Pixar Animation Studios burst onto the movie-making scene in 1995 with the release of "Toy Story." Since then, the studio has released a string of hit films that have touched audiences the world over while also winning numerous awards.
In honor of the release of Pixar's latest film, "Finding Dory," this weekend, here's a look at 70 things you might not know about Pixar's previous 16 full-length feature films.
At the beginning of "Toy Story," Woody reassures his fellow toys about Andy's impending birthday party while standing in front of a shelf of books. The titles of these books are taken from previous Pixar films.
In casting the leading voices for "Toy Story," the filmmakers always wanted Tom Hanks for Woody. John Lasseter was a fan of Tim Allen in "Home Improvement," but nobody else had ever heard of him. Even so, they cast Allen in the role and shortly afterward, Hanks' and Allen's fame began to skyrocket due to "Forrest Gump," "Apollo 13" and "Home Improvement."
The folks at Pixar originally approached Billy Crystal, the voice of Mike Wazowski in "Monsters, Inc.," to do the voice of Buzz Lightyear, but he turned them down.
Animator Doug Sweetland spent so much time animating Buzz's overreaction to Woody's accidentally opening Buzz's helmet that he didn't have time to animate Woody's reaction to Buzz's dramatics. He inserted a little shot of Woody turning his head to fill the space, and the filmmakers said they just fell down laughing. They added some blinking on Woody's part and declared the scene done.
In the scene where Woody tries to make Buzz fall behind the desk in Andy's room, the filmmakers used "Indian Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark" as their inspiration, to the point of incorporating the sounds of the iconic rolling boulder and shooting arrows from that movie as the globe rolls toward Buzz and pushpins shower down.
In the rescue scene at Sid's house, Woody utters the line, "Wind the frog." Joss Whedon — known for shows like "Firefly" and "Buffy" and the movie "The Avengers" — wrote that line, and the filmmakers liked it so much that they created the wind-up toy frog specifically so they could use it.
In the original "Toy Story" ending, the toys were gathered around a Christmas tree (from a pop-up Christmas book), and Buzz was singing karaoke. That ending changed to have Buzz listening for information on the new toys, but you can still see the other toys gathered around Mr. Spell, who is displaying the words for "We Wish You A Merry Christmas."
Pixar employees provide a lot of "scratch" tracks, or temporary voices for characters, during the filmmaking process. Joe Ranft, the head of story for "A Bug's Life," provided the scratch track for the caterpillar Heimlich and invented his bizarre German accent.
During the casting process for Heimlich, the filmmakers said they read every German actor in Los Angeles and New York, but eventually decided nobody could do the role quite like Ranft, so he got the part.
In the sequence where Flick goes to the big city to find warrior bugs, pause the movie on the Times Square shot and you can see the names of the filmmakers' children on the boxes, as well as the logo for the Disney Broadway musical, "The Lion King."
In one scene, Bonnie Hunt, who plays the black widow spider, says, "And that's how my twelfth husband died. So now I'm a widow. I mean, I've always been a black widow, but now I'm a black widow, widow."
Hunt ad-libbed the line in her audition, and the filmmakers found it so funny that they not only gave her the part, but actually used her audition take for that particular line in the film.
P.T Flea drives a circus train made out of cookie boxes. The name of the cookies — Casey Junior cookies — is a tribute to Disney's "Dumbo," and the name of the bakery — J. Grant Bakery — is in honor of Disney legend Joe Grant.
Read more about Joe Grant here and here.
"A Bug's Life" included a first in the animation world — animated bloopers. The idea for bloopers came to the filmmakers during the making of "Toy Story," but since they didn't have time to include them on that film, they decided to put bloopers at the end of "A Bug's Life" instead. On the actors' last recording sessions, they had them record some outtakes, and once animators finished with their last production shot, they got to animate an outtake.
During the opening of "Toy Story 2," Buzz Lightyear flies through space and to another planet. While he's zipping through a canyon full of floating rocks, what you're actually seeing is the riverbed and Ant Island from "A Bug's Life." When the filmmakers increased the scale of the riverbed, though, the rocks that were once at the bottom of the riverbed didn't scale up like they were supposed to, which left them floating in midair. Although the floating rocks were a mistake, the filmmakers loved it and kept them.
The scene where Hamm and the other toys flip TV channels in their hunt for an Al's Toy Barn commercial was originally created as a commercial for "A Bug's Life."
When Buzz Lightyear is attacked by another Buzz Lightyear, the second doll tells him he should not be out of hypersleep and is in violation of Code 6404.5. The filmmakers were sitting in a restaurant when they wrote that line — Code 6404.5 is the California Smoke-Free Workplace law code.
"Toy Story 2" was being animated at the time of the Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield fight in which Tyson bit off part of Holyfield's ear. Although you can't see it, the Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots in Al's office pay tribute to this — the blue one is missing part of his ear.
When Mike and Sully are walking to work at the beginning of "Monsters, Inc.," they greet a giant monster named Ted. Ted was originally going to have an "iconic roar" from an "iconic movie," but when Pixar couldn't get the rights to the roar, they went with a clucking chicken instead.
Mike Wazowski didn't originally have arms. Instead, he was just a big eyeball with two appendages that he could use as both arms and legs. The filmmakers said they changed his design when they found it both limiting and somewhat off-putting.
The children of the Pixar filmmakers provided many of the screams collected by the monsters during the course of the film.
Other Pixar voices are heard throughout; Dan Gerson did the voices of Needleman and Smitty (the squeaky-voiced janitors at Monsters, Inc.), while Pixar programmer Sam Black voiced George, the orange furry monster who gets attacked after re-entering the monster world with a sock on his back.
Billy Crystal and John Goodman didn't always record their dialogue together, but they were together when Crystal sang, "Put that thing back where it came from, or so help me." Filmmakers did not expect Goodman to start singing along, but he did, and they loved it.
The point of Monsters, Inc." is that laughter is more powerful than fear; it's worth noting that the laugh collection tanks (bottom) at the end of the film are much, much larger than the tanks that were used to collect screams (top).
Dory, one of the most beloved characters from Pixar's "Finding Nemo," was originally going to be male. During the writing process, however, Andrew Stanton's wife was watching Ellen DeGeneres on TV, and after hearing DeGeneres change subjects multiple times during a single sentence, Stanton knew that's how short-term memory should be played and couldn't stop picturing her in the role.
When animating large schools of fish in "Finding Nemo," the animators would set the parameters — how big the school would be, how fast they would swim, etc. — and then simulate things until they were happy with the final product. Hundreds of CG fish died in the making of "Finding Nemo" because filmmakers would kill off the fish that misbehaved.
The dentist's office in "Finding Nemo" is a visual treasure trove, although many of the things it contains are probably impossible to see. Here are some examples:
- A Deep Fryer Xtra crispy set to 7
- A cattle sterilizer
- A letter from a boy named Luigi that reads, "Dear Dr. Sherman, I wanted to thank you for your pulling out all my teeth… it was neet that you had a wrench handy! It's been a month now, and it still really hurts. If you ever need your teeth pulled, let me know!"
- A PU-Star "Engineered by a bunch of Pixar TD's"
- A certificate from the "Pixar University School of Dentistry" with an alien from Toy Story on it.
Actor Geoffrey Rush, who voiced Nigel the pelican, first performed his lines with a mouth full of water to simulate how a pelican might sound when holding Marlin and Dory in his mouth. When that didn't work, the filmmakers asked him to hold his tongue down and say the lines, which is what you hear in the film.
During a Parr family dinner scene in "The Incredibles," the filmmakers said the hardest part wasn't keeping track of the personalities or characters — it was dealing with the broccoli.
The filmmakers would have heated arguments over whether or not the food had moved, if the continuity of the meat juice was acceptable or if the peas were in the right place. It wasn't long, though, before the filmmakers decided they didn't care if the broccoli had moved or not.
Director Brad Bird dreamed up a German/Japanese accent for superhero costume designer Edna "E" Mode, and ended up voicing the character as well.
At the end of "The Incredibles," Jack-Jack Parr reveals his powers, setting himself on fire, turning into steel and transforming into a monster. He was also going to turn gooey, according to the filmmakers, but they couldn't get it to work on time.
The character of Mater in "Cars" was based on Doug "Mater" Keever of Sherills Ford, N.C., the self-proclaimed "mayor of Redneck Hill." Redneck Hill is a camping section at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
In "Cars," Sally and Lightning McQueen were originally going to go to a drive-in movie to see a car spy thriller featuring a character named Finn McMissile. When the location for the date was changed, the drive-in plot was dropped. However, Finn McMissile and the car spy world lived on in "Cars 2."
The filmmakers of "Ratatouille" were very focused on realism, keeping pet rats at the studio to study, allowing real produce to rot in order to make the compost pile accurate and dropping a person in a chef outfit into a swimming pool to get the wet-chef look just right.
Why does "WALL-E" love "Hello, Dolly!"? Blame the film, "The Triplets of Belleville."
"WALL-E" director Andrew Stanton wanted to open the film with old 1930s music juxtaposed over the images of space and the trash-covered earth. However, "The Triples of Belleville" opened with swing music in much the same way as he pictured "WALL-E" opening and he worried people would think they were copying that film.
While looking for different music for his opening, Stanton listened to the song, "Put On Your Sunday Clothes" from "Hello, Dolly!", which opens with the words, "Out there," and couldn't get the musical out of his head. In listening to the rest of the musical, he kept finding matching musical cues, and that solidified the decision to tie "WALL-E" and "Hello, Dolly!" together.
"WALL-E" includes very little dialogue, so the Pixar folks tried to learn from the masters of silent films.
For almost a year, Stanton and the story crew would watch a Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin or Harold Lloyd film during lunch.
The original working title for "WALL-E" — a title that lived for 10 years — was "Trash Planet."
The first two humans you hear speaking in "WALL-E" are voiced by director Andrew Stanton and his old college roommate and longtime Pixar employee Jeff Pidgeon.
In early screenings, about half the audience thought the people returning to Earth would die within a couple of weeks. The filmmakers added the closing credits, which use art history to show the humans rebuilding and thriving, as a way to address that concern.
Angel Falls in Venezuela is the world's tallest waterfall in terms of cumulative height, and drops down from a tabletop mountain. Paradise Falls, the waterfall in "Up," is based on Angel Falls, but is three times as tall at 9,636 feet.
In the newsreel scene near the opening of "Up," explorer Charles Muntz tells a crowd of people, "I promise to capture the beast, alive! And I will not come back until I do!"
You can't tell when you watch it, but that crowd is made up of floating hats — there are no people underneath them.
Russell, the wilderness explorer who joins Carl on his adventure, was originally named Lewis, but because Disney named the main character of "Meet the Robinsons" Lewis, the "Up" filmmakers changed their character's name.
There are 10,297 balloons lifting Carl's house into the sky, although it would take approximately 26.5 million balloons to lift his house for real, without factoring in the added weight of the strings and the balloons themselves.
If you were to measure Muntz's dirigible in real life, it would be about a mile long — a length that the filmmakers admit is "absurd," but justify by saying "it looks good when you have the house next to it."
The beginning of "Toy Story 3" features an epic train chase and a nuclear bomb made of monkeys.
There are at least 1.4 million monkeys in the monkey bomb, and the train is No. 95 in honor of "Toy Story," which was released in 1995.
Pixar has a tradition of hiding a character from their next film in each previous film, so Andy's room in "Toy Story 3" contains something from "Cars 2." See if you can spot it!
Plans to include a Teddy Ruxpin-type character with a broken, warbly cassette player in his chest had existed since before the first "Toy Story" movie. Although the cassette tape feature didn't survive, the grandfatherly (yet secretly villainous) bear and name they had picked out — Lotso — did.
Bonnie's backpack in "Toy Story 3" features a small bee, which is a nod to the first-ever Pixar short movie, "The Adventures of Andre and Wally B."
Actor Javier Fernandez-Pena voiced Spanish Buzz Lightyear. Unbeknownst to the filmmakers when they gave him the part, Fernandez-Pena had previously played the character, having provided the voice for the Buzz Lightyear toys sold in Spain.
The filmmakers auditioned a number of babies to give the single line uttered by Big Baby: "Mama."
Lee Unkrich chose the baby based on which voice sounded the saddest. The name of the baby he chose, it turned out, was Woody.
Otis, the Radiator Springs lemon in "Cars 2," is named after Otis Campbell, the town drunk from "The Andy Griffith Show."
Mater's Materhosen outfit is the only remnant of an entire section of the movie that was meant to show a race through the Black Forest in Germany.
Lightning McQueen's racing rival Francesco Bernoulli was always in "Cars 2," but his role grew each time they did a recording session with actor John Turturro because the filmmakers found Turturro so funny.
Because the last race in "Cars 2" takes place in Italy, the filmmakers wanted the Pope to attend. They designed a Pope car inside of a "Popemobile," but worried the Catholic Church wouldn't approve.
Luckily, Cars 2 producer Denise Ream's cousin was a priest in the Catholic Church. He looked at the designs for the Pope and "Popemobile" and gave them an official Catholic imprimatur, or mark of approval.
The Queen of England's crown isn't just a crown plunked on top of a car — in keeping with the car-centric world, it was modeled after old-fashioned car luggage racks.
Mater's getting a girlfriend was not part of the original story for "Cars 2," but during an audience preview, one woman insisted that Mater should have a love interest. Deciding this wasn't a bad idea, the filmmakers put it in.
The idea to start "Brave" with a young Merida required the filmmakers to create the character so quickly that they considered taking one of Merida's triplet brothers and sticking long hair on him. Instead, though, they took their big Merida and scaled her down.
Kevin McKidd, who voiced young MacGuffin of the MacGuffin clan in "Brave," spoke his lines in Doric, a Scottish dialect. McKidd would send his lines to his mother, who speaks Doric, and she would translate them into the nearly incomprehensible dialogue you hear in the film.
There's no real reason the witch's spell in "Brave" turns people into bears, so the filmmakers explained it by making the witch obsessed with bears.
The entire crew from "Monsters University" recorded themselves singing the school song together, and although that version doesn't show up in the film, it does show up in the movie's trailer.
The filmmakers spent extra time finalizing the designs for the main characters during the "Monsters University" story development process, leaving the artists plenty of time to design secondary characters. From the break-dancing monsters to the trash-eating and coffee-drinking monsters, the filmmakers recommend keeping an eye on the background characters.
In "Monsters University," when Mike and Sulley wake up for the first time in the Oozma-Kappa house, Billy Crystal and John Goodman both improvised their lines.
Sulley says, "Mom!" and Mike says, "I know you're a princess and I'm just a stable boy."
During the "Monsters University" Scare Games, Mike and Sully run through stinging urchins and become terribly swollen. In order to record their lines for the scene, John Goodman and Billy Crystal stuffed their mouths with bread.
"Monsters, Inc." includes the following conversation between Randall and Mike:
Randall: "I'm in the zone today, Sullivan; going to be doing some serious scaring, putting up some big numbers."
Mike: "Wow, Randall, that's great. That should make it even more humiliating when we break the record first."
Randall: "Shhh, shhh, shhh. Do you hear that? It's the winds of change."
If you look above Randall's bed in "Monsters University," you can spot a poster that says: "Winds of Change. Shhhhhh. Do you hear that?"
As is common practice with Pixar movies, characters from another upcoming Pixar film make a brief appearance during Inside Out.
"Forrest Woodbush" — a.k.a. the Pet Collector, the birch tree-skinned Styracosaurus — from Pixar’s "The Good Dinosaur" makes a brief appearance in one of Riley's memories where her family stops for a photo op with some dinosaur statues during a road trip.
(Information from IMDB)
It's not just the colors of the characters that resemble the emotions that they represent, but according to Inside Out writer/director Pete Docter, their shapes and visual designs also play a prominent role in the makeup of each individual emotion.
Since the main character in Inside Out is a young girl, Docter knew that he wanted the prominent emotion to be one that was bubbly and energetic. "She's sort of an explosion, like a sparkler," said Docter.
The creative team behind Inside Out had a clear vision for the way that they wanted Anger portrayed - cumbersome and uncomfortable, in the shape of a brick. Docter described his vision of Anger "with a straight line at the top and an angry brow. He seemed pretty clear."
The color blue is quite appropriate for Sadness, but did you know that she is created in the shape of a tear drop? All aspects of the way Sadness was designed were to emit an aura of melancholy.
For Disgust there was a choice between a character who was disgusted, or disgusting. In the end, the emotion portrayed on Inside Out is one that a lot of kids Riley’s age deal with - the girl that is too cool, the popular girl. "She's very judgmental and aware" said Docter.
Fear was perhaps the most unconventionally designed of all the emotions. The blueprint for Fear was the legendary actor Don Knotts - and most specifically his wide, expressive eyes.
Full interview with Pete Docter found here
Another common hidden fact that has been deciphered by Pixar lovers all over the world is the usage of "A113" in every Pixar film to date.
"A113" is the number of a classroom at CalArts, an art school in California where many of the Pixar animators and employees had classes.
Inside Out has several instances of "A113" throughout the movie, most prominently seen on some wall graffiti.
Another common practice in Pixar films is the "Hidden Mickey".
There are objects placed in different Pixar movies that resemble Mickey Mouse’s head and ears.
If you look closely at the control console that the emotions stand behind you can see the top buttons in the shape of a "Hidden Mickey."
Any mention of Inside Out isn't complete without at least one reference to Riley's imaginary friend, Bing Bong.
On closeup shots of Bing Bong you see a colorful flower lapel pin with each individual petal a different color.
These different colors on Bing Bong's lapel pin represent the different emotions: yellow for Joy, blue for Sadness, red for Anger, green for Disgust and purple for Fear.
A common feature in many Pixar movies following the release of Toy Story in 1995 has seen many instances of the pickup truck from "Pizza Planet".
In the asteroid sequence in The Good Dinosaur, if you look really, really hard, you can see an asteroid in the shape of the pickup truck.
Another frequently seen item in many Pixar productions is the Luxo Ball, which was first seen in a Pixar short called Luxo Jr.
The ball makes many cameos throughout the Pixar catalog, including a hard-to-spot appearance in The Good Dinosaur when Arlo and Spot have eaten some hallucinogenic berries and the ball is floating in the air behind them.
As previously mentioned in this list, the series "A113" makes at least one appearance in every Pixar movie.
The location in The Good Dinosaur where you can spot "A113" is displayed in sticks on the fence of a feeding pen. It’s highlighted in this screenshot to make it easier to see.
If the scene where Arlo, Spot and the Tyrannosaurus Rex family fight off a clan of raptors known in the movie as "Rustlers" rings a familiar bell it's because it has a very similar feel as the battle between the Tyrannosaurus Rexes and the Velociraptors in the 1993 movie, "Jurassic Park".
Another scene in The Good Dinosaur that might give you flashbacks to a previous animated movie is the scene where Arlo is saved by his dad, Poppa Henry from a flash flood, only to watch his dad lose his footing and be swept away in the flood himself.
That scene is eerily reminiscent of a scene in The Lion King where Simba is saved from a thundering herd of wildebeests by his father, Mufasa, only to watch his dad get trampled to death by the very same herd.
John Ratzenberger voices a character in each of the Pixar films released thus far, and the studio's not afraid to poke fun at this fact. His characters are as follows:
Toy Story: Hamm
A Bug's Life: P.T. Flea
Toy Story 2: Hamm
Monsters, Inc.: Yeti
Finding Nemo: The school of fish
The Incredibles: The Underminder
Up: Tom, the construction foreman
Toy Story 3: Hamm
Cars 2: Mack
Monsters University: Yeti
Inside Out: Fritz
The Good Dinosaur: Earl
The John Ratzenberger-Pixar tradition was almost broken with "The Incredibles," but Brad Bird decided at the last minute that he didn't want to be the one who broke it and had Ratzenberger voice the Underminer.
Actress Bonnie Hunt hasn't voiced quite as many Pixar characters, but she appears in almost half:
A Bug's Life: Rosie the spider
Monster's Inc: Flint
Cars 2: Sally
Monsters University: Mrs. Graves
Toy Story 3: Dolly