- “Going where no car has gone before.”
Cars 2 is a 2011 American computer-animated action comedy adventure film produced by Pixar, and it is the sequel to the 2006 film, Cars. In the film, race car Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) and tow truck Mater (voiced by Larry the Cable Guy) head to Japan and Europe to compete in the World Grand Prix, but Mater becomes sidetracked with international espionage. The film is directed by John Lasseter, co-directed by Brad Lewis, written by Ben Queen, and produced by Denise Ream. Cars 2 is also the first film John Lasseter has directed since the original Cars in 2006. George Carlin who voiced Fillmore was replaced by Lloyd Sherr after he died in 2008.
The film was distributed by Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios and was released in the United States on June 24, 2011. The film was presented in Disney Digital 3D and IMAX 3D, as well as traditional two-dimensional and IMAX formats. The film was first announced in 2008, alongside Up, Newt, and Brave (previously known as The Bear and the Bow), and it is the 12th animated film from the studio. The film opened to mixed reviews from critics, and is Pixar's lowest reviewed feature film to date; even by fan standards. At the time of its release, it was the studio's lowest-grossing film in North America since A Bug's Life. Despite this, it continued the studio's streak of box office success, ranking #1 on its opening weekend in the U.S. and and Canada with $66,135,507, and topping international success of such previous Pixar's works as WALL-E, Cars, Monsters, Inc., Toy Story 2, A Bug's Life, and Toy Story.
The film opens on a grainy video recording. A red British sports coupe named Leland Turbo speaks to the camera saying that his mission has failed and that he needs Finn McMissile's help. He jots in his GPS coordinates just as a pair of hatchbacks burst through the doors behind him, a commotion follows, and the video feed dies.
A crab boat named Crabby has British Special Agent named Finn McMissile (Michael Caine) on board. The trawler tells McMissile that they've arrived at the coordinates, but there is nothing but water for miles. A massive warship appears from the shadows. It draws its guns on the trawler and demands that it leave immediately. The trawler swiftly obeys the order and turns around, and notices that Finn is no longer on board. The warship drifts back to its home base, unaware that McMissile has attached himself to the back of the ship using a pair of grappling hooks. The two arrive at a massive oil platform in the middle of the ocean. Finn grapples onto one of the oil platform's supports, engages his magnetic tires, and swiftly makes his way to the top of the facility. From above he takes photos and spies on a meeting taking place between dozens of "lemons" (Pacers, Gremlins, etc.). Leland Turbo is nowhere to be seen. Professor Zundapp (Thomas Kretschmann), a micro car with an over-sized monocle, appears and pries open a wooden crate revealing the cubed remains of Leland Turbo. All laugh maniacally, Finn cringes. Professor Z opens a second box, in which Finn sees a regular looking television camera. The lemons are soon alerted to Finn's presence and a massive chase/firefight ensues. Finn is soon cornered on the top-most platform of the oil rig. He peels out in reverse, plunging hundreds of feet into the water below. The secret agent sprouts water skis and rocket boosters which push him across the water like a speedboat. Professor Z's henchman take off after him. A massive rocket locks in on Finn and explodes, leaving a pile of smoking wreckage floating on the ocean surface. Finn McMissile has in fact, survived the explosion. He sprouts a pair of submarine fins, a scuba mask, and a pair of turbines on his rear, and silently escapes. The Lemons think Finn has died when 4 tires appear on the sea.
In Radiator Springs, Mater has resumed his towing job and is rescuing a stranded car on the side of the highway. This car has a tendency to leak oil, unlike Mater who has never had oil-leaking problems. Mater tows him back to town and realizes that Lightning McQueen is back after winning his fourth Piston Cup. The two reminisce by visiting the Radiator Springs museum which is dedicated to the memory of the now-deceased Doc Hudson. Mater has exciting plans for them both, but McQueen cuts him off, saying that he would love to spend some time with Mater, but also wants to spend time with Sally (Bonnie Hunt), his girlfriend.
That evening, Sally and Lightning head to the Wheel Well, which has now become a bustling hang-out and restaurant for tourists. Mater arrives, dressed as a waiter, and interrupts Lightning and Sally's date. They take his intrusion with stride and order a couple of drinks. Mater heads to the bar where Guido is acting as a bartender. On TV, a Larry King-ish interviewer is speaking to Miles Axlerod (Eddie Izzard), a Richard Branson type capitalist, who has recently given up fossil fuels in favor of his own alternative fuel, "Allinol". Miles tells the interviewer of his plans to hold a World Grand Prix, wherein all the contestants will race using Allinol. One of the contestants, Francesco Bernoulli (John Turturro), an Italian F1 car, boasts of his speed and strengths and vows that he is unbeatable. The interviewer swiftly answers a call on the air; it's Mater. Mater claims that Lightning McQueen is superior to Bernoulli in every way and would drive circles around him. Bernoulli laughs off the claims and challenges McQueen to enter the race. McQueen takes Mater out the booth and talks to Bernoulli and accepts the challenge on the air.
At the airport, McQueen bids a farewell to Sally as he and his pit crew board a jumbo jet heading to the first leg of the Grand Prix: Japan. McQueen and Mater take in the sights of Tokyo, and head to a lavish party put on by Miles Axlerod. Elsewhere Finn McMissile and his spy-agency counterpart Holley Shiftwell (Emily Mortimer) learn that an American spy is at the party and their job is to intercept him and receive a package. At the party, Mater's antics prove embarrassing. He first mistakes Wasabi for pistachio-flavored ice cream, and goes screaming through the building and ultimately plops down on the stage between Lightning and Axlerod upon whom he mistakenly leaks a few gallons of oil. Lightning angrily tells Mater to go to the bathroom and clean himself up, while Bernoulli teases Mater and McQueen from afar. In the bathroom, Mater briefly meets eyes with an old yellow jalopy washing his hands. Mater enters a stall and is confused by the technological complexity of the bathroom stall. Outside of the stall the yellow beater sheds its skin revealing a shiny blue Dodge Challenger beneath named Rod "Torque" Redline: the American Spy (Bruce Campbell).
Two other lemons appear in the bathroom, and a gunfight takes place. Midway through the ruckus Mater exits the stall and apologetically makes his way to the exit, unaware that during the commotion Torque passed the package to Mater, by placing it on his undercarriage. Shiftwell arrives, and using her GPS locator, she is shocked to discover that the presumed American spy is Mater. Shocked, she follows Mater. Through sheer luck, Mater manages to answer her coded questions, further "proving" his spy identity to Shiftwell and McMissile. She sets up a rendezvous with Mater, who mistakes it to be a date, and they part ways. Later that evening, Torque finds himself tied up and surrounded by Lemons in a warehouse. Professor Zundapp mans the mysterious typical-looking television camera which is aimed directly at Torque. Zundapp explains that the device is not actually a camera, but an electromagnetic pulse emitter, which, when aimed at a car using Allinol, will cause the fuel to boil dangerously until it explodes. They show Torque surveillance footage of the prior night's bathroom fight. They demand him to point out the other spy who received the package. Torque refuses, but he twitches emotionally when Mater appears on screen. Professor Z catches his reaction and orders his minions to find Mater and kill him. He then turns the camera weapon on at full power, causing Torque to burst into flames, killing him.
The following morning, the race is ready to begin. In the pit, Mater and Lightning's crew all wear headset microphones. The race begins. Above the race, McMissile and Shiftwell are surprised to see Mater attending the race in such a conspicuous manner. The two spot an unusually large concentration of lemon cars around the track. McMissile and Shiftwell battle the lemon cars in spectacular fashion and save Mater, but not before he incoherently narrates the strange goings-on of McMissile and Shiftwell. Mater's incoherent babbling, being fed to Lightning through his headset, cause Lightning to lose the race. Bernoulli repeatedly teases Lightning for losing. Lightning is angry at Mater. The next morning Lightning's pit crew is preparing to go to Italy while Mater has purchased a one-way ticket to Radiator Springs. At the airport Mater is escorted passed security by a disguised McMissile who is still convinced that Mater is the American spy they are looking for. Two of Professor Z's Lemons arrive and a chase takes place on the airport tarmac. McMissile's private jet Siddeley appears overhead, and the two manage to safely get on board. Back at the airport Lightning and his pit crew read a poorly scrawled note of Mater's telling him that he's gone back to Radiator Springs after causing Lightning to lose the race. Lightning feels rotten for blowing up at Mater.
On board McMissile's plane, Shiftwell examines the package given to Mater by Torque. It is revealed to be a single photo of a car engine, belonging to the leader of the lemons. Mater comments that the engine is nothing special: it belongs to car that leaks oil, and requires a lot of replacement parts. Also photographed are a few car parts Finn knows are only sold in Paris. Aboard the jet, Shiftwell fits Mater with a voice activated disguiser which will change his outward appearance to whatever he tells it to do. She also seeks to repair a large dent on Mater's bed. He refuses, saying that the dent is a part of him, and he would never repair it. The three head to Paris where they track down McMissile's usual informant who is revealed to have sold the Big Boss those parts. Through their investigation, it is revealed that the owner of the engine is a lemon, one of history's loser cars which are the very same ones the agents have been dealing with. It is also revealed that they will hold a meeting along with in Italy on the same day as the Grand Prix race, which most likely the boss will attend as well. After watching from the computer and seeing some of the lemons arrive, it is decided that Mater will be disguised as one of the lieutenant's tow trucks and will gain access to the meeting where he can identify the leader of the lemons and owner of the engine.
The Italian race has begun as McMissile and Shiftwell stay to watch the race, and look out for lemons, while Mater infiltrates the meeting in disguise. In the meeting, it is revealed that all the lemons' heads are present and wanted in several countries as Mater is terrified at this. Professor Z arrives and tells the lemons the Big Boss is present. A TV appears overhead upon which Mater sees a live-video of the Big Boss' engine apologizing that he can't attending in person, due to engine trouble. Big Boss' engine then goes over his plan and it is revealed he and the rest of the Lemons are the owners of the world's largest untapped oil deposit, in the middle of the ocean. Miles Axlerod and his Allinol alternative fuel are threatening to put the Big Boss out of business, so they will use the camera/heat gun to destroy the WGP racers during the race broadcast, including Lightning McQueen. The world will assume that Allinol is dangerous and will continue to use gasoline. Mater is afraid for Lightning.
Back at the race, Lightning and Bernoulli are neck and neck but Lightning manages to beat Bernoulli on his home turf, to the latter's annoyance. They soon wonder about the other racers before they watch the screens in horror, as the rest of the racers explode by way of Professor Z's camera/heat gun. For Lightning the win is bittersweet, given the amount of carnage that took place on the track. The Big Boss and his cronies anxiously watch the sports report. Miles Axlerod appears and reluctantly declares that Allinol must be too dangerous and tells the world that the final leg of the race will be run on gas. This pleases the Lemons as they celebrate on their fortune, as Holley contacts Mater to tell him to leave as Finn was captured before she is captured herself by Ivan and his fellows. Moments later, Lightning is interviewed, and asked if he too will run on gas. Lightning refuses, saying that he will continue to use Allinol. This angers the lemons and the Big Boss, who collectively orders Professor Z to kill Lightning McQueen as his subordinate announces this to all. Mater is shocked and accidentally sheds his disguise and recognized as the spy. The lemons draw their weapons, while Mater accidentally draws his weapons and a firefight happens. This little problem saves Mater and he flees using a parasol and flies directly for Lightning, who is still swamped by press. Mater breaks through barricades and crowds, and is about to warn Lightning when he is kidnapped by lemons, he is replaced by Ivan who distracts Lightning while Mater is thrown into a cargo container. Professor Z taunts him over his care for Lightning and his failure to warn him in time before Mater sprayed with knockout gas, rendering him unconscious.
While knocked out, Mater dreams of his own foolishness and lack of maturity, as demonstrated from scenes earlier in the film. He awakens inside of Big "Bentley" Clock Tower in London. He is tied up and is dangling a hundred feet over a dangerous set of gears. Below him, McMissile and Shiftwell are also tied up, about to be smashed by a pair of intersecting gears. As they are held captive, Mater bemoans the situation as he finally tells Finn and Holly he is not a spy and they now understand that Mater's "foolish act" is not an act at all and that Mater is just Mater, a regular tow truck. Mater puts the blame on himself for what happened to his friend before two lemons appear, they see Mater is awake and tell him that they have the camera/heat gun aimed at McQueen who is still alive sitting at the starting line. The two Lemons brag that they're going to kill McQueen and Mater is to watch at Z's order, this horrifies the tow truck.
At the pits for the race, McQueen talks to the others about the missing Mater as they state Sheriff and Sarge are looking into for help. The talk is interrupted as Axlerod comes to McQueen's pit stall to thank him for his decision, because of how the fans reacted to the race in Porto Corsa. He even hoped McQueen will win so that his creation will be given the popularity it deserved. Sally tells McQueen to race for Mater which he agrees too.
The race begins as the lemons aim the ray gun at Lightning and pull the trigger, while a horrified Mater looks on as the ray is to fire. To their surprise, Lightning does not explode and they are confused as Professor Z contacts them and angrily questions this before telling them to go to the back up plan. Mater questions this plan and they tell him that they've planted a bomb in McQueen's pit and it will explode. The two Lemons quickly leave to meet with Professor Z. Mater manages to free himself from his bonds and offers to save McMissile and Shiftwell, but he is told instead to go save his friends at the pit stop. Mater obliges and takes off to the race. In the clock tower, McMissile and Shiftwell are seconds from being smashed when she manages to turn back time in Big "Bentley" Clock Tower, which sends it in reverse and saves them both. Now free, the two notice Mater's air filter discarded on the ground. They both realize that the bomb isn't in the pit stop; it's on Mater, in place of his air filter. Shiftwell sprouts a pair of wings while McMissile takes off on land to both save Mater and stop Professor Z from exploding the bomb.
Mater haphazardly makes his way onto the track and arrives at the pits, he is shocked to see all of his friends are there and warns them of the threat before Finn contacts him and tells him the bomb is on Mater. Mater, now aware that HE is the bomb, seeks to outrun Lightning who spots him and tries to apologize. Lightning hooks himself to Mater who sprouts a pair of rocket boosters installed by Shiftwell, and the two burst through the track wall into the streets of London. Professor Z tries exploding the bomb, but by now Mater and Lightning is well out of range. Holley and McMissile arrive, with the latter ordering Holley to handle Mater's situation while he goes after Z and a chase takes place between the two of them. Meanwhile, the lemons go after Lightning and Mater.
Professor Z arrives at the London docks, where his battleship is waiting for him to board but McMissile is close behind and manages to grapple himself to the Professor's back bumper. The battleship produces a giant magnet and a tug of war between the ship and McMissile occurs. In the streets of London, Mater and McQueen continue to travel as Mater tells him to let go but is refuse. McMissile is ultimately able to project a few grenades at the ship's magnet, which causes it to explode. Holley catches up to Mater and McQueen, she tells him to stop but he refuses and she is forced to stop the lemons from earlier to prevent them from attacking Mater and McQueen. The two lemons crash into a bar and waste the drinks of other cars who angrily beat them up for it.
In the center of London, Mater and McQueen finally stop as Holley states they have to disarm his engine-mounted bomb as McQueen is shocked at this situation and questions who put a bomb on Mater. Finn then arrives towing a tied-up Professor Z who angrily questions McQueen on why his death ray didn't kill him, as McQueen is further shocked to hear this. At Finn's demands, Professor Z reveals the bomb is voice activated which means it can be deactivated by voice. Using voice activation, Mater quickly attempts to disarm the bomb but discovers that the bomb has a fail-safe for such a scenario. It begins counting down from 4 minutes. Professor Z states the bomb can only be disarmed by the car's voice that armed it, as Holley threatens Professor Z to disarm it. He obliges, but the good guys are shocked to find the clock tick from 4 to 3 minutes; meaning that Professor Z did not arm the bomb. When he asks if anyone else tries, Holley zaps him unconscious with her Taser, defeating him once and for all as Holley and Finn are pleased.
As they wonder what to do, the lemons and their army arrive to make sure the bomb goes off as McQueen notes they are the ones who want him dead which they confirm but states its not personal. Mater tries to talk them out of it though his explanation of becoming rich and powerful only further encourages them but luckily everyone from Radiator Springs show up and helps them defeat the criminals. As the remaining lemons try to flee from the area, Sarge appears with the British military who presumably take the villains into custody.
Afterwards, everyone tries to unscrew the bolts of the bomb on Mater but nothing works. With less than two minutes left, Mater soon wraps his mind around the situation, and believes that he's discovered the identity of the Big Boss, who should be able to disarm the bomb using his voice. Mater, using his rockets and parachute, blasts himself and McQueen across London to the race's finish line. There he finds Miles Axlerod, and the Queen of England.
Mater tells everyone that someone is sabotaging the races and he knows who before bowing to the queen revealing the bomb to the guards, causing a panic. Finn arrives telling them Mater can't disarm it before Lightning tells Mater to reveal his claims and Mater states it was Axlerod. Everyone pays attention as Mater states that he figured it out, as the bomb holds the same bolts as the British engine he saw, Mater has Holley show the picture before states Axlerod is the one who leaked oil at the party in Japan and he had just blamed it on him. Axlerod denies this by stating electric cars don't use oil but Mater states Axelrod is faking being an electric car and says that if they pop up his hood they'll see the engine. Axelrod tries to rebuke this as everyone questions Mater's theory and he says Axelrod admitted to this after he used his disguised voice for everyone to hate Allinol so the world would use oil. Axelrod states that the notion is preposterous as the Queen's grandson wants to get her from the scene but she wants to see where things are going. Finn states to Mater that Axelrod was the one who created the fuel but Mater brings up the possibility of Axelrod finding the oil wells in the ocean and creating Allinol as a sham to make alternative fuel look bad in order to profit from oil. Axelrod denies this even asking if Mater is basing this on a wild theory before The Queen and her guards leave with Axelrod begging for help but is ignored. He tells Mater to back off as the bomb's timer ticks down from ten as Mater is nose to nose with Axlerod. Everyone braces for the explosion as the timer counts down at 1, before Axlerod quickly deactivates the bomb and it is revealed Mater was right. The bomb shuts off as the guards surround Axelrod, Mater lifts the defeated villain's hood and the engine is the same as the lemon's big boss which Holley and Finn confirm. Axelrod then questions how Mater figured out his plan, as McQueen states he is now coming to all his races which delights Mater.
As thanks for stopping Axlerod's plans, Mater is soon knighted by the Queen though he insists on just being called Mater. He soon introduces McQueen to Finn and back forth before introducing them to the Queen. The group returns to Radiator Springs where Mater is as much a celebrity as Lightning. He brags about his flying British girlfriend, as his story is met with lot of skepticism until Finn and Holley arrive, confirming the tale. Mater introduces Finn as an agent to everyone and is about to do the same with Holley who interrupts by stating she and Mater are a couple, which shocks Guido who as Lugi puts it now believes Mater's claims. Holley is now sporting her own dent which she refuses to fix (like Mater). McQueen is still confused about something, he brings up Z stating that the death ray should have killed him as he and Mater question why didn't he explode. Finn and Holley state they are perplexed too as they reveal Allinol is just regular gasoline, modified by Axelrod to explode when targeted. McQueen asks Fillmore about his claims of his fuel being safe as Fillmore admits that Sarge had used Fillmore's alternative fuel in place of the Allinol, because it was bad. Sarge confirms this while awkwardly using Fillmore's catchphrase "Man" as he is teased by him for it by the latter.
Siddely arrives and tells Finn and Holley that they've been called onto another mission and that the Queen has personally requested Mater's involvement. Mater immediately turns them down, saying that he's happy to be home towing cars, and doesn't want to leave on another adventure just yet. Holley says they understand but she'll return soon, since he owes her a first date and the spies leave Mater with the rockets as they all take off.
Back in Radiator Springs, the same racing cars from the WGP are invited to an inaugural Radiator Springs race, free of press, video cameras, bright lights, and parties. Lightning jokes with Francesco, and the race begins. Mater joins the race with the rockets as he and lightning compete.
During the credits, Lightning McQueen and Mater are shown to be driving through various locations around the world before finally returning to Radiator Springs.
- Larry the Cable Guy as Mater, a Southern-accented tow truck from Radiator Springs.
- Owen Wilson as Lightning McQueen, a Piston Cup racecar.
- Michael Caine as Finn McMissile, a British spy car.
- Emily Mortimer as Holley Shiftwell, a beautiful young British desk agent, new to field work.
- John Turturro as Francesco Bernoulli, McQueen's main racing rival from Italy.
- Eddie Izzard as Sir Miles Axlerod, a British electric car who created Allinol.
- Thomas Kretschmann as Professor Zündapp, the doctor from Germany, Axlerod's assistant.
- Joe Mantegna and Peter Jacobson as Grem and Acer: Professor Zündapp's henchmen.
- Bruce Campbell as Rod "Torque" Redline, an American spy car.
- Tony Shalhoub as Luigi
- Darrell Waltrip as Darrell Cartrip
- Guido Quaroni as Guido
- Brent Musburger as Brent Mustangburger
- Colin Cowherd as Colin Cowling
- Jason Isaacs as Siddeley/Leland Turbo
- David Hobbs as David Hobbscap. Jacques Villeneuve voices the character in French releases.
- Stanley Townsend as Vladimir Trunkov/Ivan/Victor Hugo
- Lloyd Sherr as Fillmore/Tony Trihull
- Paul Dooley as Sarge
- Michel Michelis as Tomber
- Sig Hansen as Crabby the Boat
- Franco Nero as Uncle Topolino
- Vanessa Redgrave as Mama Topolino/The Queen. Sophia Loren provides the Italian dub of Topolino.
- Bonnie Hunt as Sally Carrera
- Cheech Marin as Ramone
- Jenifer Lewis as Flo
- Michael Wallis as Sheriff
- Katherine Helmond as Lizzie
- John Ratzenberger as Mack
- Jeff Garlin as Otis
- Patrick Walker as Mel Dorado
- Lewis Hamilton as Lewis Hamilton
- Velibor Topic as Alexander Hugo
- Greg Ellis as Nigel Gearsley
- John Mainier as J. Curby Gremlin
- Brad Lewis as Tubbs Pacer
- Richard Kind as Van
- Edie McClurg as Minny
- Teresa Gallagher as Mater's Computer
- Jeff Gordon as Jeff Gorvette
- John Lasseter as John Lassetire
- Catherine Bolt -
- Gillian Bolt -
- Jess Fulton -
- Sonoko Konishi -
- John Lasseter - John Lassetire
- Dice Tsutsumi -
Three voice actors of the original Cars film have also died since the first film had been released. Joe Ranft, who voiced Red and Jerry Recycled Batteries, died in a car accident in 2005 during production of the first film. Red appears in the movie and does an inaudible cry.
Paul Newman, who voiced Doc Hudson, died of cancer in September 2008. Lasseter was at first adamant that Newman would return, even though he had announced his retirement from acting. After Newman's death, Lasseter said that they would see how the story would proceed with Doc Hudson. Eventually, Doc was cut from the film and later on in Cars 3, it is implied that Doc Hudson died of aging.
In international versions of Cars 2, Jeff Gorvette is replaced in one scene by a different character, voiced by a regionally better known racer than Jeff Gordon:
- Australia: Mark Winterbottom: Frosty
- Spain: Fernando Alonso: Fernando Alonso
- Russia: Vitaly Petrov: Vitaly Petrov
- Swedan: Jan Nilsson: Flash
- China: Unknown: Long Ge
- Mexico: Memo Rojas: Memo Rojas
- Germany: Sebastian Vettel: Sebastian Schnell (Max Schnell)
- Brazil: Claudia Leitte: Carla Veloso
- France: Unknown: Raoul ÇaRoule
A notable voice in the international versions Sophia Loren, who voices Mama Topolino in 21 non-English-speaking countries and Jacques Villeneuve, who voices David Hobbscap in the French versions. In the Brazilian version, sportspeople still appear, with Lewis Hamilton becoming Formula One champion Emerson Fittipaldi, while Brent Mustangburger and David Hobbscap were done by sports announcers José Trajano and Luciano do Valle.
John Lasseter conceived the sequel's story while traveling around the world promoting the first film. He said, "I kept looking out thinking, 'What would Mater do in this situation,' you know? I could imagine him driving around on the wrong side of the road in the UK, going around in big, giant traveling circles in Paris, on the autobahn in Germany, dealing with the motor scooters in Italy, trying to figure out road signs in Japan."
The spy theme of Cars 2 emerged from a scene developed for Cars, which would have seen Lightning and Sally go to the drive-in movie theater, where they would have seen a spy film. Although the scene didn't make it to the final film, John Lasseter loved so much the idea of spy cars that he kept it in is mind and it became a main element in Cars 2.
Several members of the team watched numerous spy movies and studied the scenarist techniques and filming process. Lasseter watched as many spy movies as he could get to figure out the genre. While looking at Ronin, story supervisor Nathan Stanton paid particular attention to how car chases are shot.
Some members of the Cars 2 production team made a research trip in Europe in May 2009 were they visited 15 locations in 12 days. They also got to Japan in October 2009. Although supervising animators Shawn Kraus and Dave Mullins weren't part of the trip, they were able to see and try race cars of several types to study how to animate the racing parts of the movie.
It took a long time for the team to decide of the emotional center of the film. Notably Doc Hudson's death was envisaged as the emotional center of the film, as he could be considered as Lightning and Mater's father, but finally, this idea was abandoned, and Lightning and Mater's friendship was retained.
It was originally planned that the World Grand Prix would be composed of five races rather than three, but two of them were removed because it was too much story to tell. The movie was also supposed to open in Prague, but Lasseter moved it to the ocean and the oil rigs, which he though would be a much more spectacular way of debuting the film and to announce its spy theme.
In the original Cars, the landscapes and buildings included numerous car elements and mechanical pieces. For Cars 2, this technique, referred to as "Car-ification" appears more prominently due to the important number of places visited. Lasseter wanted the as much monuments as possible to be "car-ified". Therefore, all famous buildings in the real towns visited received important modifications to integrate in their architecture car grills, headlights, pistons, spark plugs, and many other car pieces, although the general appearance is conserved. Some buildings are even renamed, as Big Ben that becomes Big Bentley. Many also get bigger proportions to fit a car scale. For example, the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame's Cathedral in Paris are 50% bigger than the originals.
In 2009, Disney registered several domain names in relation to the title "World Grand Prix". However, so far only the title "Cars 2" has been released.
The full length trailer for Cars 2 was released on Pixar's official YouTube account on November 15, 2010 and later appeared in front of the animated Disney film Tangled. From early 2011 to the opening of Cars 2, Disney/Pixar massively published stills, video clips and concept art from the movie. Characters of the film where also regularly revealed, and for most of them a turntable video was provided.
Life-sized remote-controlled models of Lightning McQueen, Mater, and Finn McMissile were created for Cars 2 as part of the “Agents on a Mission” tour, presented by State Farm, to promote the film. The cars were exposed in several North American cities, including Detroit, Toronto, Phoenix, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Washington, DC, and Miami, among others. Mattel and LEGO have produced toys derived from the movie. To promote the movie and its products, Lego recreated the official Cars 2 trailer using LEGO bricks.
At the occasion of the 2011 WonderCon, Disney also led a viral marketing campaign. Outside the convention center was parked an AMC Pacer with an inscription leading to the Twitter account @ChromeLeaks. This account gives a URL that redirects to a video, Cars N' Deals of Emeryville Sale-A-Bration!, which contains a number of Pixar-related references, plus a hidden message that will bring you to a video with new Cars 2 footage. In June, Disney/Pixar released another viral video, of lesser importance, V12 TV, which uses clips from Cars 2 to spoof popular television programs.
For the occasion of the Royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, Disney/Pixar published a poster and a video clip featuring footage from the movie.
Jake Mandeville−Anthony v. The Walt Disney Company
On March 14, 2011 British screenwriter Jake Mandeville-Anthony filed a lawsuit against Disney and Pixar, saying the Cars franchise had similarities to characters and multiple screenplays, "Cookie & Co." and "Cars", which he developed in the early 1990's, alleging copyright infringement and breach of implied contract. Mandeville-Anthony claims he sent his story to a number of studios, including Disney and Pixar, and met with Jim Morris, then at Lucasfilm. He requested an injunction to stop the release of Cars 2 and actual or statutory damages. On July 27, 2011 the case was dismissed, preventing it from going to jury trial or ever being refiled. Disney’s attorneys proved that Mandeville-Anthony’s story, reportedly full of crude language and dialogue and highly offensive racist stereotypes, were very different from the Cars films.
Attached short film
Upon its release, Cars 2 was greeted with largely mixed reviews from professional film critics. Ending Pixar's reputation long of producing films which were both successful with movie critcs and at the box office compared to those of Disney's post-Renaissance era. "The original Cars was not greeted with exceptional warmth," said The New York Times, "but the sequel generated Pixar's first truly negative response." Several of the most influential critics cheered the movie, but far more were negative, "even gleefully so." Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 39% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 205 reviews, with an average score of 5.5/10, making it the first Pixar film ever to garner a "rotten" certification. Its consensus reads, "Cars 2 is as visually appealing as any other Pixar production, but all that dazzle can't disguise the rusty storytelling under the hood." Another review aggregator, Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, calculated an average score of 57/100 based on 38 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Critics generally criticized the focus on Mater and felt the film lacked warmth and charm. Reviewing the film for The Wall Street Journal, Joe Morgenstern wrote, “This frenzied sequel seldom gets beyond mediocrity." Entertainment Weekly critic Owen Gleiberman said, "Cars 2 is a movie so stuffed with "fun" that it went right off the rails. What on earth was the gifted director-mogul John Lasseter thinking – that he wanted kids to come out of this movie was [sic] more ADD?" Considering the low reviews given to the Pixar production, critic Kyle Smith of the New York Post said, "They said it couldn't be done. But Pixar proved the yaysayers wrong when it made its first bad movie, Cars. Now it has worsted [sic] itself with the even more awful Cars 2."
Conversely, Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the movie 3½ stars out of four, and said that "the sequel is a tire-burning burst of action and fun with a beating heart under its hood." He also praised its "fluid script" and called it a "winner". Roger Ebert was the most effusive of the more positive reviews, writing, “At a time when some ‘grown-up’ action films are relentlessly shallow and stupid, here is a movie with such complexity that even the cars sometimes have to pause and explain it to themselves.” Justin Chang of Variety commented, “The rare sequel that not only improves on but retroactively justifies its predecessor.” A central current of the negative reviews was the theory that Cars 2 was forced out of Pixar by its corporate parent, the Walt Disney Company, out of greed to drive merchandising sales. Lasseter vehemently denied these claims, calling them "people who don’t know the facts, rushing to judge." Some theorized that the vitriol was less about the film but more about Pixar's broadened focus to sequels. The New York Times reported that although one negatively reviewed film would not be enough to scratch the studio, "the commentary did dent morale at the studio, which until then had enjoyed an unbroken and perhaps unprecedented run of critical acclaim."
Cars 2 grossed $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 grossed $109.0 million, marking the largest opening weekend for a 2011 animated title. Overall, Cars 2 became sixth biggest Pixar film in terms of worldwide box office among twelve released.
Cars 2 made $25.7 million on its debut Friday (June 24, 2011), marking the second-largest opening day for a Pixar film after Toy Story 3's $41.1 million, but it was still the third least-attended first day for a Pixar film, only ahead of Up and Ratatouille. It also scored the fourth largest opening day for an animated feature, trailing only Toy Story 3, Shrek the Third ($38.4 million), and The Simpsons Movie ($30.8 million). On its opening weekend as a whole, Cars 2 debuted at No.1 with $66.1 million, marking the largest opening weekend for a 2011 animated feature, the sixth largest opening for Pixar, the fifth largest among films released in June, and the third largest for a G-rated film. In its second weekend, however, the film dropped 60.3%, the largest second weekend drop ever for a Pixar film, and grossed $26.2 million. It became Pixar's lowest-grossing film since A Bug's Life, making the film their first financial disappointment in North America, since the film cost $200 million to make. It was the most expensive Pixar film for 2 years along Toy Story 3, until Monsters University, which is claimed to have cost $270 million to make.
Outside North America, it grossed $42.9 million during its first weekend from 3,129 theaters in 18 countries, topping the box office. It performed especially well in Russia where it grossed $9.42 million, marking the best opening weekend for a Disney or Pixar animated feature and surpassing the entire runs of Cars and Toy Story 3. In Mexico, it made $8.24 million during its first weekend, while in Brazil, it topped the box office with $5.19 million ($7.08 million with previews). It also premiered at No.1 with $5.16 million in Australia, where it debuted simultaneously with Kung Fu Panda 2 and out-grossed it. It is the highest-grossing film of 2011 in Lithuania ($477,117) and Argentina ($11,996,480). It is the highest-grossing animated film of 2011 in Estonia ($442,707), Finland ($3,230,314), and Norway ($5,762,653).
Cars 2 marks the first Pixar film not to be nominated for an Oscar. It is also the first Pixar film not nominated for Best Animated Feature in the 2001-present history of that Award.
During the Summer of 2008, John Lasseter announced that Cars 2 would be pushed forward and released in the summer of 2011, one year earlier than its original 2012 release date. The US release date was later confirmed to be June 24, 2011, with a UK release date set for July 22, 2011. The world premiere of the film took place at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood on June 18, 2011. Cars 2 was released in 4,115 theaters in the USA and Canada setting a record-high for a G-rated film and for Pixar. The latter was surpassed by Brave (4,164 theaters).
- June 24, 2011 ([[Canada, Mexico)
- July 22, 2011 (United Kingdom, Ireland)
- July 27, 2011 (France)
- July 30, 2011 (Japan)
- Main article: Cars 2 (video)
The film was released on Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD, and Movie Download on November 1, 2011. The release was produced in four different physical packages: a 1-disc DVD; a 2-disc combo pack (Blu-ray and DVD); a 5-disc combo pack (Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD, and Digital Copy); and an 11-disc three movie collector's set featuring Cars, Cars 2, and Mater's Tall Tales. The film was also released as a Movie Download option in both standard and high definition.
The Movie Download version includes four bonus features: the new Cars Toon “Air Mater,” the Toy Story short “Hawaiian Vacation,” “World Tour Interactive Feature," and "Bringing Cars 2 to the World." The 1-disc DVD and 2-disc Blu-ray/DVD combo pack versions include the shorts “Air Mater” and “Hawaiian Vacation,” plus "Director John Lasseter Commentary." The 5-disc combo pack includes all of the same bonus features as the 1-disc DVD and 2-disc Blu-ray/DVD combo pack versions, plus “World Tour Interactive Feature" and "Sneak Peek: The Nuts and Bolts of Cars Land." The 11-disc three movie collection comes packaged with Cars (Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Copy), Cars 2 (Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Copy), and Mater's Tall Tales (Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Copy).
Cars 2 sold 1,983,374 DVD units during its opening week, generating $31.24 million and claiming first place. It also finished on the top spot on the Blu-ray chart during its first week, selling 1.76 million units and generating $44.57 million. Its Blu-ray share of home media was 47%, indicating an unexpectedly major shift of sales from DVD to Blu-ray. Blu-ray 3D contributed to this, accounting for 17% of total disc sales.
- Main article: Cars 2: The Video Game
A video game based on the movie 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. Unlike the film, the game got mostly positive reviews.
An app based on the film was released on iTunes for a dollar on June 23, 2011. The Lite version was released for free that same day. The object of the game is to complete each race, unlock new levels, and get a high score. As of June 28, 2011, The app has hit No.1 on the App Store.
- Main article: Cars 3
Cars 2 is rated G in the United States and rated U in the United Kingdom, it was rated PG in Australia for some mild comic/animated violence and infrequent mild bad language.
- The theatrical release had an alternate Pixar logo that reads, "Celebrating 25 Years." This has been removed from subsequent home video releases.
- Cars 2 is the first sequel that Pixar has produced that is not on the Toy Story movies. It is also the first to focus on the secondary character (in this case being Mater) rather than the protagonist of the original film, followed by Monsters University (Mike Wazowski), Finding Dory (Dory), and Incredibles 2 (Elastigirl).
- This is the only film in the Cars trilogy not to be scored by Randy Newman, since it is instead scored by other recurring composer Michael Giacchino.
- Cars is the second Pixar film to become a franchise, after Toy Story and is the final film independently before it was purchased by Disney.
- Cars is also Disney's twenty-fourth animated film to become a franchise, after Saludos Amigos, The Rescuers, Aladdin, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas, The Lion King, Toy Story, Fantasia, The Little Mermaid, Lady and the Tramp, Peter Pan, Cinderella, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Tarzan, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, The Jungle Book, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Lilo & Stitch, Mulan, The Emperor's New Groove, Bambi, Brother Bear, and The Fox and the Hound.
- This is the first Pixar film to receive a mixed critical reception.
- When Mater and Holley Shiftwell are sightseeing in Pairs, there is a restaurant called Gastow's, a reference to Gusteau's restaurant from Ratatouille.
- This is the only Cars film, including Planes and Planes: Fire & Rescue, where the main character does not appear with a new paint job in the last scene.
- This third Pixar Animation Studios closing logo cuts in from black, after WALL-E, & Up.
- Cars 2 is the third (and so far the last) Pixar movie with Pure Evil villains, the second is Toy Story 3 and the first is The Incredibles.
- Eddie Izzard and Richard Kind appear in The Wild, where he voices Nigel and Larry together.