“Finding Dory” may be undergoing a sea change as Pixar is taking a page from a little-seen whale documentary.
The Walt Disney-owned animation studio is hard at work on “Finding Dory,” a follow-up to the 2003 oceanic blockbuster “Finding Nemo.” But this spring, after Pixar executives viewed “Blackfish,” which raises sharp questions about the health of whales in captivity, the studio decided to make substantial changes to the “Dory” script.
“At the end of the [Pixar] movie, some marine mammals are sent to an aquatic park/rehab facility -- a SeaWorld-type environment,” explained Psihoyos, who heard about the meeting through a friend in the animal rights movement who lives near Pixar’s Emeryville, Calif., campus. “After seeing ‘Blackfish,’ they retooled the film so that the sea creatures now have the choice to leave that marine park. They told Gabriela they didn’t want to look back on this film in 50 years and have it be their ‘Song of the South,’” a reference to the 1946 Disney musical that was widely viewed to be racist.
“These are obviously people who are dedicated to researching every topic they cover," the filmmaker said. “Whether ‘Blackfish’ affects their creative decisions, I can’t say.”
The plot for “Finding Dory,” set for release in November 2015, is not yet locked. At Pixar, as at many other animation studios, filmmakers often make changes to stories up until the final months before release.
Although Pixar films are intended for family audiences, it’s not unusual for them to examine social or political issues -- the Lasseter-directed “Cars 2" included a subplot about alternative fuel; Stanton’s “WALL-E” takes place on a deserted, trash-strewn future Earth.
“Blackfish” is a look into what caused a killer whale to fatally attack SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010. The movie began its limited theatrical release in mid-July and has grossed around $700,000. The documentary will likely be wider seen when it debuts on CNN on Oct. 24.
Although all the “Star Wars” films have been global hits, “The Force Awakens” is only the second film in the long-running franchise to join the billion-dollar club.(Film Frame / Associated Press)
Here are the other members of the coveted $1-billion club:
In just 17 days of release, the latest film in the “Fast and Furious” franchise became the fastest film to cross the $1 billion mark at the worldwide box office.(Universal Pictures)
The Marvel super-sequel has earned more than $1 billion at the global box office, making it the third Marvel Studios film to reach that milestone.(Marvel / TNS)
The “Despicable Me” spin-off “Minions” is only the third animated movie to cross the billion-dollar mark.(Illumination Entertainment / AP)
Times staff writer Rebecca Keegan contributed to this report.