Heresy.... Disney Animation better than Pixar?

The most recent 5 animated movies made by Disney Animation studios, along with Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB ratings, are:
Tangled (90, 7.8)
Wreck it Ralph (86, 7.8)
Big Hero 6 (89, 7.9)
Frozen (89, 7.6)
Zootopia (99, 8.4)

The most recent 6 made by Pixar are:
Toy Story 3 (99, 8.4)
Cars 2 (39, 6.3)
Brave (78, 7.2)
Monsters University (78, 7.4)
Inside Out (98, 8.3)
The Good Dinosaur (76, 6.8)

Is it heresy to suggest that Disney Animation Studios now makes better movies, on average, than Pixar?

Looking that those numbers a bit, I think it’s remarkable how consistent Disney has been, which used to be Pixar’s hallmark. The best of those movies (Toy Story 3 and Inside Out) are Pixar, but by far the worst (Cars 2) is also Pixar. Whereas everyone one of the Disney movies is at least solidly good, with the better ones bordering on great.

Disney now owns Pixar. John Lasseter is Chief Creative Officer for both Pixar and Disney Animation. Is there really any difference between the two?

Pixar’s reliable formula is starting to get a bit creaky, and they haven’t found a way to correct for that yet. They’re also not trusting new Directors. They’ve replaced the Director midway through the making of movies three or four times now, and each time the end result hasn’t been anything too great. I wonder if they’d kept them on would their original version actually have been better after all.

Disney’s on a new formula, taking a couple of new risks with original ideas, and it’s refreshing things for them again.

I’d argue that even Dreamworks has been doing better than Pixar with the How to train your dragon and Kung fu panda series. Besides Inside out, Pixar’s movies lately have been, at best, just ok.

I’m going to agree that since Lasseter took over creative control at Disney Animation it’s pretty much a distinction without a difference. They are all John Lasseter movies at the end of the day.

I’m not surprised that Disney would be better at it; they literally wrote the book on it. Moving into digital animation is merely a technological shift, but the fundamentals of writing a good story, pairing it with good music, and combining those with the right artwork is the same.

Makes sense, if you think about it. Disney literally has 82 years of institutional experience making feature-length animated films, many of which are hugely popular classics. Pixar, on the other hand, has maybe 21 years of experience making movies, and their main claim to fame was their genesis as a computer animation shop.

I suspect that eventually they’ll probably consolidate the actual operations of Pixar and Disney Studios, and they’ll position Pixar as a studio brand that specializes in subjects that aren’t quite in the traditional purview of Disney Studios.

I feel Pixar has never recovered from the death of Joe Ranft. Ranft’s title at Pixar was “head of story”. The people actually making the movie tend to get too focused on details. Ranft was the guy who essentially stood back and looked to see if the overall movie was working. He would make sure all the details fit together.

There is a free version of RenderMan which they both use to make their movies

I agree that the main takeaway should be “they’re both John Lassester’s now” and the distinction is minimal at best.

That said, in the interest of trying another angle… I think Disney might shy a bit more towards making a “something for everyone” type movie that is more likely to do well by RT metrics. Remember that RT is just a % of who thinks it’s “fresh” (over 60/100 rating). That means a movie that everyone thinks is “good” will score better than a movie that the majority thinks is “great” but a minority thinks is “bad.” Pixar’s movies can sometimes be a bit more “artsy” or “heavy message” (there are people out there who hate WALL-E because of the enviromental message). Though looking at the last few films, they’re also suffering for making kiddie-aimed films like Cars and The Good Dinosaur.

(IMDB ratings aren’t even worth using, IMO)

As an aside, are there any major release animated movies that are actually drawn? I just can’t watch computerized renderings.

I think including Cars 2, which Pixar didn’t really want to make but did it for the money, is not really fair. And I have a hard time believing Brave, which got rave reviews and everyone loved, should have gotten so low a score. Monsters U and The Last Dinosaur were much well less liked than Brave. I mean, Merida is a freaking Disney Princess now. She’s iconic, and should be up there with Tangled.

Heck, I’m not sure Monsters U and The Good Dinosaur should have around the same score. *Monsters U *was liked but not favorably compared to its predecessor. The Good Dinosaur is just a film that didn’t seem to go anywhere. Oddly, the IMDb scores seem better in distinguishing them, and those are usually shit.

You’d be surprised. For example, in this thread ranking Pixar films, the majority of people had Brave right in the middle or lower. (Yeah, Monsters U. is usually rated lower, but the point is that Brave wasn’t universally loved)

Why do you think this? I find it hard to believe that Lasseter really didn’t want to make Cars 2.

Not even a question. Disney is the new Pixar, which itself used to be the new Disney.

Pixar’s been sliding in the last 10 years, while Disney’s been hitting it out of the park since Tangled

I wonder if John Lasseter has a clearly stated idea of what differentiates a Disney film from a Pixar film.

That’s just what everyone said back then. But apparently the guy himself came out and said it wasn’t true.

Honest, but not very smart. It would’ve been better to let people think that.

*Cars *made more money than all other Pixar movies put together, thanks to merchandising. There’s no way the Disney overlords wouldn’t demand another one.

Of the films listed in the OP, I think Frozen and Tangled are the most clearly Disney films, in that they are both basically the classic Disney formula dating back to Snow White… classic fairy tale brought to life, with songs.
I find it hard to imagine Disney making Inside Out or The Good Dinosaur. On the other hand, I wouldn’t have thought they would have made Wreck it Ralph until they did.
Fortunately, in this case, we’re all the winners, because there’s that many more high quality animated movies being made, and that many fewer Ice Age sequels.

Yeah, but Cars is Lasseter’s baby. I think he was always on board for the sequel. And the upcoming 3rd one. Now, Planes is the movie Disney made that Lasseter seems to have wanted no part of.

Aardman is better than the both of them. Here are their IMDB ratings:

Chicken Run (2000) (10)
Wallace & Gromit and the Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005) (10)
Flushed Away (2006) (10)
Arthur Christmas (2011) (7.1, though I’d give it a solid 10; it’s certainly the best Christmas themed animated film, and one of the best Christmas films of all time)
The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012) (9)
Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015) (7.4)