Finding Nemo, John Carter

Disney/Pixar; Frank Carter/Disney

Look who's ready to take the plunge again!

Disney is still smarting from the colossal bomb that was John Carter, a whopper of a stinker that cost upward of $250 million, grossed an embarrassingly paltry $73 million domestically, seemingly cost the Mouse House's studio boss his job, and earned a hallowed spot among the most notorious movie failures in Hollywood history.

But if there's one thing we know, it's that Hollywood has a short memory, because now comes word that John Carter's director, Andrew Stanton, is apparently back in Disney's good graces. He's reportedly on board to helm a sequel to Finding Nemo.

Deadline is reporting that Stanton has signed on to direct Finding Nemo 2, which could provide exactly the kind of redemption that the director needs right now.

Stanton won an Oscar for helming the first Finding Nemo, Disney-Pixar's beloved 2003 maritime fable that went on to gross $876 million worldwide and score some of the best reviews for the vaunted animated studio. (A third Nemo installment is also on the drawing board, but no word yet on who will be directing that one.)

The original fishy flick still ranks as Pixar's second-highest-grossing movie, right behind Toy Story 3, and is widely considered the project that put Stanton on the map. (He later directed Wall-E, which nabbed him another Oscar.)

"It's the Pixar brand that trumps everything," says box-office president Paul Dergarabedian of the sequel's prospects. "Every Pixar movie has opened at No. 1, so I think the track record will be maintained, and I think it's great news for fans."

Dergarabedian also notes that one box-office misfire doesn't necessary translate into a death knell for a director's career.

"Everyone's entitled to a bomb in their careers," he explains. "And [Stanton's] totally in his wheelhouse with Finding Nemo 2. I don't think that audiences buy a ticket based on the director's track record. They base it on the brand, and how that brand resonates with them over the years. And I think that Andrew Stanton is a terrific director, and if he directs Finding Nemo 2, they'll be lining up, just like audiences have for every other Pixar movie."

Stanton's also got one other thing going for him: Finding Nemo will be rereleased in 3-D this September, which should hopefully juice up excitement for a sequel.

Could Finding Nemo 2 finally signal some smooth sailing ahead for Stanton and Disney, post–John Carter?

Perhaps. But if anything, it at least proves that the studio ain't done trying to fish for a hit from this Oscar-winning director.

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