When it came time to retool the ending to their upcoming "Finding Dory" movie, the sequel to the 2003 hit "Finding Nemo," Pixar really did their homework.
Louie Psihoyos, director of the Oscar-winning documentary “The Cove,” tells the LA Times that Pixar chief creative officer John Lasseter and “Dory” director Andrew Stanton sat down with “Blackfish” director Gabriela Cowperthwaite in April after seeing her movie. Turns out they were deeply concerned over how the ending of their film might be perceived decades from now.
“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. “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.'"
"South" is a 1946 musical film from Disney that has never been released in its entirety on home video due to subject matter deemed racist and politically incorrect. In a statement critiquing the production, the NAACP said it helped "to perpetuate a dangerously glorified picture of slavery."
Cowperthwaite says she screened "Blackfish" for Pixar's Northern California campus, adding that they were deeply impacted by the film.
"These are obviously people who are dedicated to researching every topic they cover," the filmmaker told the Times. "Whether 'Blackfish' affects their creative decisions, I can't say."
"Finding Dory" will be released November 25, 2015. A trailer for "Blackfish," now playing in select theaters, is below.