr. Peterson was going to direct a dinosaur movie at Pixar.

    With all that’s been happening the last few years, I’m starting to lose any enthusiasm for Pixar I had left.

  • d.harry

    Well, headtoon explains himself pretty well here:

  • Harry Bastard

    Lasseter inflicted the world with Cars and kicked Chris Sanders to the curb, who went over to DW and gave us How To Train Your Dragon. Y’know what, the only Pixar joints I ever truly like were Wall•E and The Incredibles, so…not really sure why I should care WHO Lasseter gives the boot for ‘being too invested’, just seems like a dick move. Every damn time. Especially when he rewarded Sanders for ‘Lilo and Stitch’ with a firm foot up the backside. Ah well, it’s his shop.

  • Scott550

    You obviously aren’t aware of how animated features have been made since 1937.

  • Artybollox

    Glen Keane was also ousted as director by Lassetter towards the end of development on Rapunzel (now ‘Tangled’).

    Glen successfully steered Disney through one of it’s toughest challenges; moving away from hand-drawn to CGI in a ‘Disney-sensitive’ direction. Even Rapunzel was largely based on his own daughter, Claire Keane.

  • adam

    Wasn’t the “Newt” project scrapped because it was way too close in theme to the upcoming “Rio” at the time? Don’t think it had anything to do with creative control issues.

  • Peter McKennon

    I will never forgive Lasseter for ousting Sanders from American Dog. Bolt was generic compared to American Dog. Sure I like How to Train Your Dragon but it sucks that Disney had to lose the father of Stitch because of Jon’s stubborn movie-making philosophy.

  • G Melissa Graziano-Humphrey

    For a studio that claims to be built on “director- and artist-driven” projects, the Brain Trust seems to have issues trusting anyone else’s vision but their own.

  • Hugo

    Who cares, as long as the end product is good. They’re doing what they need to do to ensure quality.

  • Hugo

    Chapman liked the release, saying they returned to her ideas for the final version. See 3rd and 4th paragraphs from the end of this interview: