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"Toy Story" Grows Up
Backstory Drives the New Story

The original "Toy Story” made motion picture history in 1995 when it became the first full-length animated feature to be created entirely by artists using CG technology. It represented a major milestone—not just in animation, but in the art of filmmaking. "‘Toy Story' made an invaluable impression on the history of film,” says Rich Ross, chairman of The Walt Disney Studios. "It was created with the same pioneering spirit that the studio was built upon, breaking new ground in the arenas of technology and—more importantly— storytelling. Buzz, Woody and the toys instantly won the hearts of people of all ages—evoking the kind of adoration and devotion typically reserved for Disney's time-honored classic characters. The ‘Toy Story' films broadened the audience for animated films and redefined the rules of moviemaking, proving it's possible to make a movie with truly widespread appeal. In effect, ‘Toy Story' set the bar for every film—both animated and live-action—that followed.”

"Toy Story's” 77 minutes of breathtaking animation, 1,561 shots, and a cast of 76 characters that included humans, toys and a dog were meticulously hand-designed, built and animated in the computer. It became the highest-grossing film of 1995, with a domestic box office of nearly $192 million, and $362 million worldwide. "Toy Story” was nominated for three Academy Awards® for Best Original Screenplay, Best Original Score and Best Original Song, and John Lasseter received a Special Achievement Oscar® for his "inspired leadership of the Pixar ‘Toy Story' team, resulting in the first feature-length computer-animated film.” It became the first animated feature in motion picture history to ever get an Oscar nomination for its screenplay. Additionally, the film was included on the American Film Institute's list of 100 Greatest American Movies.

"I remember when we released ‘Toy Story,'” says producer Darla K. Anderson. "Steve Jobs said it was our ‘Snow White,' and we thought, ‘Boy, wouldn't that be cool if "Toy Story” did make that kind of mark and was that kind of classic film that people felt like they owned, like it was part of their lives, their childhood, their family's lives.' That was our intention then and it still is the mission statement for each of our films now.”

In 1999, "Toy Story 2” (Pixar's third feature) became the first film ever to be entirely created, mastered and exhibited digitally. The film surpassed the original at the box office, becoming the first animated sequel to gross more than its inspiration. It won praise from critics and moviegoers alike, and was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Original Song and two Golden Globes®, winning the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture—Comedy or Musical. "Toy Story” and "Toy Story 2” made their Disney Digital 3D™ debut on a special double bill in 2009.

To kick off the creation of "Toy Story 3,” Pixar gathered virtually the same team that had created the first two "Toy Story” films. Joining director Lee Unkrich in the session were John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton (who co-wrote the screenplay for "Toy Story” and "Toy Story 2,” and who wrote/directed "Finding Nemo” and "WALL•E”), Pete Docter (director/ writer of "Monsters, Inc.” and "Up”), Darla K. Anderson, Bob Peterson and Jeff Pigeon.

Anderson recalls, "We went out to a place called The Poet's Loft in Tomales Bay in Marin County, a small cabin where the idea for the first ‘Toy Story' film was hatched. Andrew brought along a special bottle of wine with a ‘Toy Story' label that John had given us when the first film came out. We did a toast to Joe Ranft, our dear departed friend and colleague who had been the head of story on the first ‘Toy Story.' Joe was the master of creating true and quirky characters full of heart and character-based humor. His presence was missed.”


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