Why Inside Out Is The First Pixar Franchise I Think Justifies A Third Movie


From as far back as my childhood seeing the sequel announcement for Toy Story 2, I’ve had a problem with Pixar doing sequels. Sure, I’ve still turned up at the theater to watch them, but I’ve always left disappointed, feeling that no sequel thus far has measured up to the original. That changed with Inside Out 2, and it is the first time I’ve actively advocated for a Pixar franchise to have a third movie.

If CinemaBlend’s glowing review of Inside Out 2 hasn’t convinced readers to see this one yet, allow me to add my voice to the group. This is one worth seeing in theaters before it’s available with a Disney+ subscription, not only because it’s beautiful, but it’s so good I’m already ready for a third movie to sweep me away once again.

The emotions in Inside Out 2.

(Image credit: Pixar)

Riley’s Developing Mind Is A Premise That Warrants Further Exploration In A Way Other Pixar Movies Haven’t

My biggest gripe with Pixar sequels, and really sequels to even the best kids movies, is that it’s hard to see them as anything more than a cash grab. Consumers will statistically better embrace a known franchise they like over a new one, so there are times when I find it hard to justify sequels to Pixar films beyond “The company wants more money.” Sure, this is largely why all movies are made, but when it feels like there isn’t a story to tell, it becomes more obvious.

From the jump of Inside Out 2, the reason for a sequel is clear. Riley is making that big jump from middle school to high school, and in the summer inbeween is also hitting puberty. A slew of new emotions move in, and we learn that Riley quickly becomes an anxiety-ridden teenager uncertain about her future going forward.

It’s entertaining, but more importantly, I already felt the excitement of seeing the sequel going into the theater. Being someone who went through that phase of life, I was ready for a reminder, and my daughter was definitely curious about what it was like to be a kid older than herself. I had an expectation going into how great this movie could be, and thankfully, it delivered. I can’t say the same with just about every other Pixar sequel, which left me thinking it should’ve just been left alone.

Riley in Inside Out 2.

(Image credit: Pixar)

The Developing Human Mind And Emotions Is A Premise That Has A Wealth Of Content

When it comes to the idea for a third movie, there’s no wrong idea for Inside Out to choose. Riley just entered high school, and there’s a wealth of life events she has yet to experience for a third movie to get into. We could flash forward to her first prom or jump even further to graduating college and starting in the professional world. Or we could go even further than that! The beauty of this is that the ideas can last a literal lifetime.

I’m sure many would agree there’s no shortage of adventures in life and the things that our minds go through as we navigate all of them. There’s also a vast spectrum of emotions that, as critics agreed with on Inside Out 2, can be just as wonderful and endearing as the core group of emotions we were introduced to in the first movie.

It would be cool to see complex emotions explored at the highest level with a Pixar eye, like when it comes to things like grief. Sure, I’m not trying to leave a children’s film in an emotional wreck like I did when I saw IF, but so much of what children’s movies are about is passing on life experience. A movie like Inside Out can indirectly teach children tactics for coping with their emotions, maybe so they don’t end up crying in front of a bunch of children when they’re a grown man walking out of a children’s movie. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with that, I’m just saying!

Envy lunges forward towards the console in excitement in Inside Out 2.

(Image credit: Disney/Pixar)

It’s Probably Going To Happen Anyway With The Records It’s Breaking

For those who are not aware, Inside Out 2 had the biggest opening weekend of 2024. It’s crushing at the box office, and given Pixar’s trend of leaning on sequels like the upcoming Toy Story 5, I think it’s a safe bet discussions are already taking place on the surface level for another movie. Obviously, I have no inside information on this, so don’t take this as the gospel truth that a third movie is absolutely happening.

What I will say is in an era where the CGI art style that Pixar built is more commonplace and is going up against heavy hitters like Moana 2, I can’t fault the company for wanting to lean on proven franchises for sequels. I will say that Inside Out 2‘s success may be evidence that it is the best path forward between being both popular and having a well of stories to tell that don’t feel unnecessary or ham-fisted. I’m tossing out a hot take right now, but I don’t want this franchise to feel like Toy Story has for me for quite a while.

For all of the reasons mentioned above, I’m not too worried about that happening. More than any other franchise in its lineup currently, I feel like Inside Out has the brightest future for Pixar, and with its success, it can continue to churn out new ideas that hopefully strike a chord with audiences just as much as their other classics have. Until then, long live the commercial viability of the sequel, and the animated movies that actually deserve them.

Inside Out 2 is in theaters right now, and based on how well it’s doing at the box office, it could be a while before we see it on Disney+ or available to purchase on demand. Obviously, I have a bit of a bias in thinking it’s one of the best Pixar movies, but I would highly encourage even childless adults to go and check it out should they get the chance, because it truly is one of the best movies you can watch in 2024 so far.

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