The Disney/Pixar movie Cars didn't have the box office appeal of movies like Wall·e and Toy Story, but on toy store shelves, the autos-only flick was a grand slam. Merchandising and the recent boon for sequels are two great reasons for film executives to make Cars 2. Disney and Pixar are so excited about an encore for Lightning McQueen and his buddy Mater that the 3D sequel has been moved up from 2012 to the summer of 2011. The highly anticipated (at least by us) Cars 2 will reportedly feature both carry-over and all-new characters, but we're assuming Lightning McQueen and Mater will be central to the plot. Hopefully Paul Newman will be well enough to come back for a second helping of Hudson Hornet.
Antz and Ratatoulie director Brad Lewis will take the reigns for Cars 2, and a big part of his job is to wow us with 3D race scenes and super high-def imagery while keeping all-ages storyline that made Cars such a good flick. To keep a new generation of adolescents interested five years after the original hit the silver screen, Pixar will release a series of shorts before the movie comes out, starting with Mater's Tall Tales. The movie is still three years away, and we'll spend that time hoping some automaker doesn't hijack the movie and make it a 90-minute marketing exercise.