"How much will you
give me for a mint Buzz Lightyear?"
- W.J. Flywheel, Webporium
Story is a CGI animated feature film produced by Pixar Animation
Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures and Buena Vista
Distribution in the United States on November 22, 1995, and the
United Kingdom on 22 March 1996. It is the first computer animated
film to be completed, and Pixar's first feature film. It grossed
$191,773,049 in the United States and it took a grand total of
$358,100,000 worldwide. The primary characters are toys in the room
of the six-year-old boy Andy, and is mostly told from their point of
view. Andy, his baby sister Molly and mother have smaller roles, as
do the neighbour boy Sid, his dog Scud and sister Hannah.
Before Pixar's entry into
the feature film-business with Toy Story, Pixar was known for
developing the Pixar Image Computer.
Andy's favorite toy, Woody,
a cowboy doll with a bright personality. When the string on his back
is pulled, the recorder box inside him spurts out seemingly random
things, such as "Reach for the sky!" and "Somebody's
poisoned the water hole!" among other things. In Toy Story 2, it
is revealed that he is a very rare and very valuable collector's
item, and the star of the black-and-white puppet show "Woody's
Roundup", which was cancelled after the Sputnik crisis caused
children to only want to play with space toys, drastically lowering
the show's ratings. Andy's new birthday present, Buzz Lightyear is a
popular Space Ranger toy. He believes he's the real Buzz Lightyear,
and even believes he can fly, but all of his beliefs are shattered
when he sees a commercial advertising Buzz Lightyear toys from
Taiwan. This causes him to completely lose his confidence, but after
escaping Sid's house with Woody, he sees his true purpose of making
Oscar-winning short film Tin Toy (directed by John Lasseter) and its
CAPS project were among works that gained Disney's attention and,
after meetings in 1990 with Jeffrey Katzenberg, Pixar pitched a
television special called A Tin Toy Christmas. By July 1991, Disney
and Pixar signed an agreement to work on a film, based on the Tin Toy
characters, called Toy Story. The deal gave Pixar a three-film deal
(with Toy Story being the first) as well as 10% of the films' profits.
Toy Story's script was
strongly influenced by the ideas of screenwriter Robert McKee. The
script went through many changes before the final version. Lasseter
decided Tinny was "too antiquated", and the character was
changed to a military action figure, and then given a space theme.
Tinny's name changed to Lunar Larry, then Tempus from Morph, and
eventually Buzz Lightyear (after astronaut Buzz Aldrin). Lightyear's
design was modeled on the suits worn by Apollo astronauts as well as
G.I. Joe action figures. A second character, originally a
ventriloquist's dummy, was changed to a stuffed cowboy doll with a pull-string,
and named Woody for Western actor Woody Strode. The difference
between the old and new toy led to a conflict between their
personalities. Lasseter wanted the film to not be a musical, but a
buddy film, with the story department drawing inspiration from films
such as 48 Hrs. and The Defiant Ones. Joss Whedon claimed "It
would have been a really bad musical, because it's a buddy movie.
It's about people who won't admit what they want, much less sing
about it. Buddy movies are about sublimating, punching an arm, 'I
hate you.' It's not about open emotion." Disney also appointed
Joel Cohen, Alec Sokolow and, later, Whedon to help develop the
script. In addition, Disney wanted the film to appeal to both
children and adults, and asked for adult references to be added to
the film. Disney gave approval for the film on January 19, 1993, at
which point voice casting could begin.
Lasseter always wanted Tom
Hanks to play the character of Woody. Early test footage, using
Hanks' voice from Turner and Hooch, convinced Hanks to sign on to the
film. Billy Crystal was approached to play Buzz, but turned down the
role. Katzenberg took the role to Tim Allen, who was appearing in
Disney's Home Improvement, and he accepted. Toy Story was both Hanks
and Allen's first animated film role.
Pixar presented an early
draft of the film to Disney on November 19, 1993. The result was
disastrous: Walt Disney Feature Animation president Peter Schneider
immediately shut down production pending a new script approved by
Disney. Pixar survived the shutdown by falling back on its existing
television commercial business while the script was rewritten. The
made Woody a more likable character, instead of the "sarcastic
jerk" he had been. Katzenberg restarted production in February
1994. The voice actors returned in March to re-record their new lines.
It was Whedon's idea to
incorporate Barbie as a character who would rescue Woody and Buzz in
the film's final act. The idea was dropped after Mattel objected and
refused to license the toy. Producer Ralph Guggenheim claimed that
Mattel did not allow the use of the toy as "They [Mattel]
philosophically felt girls who play with Barbie dolls are projecting
their personalities onto the doll. If you give the doll a voice and
animate it, you're creating a persona for it that might not be every
little girl's dream and desire." Hasbro likewise refused to
license G.I. Joe but did license Mr. Potato Head. The film's related
toys were produced by Thinkway Toys, who secured the worldwide master
toy license in 1995.
Story 2 is a 1999 CGI film, the third Disney/Pixar feature film, and
the sequel to Toy Story, which features the adventures of a group of
toys that come to life when humans are not around to see them. Like
the first film, Toy Story 2 was produced by Pixar Animation Studios,
directed by John Lasseter, Lee Unkrich and Ash Brannon, and released
by Walt Disney Pictures and Buena Vista Distribution.
Some time after the events
of Toy Story, presumably the following summer, Andy is preparing to
leave for Cowboy Camp with Woody. While playing with him and Buzz,
Andy accidentally rips Woody's arm, leaving him unable to take his
doll to the camp. Woody is placed on the shelf, where he finds
another broken toy, the penguin Wheezy, and begins to fear he'll soon
be thrown away. When Wheezy is set out for a yard sale, Woody tries
to rescue him, but ends up in the yard sale himself, where he is seen
by Al McWiggin, an obsessive toy collector and proprietor of
"Al's Toy Barn" who steals Woody.
The adventure is on as Buzz
and several other toys set out to rescue Woody. Along the way Buzz
gets into a scuffle with another Buzz Lightyear doll (who, like Buzz
in the first movie, doesn't realize he's a toy), Buzz's father, (a
lá Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader), Emperor Zurg. Meanwhile
Woody meets the "Roundup Gang", Jessie, Bullseye (his
horse) and the Prospector.
Story 2 was not originally intended for release in theaters. Disney
asked Pixar to make a direct-to-video sequel for the original Toy
Story with a 60 minute running time. When Disney executives saw how
impressive the in-work imagery for the sequel was, they decided to
create a theatrical movie, and the plot was reworked to be much more
epic and cinematic in scope and the duration of the movie was
extended to just over 90 minutes. Some animators got repetitive
stress injuries rushing to complete the film, which taught the Pixar
managers to arrange breaks between each project from then on.
Pixar and Disney had a
five-film co-production deal and Pixar felt that with its change in
status, Toy Story 2 should count as one of the pictures in the deal.
Disney felt that since the production of Toy Story 2 was negotiated
outside of the five-picture deal, it should not count. This issue
became a particularly sore spot for Pixar, leading to a falling out
between Pixar CEO Steve Jobs and Disney CEO Michael Eisner,
concluding in Pixar's 2004 announcement that it would not extend its
deal with Disney and would instead seek other distribution partners.
With Eisner's departure and Pixar's ultimate purchase by Disney,
these problems have been overcome. This was one of Jim Varney's last
movies before his death in 2000.
According to the terms of
Pixar's revised deal with Disney, all characters created by Pixar for
their films were owned by Disney. Furthermore, Disney retained the
rights to make sequels to any Pixar film, though Pixar retained the
right of first refusal to work on these sequels. But in 2004, when
the contentious negotiations between the two companies made a split
appear likely, Disney Chairman at the time Michael Eisner put in
motion plans to produce Toy Story 3 at a new Disney studio, Circle 7
Animation. Tim Allen, the voice of Buzz Lightyear, indicated a
willingness to return even if Pixar was not on board.
Herzfeld wrote a script for Circle 7's version of the film. It
focused on the other toys shipping a malfunctioning Buzz to Taiwan,
believing that he will be fixed there. While searching on the
Internet, however, they find out that the malfunctions are happening
to many toys around the world and the company has issued a massive
recall. Fearing Buzz's destruction, a group of Andy's toys (Woody,
Rex, Slinky, Mr. Potato Head, Hamm, Jessie, and Bullseye) venture to
rescue Buzz. At the same time Buzz meets other toys from around the
world that were once loved but have now been recalled.
In January 2006, Disney
bought Pixar in a deal that put Pixar chiefs Edwin Catmull and John
Lasseter in charge of all Disney Animation. Shortly thereafter,
Circle 7 Animation was shut down and its version of Toy Story 3 was
shelved. The following month, Disney CEO Robert Iger confirmed that
Disney was in the process of transferring the production to Pixar.
John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter, and Lee Unkrich visited
the house where they first pitched Toy Story and came up with the
story for the film over a weekend. Stanton then wrote a treatment. On
February 8, 2007, Catmull announced Toy Story 3's co-director, Lee
Unkrich, as the sole director of the film instead of John Lasseter,
and Michael Arndt as screenwriter. The release date was moved to 2010.
Instead of sending Tom
Hanks, Tim Allen and John Ratzenberger scripts for their
consideration in reprising their roles, a complete story reel of the
film was shown to the actors in a theater. The reel was made up of
moving storyboards with pre-recorded voices, sound effects, and
music. At the conclusion of the preview, the actors signed on to the film.
Story 3 was released worldwide from June through October 2010 in
Disney Digital 3-D, RealD and IMAX 3D. Toy Story 3 was also the first
film to be released theatrically with 7.1 surround sound.
The plot focuses on the
toys Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and their friends dealing with an
uncertain future as their owner, Andy, prepares to leave for college.
Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Don Rickles, Estelle Harris, John
Ratzenberger, Wallace Shawn, Jeff Pidgeon, Jodi Benson, R. Lee Ermey,
John Morris, and Laurie Metcalf reprised their voice-over roles from
the previous films. Jim Varney, who played Slinky Dog in the first
two films, and Joe Ranft, who portrayed Wheezy and Lenny, both died
before production began on Toy Story 3. The role of Slinky Dog was
taken over by Blake Clark, while Ranft's characters and various
others were written out of the story. New characters include
performances by Ned Beatty, Timothy Dalton, Kristen Schaal, Bonnie
Hunt, Whoopi Goldberg, Jeff Garlin, and Michael Keaton.
The feature broke Shrek the
Third's record as the biggest opening day North American gross
for an animated film. It is also the highest-grossing opening
weekend for a Pixar film, as well as the highest-grossing opening
weekend for a film to have opened in the month of June. The film is
the highest-grossing film of 2010 in the United States and Canada,
and the highest-grossing film of 2010 worldwide. In July, it
surpassed Finding Nemo to become Pixar's highest ever grossing film
at the North American box office. In early August, the film surpassed
Shrek 2 as the highest-grossing animated film of all-time worldwide;
in late August, Toy Story 3 became the first ever animated film in
history to make over $1 billion worldwide.
Toy Story 3 was nominated
for five Academy Awards - Best Picture, Best Animated Feature, Best
Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Song, and Best Sound Editing. It
was the third animated film (after Beauty and the Beast and Up) to be
nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. It won the awards
for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song.
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