Planes is a 2013 American animated sports comedy film produced by Disneytoon Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures.[3] Directed and co-written by Klay Hall and produced by Traci Balthazor-Flynn, it is a spin-off of Pixar's Cars franchise. Despite not being produced by Pixar, the film was co-written and executive produced by Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios' then-chief creative officer John Lasseter, who directed the first two Cars films, while the remaining writers of the film included Jeffrey M. Howard. The film stars the voices of Dane Cook, Stacy Keach, Priyanka Chopra in her Hollywood debut, Brad Garrett, Teri Hatcher, Danny Mann, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Roger Craig Smith, John Cleese, Carlos Alazraqui, Sinbad, Val Kilmer, and Anthony Edwards. In the film, Dusty Crophopper (Cook), a crop duster plane in the town of Propwash Junction, wants to complete Wings Around the Globe with racing planes, especially Ripslinger (Smith), despite his fear of heights, with the help of naval aviator Skipper Riley (Keach), who trains him.

Ripslinger, Dusty and El Chupacabra flying along in the cloudy sky.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byKlay Hall
Screenplay byJeffrey M. Howard
Story by
Produced byTraci Balthazor-Flynn
Edited byJeremy Milton
Music byMark Mancina
Distributed byWalt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release dates
Running time
92 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$50 million[2]
Box office$240.2 million[2]

In developing a concept created by Lasseter, the writers made a conscious effort to avoid remaking Cars in a new setting, while reusing Keach and Mann's characters from the Cars Toons short "Air Mater". The production team conducted research by interviewing several pilots of plane types that were included in the movie. Jon Cryer was initially announced as the voice of Dusty, before being replaced by Cook. Despite dropping out, Cryer received credit on the film for "additional story material". The musical score was composed by Mark Mancina, while Prana Studios provided work on visual effects, animation and compositing.

Planes premiered on August 2, 2013, at a special screening at The Fly-In Theater at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, an annual gathering of aviation enthusiasts in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Like many of Disneytoon's films, it was initially set to be released as a direct-to-video film,[4] but was instead theatrically released on August 9, 2013 in the Disney Digital 3D and RealD 3D formats.[5][6] The film grossed $240.2 million worldwide on a $50 million budget.[2] It received generally negative reviews from critics, who criticized the plot and humor but praised its voice acting and animation. A sequel, titled Planes: Fire & Rescue, was theatrically released on July 18, 2014.[7]


Dusty Crophopper, a young crop duster plane, works at a cornfield in Propwash Junction, Minnesota, and practices aerobatic maneuvers in his spare time, who dreams of becoming a racer, but are scorned by his boss, Leadbottom, and his forklift/mechanic friend, Dottie. However, he is supported by his fuel truck friend, Chug. Dusty and Chug train for qualifiers for the upcoming Wings Around the Globe Rally. On the night before the qualifiers, Dusty asks an elderly navy war plane named Skipper Riley to teach him how to fly well, but Skipper declines. The next day, Dusty only barely qualifies on a legal technicality, as another plane was using an illegal fuel intake.

Skipper decides to mentor Dusty, and discovers Dusty has a fear of heights. With training complete, Dusty travels to New York City for the race. There, he befriends a Mexican racer named El Chupacabra, who falls in love with a French-Canadian racer named Rochelle but consistently fails to woo her. Three-time defending champion Ripslinger dismisses Dusty. Dusty falls in love with an Indian plane named Ishani, who becomes supportive of him. During the first leg of the race from New York to Iceland, Dusty's refusal to fly high causes him to finish in last place.

During the second leg of the race to Germany, Dusty shows good sportsmanship by saving another racer, Bulldog, from crashing, winning Bulldog's respect but finishing last again. After the third leg of the race to Agra in India, Ishani invites Dusty to fly around the Taj Mahal and advises him to fly low through the Himalayas by following some railroad tracks. After flying through a tunnel (and narrowly missing a train), Dusty is in first place at Upper Mustang in Nepal, but he is upset to discover that Ishani set him up in exchange for a new propeller from Ripslinger's team, and he shuns her.

The fifth leg is over the Hump (the mountains between northeast India and south China) to Shanghai, where Dusty gets into first place again. He manages to help El Chupacabra win over Rochelle with a romantic song. In the sixth leg of the race across the Pacific, Ripslinger, refusing to lose to a crop duster, has his sidekicks Ned and Zed clip off Dusty's navigation antenna. Lost and low on fuel, Dusty comes across the USS Dwight D. Flysenhower, which allows him to land and refuel. On the carrier, Dusty discovers that contrary to Skipper's own descriptions, he only flew one mission during war. Before he can obtain answers, a thunderstorm strikes, and he is forced to depart by the carrier crew. However, he ends up crashing into the Pacific Ocean and is severely damaged.

Dusty is salvaged and transported to Mexico where his concerned friends are also present. Skipper confesses his entire squadron perished when he was coaxed to lead an attack by one of his fighters on a recon mission. He never flew again after the navy salvaged him. Dusty considers dropping out of the race but is encouraged to continue by many of his fellow competitors, who donate parts to repair the damage he sustained. Ishani also gives Dusty her new propeller, reconciling their friendship.

Racing back to New York, Ripslinger plots to finish off Dusty again but is thwarted by Skipper, who regains his courage to fly. Dusty conquers his acrophobia when he rides a jetstream. Nearing the finish line, Ripslinger slows for the cameras, which allows Dusty to pass him and win, and Ripslinger crashes into portable toilets. Dusty is congratulated by his friends, and Skipper thanks him for giving him the confidence to fly again. Skipper rejoins the navy, flying one last time with Dusty.

Voice cast


Planes is based on a concept created by John Lasseter.[21] Although Pixar did not produce the film, Lasseter, then-chief creative officer of both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, and director of Cars and Cars 2,[22] was also the executive producer of the film.[11] The writers made a conscious effort to not remake Cars in a new setting, rejecting ideas that were too close to ideas in Cars while reusing the characters Skipper and Sparky from Cars Toon episode "Air Mater", with Stacy Keach and Danny Mann reprising their roles.[23] The team also conducted research by interviewing several pilots of plane types that were included in the movie.[23] Jon Cryer was initially announced as the voice of the main protagonist Dusty,[22] but later dropped out and was replaced by Dane Cook.[8] A modified version of the teaser trailer for the film (featuring Cook's voice in place of Cryer's) was released on February 27, 2013.[24] Cryer did however receive credit on the film for "additional story material", along with Bobs Gannaway.[25] Prana Studios provided work on visual effects, animation and compositing.[26]


Air Tractor AT-400A painted as Dusty performing at the 2013 EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, where the film had a special screening[27]

Planes was originally set to be released in North America as a direct-to-video film in Fall 2013,[4] while having a theatrical release in Europe.[28] However, in December 2012 Disney announced that the film would be released theatrically.[5] This was the first Disneytoon Studios film released theatrically in North America since Pooh's Heffalump Movie eight and a half years earlier in 2005.

The film premiered on August 2, 2013, at a special screening at The Fly-In Theater at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, an annual gathering of aviation enthusiasts in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.[29] Along with the special screening of the movie, Disney brought a real life Dusty to be part of the activities. The real life version of Dusty was an Air Tractor AT-400A piloted and owned by agriculture pilot Rusty Lindeman.[27] The film was theatrically released on August 9, 2013,[5] when it was also screened at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, a biennial convention for Disney fans.[30]

Home media

Planes was released by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment on DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D on November 19, 2013. Blu-ray bonus features include "Franz's Song", an alternate sequence produced exclusively for the Blu-ray and HD digital releases, the featurette "Klay's Flight Plan", which follows director Klay Hall's personal journey during the making of the film, two deleted scenes with introductions by the director and producer, character interstitials, and "Top Ten Flyers", a countdown of history's greatest aviators hosted by Colin Cowherd.[31]


Critical response

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 25% approval rating with an average rating of 4.60/10 based on 123 reviews. The website's consensus reads, "Planes has enough bright colors, goofy voices, and slick animation to distract some young viewers for 92 minutes -- and probably sell plenty of toys in the bargain -- but on nearly every other level, it's a Disney disappointment."[32] Another review aggregator, Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 top reviews from mainstream critics, calculated a score of 39 based on 32 reviews, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[33] However, the film earned an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale from audiences polled by CinemaScore during the opening week.[34]

Peter Hartlaub of the San Francisco Chronicle gave the film two and half stars out of four, saying, "Many will enter theaters thinking this is a Pixar film, with the raised expectations that accompany that mistake. But even cynical animation fans will see there's quality here. After a little turbulence, Planes comes in for a nice landing."[35] Alonso Duralde of The Wrap gave the film a positive review, saying, "As shameless an attempt by Disney to sell more bedspreads to the under-10s as Planes is, it nonetheless manages to be a minor lark that will at least mildly amuse anyone who ever thrust their arms outward and pretended to soar over the landscape."[36] Justin Chang of Variety gave the film a negative review, saying, "Planes is so overrun with broad cultural stereotypes that it should come with free ethnic-sensitivity training for especially impressionable kids."[37] James Rocchi of MSN Movies gave the film one out of five stars, saying, "Planes borrows a world from Cars, but even compared to that soulless exercise in well-merchandised animated automotive adventure, Planes is dead in its big, googly eyes and hollow inside."[38] Michael Rechtshaffen of The Hollywood Reporter gave the film a negative review, saying, "Despite the more aerodynamic setting, this Cars 3D offshoot emerges as an uninspired retread."[39] Jordan Hoffman of the New York Daily News gave the film one out of five stars, saying, "The jokes in Planes are runway flat, and parents will likely reach for the air-sickness bag."[40]

Bill Goodykoontz of The Arizona Republic gave the film two out of five stars, saying, "Planes was originally scheduled to be released straight to video. Although the smallest children might like bits and pieces of it, there's nothing in the movie that suggests why Disney strayed from its original plan."[41] David Hiltbrand of The Philadelphia Inquirer gave the film one out of four stars, saying, "The animated film has all the hallmarks of a straight-to-DVD project — inferior plot, dull writing, cheap drawing — perhaps because it was intended for the bargain bin at Target, Walmart, and Costco."[42] Jen Chaney of The Washington Post gave the film one and a half stars out of four, saying, "This film is 100 percent devoid of surprises. It's the story of an underestimated underdog that's like every other kid-friendly, life-coachy story about an underestimated underdog."[43] Rafer Guzman of Newsday gave the film one and a half stars out of four, saying, "If Planes were a reasonably priced download, you'd gladly use it to sedate your kids during a long car ride. As a theatrical, 3-D release, however, Planes will sedate you, too."[44] Neil Genzlinger of The New York Times gave the film two out of five stars, saying, Planes is for the most part content to imitate rather than innovate, presumably hoping to reap a respectable fraction of the box office numbers of Cars and Cars 2, which together made hundreds of millions of dollars."[45]

Bruce Demara of the Toronto Star gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying, "While the plotting is rather pedestrian, the humour mostly lame, what makes Planes a stand-out experience — not surprisingly, based on Disney's vast and impressive history of animated classics — is the visuals."[46] Claudia Puig of USA Today gave the film two out of four stars, saying, "It's engaging enough, driving home the familiar message of following one's dreams and the less hackneyed theme of facing one's fears. But it feels far too familiar."[47] Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying, "As with Cars, the world of Planes feels safe. A little too safe, perhaps."[48] Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film a C, saying "Planes moves along quickly at a running time of 92 minutes, occasionally taking flight with some pretty nifty flight sequences. The animation is first-rate, and the Corningware colors are soothing eye candy."[49]

Tom Keogh of The Seattle Times gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying, "Though not officially a Pixar production, the new Planes — released by the beloved animation studio’s parent company, Disney — has the look and feel of Pixar's 2006 hit, Cars, if not the latter's charm or strong story."[50] Stephen Whitty of the Newark Star-Ledger gave the film two out of four stars, saying, "It's strictly by the numbers, from the believe-in-yourself moral to the purely predictable ending."[51] Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a B, saying, "What Planes lacks in novelty, it makes up for with eye-popping aerial sequences and a high-flying comic spirit."[52] A. A. Dowd of The A.V. Club gave the film a D+, saying, "Planes cuts corners at every turn, a strategy that leaves it feeling like the skeletal framework of an incomplete Pixar project."[53] R. Kurt Osenlund of Slant Magazine gave the film one out of four stars, saying, "The film feels second-rate in every sense, from the quality of its animation to its C-list voice cast."[54] Dave Calhoun of Time Out gave the film three out of five stars, saying "Planes isn’t a Pixar film, even if it’s related to one (Disney bought Pixar in 2006), and there’s nothing groundbreaking about the animation or script. That said, the characters and story still offer low-key charms."[55]

Box office

Planes, despite negative reception, grossed $90,288,712 in the United States and Canada, and $149,883,071 in other countries, for a worldwide total of $240,171,783, and was a box office success.[2] The film opened to number three in its first weekend, with $22,232,291, behind Elysium and We're the Millers.[56] In its second weekend, the film dropped to number four, grossing an additional $13,388,534.[57] In its third weekend, the film dropped to number five, grossing $8,575,214.[58] In its fourth weekend, the film stayed at number five, grossing $7,751,705.[59]


Planes was nominated to the BAFTA Kid's Vote for films at the British Academy Children's Awards.[60]


Planes (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedAugust 6, 2013
GenreFilm score
LabelWalt Disney
Mark Mancina film scores chronology
Penthouse North
Planes (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Planes: Fire & Rescue

The film's score was composed by Mark Mancina. The soundtrack was released by Walt Disney Records on August 6, 2013.[61]

Video game

Disney Interactive released Disney Planes, a video game based on the film, on August 6, 2013. It was released on Wii U, Wii, Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo DS.[62] A version for Windows PCs was also released on the same day.


A sequel, titled Planes: Fire & Rescue, was theatrically released on July 18, 2014.[7][63] Bobs Gannaway, co-creator of Jake and the Never Land Pirates and co-director of Secret of the Wings, directed the film. Dane Cook reprised his role of Dusty, and was joined by Julie Bowen as the voice of Lil' Dipper.[64] Rather than publishing an Art of book for Planes, Chronicle Books published The Art of Planes 1 & 2 alongside the sequel's theatrical release.[65] The music for the film was again composed by Mark Mancina.[66]


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