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Cars 3 is a 2017 American 3D computer-animated auto racing sports comedy adventure film produced by Pixar and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Directed by Brian Fee, the screenplay was written by Kiel Murray, Bob Peterson and Mike Rich. The film is a sequel to Cars and a stand-alone sequel to Cars 2. The returning voices of Owen Wilson, Bonnie Hunt and Larry the Cable Guy are joined by Cristela Alonzo, Chris Cooper, Armie Hammer, Nathan Fillion, Kerry Washington and Lea DeLaria, in addition to a dozen NASCAR personalities.[6] In the film, Lightning McQueen sets out to prove to a new generation of high tech race cars that he is still the best race car in the world.

Cars 3
Three anthropomorphic cars race along a beach. The first car is red with the yellow number "95" on his side, the second is yellow, and the third is black, with a pier the is visible from behind them
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Brian Fee
Produced by Kevin Reher
Screenplay by
Story by
Music by Randy Newman[2]
  • Jeremy Lasky
  • Kim White
Edited by Jason Hudak
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date
  • May 23, 2017 (2017-05-23) (Kannapolis)
  • June 16, 2017 (2017-06-16) (United States)
Running time
102 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $175 million[3][4]
Box office $376.8 million[5]

The film was released on June 16, 2017, has grossed over $376 million worldwide and received generally positive reviews, with many critics considering it an improvement over its predecessor, as well as praising its emotional story and animation.[7]



Lightning McQueen, now a seven-time Piston Cup racing legend, finds himself overshadowed by Jackson Storm, an arrogant rookie who belongs to a new generation of racers that use the latest technology to improve their racing performance. This causes McQueen's fellow veterans to either be retired or fired by their sponsors to make way for the new rookies. In the final race of the season, as he tries to catch up to Storm and the other leaders, McQueen suffers a violent, nearly fatal rollover crash, leaving him badly injured.

Four months later, while recovering in Radiator Springs, McQueen isolates himself from his friends, and spends his time watching footage of his late mentor, Doc Hudson. Confronted by his girlfriend, Sally Carrera, McQueen fears being forced into retirement as Doc was. Rusty and Dusty, the owners of McQueen's Rust-eze racing team, send him to a new state-of-the-art racing center, much to his surprise. When he arrives, he learns that they have sold Rust-eze to a new owner, Sterling, who assigns him to work with trainer Cruz Ramirez. McQueen eventually becomes impatient and annoyed with Cruz's methods, and attempts to use a high-tech racing simulator, only to cause severe damage to the equipment.

Convinced that McQueen is no longer capable of winning, Sterling is ready to take him off the racing circuit, and use him for product endorsements. McQueen offers a deal instead – if McQueen wins the first race of the upcoming season in Florida, he can decide when he retires; otherwise, he will retire immediately. Sterling accepts the deal, but assigns Cruz to work with him one-on-one. Instead of improving his own top speed, McQueen spends most of the day helping Cruz get used to racing on the sandy coastline outside of the training center. For inspiration, they travel to a dirt track on which Doc raced, but inadvertently end up competing in a demolition derby, which Cruz ultimately wins. Distraught at the apparent waste of training time, McQueen rages at Cruz and, in the process, accidentally breaks her trophy. Upset, Cruz reveals that she had wanted to race professionally just like McQueen all her life, but never started a race, because she felt outclassed. She resigns as McQueen's trainer, and starts back to the training center.

Learning that Storm has set a new lap record, McQueen calls his best friend, Mater, for advice. Mater suggests that he should track down Doc's mentor, Smokey. McQueen catches up to Cruz and convinces her to come along, and the two travel to Doc's hometown of Thomasville, Georgia, where they meet Smokey and several of Doc's old friends. Smokey reveals that even though Doc never raced again after his crash, he found a new happiness in training McQueen. After Lightning McQueen accepts that he will never be as fast as Storm, Smokey and his friends teach McQueen and Cruz how to drive smarter than Storm, with Cruz serving as a sparring partner for Lightning. However, during a final practice race, Cruz suddenly overtakes McQueen and he has a flashback to his crash, shaking his confidence.

At the race in Florida, McQueen is encouraged by Smokey and his friends, and gradually pushes up through the ranks. Still convinced McQueen cannot win, Sterling spots Cruz in the pits, and orders her to return to the racing centre to begin prepping another racer for the following week’s event, despite her wanting to stay and watch the race. McQueen overhears the exchange and remembers that Cruz had wanted to race because of him. He decides that Cruz is the answer to beating Storm. Entering the pits, McQueen has his pit crew outfit Cruz for racing, complete with his racing number, giving her the chance to finally race. Cruz uses McQueen’s coaching and Smokey’s advice to catch the leaders. Feeling threatened, Storm tries to intimidate Cruz, even pinning her to the wall during the final lap of the race. Instead, Cruz uses the wall to vault over Storm and take first place. She and McQueen are both credited with the victory since they both raced with the winning number. Cruz quits her job with Sterling and accepts an offer from Tex Dinoco for his Dinoco racing team.

Later, at an exhibition race in Radiator Springs, McQueen and Cruz reveal they have adopted Doc's old racing colors and number, respectively, to honor his memory. Tex Dinoco informs the group that he has bought Rust-eze from Sterling, and McQueen decides to continue racing and train Cruz as well.

In a post-credits scene, Mater, at his junkyard, tries to answer a call from his phone. But, he knocks his reception antenna and his phone goes dead, much to his dismay.


Cast notesEdit

Jeremy Maxwell voices Arvy, one of the competitors at Thunder Hollow, but is though uncredited.

Angel Oquendo voices Bobby Swift, a veteran racer for Octain Gain, and one of Lightning's racing friends.

Jerome Ranft voices Red(The Radiator Springs fire engine), as he was voiced by Ranft's older brother, Joe Ranft, in the first film who died in 2005 in an automobile accident, aged 45.


On August 17, 2013, Michael Wallis (voice of Sheriff in the films) told radio listeners that Cars 3 would go back to Route 66, and would also include Route 99.[21] At the Disney stockholder meeting on March 18, 2014, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that Pixar had begun pre-production on Cars 3.[22] In October 2014, Pixar's chief creative officer John Lasseter revealed at the Tokyo International Film Festival that the film would feature a tribute to Hayao Miyazaki's film The Castle of Cagliostro, in a form of an old Citroën 2CV.[23]

On October 8, 2015, the film's release date was announced to be June 16, 2017.[24] On June 10, 2016, during an interview, John Lasseter, director of the previous Cars films, promised a very emotional story, similar in tone to the first film.[25] Co-writer Kiel Murray, who also co-wrote the original Cars, said of the return to the series roots, "With these franchises you always want to know who it's about. The first movie was about McQueen, and the second movie was a sort of off-ramp to the Mater story. We wanted to get back to the McQueen story. When we looked at what would be next for him, we wondered what that would be like both as an athlete, and also for what he was dealing with in the rest of his life."[26]

On January 5, 2017, it was announced that Armie Hammer and Cristela Alonzo would voice Jackson Storm and Cruz Ramirez, respectively.[9]


Cars 3 was released in theaters on June 16, 2017, in the United States, in 3D[24] and selected IMAX theaters,[27] accompanied by the Pixar short film Lou.[28] The film had a special screening for the NASCAR industry in Kannapolis, North Carolina on May 23, 2017.[29] The world premiere was held in Anaheim, California on June 10, 2017.[30]

Home mediaEdit

Cars 3 will be released on Digital HD on October 24, 2017 and it will also be released on DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray on November 7, 2017, by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.[31]


Box officeEdit

As of October 20, 2017, Cars 3 has grossed $152.8 million in the United States and Canada and $224 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $376.8 million, against a production budget of $175 million.[5]

In North America, Cars 3 was released alongside Rough Night, 47 Meters Down and All Eyez on Me, and was projected to gross $55–60 million from 4,256 theaters in its opening weekend.[32][33] It made $2.8 million from Thursday night previews and $19.5 million on its first day. It went on to open to $53.7 million, finishing first at the box office and dethroning two-time first-place finisher Wonder Woman. Cars 3 had the lowest opening of the series, but nevertheless was the 16th Pixar film to debut at number one.[34] In its second weekend, the film grossed $24.1 million, dropping to third place, behind Transformers: The Last Knight and Wonder Woman.[35] In its third weekend the film made $9.7 million ($14.1 million over the five-day 4th of July holiday weekend), dropping to 5th.[36]

Internationally, the film made $21.3 million from its opening in 23 markets, which was 9% more than Cars 2 and 29% more than Cars.[37] The film opened in China on August 25 and grossed $10.8 million over its debut weekend.[38] The biggest markets in terms of total earnings are China ($20.8 million), followed by France ($19.5 million), Japan ($16.1 million), Mexico ($15.6 million), and the UK ($15.2 million).[39]

Critical responseEdit

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 68% based on 180 reviews, with an average rating of 6.1/10. The site'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."[40] 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."[41] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.[34]

In his review for Variety, Owen Gleiberman wrote, "Cars 3 is a friendly, rollicking movie made with warmth and dash, and to the extent that it taps our primal affection for this series, it more than gets the job done. Yet in many ways it’s the tasteful version of a straight-to-DVD (or streaming) sequel."[42] David Fear of Rolling Stone gave the film a positive review, saying: "There's an emotional resonance to this story about growing old, chasing glory days and the joy of passing the baton that leaves the other two films choking on its digitally rendered dust. The end goal this time out isn't just to sell a few more toys and Lightning McQueen lunchboxes. It's actually tapping into something deeper than a corporate bottom line."[43] Mike Ryan of Uproxx called the film 'The Rocky III Of The Cars Franchise,' and wrote "There’s a hint of sadness that seems to be present throughout Cars 3 that gives it a little more weight than the previous installments."[44]

Alonso Duralde of TheWrap gave the film a mixed review, saying: "As a spawner of merchandise, Cars 3 fires on all pistons but, as a movie, it's a harmless but never stimulating 109 minutes."[45] Vicky Roach gave the film 3 out of 4 stars, saying: "Returning to the iconic, backroads nostalgia of the original film, Cars 3 puts the flashy, unpopular middle film squarely in its rear vision mirror. The route that the filmmakers take might be familiar, but after gunning it, they take the corners like pros."[46]


There are two soundtracks released for the third film. The original motion picture soundtrack features rock/pop songs featured in the film, while the original score soundtrack features the score composed and conducted by Randy Newman.[47]

Cars 3 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album
Released June 16, 2017
Genre Western, Country, Pop
Length 28:40
Label Walt Disney
No. Title Artist Length
1. "Run that Race" Dan Auerbach 2:43
2. "Kings Highway" James Bay 3:07
3. "Truckaroo" Brad Paisley 2:36
4. "Thunder Hollow Breakdown" Brad Paisley 4:49
5. "Glory Days" Andra Day 4:07
6. "Ride" ZZ Ward featuring Gary Clark Jr. 4:03
7. "Drive My Car" Jorge Blanco 2:42
8. "Freeway of Love" Lea DeLaria 4:30
Cars 3 Original Score
Soundtrack album by Randy Newman
Released June 16, 2017
Recorded 2016-2017
Genre Country, classical
Length 50:15
Label Walt Disney
Pixar chronology
Finding Dory
(2016)Finding Dory2016
'Cars 3'
Randy Newman chronology
Monsters University
(2013) String Module Error: Match not found2013
'Cars 3'
(2017) String Module Error: Match not found2017
Toy Story 4
(2019) Toy Story 42019
No. Title Length
1. "Storm's Winning Streak" 1:23
2. "When All Your Friends are Gone/ Crash" 3:44
3. "Doc's Painful Demise" 1:25
4. "Mater on the Horn" 0:29
5. "Sistine Chapel on Wheels" 1:06
6. "Temple of Rust-eze" 1:25
7. "A Career on a Wall/ Electronic Suit" 3:21
8. "Drip Pan" 1:12
9. "McQueen's Wild Ride" 2:05
10. "Biggest Brand in Racing" 3:12
11. "Fireball Beach" 2:16
12. "Pull Over, Now!/ Cruz's Racing Dreams" 2:00
13. "1.2%" 1:21
14. "If This Track Could Talk" 2:33
15. "Letters About You" 2:02
16. "Smokey Starts Training/ A Blaze of Glory" 5:56
17. "Starting Dead Last" 1:42
18. "Flashback/ Pit Stop" 3:32
19. "Through the Pack" 3:42
20. "Victory Lane" 3:51
21. "The Fabulous Lightning McQueen" 2:11

Video gameEdit

A tie-in video game has been announced to accompany the film's release. It was developed by Avalanche Software, which was shut down by Disney in 2016, but was acquired and revived by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, it was released on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U, Xbox 360, and Xbox One on June 13, 2017, in North America,[48] in Europe and Australasia on July 14, 2017,[49] and in Japan on July 20, 2017. As Disney no longer develops and publishes video games after the release of Disney Infinity 3.0, Warner Bros. Interactive published the tie-in game.[50]


Recarding Cars 4, Owen Wilson confirmed that he would reprise his role as Lightning McQueen, and that the film would have a "thriller" tone.[51]


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External linksEdit