They may not enjoy the same critical, and indeed commercial reputation as some of their Pixar stablemates on purely theatrical terms, but there is no denying that the Cars films bring in serious dollars when it comes to toys and other spin-offs. But the Emeryville team doesn't just think of that aspect, and the story for Cars 3 seems to be headed down a slightly darker path.
Darker, of course, is relative, but this is a series of films that hasn't strayed from oddly dark themes – witness a car being tortured in the James Bond riffing Cars 2 (2011). This time around, the film is focusing on Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson), once the young hotshot of the track, now an older veteran struggling to keep up with the competition. He is especially challenged by newcomer Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer) and will need a little help from technician Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo) if he is to match up.
Cars 3 will be out in the UK on 14 July, following a 16 June debut in the US.