Cars is the second franchise created by Pixar and distributed by Disney, after Toy Story. Cars was released on June 9, 2006, Cars 2 was released on June 24, 2011 and Cars 3 was released on June 15, 2017. A 2013 spin-off film titled Planes, produced by Disneytoon Studios, was also made. The first two films were directed by John Lasseter, the CEO of Pixar Animation Studios while the third movie was directed by Brian Fee. Cars is considered to be Pixar's "anniversary" franchise as both films marked Pixar's 20th and 25th anniversaries respectively. Together, the three films have received over $1.4 billions in box office revenue worldwide.
- Main article: Cars
Cars is the seventh of twelve films made by Pixar. The story is about rookie racecar Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson), who gets lost on the way to a tiebreaker race in the Piston Cup and ends up in a little town called Radiator Springs on Route 66, that had since been forgotten because the Interstate was built. He accidentally wrecks the road and is sentenced to fix it. During his time, he goes tractor tipping with his new best friend Tow Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) and goes on a drive with his future girlfriend Sally Carrera (Bonnie Hunt). After McQueen fixes the road, Doc Hudson (Paul Newman) no longer wants him in town, so he calls the news crew to take McQueen to Los Angeles, but it doesn't take long for Doc to realize how much he's helped Radiator Springs, so he goes back to being the Hudson Hornet and becomes McQueen's crew chief, while most of the Radiator Springs folks become his pit crew. McQueen is about to win the race, but helps The King (Richard Petty) cross the finish line after Chick Hicks (Michael Keaton) crashes him and wins the Piston Cup after being in third on the last lap, but is booed by everyone as comeuppance. Despite his loss, Lightning is offered to be the new face of Dinoco, but he decides to stay with Rust-eze. He does, however, arrange for Mater to ride in the Dinoco helicopter just like McQueen promised. The film ends with McQueen setting up his racing headquarters in Radiator Springs, thereby putting it back on the map.
Cars 2 (2011)
- Main article: Cars 2
Cars 2 is the twelfth film from Pixar. The story is about Lightning McQueen competing in the first World Grand Prix, a three-part race set in Japan, Italy and England that'll determine the world's fastest racecar. His rival in the race is Italian Formula One car, Francesco Bernoulli (John Turturro). Along the way, Mater is mistaken for a spy by British spy car, Finn McMissile (Michael Caine) and falls in love with McMissile's assistant Holley Shiftwell (Emily Mortimer). The three of them uncover a plot to sabotage the race led by Professor Zündapp (Thomas Kretschmann) and a group of lemon cars, including Grem (Joe Mantegna) and Acer (Peter Jacobson). When the race reaches its conclusion in England, Mater figures out that Miles Axlerod (Eddie Izzard) is the mastermind behind the plot to sabotage the race, since he started it in the first place and had intended for cars everywhere to run on oil as revenge for the lemons' reputation as being "history's biggest loser cars," implying that Axlerod is also a lemon. With the plot foiled and the villains defeated, Mater is knighted by the Queen of England (Vanessa Redgrave) and a new race is held in Radiator Springs. Mater is offered to join McMissile and Shiftwell on another mission, but he chooses to stay. He does, however, get to keep the rocket engines he acquired as the two agents take off in Siddeley (Jason Isaacs), the British spy jet.
Cars 3 (2017)
- Main article: Cars 3
Michael Wallis, the voice of Sheriff and a Route 66 consultant for the first two films, said in August 2013 in an interview with WGBZ radio that Pixar woud make a third film in the series, which would go back to Route 66 and would also include Route 99.
At the Disney shareholders meeting in March of 2014, Disney CEO and chairman Bob Iger confirmed that Pixar is in pre-production on the third Cars film.
- Main article: Cars Toons
Mater's Tall Tales
Mater's Tall Tales is a series of short animated films or Cars Toons by Pixar featuring the characters Mater and Lightning McQueen from the film Cars. The first short premiered in 2008 on Disney Channel, Toon Disney and ABC Family. Not exclusive to television, the episodes have also premiered on DVDs/Blu-rays, or as a theatrical short. A total of 11 episodes have been released, with Time Travel Mater (2012) being the latest.
All shorts in the series follow the same tall tale formula: Mater tells a story of something he has done in the past. When Lightning questions Mater over whether the events in the story actually occurred (or, in some episodes, asks him what he did next), Mater always claimed that Lightning was also involved, and continues the story including McQueen's sudden (and usually unwilling) participation. The shorts end with Mater leaving the scene, often followed by characters or references to the story that was being told, suggesting the story might be real.
Tales from Radiator Springs
Tales from Radiator Springs is a series of two-minute short animated films or Cars Toons. The first three episodes - Hiccups, Bugged and Spinning premiered on March 22, 2013 on Disney Channel, and have been available online since March 24, 2013.
Mater and the Ghostlight
- Main article: Mater and the Ghostlight
Mater and the Ghostlight is a 2006 Pixar computer-animated short created for the DVD of Cars, which was released on October 25, 2006 in Australia and in the United States on November 7, 2006. The short, set in the Cars world, tells a story of Mater being haunted by a mysterious blue light.
Disneytoon Studios, Pixar's sister company, was working on spin-off films set in the Cars world, featuring other types of vehicles. Beside the Planes films, they were are also developing spin-offs featuring boats and trains prior to the studio's closure in 2018.
- Main article: Planes
Planes is a computer animated Cars spin-off film produced by Disneytoon Studios. The first of two films, where the main characters are planes, was released in theaters by Walt Disney Pictures on August 9, 2013. The film was directed by Klay Hall and produced by John Lasseter. In the film, Dusty Crophopper, a small-town crop dusting plane, despite the fear of heights, follows his dreams by competing in a world air race.
Planes: Fire & Rescue
- Main article: Planes: Fire & Rescue
A sequel, titled Planes: Fire & Rescue, was released in theaters on July 18, 2014. Also produced by Disneytoon Studios, it was directed by Bobs Gannaway.
Box office performance
In its opening weekend, the original Cars earned $60,119,509 in 3,985 theaters in the United States, ranking number one at the box office. In the United States, the film held onto the #1 spot for two weeks before being surpassed by Click, and then by Superman Returns the following weekend. It went on to gross $461,983,149 worldwide (ranking number 6 in 2006 films) and $244,082,982 in the United States (the third highest-grossing film of 2006 in the country, behind Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and Night at the Museum). It was the highest-grossing animated film of 2006 in the United States, but lost to Ice Age: The Meltdown in worldwide totals.
Cars 2 has earned $191,452,396 in the USA and Canada, and $368,400,000 in other territories, for a worldwide total of $559,852,396. Worldwide on its opening weekend it made $109.0 million, marking the largest opening weekend for a 2011 animated title.
|United States||Foreign||Worldwide||All time domestic||All time worldwide|
|Planes: Fire and Rescue||7/18,2014||$59,165,787||$92,220,853||$151,386,640||$50,000,000|
The instalments of the Cars series have generally received more criticism than other Pixar films. Even though Cars and Cars 3 still received mostly positive reviews (but still less than usual for Pixar), Cars 2 garnered much less warm reception with mostly negative reviews, a first for the studio.
|Cars||74% (197 reviews)||73 (39 reviews)|
|Cars 2||39% (206 reviews)||57 (38 reviews)|
|Cars 3||68% (178 reviews)||51 (41 reviews)|
|Planes||25% (115 reviews)||39% (32 reviews)|
|Planes: Fire and Rescue||44% (89 reviews)||48% (29 reviews)|
Awards and nominations
Cars had a highly successful run during the 2006 awards season. Many film critic associations such as the Broadcast Film Critics Association and the National Board of Review named it the best Animated Feature Film of 2006. Cars also received the title of Best Reviewed Animated Feature of 2006 from Rotten Tomatoes. Randy Newman and James Taylor received a Grammy Award for the song "Our Town," which later went on to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song (an award it lost to "I Need to Wake Up" from An Inconvenient Truth). The film also earned an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature, but it lost to Happy Feet. Cars was also selected as the Favorite Family Movie at the 33rd People's Choice Awards. Perhaps the most prestigious award that Cars received was the inaugural Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film. Cars also won the highest award for animation in 2006, the Best Animated Feature Annie Award. The film was also nominated for AFI's 10 Top 10 in the "Animation" genre.
Cast and characters
- Main article: List of Cars characters
This is a list of characters from the 2006 film Cars its 2011 and 2017 sequels Cars 2 and Cars 3.
|Cars||Cars 2||Cars 3||Mater and the Ghostlight|
|Lightning McQueen||Owen Wilson||"A hybrid between a stock car and a more curvaceous Le Mans endurance racer."|
|Tow Mater||Larry the Cable Guy||A 1951 International Harvester L-170 "boom" truck with elements of a mid-1950s Chevrolet. One-Ton Wrecker Tow Truck.|
|Doc Hudson||Paul Newman||Mentioned only||Paul Newman (archive audio)||Paul Newman||A 1951 Hudson Hornet, later revealed to be the Fabulous Hudson Hornet.|
|Sally Carrera||Bonnie Hunt||A 2002 996-series Porsche 911 Carrera.|
|Luigi||Tony Shalhoub||N/A||A 1959 Fiat 500.|
|Guido||Guido Quaroni||N/A||A custom forklift. resembling an Isetta at the front.|
|Ramone||Cheech Marin||A 1959 Chevy Impala Lowrider.|
|Flo||Jenifer Lewis||N/A||A 1957 Motorama show car.|
|Sarge||Paul Dooley||N/A||A 1941 Willys model jeep, in the style used by the US Military.|
|Fillmore||George Carlin||Lloyd Sherr||N/A||A 1960 VW Bus.|
|Sheriff||Michael Wallis||A 1949 Mercury Club Coupe (police package).|
|Lizzie||Katherine Helmond||N/A||A 1923 Ford Model T.|
|Mack||John Ratzenberger||N/A||A 1985 Mack Super-Liner.|
|Red||Joe Ranft||N/A||N/A||A 1960s style fire truck (most closely resembles a mid-1960s Pirsch pumper but also resembles American LaFrance models).|
|Darrell Cartrip||Darrell Waltrip|| Does not appear in|
Mater and the Ghostlight
|A 1977 Chevrolet Monte Carlo.|
|Mia||Lindsey Collins||N/A||A 1992 Mazda Miata.|
|Van||Richard Kind||A 2003 Ford Windstar.|
|Minny||Edie McClurg||A 1996 Dodge Caravan.|
|Finn McMissile|| Does not appear|
|Michael Caine|| Does not appear|
in Cars 3
|A car based on an Aston Martin DB5 and other 1960's English sports cars.|
|Holley Shiftwell||Emily Mortimer||A car resembling a Jaguar XJR-15.|
|Francesco Bernoulli||John Turturro||A Formula One race car.|
|Jeff Gorvette||Jeff Gordon||A Chevrolet Corvette C6.R.|
|Lewis Hamilton||Lewis Hamilton||A race car based on a McLaren MP4-12C.|
|Shu Todoroki||Erik Passoja||A Dome S102.|
|Nigel Gearsley||Greg Ellis||An Aston Martin DBR9.|
|Siddeley||Jason Isaacs||A Gulfstream V.|
|Professor Zündapp||Thomas Kretschmann||A 1957 Zündapp Janus.|
|Grem||Joe Mantegna||A 1974 AMC Gremlin.|
|Acer||Peter Jacobson||A beat-up green 1975 AMC Pacer 2-door hatchback.|
|Victor Hugo||Stanley Townsend||A Yugo GL and head of the Hugo lemon family.|
|Vladimir Trunkov||Stanley Townsend||A 1975 ZAZ-968M Zaporozhets and head of the Trunkov lemon family.|
|Tubbs Pacer||Brad Lewis||A 1975 AMC Pacer and head of the Pacer lemon family.|
|J. Curby Gremlin||John Mainieri||A 1974 AMC Gremlin and head of the Gremlin lemon family.|
|Rod "Torque" Redline||Bruce Campbell||A mix of a Ford Mustang with a Dodge Challenger.|
|Miles Axlerod||Eddie Izzard||A modified Range Rover L322.|
|Tomber||Michel Michelis||A car that largely resembles a Reliant Regal three-wheeler with some details from the Citroën Ami and DS models.|
|Mama Topolino|| Vanessa Redgrave (US)|
Sophia Loren (IT)
|A 1950s Renault (or maybe Alfa Romeo) Dauphine.|
|Uncle Topolino||Franco Nero||A 1937 Fiat 500 "Topolino".|
|John Lassetire||John Lasseter||An early 1990s Chevy S-10 and Jeff Gorvette's crew chief.|
|Mach Matsuo||Unknown voice actor||A Datsun 240Z and Shu Todoroki's crew chief.|
|Austin Littleton||A 1961 Austin Mini and Nigel Gearsley's crew chief.|
|Brent Mustangburger||Brent Musburger||A 1965 Ford Mustang Coupe.|
|David Hobbscap||David Hobbs||A 1963 Coombs Lightweight Jaguar E-Type.|
|Crabby the Boat||Sig Hansen||A boat based on a Purse Seiner.|
|The Queen||Vanessa Redgrave||A Rolls-Royce Phantom IV.|
|Prince Wheeliam||Unknown voice actor||A 2009 Bentley Continental GT.|
|Otis||Jeff Garlin||A Lada 2309.|
|Tony Trihull||Lloyd Sherr||A boat based on the USS Independence.|
|Ivan||Stanley Townsend||A 1956 Chevrolet 4100 tow truck.|
|Strip "The King" Weathers||Richard Petty|| Does not appear|
in Cars 2
|Richard Petty||The car's design was based on Richard Petty's 1970 Plymouth Superbird.|
|Chick Hicks||Michael Keaton||Bob Peterson||A generic 1980s stock car, described by Pixar as "Strongly resembles a 1978–88 General Motors G-Body such as Buick Regal or Grand National".|
|Lynda "Mrs. The King" Weathers||Lynda Petty||A 1974 Chrysler Town & Country.|
|Tex Dinoco||Humpy Wheeler||Humpy Wheeler||A 1975 Cadillac Coupe de Ville.|
|"Junior" #8||Dale Earnhardt, Jr.||A NASCAR Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS.|
|"Mario Andretti" #11||Mario Andretti||A 1967 Ford Fairlane.|
|Bob Cutlass||Bob Costas||A 1999 Oldsmobile Aurora, although the Aurora was never offered as a 2 door model.|
|Fred||Andrew Stanton||A car.|
|Michael Schumacher||Michael Schumacher||A 2006 Ferrari F430.|
|Woody Car||Tom Hanks|| Does not appear|
in Cars 3
|A toy car.|
|Buzz Lightyear Car||Tim Allen||A toy car.|
|Hamm Car||John Ratzenberger||A toy car.|
|Mike Wazowski Car||Billy Crystal||A car.|
|Sullivan Truck||John Goodman||A monster truck.|
|Yeti Snowplow||John Ratzenberger||A snowplow.|
|Flik Beetle||Dave Foley||A Volkswagen Beetle.|
|P.T. Flea Car||John Ratzenberger||A car.|
|DJ||E.J. Holowicki||A 2004 Scion xB.|
|Wingo||Adrian Ochoa||A 2000 Nissan Silvia (S15).|
|Boost||Jonas Rivera||A 1994 Mitsubishi Eclipse.|
|Snot Rod||Lou Romano||A 1970 Plymouth Barracuda.|
|Harv|| Jeremy Piven (US)|
Jeremy Clarkson (UK)
| A 1996 Oldsmobile. (US)|
A 1979 Ford Granada Ghia. (UK)
|Jerry Recycled Batteries||Joe Ranft||A 1979 Peterbilt 352.|
- Note: A grey cell indicates the character was not in the film.
- Main article: Cars Toons
Cars Toons: Mater's Tall Tales
|Season 1||Season 2||Season 3|
|Rescue Squad Mater||Mater the Greater||El Materdor||Unidentified Flying Mater||Tokyo Mater||Monster Truck Mater||Heavy Metal Mater||Moon Mater||Mater Private Eye||Air Mater||Time Travel Mater|
|Tow Mater||Larry the Cable Guy|
|Lightning McQueen||Keith Ferguson|
|Guido||N/A||Guido Quaroni||Guido Quaroni||N/A|
|Fillmore||N/A|| George Carlin|
|Stanley||John Michael Higgins|
Cars Toons: Tales from Radiator Springs
|Mater||Larry the Cable Guy||N/A|
|Lightning McQueen||Keith Ferguson||Keith Ferguson|
|Luigi||Tony Shalhoub||Tony Shalhoub|
|Guido||Guido Quaroni||Guido Quaroni|
|Sarge||Paul Dooley||Paul Dooley|
|Fillmore||Lloyd Sherr||Lloyd Sherr|
|Sheriff||Michael Wallis||Michael Wallis|
- Note: A grey cell indicates the character was not in the series.
In May 2007, the Cars video game was announced to be a "Platinum Hit" on the Xbox. "Greatest Hit" on the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable, and "Player's Choice" on the Nintendo GameCube. Two sequels were released, "Cars Mater-National Championship" being the first one and "Cars Race-O-Rama". A video game based on Cars 2 was developed by Avalanche Software and published by Disney Interactive Studios for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, PC and Nintendo DS on June 21, 2011. The PlayStation 3 version of the game was reported to be compatible with stereoscopic 3D gameplay.
Marcus Aurelius Canônico of Folha de S. Paulo described The Little Cars series (Os Carrinhos in Portuguese), a Brazilian computer graphics film series, as a derivative of Cars. Canônico discussed whether lawsuits from Pixar would appear. The Brazilian Ministry of Culture posted Marcus Aurelius Canônico's article on its website.
It has also been noted that the plot of Cars bears a striking resemblance to that of Doc Hollywood, the 1991 romantic comedy which stars Michael J. Fox as a hotshot young doctor, who, after causing a traffic accident in a small town, is sentenced to work at the town hospital, falls in love with a local law student and eventually acquires an appreciation for small town values.
The Mattel-produced 1/55 scale Toy Cars were some of the most popular toys of the 2006 Summer Season. Dozens of characters are represented, with some having multiple versions available. Several stores had trouble keeping the toys in stock, and some models are still difficult to find. because of being shipped in lower numbers than other characters. Some online Disney enthusiasts are comparing it to the same shortage that Mattel faced with its Toy Story line in 1995. On August 14, 2007, the die-cast Sarge car, made between May and July 2007, was recalled due to "impermissible levels of lead" used in the paint. Another Cars product which followed the Disney-Pixar Cars Die-Cast Line were miniature versions of the characters which were painted in different colors to represent different events. These are called Cars Toons. Also, Lego made some sets for the sequel. On June 22, 2006 Disney Consumer Products announced that Cars merchandise broke records for retail sales based on a Disney-Pixar product, recording 10-to-1 more volume than Finding Nemo. DCP reports that product expansion will take place in the fall alongside the DVD release of the film. Mattel has announced that Cars toys will continue through 2008 with the release of at least 80 new vehicles. A 36 car pack called "Motor Speedway of the South" will feature most of the race cars seen during the opening race sequence of the film. (This is also the name for the track race in the film) Estimates from the New York Daily News indicate that sales of Cars merchandise two weeks out from the release of the film amounted to US$600 million. Estimates put out in November by the Walt Disney Company peg total sales for the brand at around $1 billion.
Kelley Blue Book, a resource for appraising values of vehicles, has humorously "appraised" four of the cars, Lightning McQueen, Mater, Sally Carrera, and Doc Hudson according to their make/model and personalities. The United States Department of Transportation has used scenes from the movie in a commercial regarding the Click It or Ticket campaign. In conjunction with the film's release, a chocolate ice cream on a stick resembling a car tire was released in Australia. These ice creams were called "Burnouts". The naming of the particular product sparked controversy as the name "Burnouts" was believed to have encouraged street racing and committing burnouts. These acts are illegal and heavy fines and convictions are issued to those committing these acts in Australia. It is unknown as to whether the products have been discontinued. In Norway, the candy company Nidar produced candy with the characters on the outer packaging and pictures of the characters on the packaging of the assorted candy on the inside. These bags also came with Cars themed tattoos. In the U.S., an animated Wal-Mart truck can be seen on a Wal-Mart advertisements for Cars. In the Wal-Mart TV commercial the Wal-Mart truck was talking to Mater. In South Africa, Italy, and several other countries where Opel is present (or with Opel models under Chevrolet and Vauxhall brand), GM has a campaign featuring an General Motors Astra, an Opel Meriva, and a General Motors Zafira as characters in the world of Cars, including TV ads made by Pixar, with the Opel models interacting with Lightning McQueen, Mater and Ramone. The first ad involved the Opels coming to Radiator Springs as tourists. The second involved their failed attempts at auditioning for Mater. In the end the Opels lost the part to the real Mater. In July 2006, greeting card giant Hallmark Cards unveiled its line of 2006 Keepsake Christmas ornaments. Among the collection was an ornament featuring Lightning McQueen and Mater. There is also a Cars children's clothing line, which produces various T-shirts and shorts.
In Japan, Disney Japan and Toyota backed racing team Cars Racing replaced its racing car "Toy Story apr MR-S" and introduced the "Lightning McQueen apr MR-S" for the 2008 Super GT season. The car was based on the Toyota MR-S and the externals of the car were modeled on its of McQueen as much as possible. This include their number change from their original No.101 to McQueen's #95. They won in Race 3 that season.
Theme park attractions
A Cars-based attraction opened at Walt Disney Studios Paris (France) in 2007 and a Cars-based land opened in Disney California Adventure Park in June 2012.
- Main article: Cars Land
Cars Land is a 12-acre land located at the Disney California Adventure Park which contains an entire interactive replica of the town of Radiator Springs from the Cars franchise. The land includes several restaurants and three rides: Mater's Junkyard Jamboree, Luigi's Casa De la Tires, and finally the main "E-Ticket" attraction, Radiator Springs Racers. This ride is one of the most expensive rides Disney has ever built; at a cost of over $200 million. Radiator Springs Racers lets guests race against each other around Ornament Valley while riding on their favorite Cars characters. Cars Land opened on June 15, 2012 with the completion of Disney California Adventure Park's expansion along with Buena Vista Street.
Cars Quatre Roues Rallye
- Main article: Cars Race Rally
Cars Quatre Roues Rallye, or Cars Race Rally, is an attraction at Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris in Marne-la-Vallée. The attraction opened on June 9, 2007 as part of the park's expansion land, Toon Studio. The ride opened one year after Cars showed its first screening. The attraction's setting is the small town of Radiator Springs (located in Toon Studio). The attraction's station is themed to a car service station located in the desert. The attraction is surrounded by boulders which imitates the rocky formations of the Grand Canyon. The ride system is actually a highly themed Zamperla Demolition Derby.
Riders begin the attraction by sitting down in one of the generic car-shaped vehicles. The vehicles are located on one of the four spinning plateaus. The attraction's layout is similar to "Francis' Ladybug Boogie" attraction at Disney California Adventure Park and the "Whirlpool" at Tokyo DisneySea, as the vehicles automatically change from one spinning plateau to the next. The vehicles change plateaus while carrying out the rotation inversion of eight separate vehicles. Cars Race Rally is currently the only operating Disney ride themed to the Cars franchise at Disneyland Paris.