Exclusive: Viral Marketing Reveals New Pixar Short?

Throughout its success with feature-length films, Pixar has maintained focus on short films as well. Last year’s La Luna was arguably one of the best shorts from the animation studio, receiving widespread critical praise and an Oscar nomination. Around this time last year, we knew that the stunning Enrico Casarosa-directed short would be the studio’s next – but, what is to be the next Pixar short? We have come across some viral marketing that may very well allude to what it may be.

A filmmaker-run blog on tumblr called Rainy City Tales 332 has been dropping hints for months about a new animated short that is due to be announced to the public very soon. The blog’s purpose has been “blogging the production and making of [the] short.” Posts have been providing voices – often humorous – to inanimate objects found within a city, such as a broken umbrella, an emergency door handle, and base of a fire hydrant. Additionally, city rain seems to be a common focus of the blog. Take a look at the various inanimate objects and their “thoughts,” as provided by the unnamed filmmaker:


“It was hard sometimes,” Karl thought, “staying awake and always being ready for an emergency. But he was also very proud of the responsibility that was bestowed on him.”

The Twins

 “Today was one of those days he just couldn’t stand his twin brother staring at him all day long”


“Yes,” Bo thought, “I am just the base of a fire hydrant and to spot me you need to look at me upside down. But people should respect me nevertheless right?”

Here is a selection of the many images focused on rain in the city:

For an idea of what this short’s story may be about, here is a brief post from the blog talking about its likely influence:

Wandering through the city with the whole crew. Finding faces, big city details, discovering hidden stories, histories and the wonders of a city being formed and shaped by people’s everyday life in it.

If I had to take a stab at it, I would speculate that the short takes place in a rainy city and provides voices to these objects that we pass every day but take for granted.

Now, other than the thought that a story with inanimate objects coming to life in a rainy city sure sounds like it could make for a great Pixar film, you must be thinking that all of the above could be for just some animated short, and not necessarily a Pixar one. Well, that’s what I was thinking too, until I saw the image below:

See a few hints to Pixar yet? No? Take a look at the bottom right of the image and you’ll see “Pizza Planet.” Also, let me zoom in on the top center:

Yes, it says that this “Rainy City” animated short will be utilizing the rigging system of some movie called MU. Have your eyes gone wide yet? MU is short for Monsters University, which Pixar is also in the process of finishing (the Monsters, Inc. prequel is due in theaters in June 2013).

In another post, the filmmaker described how they decided to hold off on announcing “what [the] blog was about,” and then followed that up with a post earlier today that the announcement had been held back once again. Considering the strong reference to Pixar with the MU-name drop, and the fact that this time last year we knew what the newest Pixar short would be, it may very well be announced next week (after Comic-Con) that this blog has been doing some fantastic viral marketing for the new Pixar short, code-named “Rainy City Tales 332.”

Looking for more evidence? On Friday, May 4, the same day that Pixar was evacuated and closed for the day due to a hydrogen fuel tank leak in Emeryville, a blog post stated, “Who would have thought snow days happen even in California. Well, if you think of hydrogen as California’s snow. Ah well, so I’m off to a 3 day weekend…”

Further, take one look at who the blog’s twitter account follows – the list is overflowing with Pixar employees, along with several Pixar blogs (including, yours truly).

Coincidence after crazy coincidence?

Explore the blog here and sound off in the comments below! What do you think about all this?

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  • Fantino

    Wow! That’s a rather exhaustive research, especially because of the discovery of the MU letters in that whiteboard. I love the idea of inanimate objects in a rainy city. Sounds like classic Pixar.

  • PixarBoy

    I really really hope not. The idea of images found on random objects has been so over done and copied at this point. The fun factor was years ago. There are even whole books on it. Pixar needs to go back to developing their own stuff rather than copying other artists. Adding a voice to the objects doesn’t add anything to the idea.

    Great reporting though!

    • http://pixartimes.com Samad Rizvi

      Keep in mind that my idea of the short’s story is based on speculation. After the short is revealed, along with a synopsis, I think we’ll have a better idea of what it’s about.

  • Gray Catbird

    This is very exciting ! It seems pretty certain to me it’s a Pixar work (unless for some obscure reason another studio would want to use a Pizza Planet truck and has a project dubbed MU, which would be quite surprising…).
    If it proves true, it sounds like a great concept.Also, some images suggest the short would use some method of motion-capture ?

  • http://twitter.com/jo_lotg Jo-LOTG

    My heart jumped a bit when I looked at who the twitter account was following, and saw Don Bluth’s name appear…. But… I do not dare express the slightest hope possible, I just can’t. (But the fact that the twitter is also following Zuuka Comics, the recent makers of the Dragon Lair’s comic, done hand in hand with Bluth, really start to suggest a pattern isn’t it ? =D).

    Also followed by the twitter : Billy Crystal, so… Yeah, I think it’s quite obvious now. ^^ (Also followed : Patton Oswalt, Michael Caine and Jason Bateman for actors, Bob Peterson, Ed Catmull, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton and Brad Bird for the main Pixar alumnis… And Michael Giacchino, who could very well make this short’s music like he did for La Luna)

    • http://twitter.com/jo_lotg Jo-LOTG

      Oh, and the last post shows a short video in the office of someone
      working on lightning. Is that a La Luna poster I see ? Oh yes it is =)