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Disney Consumer Products, John Lasseter and Your Holiday Shopping [UPDATE]

John Lasseter, Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3, WALL-E

Posted by Martin • December 23, 2009

At this time of year, when people are rushing to get the best gift for the holidays, it’s great to know that Disney/Pixar’s toys are in good hands. I’m talking about John Lasseter and his involvement with Disney Consumer Products, of course.

The LA Times profiled the creative, corporate toy enthusiast to get some insight on his strategy for producing best selling toys such as the multi-billion dollar Cars franchise. The article mainly focuses on Disney’s The Princess and the Frog (an excellent movie, check it out ASAP if you haven’t) and its tie-in products but also features quite a few Pixar tidbits.

As with everything that Lasseter is involved with, attention  to detail is key. Although he is budget conscious, he doesn’t spare crucial elements that make the character, simply because that would be selling out. For example, when the Ultimate WALL•E toys were in development, Thinkway suggested to add wheels under the toy, Lasseter insisted on treads just like in the film for integrity’s sake. And treads it is!! But it doesn’t end there, Lasseter also asked Mattel to make the Cars die-cast toys at a 1/55 scale (as opposed to Hot Wheel’s 1/64) so that no detail would need to be spared. That’s dedication to the characters!

It’s really no wonder that Pixar’s Chief Creative Officer pushes for such quality, after all, he is the major driving force behind the studio. With the movie-accurate Toy Story Collection out now and tons more toys in development, it’s going to be a very merry Christmas for the folks at Disney Consumer Products and their customers. I just wish there was more enthusiasm for Up toys in this division of the Mouse… There’s more interesting stories over at the LA Times article, it’s definitely worth a thorough read.

Update: An interview with Thinkway Toys’ CEO is now on LA Times’ website giving you a first-hand account of some of the stories above.

Think about all this when you’re last minute shopping. Disney Store anyone? What Disney/Pixar products are on your Christmas list or on a significant other’s list? Let us know in the comments.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes:
"Quality is the best business plan."
~John Lasseter

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Happy Holidays from Buzz and Woody!

Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3

Posted by Martin • December 22, 2009

The holiday season is in full swing with Christmas coming right up in just 2 days! That can only mean one thing, the Toy Story 3 toys are surely getting ready for their big debut next year!

In this new video, Buzz and Woody want to wish you a very Happy Holiday! Naturally, the duo would also like to send viewers somewhat of a public service announcement regarding Christmas toys… Check it out below:

Happy Holidays from Upcoming Pixar, too!

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Toy Story and Toy Story 2 Blu-ray Details Revealed: Coming March 23rd!

Blu-Ray, Toy Story, Toy Story 2

Posted by Martin • December 11, 2009

DisneyStore.com has made Toy Story and Toy Story 2 on Blu-ray available for pre-order serving as an unexpected official announcement for the highly anticipated releases! 

Although the Blu-ray versions of these Pixar classics were inevitable, we had no real information pertaining to each release until now. Currently, we know that they’ll both be in stores on March 23rd, 2010, so mark your calendars!

No press release has been made available as of now, but the Disney Store’s description serves in place for the time being. The discs (Blu-ray + DVD combo) are packed with exciting extras! Check out what we know below, speculation in italics:

New to Toy Story on Special Edition Blu-ray:
• Toy Story 3 Sneak Peek: ”The Story"
• Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs: Blast Off
The toy version of our favorite Star Command ranger is sent off to space by NASA!
• Paths to Pixar: Artists
For future artists dreaming of a career at Pixar.
• Studio Stories: John’s Car
• Studio Stories: Baby AJ
• Studio Stories: Scooter Races
Studio Stories recount the good, the bad and the ugly of TS/TS2 production.
• Buzz Takes Manhattan
Our favorite space ranger takes to the skies in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
• Black Friday: The Toy Story You Never Saw

New to Toy Story 2 on Special Edition Blu-ray:
• Blu-ray Live-portal
• Toy Story 3 Sneak Peek: ”The Characters”
• Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs: International Space Station
• Paths to Pixar: Technical Artists
• Studio Stories: Toy Story 2 Sleep Deprivation Lab
• Studio Stories: Pinocchio
• Studio Stories: The Movie Vanishes
• Pixar’s Zoetrope
• Celebrating Our Friend Joe Ranft

Of course, all of the material from the DVD releases will also be included! Speaking of, Special Edition DVDs of Toy Story and Toy Story 2 will also be released on the same date with many of the same Blu-ray features included, replacing the now retired DVDs from 2005.

Expect more details on these upcoming releases, including expanded specs. on the new featurettes, when an official press release drops. For now, you can pre-order your own copy, each retailing for $29.99 on Blu-ray and $21.99 on DVD!

(via Stitch Kingdom)

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Toy Story 2 10th Anniversary!

Toy Story 2

Posted by Martin • November 24, 2009

Note: Originally posted 11/30/09, modified to reflect correct date.

The film that set the bar for animated sequels has turned 10!

Toy Story 2 is that rare movie that (many say) is better than the first, changing the way we see the return of classic characters forever. Rotten Tomatoes has named Buzz, Woody and the gang’s second coming the Best Reviewed Wide Release Ever, yes, EVER! But its critical acclaim isn’t what makes TS2 special.

It’s a gem because of the story that John Lasseter and co. slaved over to bring a once home video release proudly to theatres. During this episode in Pixar’s history it wasn’t just Woody getting stolen on screen, many Pixarians had a great deal to regain with this picture after 9 grueling months. (See The Pixar Touch for the bittersweet story.) But it’s not worth reflecting on the negative because the final product positively blew everyone away!

Not only was Toy Story 2 a technical leap from the first but also a test and warning for the future of the Lamp and its team. Hopefully you guys got to catch the amazing 3D re-release of the series this October. This brings up the question of how and when the Blu-ray for Toy Story/2 will be released; will it be early next year or as a 3-pack next fall? Today, I’m sure everyone’s excited to see how Pixar handles the third installment which comes out in less than one year… the same year Toy Story turns 15!

Congratulations to the folks at Pixar for 10 years of Buzz, Woody AND Jessie!  Toy Story 2 was released in US theatres on November 24th, 1999.

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Over Half A Billion Worth in Balloons and More Success Stories

Blu-Ray, DVD, Toy Story, Toy Story 2, UP

Posted by Martin • November 22, 2009

With a worldwide hit, a reissued classic and the hottest DVD/Blu-ray out there, the Lamp will be inspiring audiences and making a few bucks here and there. Let’s check back on Pixar’s financial performance lately.

Half A Billion Worth in Balloons: Up keeps making the big bucks as it prepares to open in its last territory, Japan on December 5th. Up has garnered an impressive $668 million dollars worldwide. That’s more than half a billion so far! Let’s break those numbers down. About $293 mil. of that total came from Up’s uber successful domestic release. Overseas, Pete Docter’s latest is reaching heights of $374 mil., that’s $40 mill. shy of Ratatouille’s foreign take. At this point, Up is the 4th largest worldwide success from Disney! Japan and the other 25 territories that are still running Up could very well change that…
[via The Hollywood Reporter]

Old Toys Still Selling Well: Whoever said modern kids don’t enjoy classic toys was way wrong! Well, at least if we’re talking about the gang in Andy’s room. With its one month domestic run, the Toy Story and Toy Story 2 in 3D Double Feature earned an impressive $30 million dollars! For a re-release in an off month like October you have to applaud Disney•Pixar’s marketing team for successfully returning the toys onto the big screen. [via Box Office Mojo]

Up Tops Home Video Charts, MI Follows: Up keeps climbing, not just at the box office, but also in the Blu-ray/DVD sales charts! Pixar’s latest home video release was the clear winner this week with 25% of total sales. Up also dominated the Blu-ray specific chart with Monsters, Inc. following in second. [via Home Media Magazine]

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes:
"We don’t make movies to make money, we make money to make movies."
~Walt Disney

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Snazzy: Pixar Formation Arts by Square-Enix

Cars, Ratatouille, Toy Story 2, UP, WALL-E

Posted by Martin • November 13, 2009

I’m a big fan of past formation arts featuring Pixar characters and wondered if we’d ever see any based on the studio’s latest pics.

Well, have no fear, Square-Enix (Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts series) is here with the Disney•Pixar set, part of the Disney Formation Arts line! Basically, they’re 3D scenes capturing the essence of a particular franchise… in toy form. This set (numbers 16-20 in the Disney series) includes Toy Story 2 (Buzz Lightyear), Cars, Ratatouille, WALL•E and Up as seen in this article’s picture!

Each PVC is finely crafted for display purposes with a Pixar logo base. The collection as a whole is truly captivating but my favorite would have to be Ratatouille’s sculpt, the animation suspended in time is set up perfectly! You can check out the rest of the Disney Formation Arts over at Square-Enix’s online store. Expect the Pixar series to land in March of 2010, I’ll definitely look into getting a few.

So what did you think of these licensed creations? Which one’s your favorite?

(Source: Stitch Kingdom via Tomopop)

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Visit Pixar: 6th Annual Cartoon Art Museum Benefit

Pixar, Toy Story 2, UP

Posted by Martin • October 22, 2009

It’s that time of the year again!

No, not the holidays! It’s your rare opportunity to visit Pixar Animation Studios with as little effort as possible. You just have to cough up some cash! November 14th is the 6th Annual Cartoon Art Museum Benefit!

Here’s the deal. This year’s event has the lowest admission price I’ve ever seen for a visit to the studios. A Family Fun Pack ticket costs $35 dollars per person, $100 for a family of four. From 1-4 PM you’ll get to tour Pixar’s 2nd floor gallery filled with Up and Toy Story production art, kids will get to learn how to draw from Pixarians themselves and you’ll get entry into the screening room to watch assorted Pixar shorts.

Want more bang for your buck? Well there’s a second option and it’s worth every penny! The VIP Screening pass is made just for those die hard fans who are lucky enough to get to Emeryville, priced at $149. Everything from the Family Fun Pack (see above) is included but you’ll also get access to the Pixar Studio Store, snacks with conversations (studio open for longer hours) and a special 3D screening of Toy Story 2 and Tokyo Mater hosted by Michael B. Johnson! If you are able to attend, definitely let us know how your experience went!

If you’re interested in attending, get your tickets as soon as possible by calling the Cartoon Art Museum at 415-227-8666, or visit their website. Museum members qualify for a discount.

(via Jim Hill Media)

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The Story Behind Toy Story 3 + UK Release Date

Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3

Posted by Martin • October 15, 2009

So what’s the deal behind Toy Story 3?

We’ve heard pieces here and there. Bits of interviews can be gathered into the full story. But nothing is as concise as Total Film’s new article profiling the story behind… Toy Story 3! Of course this feature spans all the way back to Toy Story 2 (some might even say way back to Toy Story because of a similar plot line) and wraps up in the present day as Toy Story 3 production is in full steam and Randy Newman prepares the film’s score

Luckily the threequel is safe in Pixar’s hands thanks to John Lasseter and team. Lee Unkrich and the wonderful Pixarians who are working on it right as we speak had no small part either. It’s looking like another major triumph already! Total Film’s piece reminisces on when the above may not have been true. You may remember the Disney-Pixar conflict from back in the early-to-mid 2000’s that resulted in a much needed buyout and/or Disney’s original plot to sequelize every Pixar movie without their consent.

The 8 page article chronicles every detail, starting right here, with an announcement for folks in the UK. They will have to wait until July 23rd, 2010 to see the third installment in the mega-popular franchise. Although it’s much less of a wait than usual, it’s safe to say we all anticipated a simultaneously worldwide release for our brothers and sisters across the pond.

For now, enjoy this informative and entertaining read while awaiting the toy’s return!

(via Total Film)

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Lee Unkrich’s Big Announcements: Extended Toy Story Engagement, New TS3 Cast + More! [UPDATE]

Lee Unkrich, Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3, Trailer

Posted by Martin • October 12, 2009

As a surprise to fans of Toy Story on Facebook, Lee Unkrich has decided to make a few unexpected announcements in this new video!

Toy Story Double Feature in 3D Limited Engagement Extended: The Toy Story + Toy Story 2 in 3D limited engagement has been so successful (reaching over $22 million dollars at the US box office) that Pixar has decided to extend its theatrical run! So for all of you who may have missed it, you have a little more time to get that screening into your busy schedule. It hasn’t been confirmed for just how long TS/TS2 stay in theatres, but now no one has an excuse not to see it!

New Toy Story 3 Casting Announcements: Lee Unkrich made it known that "one of the funniest people" he’s ever met, Kristen Schaal, will be voicing a new character in Toy Story 3. He didn’t get into specifics about the character (Update: She will be playing Trixie, no more details) but he did mention that Laurie Metcalf, like John Morris, will be returning as Andy’s mom! As we all know, Jim Varney unfortunately will not be returning due to his death but Unkrich did have a name to go with the voice we heard in the full trailer. Slinky’s replacement will be Blake Clark, a good friend of Varney! I know you guys have waited a long time to find out who will be behind the "trusty, springy dog", now voice your opinion!

You’ll also noticed I added the new Toy Story 3 poster featuring Mr. Potato Head (released today via MSN) as this articles main image.

You can watch the video announcement right here. Tell us what you think of this exciting news!

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Randy Newman/Toy Story Double Feature

Soundtrack, Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3, Trailer

Posted by Martin • October 7, 2009

We haven’t heard much Pixar/Randy Newman collaborations since Cars, of course, that won’t be the case by next summer. So when I saw these news bits coming off of Twitter, I just had to share!

You’ve Got A Friend In Remix: Here’s a video that seems to have been posted completely out of random on Disney/Pixar’s channel. It’s a remix to Randy Newman’s You’ve Got a Friend In Me from Toy Story. In my opinion, DJ Synd’s electro rendition is good at some parts, but not-so-great in others, the video itself is great though. I’m a big fan of synth music, some fans might not like that they remixed a classic but here it is anyways:

Toy Story 3 Trailer Music: Now back to classic Newman. If you’ve seen the Toy Story 3 trailer (in theatres only) you probably noticed a Randy Newman song playing during the montage of Andy’s home videos. Bryko614 noticed that the song is from Newman’s latest album, Harps and Angels, and is titled Losing You. I love his soulful voice and the lyrics of this amazing track. Definitely give it a listen.

Expect more from Newman as we get closer to the third Toy Story and Disney’s The Princess and the Frog! For now you can hear his music in theatres with the Toy Story and Toy Story 2 in 3D Double Feature!

What did you think of these tunes?

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