In Toy Story, Hand-in-the-box is first seen when Woody is exploring Sid's room, where he and Buzz Lightyear are seemingly trapped. They are shocked by the appearance of Sid's mutilated toys, with Hand-in-the-box first appearing as a simple jack-in-the-box, but startles Woody with its true presence.
After the mutant toys discover a broken Buzz Lightyear, Hand-in-the-box and Sid's other toys swarm him and fix him, as they had previously done with Janie and Pterodactyl.
When Woody is trapped in Sid's room by Scud, he formulates a plan to save Buzz from Sid, Hand-in-the-box is held by Rockmobile, who mounts Babyface. Hand-in-the-box then extends his hand out to a doorknob so that he is ready to open the door when the signal comes. After Ducky rings the doorbell, Hand-in-the-box twists the knob to open the door, allowing the Frog to speed out of Sid's room for Scud to chase after. Hand-in-the-box, held by Rockmobile riding RollerBob, serves as a connection to Jingle Joe for transportation as Woody and the mutant toys escape to Sid's backyard. As all the mutant toys surround Sid, Hand-in-the-box grabs on to Sid's ankle to scare him. After Woody finally scares Sid out of his senses, Hand-in-the-box is seen giving a thumbs-up sign as the mutant toys and Woody celebrate their victory.
Toy Story Treats
Hand-in-the-box is a reoccurring character in the Toy Story Treats shorts. His first appearance is in Hands Down Winner, where Woody and him are passing time playing checkers in Andy's room. In Itchy Rex, Ticklish Rex and Who's There? he strikes up a friendship with Rex, whom he's seen playing with. In Thrill Ride #1, Thrill Ride #2, Thrill Ride #3 and Thrill Ride #4 the Squeeze Toy Aliens enjoy being flung across the room by Hand-in-the-box's spring, while Rex timidly waits for his turn in line.
- Hand-in-the-box's hand seems to be taken from a Halloween-themed animated monster hand bowl.
- Its spring is the reused model of Slinky dog's spring, while its hand is a modified model of Woody's - upscaled with green warts added.
- He makes a cameo appearance in Toy Story 3: The Video Game. The appearance isn't in the box, but the hand appears severed, on top of Sid's haunted house.