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Toy Story is Pixar's first full feature film which was produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures in US theaters on November 22, 1995. It was written by John Lasseter, Pete Docter, Joss Whedon, Andrew Stanton, Joel Cohen, and Alec Sokolow, and directed by Lasseter as well. Toy Story stars the voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Jim Varney, Annie Potts, R. Lee Ermey, John Morris, Laurie Metcalf, Erik von Detten, and Sarah Freeman, and is also the first full-length theatrically-released feature film to be made entirely with computer-generated imagery and the music was written by Randy Newman.
The film was so successful that a sequel, Toy Story 2, was in theaters November 24, 1999. Eleven years later, Toy Story received a second sequel, Toy Story 3 which was released on June 18, 2010. Both sequels were hits and garnered critical acclaim similar to the first. Leading up to the premiere of Toy Story 3, as part of its promotion, Toy Story and Toy Story 2 were re-released in theaters as a double feature in 3-D on October 2, 2009. A third sequel, Toy Story 4, has also been announced. The sequel was originally set for 2017, but was moved to 2018, and was finally released on June 21st, 2019.
Set in a world where toys come alive, the world's first computer-animated movie focuses on the toys of a little boy named Andy Davis and centers on his favorite toy, a pull-string cowboy doll named Woody, worrying about being replaced by Andy's newest toy, a space ranger named Buzz Lightyear. When Woody and Buzz are suddenly trapped in the house of Andy's toy-killing neighbor Sid Phillips and his vicious dog Scud, they must work together to escape if they ever want to return to Andy's house.
The film starts when a bright six-year-old boy named Andy Davis playing with his toys, such as a Mr. Potato Head toy, a plastic dinosaur toy named Rex, and his favorite toy Woody, a cowboy doll. He takes Woody into the living room and plays with him some more, with a short interruption talking to his mom about his birthday party later that day and the upcoming move to a new house. After playing with Woody, Andy starts helping his mother by carrying his baby sister Molly to her. While he's away, all of the toys come to life.
The party makes all the toys extremely nervous, wondering if Andy will get a toy that will replace them. Woody sends the small green soldiers led by Sarge downstairs to spy on the party. At the end of the party, Ms. Davis pulls out a surprise present from behind her, which turns out to be a Buzz Lightyear action figure in spaceship packaging. Andy and his friends run upstairs to open him and in his hurry, Andy knocks Woody off the bed. They quickly leave, and the other toys welcome the newcomer. Buzz, however, doesn't seem to be aware that he is a piece of plastic, believing himself to be the actual Buzz Lightyear on a mission to save the universe from Evil Emperor Zurg. The other toys take to him immediately, being impressed by his many features. Only Woody is unconvinced, showing jealousy towards Buzz, who might replace him as Andy's favorite toy. As time passes, Andy replaces many of his cowboy themed room decorations with space ones causing Woody's resentment to rise while Buzz attempts to fix his damaged spaceship, in reality, a piece of the packaging has been torn.
Sometime later, Ms. Davis takes Andy and Molly on a trip to the space-themed Pizza Planet restaurant. Andy asks if he can bring any toys, and she agrees to let him take one. Woody, knowing Andy will choose Buzz, plans to trap him in a gap behind Andy's desk by using RC so Andy won't find him and will have to take Woody instead, but the plan goes badly wrong when Woody accidentally knocks Buzz out the window. When the other toys, including Mr. Potato Head, learn of Woody's actions, most of them (except Bo and Slinky) think Woody tried to kill Buzz out of jealousy. They then try to attack him, but Woody is rescued when Andy, who is unable to find Buzz, decides to take Woody on the trip instead.
At a stop at a Dinoco gas station to refuel the car, Woody after pondering how he's going to convince the toys that the whole thing was an accident finds that Buzz grabbed ahold of the family's minivan and is with them. After a conversation, the two toys begin to fight, knocking each other out of the minivan, and are left behind when it drives away. The two then have a heated argument underneath a Peterbilt, and after briefly lashing out at the deluded space ranger, Woody convinces Buzz to hitch a lift on a Pizza Planet Truck in order to return to Andy.
Still thinking he's a real space ranger, Buzz believes that Pizza Planet is a spaceport. He climbs into a toy crane game, thinking that it's a spaceship that will take him to Emperor Zurg's location. Woody, knowing that he can't return to Andy's room without Buzz, goes in after him, but the two are eventually found by Sid Phillips, who lives next door to Andy and is known to torture and destroy toys just for fun.
Left alone in Sid's room, Woody and Buzz come upon a group of mis-matched toys, the results of Sid's many experiments. Woody and Buzz react in fear, thinking that the mismatched toys are man-eating cannibals. Meanwhile, at Andy's house, the toys continue to look for Buzz in the bushes. But when Andy and his mother come home, Andy notices that Woody's gone. The other toys wonder what has become of the two. Some are worried for both Buzz and Woody, while others express their hope that Woody has met a bad end. The next morning, at Sid's house, Woody and Buzz, having been mistreated by Sid burned Woody's forehead with a magnifying glass, try to escape, only to run into Sid's dog Scud. Eventually getting out of Sid's room, Buzz comes upon a TV where he sees a commercial for the Buzz Lightyear line of toys. Watching it, he realizes that Woody was right about him being a toy this whole time, and not a real space ranger. However, in one final desperate attempt to fly, Buzz tries to fly out of the window by jumping off the guardrail of the stairs on the floor to fly out of Sid's house, only to fall to the floor, losing his left arm in the process. He is found by Sid's younger sister Hannah, who takes him away to put him in her tea party.
Woody finally finds Buzz in Hannah's room, dressed as Mrs. Nesbitt and attending a tea party. While Woody formulates a plan of escape, Buzz is too depressed to care. When Woody throws a string of Christmas tree lights across the way to the toys in Andy's room, Buzz refuses to back him up; Woody tries to use Buzz's detached arm in a desperate attempt to convince Andy's toys that Buzz is with him, but when they see through this act, they take it as evidence that Woody truly did murder Buzz and leave him in disgust for his duplicity. The Mutant Toys then return and swarm over Buzz, and Woody finds that they have repaired him and reconnected his arm. However, before Woody can make friends with them, Sid returns with his new acquisition, a firework rocket. He decides to blow up Woody with it, but cannot find him as Woody hides in a milk crate. Sid then decides to launch Buzz into space instead but is stymied by rainfall. He unknowingly traps Woody in the crate by putting a heavy toolbox on top, and plans to go ahead in the morning.
Overnight, Woody tries to get Buzz to help him escape. Still depressed, Buzz pessimistically confesses that he is only a toy. Woody tries to convince him that being a toy is much better than being a Space Ranger, and Andy still thinks he's the best thing in the world. Buzz doesn't know why Andy would want him, and Woody explains while coming to terms with his own feelings of resentment:
"Why would Andy want you? Look at you! You're a Buzz Lightyear. Any other toy would give up his moving parts just to be you. You've got wings, you glow in the dark, you talk, your helmet does that... that whoosh thing. You are a cool toy... as a matter of fact, you're too cool. I mean--I mean what chance does a toy like me have against a Buzz Lightyear action figure?"
As Woody sadly states that he should be the one taped to Sid's rocket, Buzz looks at his boot where Andy has signed his name, helping him realize how much Andy loves him and how being a toy isn't too bad. The two try to escape (although Buzz accidentally knocks the toolbox on Woody when trying to get the milk crate off of him). Unfortunately, Sid wakes up and takes Buzz out to blow him up, leaving Woody alone in the room. Even worse, Andy and his family are getting ready to move, with Andy depressed over having to have seemingly lost Woody and Buzz having only been able to find Buzz's cardboard spaceship and his cowboy hat. Woody calls out to the Mutant Toys to tell them a plan to escape. After a daring escape through the house and past Scud, Woody and the mutants end up in the yard with Sid. They decide to break the rules and they allow Sid to see that they can move on their own. Woody even speaks to him through his voicebox, telling him that his toys are sick of being tortured, then with his own voice tells him (in a sinister way) to play nice. This freaks Sid out and he runs into the house screaming, where his sister frightens him with her new doll Sally, a possible replacement for her original doll Janie, which was destroyed by Sid.
Now freed from Sid, Woody and Buzz try to catch Andy's moving van just as it is pulling away from the house. After saying farewell to the Mutant Toys, a harrowing chase follows, with Scud chasing them and Andy's toys not helping, since they still think that Woody intentionally killed both Buzz and RC. Luckily, Woody and Buzz trap Scud and the other toys finally see that Woody was telling the truth and realized their mistake. Eventually, with the help of RC, Andy's remote control car, and strategic use of Sid's rocket, Woody and Buzz return to Andy, whose mom assumes they were in the car all along.
A few months later, at Christmas in Andy's new house, we see a scene similar to the birthday party, with the toys less worried about the new ones from now on. Mr. Potato Head is pleased to find out that Molly has been given a Mrs. Potato Head. The film ends with Woody and Buzz discussing being replaced by a new toy like Woody was almost replaced by Buzz, Woody poses the question to Buzz, "What could Andy possibly get that is worse than you?", and with the answer coming in the form of Andy's first present, a puppy which makes Woody and Buzz feel quite uneasy.
Main Article See: Toy Story Cast Credits
- Tom Hanks as Woody, a pull-string cowboy doll. Although somewhat duplicitous, he is actually the kind leader of Andy's toys. Paul Newman was going to voice the character before Lasseter cast Hanks.
- Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear, a Space Ranger action figure and Woody's rival who later becomes his best friend. Before Allen was cast, Jim Carrey, Bill Murray, and Chevy Chase were considered.
- Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head a cynical Brooklyn-accented potato-shaped doll with put-together pieces on his body. Jeremy Irons was offered, but declined, so Rickles made the final cut.
- Jim Varney as Slinky Dog, a dachshund slinky toy.
- Wallace Shawn as Rex, a nervous green Tyrannosaurus figurine.
- John Ratzenberger as Hamm, a smart-talking piggy bank.
- Annie Potts as Bo Peep, a shepherdess doll and Woody's love interest.
- John Morris: Andy Davis
- Erik von Detten: Sid Phillips
- R. Lee Ermey: Sarge
- Sarah Freeman: Hannah Phillips
- Laurie Metcalf: Ms. Davis
- Joe Ranft: Lenny
- Jeff Pidgeon: Aliens/Mr. Spell/Robot
- Jack Angel: Mr. Shark/Rocky Gibraltar
- Debi Derryberry: Pizza Planet Intercom
- Penn Jillette: TV Announcer
- Mickie McGowan: Mrs. Phillips
Toy Story began its life as an extension of Pixar's short Tin Toy, which featured Tinny, a mechanical drummer who tries to find his way in a baby's playroom. The original plot called for Tinny to butt heads with a ventriloquist's dummy. Ultimately, Tinny was found to be too immobile for the storyline and he was developed as a "space toy", first named Lunar Larry. His character was eventually renamed Buzz Lightyear, in honor of American Naval aviator and NASA Apollo astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin. The ventriloquist's dummy gradually evolved into a pull-string cowboy doll named Woody, in honor of Western actor Woody Strode. Woody's character was gradually made edgier during production, at the suggestion of Jeffrey Katzenberg, head of Disney. Pixar knew this was the wrong decision, but went ahead and complied with the requested script changes. Even Tom Hanks, Woody's voice actor, expressed his disapproval with the changes to Woody's character, going as far as shouting "This guy is a jerk!" in the middle of delivering one of his lines for the story reel. On November 19, 1993, a day that was later known at Pixar as "Black Friday," Pixar screened a mock-up of the film to Disney, who had agreed to own and distribute the film. The executives' reaction was overwhelmingly negative, and further work on Toy Story was shut down until writers had written with an acceptable script. In what would become a common reaction to production meltdowns on Pixar films, John Lasseter and the writers worked for months on a to rewrite the script before Disney approved further work on voice and animation. The shutdown had been terrifying for Pixar, but it ultimately showed both parties to trust the storytelling talents of the Pixar writers, and let Disney handle most corporate and marketing matters.
Woody's final character was redefined as the benevolent, wise, and popular leader of Andy's toys instead of their tyrannical boss, but he maintained a lot of pride in being Andy's favorite toy. The original support group style discussion was replaced with a less juvenile and awkward staff meeting, to further emphasize the toys' approval of Woody's leadership and make it clear to Disney that Pixar had done much to improve his image. Buzz's character was also tweaked a little bit as well. Pixar altered his lines to make him seem more deluded and convinced that he is an actual Space Ranger. This allowed for more gags and comedic opportunities than was possible with the previous script and allowed buddy-comedy style interactions for the first time.
Toy Story has received universal critical acclaim since its release in 1995. It holds a rare 100% Certified Fresh rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes and 92/100 on Metacritic. Time named it the 8th best film of 1995. In 2003 it was ranked 'the greatest animated movie of all time' by the Online Film Critics Society.
More recently, famous movie director Terry Gilliam praised the film and said it's "a work of genius. It got people to understand what toys are about. They're true to their own character. And that's just brilliant. It's got a shot that's always stuck with me when Buzz Lightyear discovers he's a toy. He's sitting on this landing at the top of the staircase and the camera pulls back and he's this tiny little figure. He was this guy with a massive ego two seconds before... and it's stunning. I'd put that as one of my top ten films, period."
Box Office Results
Toy Story was the number one movie of the year in 1995 (beating Batman Forever and Apollo 13), according to Box Office Mojo. It opened the day before Thanksgiving and made almost $10 million on Wednesday and Thursday, plus another $29 million over the weekend. It was the number one film for its first 3 weekends, and then again the last weekend of December. During its theatrical run, it grossed $191.8 million domestically and $362 million worldwide. At the time it was the third highest-grossing animated film, behind The Lion King and Aladdin.
Although this movie was rated G in the United States, it was rated PG in the United Kingdom, likely due to Sid's violence and the ordeal with the mutant toys in his bedroom.
Attached Short Film
Initial theatrical screenings of the film included a reissue of a Roger Rabbit short Rollercoaster Rabbit, while select screenings at the time included The Adventures of André and Wally B., a pre-Pixar short film that was produced by Lucasfilm in 1984. Though most home video releases do not include either of these shorts, the 2000 VHS reprint of Toy Story includes Tin Toy, Pixar's short film released in 1988.
Sequels and Spin-offs
Toy Story 2
Four years later, Toy Story was followed by a sequel titled Toy Story 2 which was released in theaters on November 24, 1999. Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Jim Varney, Don Rickles, John Morris, Laurie Metcalf, R. Lee Ermey and Jeff Pidgeon all reprised the roles of their respective characters for the sequel. The film focused on Woody being stolen a greedy toy collector named Al McWhiggin (voiced by Wayne Knight) who plans to sell him to a toy museum in Tokyo, Japan and Buzz leading Rex, Hamm, Mr. Potato Head and Slinky Dog on a mission to save him.
Toy Story 3
Eleven more years later, Toy Story was followed by a second sequel titled Toy Story 3 which was released in theaters and 3D on June 18, 2010. Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Don Rickles, John Morris, Laurie Metcalf, R. Lee Ermey and Jeff Pidgeon again reprised their character roles in this sequel. Jim Varney, who voiced Slinky in Toy Story 1 and 2 died in February 2000, three months after the theatrical released of Toy Story 2. In Toy Story 3, Slinky was Varney's good friend Blake Clark. The only still living Toy Story cast member who didn't return for the sequel was Annie Potts, the voice of Bo Peep, though her character made a brief silent cameo in the movie's opening. The third film focuses on Andy growing up and leaving for college and Woody, Buzz and the rest of his remaining toys accidentally donated to a Day Care Centre where they meet some not so friendly toys. Once there, Woody and his friends must get back to Andy before he leaves.
Toy Story 4
It was announced in November 2014 that Pixar was working on a third sequel, Toy Story 4, which was released in theaters on June 21, 2019. The film focuses on a new "toy" that Bonnie creates named Forky, and Woody helping him realize what being a toy is all about.
One year after Toy Story was released, there were ABC shorts called Toy Story Treats. In 2000, Pixar released a Buzz Lightyear TV Show titled Buzz Lightyear of Star Command (2-D animated spin-off TV series) which aired 2000-2001 and a movie called Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins (2-D animated spin-off movie of Toy Story) released direct-to-video 2000. In 2011 and 2012, Pixar released three shorts film that follows the events of Toy Story 3 titled Toy Story Toons. The first one titled Hawaiian Vacation was released in theaters and 3D June 24, 2011, with Cars 2. The second one, Small Fry was released in theatres November 23, 2011, with The Muppets. The third one, Partysaurus Rex was released in theaters and 3D September 14, 2012 with the 3D-re-release of Finding Nemo. Plus Woody, Buzz, Rex and Mr. Potato Head has recently appeared in two television specials titled Toy Story of Terror and Toy Story That Time Forgot.
Toy Story had a large promotion prior to its release, leading to numerous tie-ins with the movie, including images on food packaging. A variety of merchandise was released during the film's theatrical run and its initial VHS release including toys, clothing, and shoes, among other things. When an action figure for Buzz Lightyear and Sheriff Woody was created it was initially ignored by retailers. However, after over 250,000 figures were sold for each character prior to the movie's release, demand continued to expand, eventually reaching over 25 million units sold by 2007.