With each Toy Story feature film, we are introduced to new toys, many of which have gone on to become fan favorites. When the trilogy ended and the franchise moved on to short films called Toy Story Toons, the memorable debuts did not stop there. Great new characters graced the screen, as they creatively recalled toys we often encounter every day. Some of the best gags in the Toy Story films are seeing hilarious versions of toys we grew up with. In the Toy Story Toon entitled Small Fry, Buzz Lightyear gets switched out with a kid’s meal version and hilarity ensues. The plot’s parody/celebration of fast food toys had fans clamoring for the release of the toys seen in the short. At the D23 Expo next week, we get one step closer to that reality as Mattel is releasing an exclusive Small Fry Buzz Lightyear figure. Take a look and find out how much it will cost after the break!
Wherever you have passionate fans, you have a group of collectors. Disney has a strong fan base and makes many products that cater directly to it. Vinylmation, a line of vinyl figures often shaped in the form of the company’s mascot Mickey Mouse, is certainly an example of a product that brings out the inner-collector of many Disney fans. Remy from Ratatouille, the critically-acclaimed 2007 Pixar film directed by Brad Bird, got his own Vinylmation figure as part of the Pixar series which was released last November. At this year’s Food and Wine Festival at Walt Disney World’s Epcot, Disney is set to release two more Vinylmation figures honoring a certain chef from the film. Take a peek after the break!
Pixar’s RenderMan is responsible for rendering 3D animation and visual effects in the animation studio’s films as well as many other films from various studios. If you just look at this year, RenderMan was utilized on such films as Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, in addition to Pixar’s own Monsters University. At the annual Siggraph Conference, a show that spotlights computer graphics, Pixar runs a booth for RenderMan. Crowds descend upon the booth to learn more about RenderMan and have the chance to earn some freebies. The most popular item each year is a small wind-up teapot which always has collectors clamoring for one. After the break, check out a video that gives you a close look at this year’s design and provides an origin story for where the idea for the teapots came from! [Read more...]
The magic word in Disney Infinity is customizability, as the platform allows players to build their own worlds using a variety of Disney and Pixar franchises as inspiration. The ability to build comes in its Toy Box Mode, where characters from different worlds, such as Dash from The Incredibles and Mike from Monsters University can interact. While there will be a large number of options included in the game at start, power discs that unlock additional options will be sold at retailers. After the break, find a full gallery of the power discs that make up the first wave, along with descriptions of the power each of them will unlock!
At the D23 Expo in 2011, Pixar had a huge presence, as it was the studio’s 25th Anniversary. The first scene from Brave was previewed almost a year before the film’s release, character art from Monsters University was unveiled, 2014′s The Good Dinosaur and 2015′s Inside Out were announced, and a retrospective panel was held with the talented pool of Pixar directors. With the 2013 iteration of the convention just over one week away, the schedule for Pixar panels has just been released. After the break, find out what the studio has in store for show attendees this time!
Pete Docter has an incredible resume, having contributed to the story for Toy Story, Toy Story 2, and WALL-E, in addition to having directed Monsters, Inc. and Up, two of Pixar’s critically-acclaimed films. Although you may wonder why he did not direct Monsters University, the prequel to his first directorial effort at the studio, the reasoning is that he was working on an ambitious original project called Inside Out. The film, which takes place inside the mind of an 11-year-old girl, is a fascinating concept but difficult to describe. After the break, find what Docter had to say about what is making the development process challenging as well!
There are numerous great moments in Pixar films, from the first time Woody blinks his eyes to reveal he is a living character in Toy Story to the heartfelt conclusion of Monsters University. Unsurprisingly, great filmmaking inspires passion amongst moviegoers. That passion then inspires…tribute videos on YouTube? There is no shortage in the number of videos posted online that try to capture the greatness of Pixar films by bundling scenes into montages, but once in a while there is one that catches our attention. Watch a four-minute tribute to Pixar’s feature films after the break!
Disney/Pixar first announced The Good Dinosaur (which was untitled at that moment) at the D23 Expo in 2011, as director Bob Peterson briefly spoke about the premise, discussed what inspired him to develop the idea, and showed a single gorgeous piece of concept art. There has been nothing else officially released, aside from the film’s title. Pixar has usually included a teaser trailer of its next film while its current film plays in theaters, but the studio’s dinosaur film did not follow in that tradition. The 2013 iteration of the D23 Expo is less than one month away, and now we have received word that The Good Dinosaur will be previewed in some form. Find more details after the break!
Pixar has a reputation for casting actors that work for its characters, rather than simply searching for celebrities to fill its roles. The studio has understood, from its first feature film, that a strong story and memorable characters are necessary to make a great film, and that those characters need to connect with the audience. Although you may recall the voices of veterans like Tom Hanks (Toy Story) and Albert Brooks (Finding Nemo), there are many other voices that are essential in bringing the story to life. Learn more about these other voices and the talented group that provides them after the break!
Pixar has worked with a select few composers on its feature films, all of who are incredibly talented. Randy Newman’s Toy Story score is instantly recognizable, Thomas Newman’s WALL-E score soars, and Michael Giacchino‘s work on Up is simply breathtaking. Giacchino, who has also gone on to become a huge talent in the world of live-action films, has also contributed music to Pixar shorts, including La Luna (2011) and Day & Night (2010). We have now learned that he was tapped by the animation studio to pen the score for its first TV special, Toy Story of Terror!
It is customary for films’ box office take to drop 50% or more in their second weekends, especially when considering franchises. The idea is that there is a built-in audience excited to view the films during opening weekend, and then come their second weekend, there is a significant dip in the number of interested parties. Positive word-of-mouth is a major force that prevents large drops, something we have seen often with Pixar films. In its second weekend, Monsters University performed admirably, dropping only 44%, and stayed at the top of the box office. Read about all the numbers after the break!
There has been much criticism directed at Pixar for the number of sequels and prequels it has released in the past four years. After there being only one sequel, Toy Story 2, out of its first 10 feature films, the last three out of four have been follow-ups. Many had praised the animation studio for producing original films in an age where film studios rely far too much on creating franchises. The accolades turned into negativity after the release of Cars 2, a film that met some commercial success but failed to impress most critics. Ed Catmull, President of Pixar and Disney Animation, recently expressed his support of original stories and characters, stating that Pixar is aiming to release an original film every year.
“Greatest of all-time” lists are destined to inspire debate because they are incredibly subjective and no two people have the same taste. In the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, the magazine set out to list the 100 greatest movies, TV shows, music albums, books, and musicals/plays. Pixar cracked the greatest movies list with its first feature film, Toy Story, also the first feature film produced fully with computer animation. Read on to find out where the film landed on the list!
In speaking about the technical aspects of Pixar films, the animation is always the first to be mentioned. There are many other departments that work on these animated films, without which the films would not look or sound as great. The sound design is sadly, often overlooked, but from a Monsters University video recently released, you can see the importance and complexity of sound in a film. A scene from the first challenge of the Scare Games is used to demonstrate how the sound came together. Watch the video after the break!
Animators have a long-standing history of hiding small easter eggs for audiences to find, including references to the real world, to other films, and to famous figures. While many film studios do it (including those that produce live-action films), Pixar’s easter eggs tend to generate the most publicity. That is because there are several easter eggs that the studio hides in every single one of its films, including a nod to its upcoming films. Through personal observations and help from the fans, I have compiled a preliminary list of the easter eggs in Monsters University, which you can see after the break!
It has been almost two years since Disney/Pixar officially announced the development of The Good Dinosaur at the D23 Expo, which is essentially Disney’s version of Comic Con. We have practically come full circle because the next time we will likely hear more about the film is at the 2013 Expo, set to take place at the Anaheim Convention Center in August. We already know that the film will follow the friendship between a dinosaur and a child. We recently learned a few more small details about the characters and the story. Read about them after the break!
While Pixar films have received mixed responses from critics over the last few years, the general public continues to come out in droves. The Pixar brand is the strongest in Hollywood, with all 13 of its prior films debuting at the top spot of the weekend box office during their opening weekends. In North America alone, those films have together brought in over $3 billion. Monsters University, which opened this past weekend, has kept the perfect streak going, raking in approximately $82 million. Find more details after the break!
One of the biggest criticisms directed at Pixar today is that the studio has become reliant on producing sequels to its films rather than films based on original stories. We live in an era where franchises are highly sought after by major studios because they are more likely to be successful at the box office. Films such as Star Wars Episode VII and Fast & Furious 7 are currently in development and will likely bring in hundreds of millions of dollars. Audiences have a connection with the characters in franchises, hence the larger success rate. Pixar’s argument has been that it is not looking to develop sequels – it is seeking to bring great stories to the screen. Toy Story 2 and 3 were success stories. Monsters University, Pixar’s first prequel which arrives in theaters today, is another great addition to the studio’s catalog. Check out the spoiler-free review after the break!
The D23 Expo is billed as “The Ultimate Disney Fan Event” for a reason. Essentially a convention that stretches through all branches of Disney, including Disney Animation, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, Disney Consumer Products, and Disney Parks, the 3-day event provides attendees a look at the past and an exclusive look forward to see what is coming. Tens of thousands of people flocked to the 2011 show, which is the last time the Expo was held (it happens every two years). You have the chance to attend as well, and if you want discounted tickets time is running out!