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Cars 3

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Cars 3
Cars 3.jpg
"I decide when I'm done."
Genre: Adventure
Directed By: Brian Fee
Produced By: Kevin Reher
Written By: Kiel Murray
Bob Peterson
Mike Rich
Starring: Owen Wilson
Cristela Alonzo
Chris Cooper
Armie Hammer
Larry the Cable Guy
Bonnie Hunt
Nathan Fillion
Lea DeLaria
Kerry Washington
Cinematography: Jeremy Lasky
Kim White
Distributed By: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Release Date: May 23, 2017 (Kannapolis)
June 16, 2017 (United States)
Runtime: 102 minutes
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $175 million
Box Office: $383.9 million
Franchise: Cars
Sequel: Cars on the Road (by release date; series)

Cars 3 is a 2017 American 3D computer-animated sports comedy-adventure film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Directed by Brian Fee in his directorial debut and written by Kiel Murray, Bob Peterson, and Mike Rich, it is the third installment of the Cars film series and the stand-alone sequel to 2011's Cars 2. It was executive produced by then-chief creative officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar, John Lasseter, who directed the first two Cars films as Pixar's 18th feature film. The film had a special screening for the NASCAR industry in Kannapolis, North Carolina on May 23, 2017. The world premiere was held in Anaheim, California on June 10, 2017. Cars 3 was released in theaters on Friday, June 16, 2017, in the United States, in 3D, Dolby Cinema, and selected IMAX theaters.


Blindsided by a new generation of blazing-fast and advanced technology cars, the legendary Lightning McQueen, now very old, finds himself pushed out of the sport that he loves. Hoping to get back in the game, he turns to Cruz Ramirez, an eager young technician who has her own plans for winning. With inspiration from the Fabulous Hudson Hornet and a few unexpected turns, No. 95 prepares to compete on Piston Cup Racing's biggest stage.

Why It Decides When It's Done

  1. It retains the charm of the other Pixar movies (and more importantly, the first film) and is a massive improvement over its predecessor by featuring a nicer and much better story that once again focuses on Lightning McQueen and his sport of racing instead of focusing on Mater and a spy-themed adventure. Besides that, Mater now redeems himself and has also been gone back to his characterization back from the first film after he was essentially flanderized into an annoying, immature, and unlikable out-of-character idiot in Cars 2, since he hasn't appeared much as he did in the second film.
  2. Great voice acting both from actors and NASCAR drivers, including Chase Elliott, Bubba Wallace, Daniel Suárez, Ryan Blaney, etc.
  3. More advanced and solid animation than previous Pixar films.
    • Much like The Good Dinosaur, the backgrounds are incredibly photorealistic to the point where you could mistake the film for being live action that just happens to star animated cars and other types of vehicles.
  4. The designs of all the entire Next-Gen racers, especially Jackson Storm (despite him being lame and weak mostly) or Chase Racelott, are colorful and futuristic.
  5. The Florida 500 racetrack is a huge and impressive spectacle that makes Pixar an outstanding experience.
  6. The film has likable and great characters much like the first film; in fact, several characters from the first film return, including Doc Hudson (see below), Chick Hicks, The King, etc.
  7. Lightning McQueen's crash, which nearly forced him to retire, was the most heartbreaking, saddest and darkest Pixar moment.
  8. The soundtrack contains many original songs that were very well fitting, such as opening scene with McQueen racing ("Run That Race"), Mack heading to Rust-eze Racing Center ("Kings Highway") and the end credits ("Ride").
  9. There are a ton of references and easter eggs to the first two films, such as Doc's death, his medical office being converted into a racing museum, Lightning's newly-installed headlights, his paint job containing elements from his World Grand Prix design (most notably the lightning bolts on both sides fading into flames), a cameo of Jeff Gorvette, a picture of Miles Axelrod in Sterling's office (which possibly signifies that Sterling - who otherwise never appeared - knew him before his arrest), and a TV screen showing John and Nancy, the two cars in Paris kissing.
  10. A suitable and original plot for a Pixar movie.
  11. The demolition derby scene is very entertaining and a sort of inside joke for how Cars 2 was like: violent, chaotic and noisy.
  12. It pays tribute to Paul Newman's character Doc Hudson by showing him in many different flashbacks throughout the movie.
  13. Some of the lines never get old, like "This one's for you, Doc." and "I decide when I'm done."
  14. The new characters are entertaining and likable, such as Cruz Ramirez, Smokey, Junior Moon, Louise Nash and River Scott.
  15. Brilliant musical score thanks to Randy Newman (composer of the first film) returning to compose it. Some scores were rearranged to sound more powerful.
  16. Brian Fee gives decent direction. This was his directorial debut for an animated film replacing John Lasseter from the first two films, by the way.

Bad Qualities

  1. Like the first and unlike the second film, the story is slightly predictable again (Such as Cruz winning at the end) with Rocky III-esque elements featured in it, as well as that it somewhat lacking the charm of the first two films, depending on your view. It does also get pretty slow paced at times.
  2. Jackson Storm is a lame, and very evil antagonist, compared to other Pixar antagonists who often steal the show. He is pretty much a one-dimensional character and basically a carbon copy of Chick Hicks, except he is more silent, not as funny and entertaining as Chick Hicks and instead is more of an arrogant jerk like Lightning was in the first film at first, to the point where he seems more like a hurdle for McQueen to cross than a legitimate threat with him being more of a plot device than an actual villain character. We also never found out what happened to him after the final lap of Florida 500 race. In fact, Sterling actually seems more like the primary villain than him, mainly due to his plan actually having an impact on the plot and serving as a legit threat to McQueen.
  3. Bob Peterson is a bit of a step-down from Michael Keaton as the voice of Chick Hicks. Granted, Keaton was unavailable due to filming his scenes as the Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming, but still.
  4. Depending on who you ask, some scenes are too intense and violent for a G-rated film (though thankfully not as much as it was in the second film, which should have been rated PG, as it becomes much less), particularly the scene where Lightning McQueen crashes, and as well as the demolition derby scene.
  5. Mia and Tia, two of McQueen's racing fans from the first film and a cameo in the second film, are absent, and they are seemingly replaced by a smaller and younger car named Maddy McGear; it's never explained what happened to them. Likewise, it is never even explained what happened to Sterling after Tex Dinoco bought Rust-eze from him at the end either too as well; all that is mentioned is that Tex gave Sterling a "Texas-sized offer".
    • Minny and Van don't appear too as well. However, despite this, die-casts of them were produced anyway.
  6. While the film does bring back many characters from the first film, none of the characters introduced in the second film return here. For instance, Finn McMissile, Holley Shiftwell, Francesco Bernoulli and the Lemons aren't all seen/mentioned throughout the film and don't seem to exist anymore, and the film overall doesn't acknowledge the events of the second film (although there are still many references to the first two films as mentioned above). It may have been done because the second film had a mixed reception worldwide to the point even Pixar knows it is bad enough to forget it is worth existing, and the real plot should have either been that of the Cars video game or a continuation of the first movie.
    • Although this isn't actually the case, as people might know there was The Pixar Theory, because of the traditions that have occurred within the films and shorts such as anthropomorphic creatures and objects, and easter egg crossovers between films and shorts that have been spotted by Pixar fans.


Cars 3 received mainly positive reviews from critics, audiences and fans alike who praised it as an improvement over its predecessor as well as its emotional story, animation and focusing heavily on character development. Some even went as far as to say it's (even) better than the first film. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 69% based on 233 reviews with an average rating of 6.1/10, while the audiences score was 69%. The website's critical consensus reads, "Cars 3 has an unexpectedly poignant story to go with its dazzling animation, suggesting Pixar's most middle-of-the-road franchise may have a surprising amount of tread left". On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating, the film has a score of 59 out of 100, based on reviews from 41 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". The user score is 6.8/10, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.

Box office

Cars 3 grossed $152.9 million in the United States and Canada and $231 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $383.9 million, against a production budget of $175 million. Despite the second-lowest opening for a Pixar film, it was a box office hit nevertheless, like most Pixar films.





  • Unlike its predecessors, Cars 3 is the only Cars film in the franchise not to be released on an anniversary year for Pixar, since Finding Dory was released on the studio's 30th anniversary in 2016, and Luca was released on their 35th in 2021. Seeing how Cars was released on the studio's 20th anniversary in 2006 and Cars 2 was released on the 25th anniversary in 2011.
  • The original ending had Lightning McQueen win the Florida 500 over Jackson Storm, instead of Cruz serving as a relief car and her and Lightning being declared co-champions.
    • However, it was changed as it was decided that it would make Cruz's line to Lightning about her dream of becoming a racer pointless.
  • This is the only film in the Cars franchise that wasn't directed by John Lasseter (former CEO of Pixar and its sister companies); however, despite this, he was still involved as an executive producer.
  • This is the only film in the Cars franchise where Lightning doesn't say his catchphrase "Ka-chow!" (Except aside from the trailer), nor does Mater say his catchphrase "Dadgum!".
    • In fact, the last (and if final) use of the catchphrase was actually in Planes: Fire & Rescue, mentioned by Mayday (despite the DVD and Blu-Ray subtitles claiming that he is sneezing).
  • This is currently the first time Tex Dinoco honks his horn.
  • Regarding a possible Cars 4, Cars 3 producers Kevin Reher and Andrea Warren stated speaking to Cinema Blend that "If there's a good story to tell, I mean, our heads kinda break after having gotten this one done, like Oh my god, what could you do the further adventures of? But like any sequel, from Toy Story 4 to Incredibles 2, as long as there's a good story to tell it's worth investing, we do love these characters, we love them as much as the public does." Regarding which character would be the main protagonist in the film, Reher and Warren stated that "if Cruz is a breakout character, kind of like Mater was, she would be involved in a 4". Owen Wilson stated at a Cars 3 press event that possible stories have been discussed for a Cars 4, though he would personally like for a fourth Cars film to delve into aspects of the thriller genre, akin to Cars 2. In an interview with Screen Rant, Lea DeLaria expressed interest in reprising her role as Miss Fritter while promoting the release of the short film, Miss Fritter's Racing Skoool with the Cars 3 DVD and Blu-ray release.
  • BBC, Disney and LEGO released a short film via YouTube, on April 13, 2018, that is inspired by both the Cars movies and the popular TV series Top Gear. The film tells the story of Lightning McQueen's trip to the Top Gear track, where he achieves his dream of racing against the Stig.
  • This was the last Pixar film to use the normal music for the opening Disney logo, straight until Turning Red in March 2022, and also their final sequel to do so.
  • This is the first Pixar film to have a 4K Ultra HD Release. Following this, all Pixar movies, including old and new, would have 4K Ultra HD Releases. Unlike DVDs (save for Onward due to the film's failure and the pandemic) and Blu-Ray discs, all 4K Ultra HD Releases have no previews.
  • In May 2017, Walt Disney Records officially announced the release of two soundtracks: separately for the songs and score, unlike for the previous films, where both the songs and original scores by Newman and Michael Giacchino, had compiled into a single album. Fee said that both the score and the soundtrack "really help support the story we are telling".
  • This is the first Pixar film to receive a simple "Fresh" approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, instead of a "Certified Fresh" unlike all previous Pixar films had, the only exception being Cars 2 which got a "Rotten" rating.
  • In some international cuts of the movie, Lightning's final paint job as the "Fabulous Lightning McQueen" has the word "Lightning" replaced by a lightning bolt symbol.

Pixar Animation Studios

Toy Story - A Bug's Life - Toy Story 2 - Monsters, Inc. - Finding Nemo - The Incredibles - Cars - Ratatouille - WALL-E - Up - Toy Story 3 - Cars 2 - Brave - Monsters University - Inside Out - The Good Dinosaur - Finding Dory - Cars 3 - Coco - Incredibles 2 - Toy Story 4 - Onward - Soul - Luca - Turning Red - Lightyear - Elemental - Elio - Inside Out 2

Short movies:

Theatrical short films:

The Adventures of André and Wally B. - Luxo Jr. - Red's Dream - Tin Toy - Knick Knack - Geri's Game - For the Birds - Boundin' - One Man Band - Lifted - Presto - Partly Cloudy - Day & Night - La Luna - The Blue Umbrella - Lava - Sanjay's Super Team - Piper - Lou - Bao

SparkShorts series:

Purl - Smash and Grab - Kitbull - Float - Wind - Loop - Out - Burrow - Twenty Something - Nona


Mike's New Car - Jack-Jack Attack - Mr. Incredible and Pals - Mater and the Ghostlight - Your Friend the Rat - BURN-E - Dug's Special Mission - George and A.J. - The Legend of Mor'du - Party Central - Riley's First Date? - Marine Life Interviews - Miss Fritter's Racing Skoool - Auntie Edna - Lamp Life - 22 vs. Earth - Ciao Alberto

Short series:

Cars Toons:

Mater's Tall Tales:

Rescue Squad Mater - Mater the Greater - El Materdor - Tokyo Mater - Unidentified Flying Mater - Monster Truck Mater - Heavy Metal Mater - Moon Mater - Mater Private Eye - Air Mater - Time Travel Mater

Tales from Radiator Springs:

Hiccups - Bugged - Spinning - The Radiator Springs 500½

Toy Story Toons:

Hawaiian Vacation - Small Fry - Partysaurus Rex

Forky Asks a Question:

What Is Money? - What Is a Friend? - What Is Art? - What Is Time - What Is Love? - What Is a Computer? - What Is a Leader? - What Is a Pet? - What Is Cheese? - What Is Reading?

Pixar Popcorn:

To Fitness and Beyond - Unparalleled Parking - Dory Finding - Soul of the City - Fluffy Stuff with Ducky and Bunny: Love - Chore Day the Incredibles Way - A Day in the Life of the Dead - Fluffy Stuff with Ducky and Bunny: Three Heads - Dancing with the Cars - Cookie Num Num

Dug Days:

Squirrel! - Puppies - Flowers - Smell - Science

Television series:

Buzz Lightyear of Star Command (co-production) - Monsters at Work - Cars On The Road - Win or Lose

External links