As usual, the “experts” are predicting that Pixar’s upcoming masterpiece Up will not be a big merchandising hit due to the film’s protagonists: a chubby boy scout and a 78-year-old cranky man. According to Richard Greenfield of Pali Research, “We doubt younger boys will be that excited by the main character,” while also complaining about the lack of a female lead.

Thankfully, Robert A. Iger, Disney’s chief executive, came to the aid of his company’s product. “We seek to make great films first. If a great film gives birth to a franchise, we are the first company to leverage such success. A check-the-boxes approach to creativity is more likely to result in blandness and failure.”

This feeling is mutual among Pixar’s Pete Docter, director of Up and Monsters Inc., who has been quoted as saying: “We make these films for ourselves,” he said. “We’re kind of selfish that way.”

The quality of the film is so impressive that it will have the incredible honor of opening the the Cannes Film Festival this year.

Unfortunately all the early praise and Pixar’s prestige aren’t enough to convince retailers and toy manufacturers to support Up. According to reports, Target and Wal-Mart will stock little Up merchandise because there was not much interest from manufacturers; mainly Thinkway Toys, Pixar supporter since Toy Story, which will not produce any Up products.

Fortunately for all those money hungry execs who want tie-in merchandise, Pixar will deliver Toy Story 3 in 2010 and Cars 2 in 2011 — both of which will provide thousands of product opportunities ranging from childrens’ toys to shampoo. So relax, Wall Street.

Via NY Times