- “A single kindness can change everything.”
The Good Dinosaur is a 2015 American 3D computer-animated adventure drama Disney/Pixar film released on November 25, 2015 as Pixar's 16th feature-length animated film and directed by Peter Sohn. Enrico Casarosa, director of La Luna, was head of story. A short called Sanjay's Super Team was released alongside the film. The film, along with Inside Out, marks the first time Pixar released two films in one year.
- “What if the cataclysmic asteroid that forever changed life on Earth actually missed the planet completely and giant dinosaurs never became extinct? This hilarious, heartfelt and original tale is directed by Bob Peterson (co-director/writer, Up; writer, Finding Nemo) and produced by John Walker (The Incredibles, The Iron Giant).”
- “The Good Dinosaur asks the question: What if the asteroid that forever changed life on Earth missed the planet completely and giant dinosaurs never became extinct? Pixar Animation Studios takes you on an epic journey into the world of dinosaurs where an Apatosaurus named Arlo makes an unlikely human friend. While traveling through a harsh and mysterious landscape, Arlo learns the power of confronting his fears and discovers what he is truly capable of.”
- ―Official website
In an alternate timeline set millions of years after the asteroid that would have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs passes safely over Earth, two apatosaurus farmers, Henry (Jeffrey Wright) and Ida (Frances McDormand), give birth to three children: Libby (Maleah Padilla), Buck (Marcus Scribner), and the runt, Arlo (Raymond Ochoa). As the children grow, Libby and Buck easily adjust to life and their responsibilities on the farm (signified by a mud print on a corn silo), but Arlo's timid, cowardly nature makes his tasks difficult for him. In order to give Arlo a sense of purpose, Henry puts him in charge of guarding their silo for pests and helping him set up traps. One day, a trap manages to capture a feral caveboy, but Arlo is too reluctant to kill it and it runs free. Heavily disappointed, Henry forces Arlo to accompany him to track the caveboy through a ravine, where it begins to rain. After Arlo injures himself, Henry decides to turn back just as a flash flood occurs and a massive rapid appears. Henry only manages to save Arlo before he is swept away and killed.
Without Henry, Arlo must help Ida with harvesting crops before the first snow. After spotting the caveboy inside the silo, Arlo chases him in a fit of rage, the both of them falling into a river where Arlo hits his head on a boulder and is knocked unconscious. Waking up, Arlo is dismayed to find himself far from home and tries to survive on his own with minimal success. The caveboy finds him and eventually gives him some berries to eat. The caveboy leads Arlo to a berry tree, where they are both attacked by a snake, which the caveboy fights and repels, which amazes Arlo. A nearby Styracosaurus, Forrest Woodbush (Peter Sohn), also impressed with the caveboy's physical prowess, tries to call him by name, but he only responds to Arlo, who names him "Spot." After traveling together for the rest of the day, Arlo laments about his lost family, and confides in Spot, who reveals that his own mother and father are dead. They sleep together that night. The next day, a storm ravishes the land, and Arlo, remembering the storm that took his father's life, runs for safety on his own.
The next morning, Arlo wakes up to find Spot, only to be encountered by a fanatical band of Pterodactyls led by Thunderclap (Steve Zahn). The pterodactyls turn out to be savagely carnivorous, and after they find Spot, the two of them run away before encountering a pair of Tyrannosauruses, Nash (A.J. Buckley) and Ramsey (Anna Paquin), who both ward the pterodactyls off. Arlo and Spot then meet Nash and Ramsey's father, Butch (Sam Elliott), who agrees to let the two of them join their party if they can help them locate a herd of steer they had lost. Spot manages to sniff them out, with Arlo discovering the presence of "Rustlers." On Butch's instruction, Arlo lures the Rustlers out, who are revealed to be a group of Velociraptors led by Bubbha (Dave Boat) looking to steal Butch's herd. Butch and his children try to fend off the Rustlers, Arlo successfully attacks two of them, allowing Butch to scare them off for good. With Butch, Nash, and Ramsey now fully respecting Arlo, he helps lead them towards the area of their homeland. Along the way, Arlo and Spot encounter a human off in the distance, but ignore him and continue on.
As another storm begins to pick up, Thunderclap and the pterodactyls return and attack the two, this time managing to take Spot away and leaving Arlo behind. As Arlo begins to give up, he has a vision of Henry leading him away and back toward home, but Arlo admits his love for Spot and resolves to save him, which makes his father proud before he fades away. Filled with determination, Arlo attacks the pterodactyls who have cornered Spot at the river, and the two of them manage to throw them into the water, where they ride helplessly downstream. A flash flood begins, and a massive mudslide crashes into the river and triggers a torrent. Arlo leaps to save Spot, and the two of them are carried away towards a waterfall. Arlo manages to swim to Spot and hold on to him as they fall, with Arlo carrying Spot to shore where he regains consciousness.
As they venture back forth, Arlo and Spot both hear the calls of a caveman family just as they come over the hill overseeing Arlo's farm. With great reluctance, Arlo allows Spot to return with them and the two of them share a tearful, but loving goodbye. Arlo comes back home to his mother and siblings, and he is allowed to leave his mud-print on the silo between the prints of his mother and father.
- Raymond Ochoa as Arlo, a young Apatosaurus
- Jack Bright as Spot, a little orphaned human boy
- Sam Elliott as Butch, a Tyrannosaurus rex
- A.J. Buckley as Nash, a T. rex and Butch's son
- Anna Paquin as Ramsey, a T. rex and Butch's daughter
- Steve Zahn as Thunderclap, a Nyctosaurus
- Jeffrey Wright as Poppa Henry, Arlo's father
- Frances McDormand as Momma Ida, Arlo's mother
- Marcus Scribner as Buck, Arlo's brother
- Maleah Padilla as Libby, Arlo's sister
- Peter Sohn as Forrest Woodbush, a Styracosaurus
- Dave Boat as Bubbha, a Velociraptor
- Mandy Freund as Downpour, a Caulkicephalus
- Carrie Paff as Lurleane, a member of Bubbha's pack
- John Ratzenberger as Earl, a member of Bubbha's pack
- Mackenzie Grant as Pervis, a member of Bubbha's pack
- Steven Clay Hunter as Coldfront, a Ludodactylus
- Alan Tudyk as Windgust, a Guidraco
When a promotional video for Up called Up: B-roll 1 was released in 2009, many fans noticed four stand-out images in the background of sculptor Greg Dykstra's office. The top image is a clay sculpture of a Sauropod ("Long-neck") dinosaur with a person standing next to it. Below it are two more images of clay sculptures of a boy. The fourth image, not clearly visible, is a drawing of the same or another Sauropod. As Up was released in May of that year, development could have started as late as early 2009.
The film's first release date of November 27, 2013 was first announced in June 2011. Not long after, the plot, director & co-director, producer, and other small details were announced at the D23 Expo on August 20, 2011. Bob Peterson and John Walker humorously titled the film The Untitled Pixar Movie About Dinosaurs and even created a logo for the mock title. On April 24th, 2012, Pixar announced that it would be entitled The Good Dinosaur.
John Lasseter gave details about the film's plot: "They are kind of cartoony but they are dinosaurs; they are not walking around with clothes on or anything like that, they still are kind of dinosaurs. We focused on mostly the plant-eaters, not the carnivores. Their society becomes more of an agrarian society, meaning farmers. They become farmers. It’s a very funny story about a certain way of life that a young dinosaur has trouble fitting into and he ends up going on this quest.
He kind of messes up and he has to put everything right by going on this quest and on that quest he meets this character that is an outcast from his society too and so the two of them form this bond and it becomes this unique kind of story…" The filmmakers want to explore what dinosaurs represent today, and how they are represented in stereotypes. Bob Peterson said: "It's time to do a movie where you get to know the dinosaur, what it's really like to be a dinosaur and to be with a dinosaur." Peterson said the inspiration for the movie came from a childhood visit to the World's Fair where he was impressed by some dinosaur animatronics. The film's title might suggest that dinosaurs are evil. However, Peter Sohn warned: "The title is deceptively simple. It has more meaning than it seems."
On December 22, 2011, Disney shared upcoming release dates for its films. A film titled Frozen rested on the date of November 27, 2013, which led many to believe that The Untitled Pixar Movie About Dinosaurs, originally scheduled for release on that date, now had the title of Frozen. However, Peter Sciretta of /Film confirmed with Disney that Frozen was not a Pixar film. Further, Bleeding Cool received tips that Frozen was actually an adaptation of the long-dormant Snow Queen animated film with Walt Disney Animation Studios. Later, Pixar announced that The Good Dinosaur would be released on May 30, 2014. On March 12, 2013, Thomas Newman revealed that he is composing the musical score for The Good Dinosaur. On August 9, 2013, at the D23 Expo it was announced that Lucas Neff, John Lithgow, Frances McDormand, Neil Patrick Harris, Judy Greer, and Bill Hader have joined the cast of the film.
In August 2013, Blue Sky Disney reported that due to story problems, the director and producer had been removed from the film. According to the report, the studio was looking for a new director who would put the film back on track, while still attempting to release the film in 2014. Other sites also noted the Peterson's absence at D23 Expo, where Sohn and producer Denise Ream presented footage from the film. A few days later, Ed Catmull, Pixar's president, confirmed to Los Angeles Times, saying: "All directors get really deep in their film. Sometimes you just need a different perspective to get the idea out. Sometimes directors ... are so deeply embedded in their ideas it actually takes someone else to finish it up."
Peterson, who is remaining at Pixar, moved on to another project he is developing, while Ream replaced Walker, who left to work on Tomorrowland. According to Catmull, the release date for the film is unchanged. Until the studio finds a replacement, John Lasseter, Lee Unkrich, Mark Andrews, and Sohn are working on various sections of the film. On September 18, 2013, it was announced that The Good Dinosaur will be released on November 25, 2015. Because of the change of release date, Finding Dory will by released in the summer of 2016, while Maleficent was bumped ahead to fill in the spot left by The Good Dinosaur.
By August 2014, John Lasseter, Lee Unkrich, Mark Andrews, and original project co-director Pete Sohn had reworked the project to the point the felt is was ready to go ahead. Voice actor John Lithgow said that he would be completely re-recording his whole part by September 2014. Lithgow said, "They have now dismantled it [the movie] and completely reimagined it, and it is a fantastic new story." Lithgow confirmed that Frances McDormand is still a cast member. The fate of the rest of the cast is currently unknown.
In October 2014, Peter Sohn was officially announced as the director of The Good Dinosaur. His contribution was scrapping the concept of dinosaur farmers and including the idea of making nature itself the main antagonist, making this the first Pixar film not to have a literal villain.
On June 12, 2015, an entirely new cast was announced, replacing the previous one.
Thomas Newman revealed in early 2013 that he was composing the musical score for the film, but in May 2015, it was reported that Newman had been replaced by Mychael Danna whom composed Life of Pi. That makes this film the second Pixar film to be scored by a different composer than Randy Newman, Thomas Newman, or Michael Giacchino; the first being 2012's Brave (which was scored by Patrick Doyle). In September 2015, it was announced that Jeff Danna would co-score the film's music with his brother, making it the first Pixar film to be scored by two composers instead of just one.
In May 2012, before the director change, the filmmakers discussed the film. They said they want to explore what dinosaurs represent today, and how they are represented in stereotypes. Bob Peterson said: "It's time to do a movie where you get to know the dinosaur, what it's really like to be a dinosaur and to be with a dinosaur". Peterson said the inspiration for the movie came from a childhood visit to the World's Fair where he was impressed by some dinosaur animatronics. The film's title might suggest that dinosaurs are evil. However, Peter Sohn warned: "The title is deceptively simple. It has more meaning than it seems."
The creative team chose to set the film in Wyoming for the grand landscapes and the state's connection to dinosaurs. Using geological data from the US Geological Survey, Pixar was able to digitally recreate much of the landscape of Grand Teton National Park (which serves as the inspiration for Clawtooth Mountain), Jackson Hole, and Yellowstone National Park. A single scene in the film uses as much data as the entirety of Cars 2.
The Good Dinosaur has grossed $123.1 million in North America and $208.8 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $331,926,147. In North America, The Good Dinosaur opened on Wednesday, November 25, 2015, alongside Creed and Victor Frankenstein, as well as the wide releases of Brooklyn and Trumbo. All will face competition with the second weekend of the final Hunger Games installment, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2. The film is projected to gross $60–65 million from 3,749 theaters in its first five days, including $45 million in its opening weekend. The film made $1.3 million from its Tuesday night previews and $9.8 million on its first day. The film earned $39,155,217, by far the worst for any Pixar film after adjusting for inflation on 3,749 theaters for a poor (by Pixar standards) $10,444 average. In its 2nd weekend, it sank 61%, edging Cars 2 for the worst percentage drop in the studio's history, earning just $15,323,958. In its 3rd weekend, it earned $10,314,223, down a more modest 33%. Both weekends would rank 3rd, while week 1 was in 2nd, thus becoming the first Pixar film to never reach #1 (would have been #2 if Inside Out didn't overtake Jurassic World in the 4th of July holiday). As of March 4, 2016, the film is currently more financially successful in terms of home video sales; as are most of Pixar's movies when they are released on home video with the strong possibility of becoming another one of Pixar's "cult classics", possibly along with A Bug's Life.
Despite the fact that this was Pixar's first box office disappointment, it wasn't a box office failure, due to the fact it was able to make back its budget at the box office or a complete commercial failure as some people had feared it would become. The Good Dinosaur was successfully able to gather generally positive reviews from various movie critics. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a rating of 77%, based on 183 reviews, with a rating average of 6.5/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Good Dinosaur delivers thrillingly beautiful animation in service of a worthy story that, even if it doesn't quite live up to the lofty standards set by Pixar, still adds up to charming, family-friendly entertainment." On Meteoritic, the film has a score of 66 out of 100, based on 37 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". On CinemaScore, audiences gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.
- Along with Inside Out, this was the first time ever that Pixar released two feature films in one year.
- The Good Dinosaur, Cars 2, Monsters University, and Finding Dory are so far the only Pixar films that have not received an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature. The Good Dinosaur is also the first non sequel film not to win an award for Best Animated Feature.
- This is the second Pixar film to have "the" in its title, the first being The Incredibles.
- Before The Good Dinosaur's rescheduling from 2014 to 2015, the Monsters University themed short Party Central was set to accompany the film, but instead was shown with the 2014 film Muppets Most Wanted.
- The Good Dinosaur is the fifth Pixar film to receive a PG rating, right after, The Incredibles, Up, Brave, and Inside Out. It received the rating on the basis of peril, action, and thematic elements.
- The Pizza Planet truck is found in the asteroid belt during the opening of the film.
- The Pixar Ball is found in the scene when Arlo and Spot get intoxicated from the fermented fruit.
- Since almost every character in the film has spoken with a southern accent and southern people cultures were shown in the film, it can be said that this is both a dinosaur and western film made by Pixar. Despite this, dinosaurs and western don't mix well.
- This is the very first Pixar film known to be pure drama.
- Frances McDormand and Anna Paquin previously co-starred in 2000 film Almost Famous.
- This is the last Pixar film to be broadcast on STARZ, as the following Pixar films from Finding Dory to Incredibles 2 would streaming on Netflix while Toy Story 4 became the first new Pixar film to stream on Disney+. However, all of the Pixar films are now streaming on Disney+ as of July 31, 2020.
- The Good Dinosaur is the first Pixar film to be composed by more than just one composer.
- The last Pixar film to feature the short 2011 Disney closing logo until Onward.
- The five characters who appeared in the toy products of The Good Dinosaur: Jack the Ankylosaurus, Vivian the Ankylosaurus, Will the Triceratops, Sam the Triceratops, and Mary Alice the Stegosaurus were cut from the film.
- Acrocanthosaurus and Geosternbergia were seen in the concept art, but were cut from the film.
- The Good Dinosaur is the first Disney and Pixar film that featured feathered dinosaurs like Chirostenotes or Oviraptor and Velociraptor.
- This is the third Pixar movie that didn't have any songs sung by characters nor singers heard in the background, right after The Incredibles and Up.
- "Pixar’s Good Dinosaur Take A New Turn". Big Cartoon Blog, August 23, 2014,entire
- Disney Insider: "Meet The New Cast of Disney•Pixar's The Good Dinosaur."
- Barcomb, James (March 14, 2013). "Film composer Thomas Newman discusses "The Art of Film Scoring"". Retrieved on March 16, 2013.
- "Jeff Danna Co-Scoring Pixar’s ‘The Good Dinosaur’". Film Music Reporter (September 9, 2015).
- Pixar's 'The Good Dinosaur' will warm up a prehistoric reputation
- Film composer Thomas Newman discusses “The Art of Film Scoring”
- "Katniss To Sling Arrows Into ‘Creed’ & ‘Victor Frankenstein’, As ‘Good Dinosaur’ Stalks Families: Thanksgiving B.O. Preview".
- Anthony D'Alessandro. "Katniss Rules Wednesday On Track For $78M-80M 5-Day; ‘Good Dinosaur’ Eyes $58M-$62M; ‘Creed’ Punching $39M-$42M". Retrieved on November 26, 2015.
- "The Good Dinosaur reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved on November 25, 2015.
- "The Good Dinosaur reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved on November 25, 2015.