When Pixar started out as a small company, they pushed the boundaries of computer animation. However, it was not only technology that put the company on the map, but also its knack for telling a great story.
Have you seen all of their movies? Let’s take a dive into Pixar history!
42. Generically yours, George Lucas
Pixar started out as a division of George Lucas’ company Lucasfilm. The divison was named Computer Graphics Division.
41. A Job for Jobs
A year after Steve Jobs resigned from Apple, he bought the Computer Graphics Division from George Lucas for $5 million and renamed it Pixar.
40. Deep pockets
Steve Jobs bankrolled the company for years before it started to make a profit when Toy Story premiered in 1995.
39. From apples to the mouse house
Pixar was bought by Disney for $7.4 billion. Since Steve jobs was the majority shareholder of Pixar, he became the largest individual shareholder of Disney with this deal.
38. Dory Degeneres
Finding Dory was first announced by Ellen Degeneres on her talkshow. She provides the voice for Dory and has campaigned for years to have a sequel made of Finding Nemo.
37. Almost extinct
A change of director delayed the production of The Good Dinosaur, which was originally scheduled for a 2014 release. Due to this setback, the movie was released five months after the release of Inside Out. This is the first time since Cars (2006) that Pixar broke its yearly release schedule, having released no films in 2014, but two in 2015.
WALL-E's name is an acronym that stands for Waste Allocation Load Lifter: Earth-Class.
When listening to the scratch tracks for the character of Edna Mode for The Incredibles, Lily Tomlin, who was initially cast for the voice, remarked that director Brad Bird gave a great performance and asked why they needed her at all. Brad Bird ended up doing the voice himself.
34. Finding Replacements
Alexander Gould was replaced by Hayden Rolence as the voice of Nemo in Finding Dory, due to Gould having outgrown his original role.
33. All original
Pixar has made it its trademark since the trailer for A Bug’s Life to release trailers with scenes that are not featured in the movie.
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32. Luxo the Lamp
Pixar’s mascot is named Luxo Jr. and was named in a 1986 short with the same name. The character was inspired by the desk lamps that were used on the animation desks at Disney. The short was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short.
31. Super Human Accuracy
The Incredibles was Pixar’s first movie featuring only humans. To help the digital sculptors to figure out how the human body moves, they were handed copies of classic medical school text Gray’s Anatomy. The sculptors also used footage of Pixar employees walking around to study the movement.
30. Life’s complicated enough
During the writing of Inside Out, the writers considered up to 27 different emotions. They settled on five to make the story less complicated. Among the emotions that didn’t make the cut were Surprise, Pride and Trust.
29. Hot rats
After the release of Ratatouille, British pet chain “Pets at Home” saw their rat sales jump up by 50%. When 101 Dalmatians was released and rereleased by Disney, sales of Dalmatians also increased.
28. Cruising all the way to the bank
Cars generated over $10 billion in merchandise sales alone. That is not counting the sequels or their merchandise, making Cars the most profitable film Pixar ever made.
27. Splitting hairs
Although Pixar develops their own software for rendering their movies, two additional programs were specifically developed for the movie Brave. One of the programs simulated Merida’s 1500 strands of hair to mimic the real movement of hair.
26. Up the game
Up was nominated for an Academy Award for the category Best Picture. That made the movie the second animated movie to ever do so. It was preceded by Beauty and the Beast.
25. Crossing the age barrier
Andy from the movie Toy Story knows Carl and Ellie from the movie Up, since a postcard featuring the couple hangs on the pin board in his room.
24. Vocal mascot
Cheers star John Ratzenberger performs a voice in every Pixar film and is perceived as the company mascot.
23. Never Say Never Again
Billy Crystal was originally offered the role of Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story, but turned it down. He regretted his decision so much, that he vowed to take the next Pixar role that was offered to him, which eventually turned out to be that of Mike Wazowski in Monsters, Inc.
22. Da doo run-run-run
The Incredibles director Brad Bird made the actor who played Dash run laps around the studio the create an authentic out-of-breath voice for the character.
21. What’s up, Doc?
Doc Hudson from the movie Cars was played by Paul Newman, who was also a race car driver in real life. Cars was Newmans’ last and highest grossing movie.
In its first years, Pixar only made money from developing the Renderman software that is used as an industry standard and animating commercials for brands such as Tropicana and Coca-Cola.
19. Running wild
The girl who voiced Boo in Monsters Inc. couldn’t stay still long enough during the recording of her dialogue. To solve the problem, the recording team followed her around with a microphone and later worked those sounds into the final film.
18. Easter egg
“A113" is an Easter egg that appears in every Pixar film. It is a tribute to a classroom number at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) that was occupies by animation students, including Pixar chief John Lasseter and director Brad Bird. "A113" has also appeared in several Disney films and TV shows, like The Simpsons. Turns out, there are tons of Pixar Easter eggs.
17. Long story short…
WALL-E’s story development was so complex that it required 125,000 storyboards, while previous Pixar films only required 75,000 storyboards at most.
16. A quicky
A Bug’s Life holds the record for Pixar’s shortest development and production cycle to date. The movie was in production for three years, while other Pixar movies needed considerably more time for development and production.
15. 100% digital
Toy Story 2 was a milestone in movie history, as it was the first film ever to be created, mastered, and shown digitally.
14. Bruce and the mechanics
Bruce, the vegetarian shark in Finding Nemo, was named after the mechanical shark that was used during the filming of Jaws. The director of Jaws, Steven Spielberg, named the mechanical shark after his lawyer, Bruce Ramer.
13. Think pink
Barbie was set to appear as one of the toys in Toy Story, but Mattel rejected the idea. As a result, Pixar created the character of Bo Peep to take her place. After the movie became a big hit and the sequel was in the works, Mattel was glad to license Barbie for appearances in Toy Story 2 and 3.
Wall-E’s “voice” was created by legendary sound designer Ben Burtt, who is also well known for his work on Star Wars. For Star Wars he created R2-D2’s distinctive chatter.
11. The three B’s: Backup, Backup and Backup
During the production of Toy Story 2 almost 90% of the finished work was accidentally deleted from the Pixar servers. Luck would have it that one of the technical directors had a copy of the almost finished film at home on her computer.
10. Not Woody enough
Disney almost shut down the production of Toy Story because they deemed Woody too sarcastic.
9. Tastes differ
In order to appeal to audiences all over the world, Pixar makes little tweaks to films when they are released in other territories. In case of Inside Out, they made 28 changes to 45 shots. The biggest change are the vegetables that Riley dislikes. In the original movie, Riley doesn’t want to eat Broccoli, while in Japan Riley refuses to eat green bell peppers. Another change is the sports featured in the movie, because hockey is not that well known overseas.
8. Crash Out
A very early concept of the movie Inside Out featured an 8-year-old girl who was knocked out by a branch while playing in the woods and suffered short term memory loss. The movie would have focused on the emotions trying to get the memories back. This concept was discarded very early on due to the darker nature of the story.
7. A productive meeting!
The ideas for A Bug’s Life, Monsters Inc, Wall-E and Finding Nemo were all conceived during the same lunch meeting between key Pixar creatives.
Toy Story 2 featured a few scenes that were originally conceived for the first film. Among them were The Buzz Lightyear cartoon, Woody’s nightmare and the yard sale.
5. In the bin
Pixar canceled the development of the film Newt, announced in 2008 for a 2012 release, because the storyline was too similar to Blue Sky’s Studios’ Rio.
4. Growing pains
The size of the emotion console in Inside Out expands and grown more complex as Riley gets older.
3. Video Store-y
After the success of Aladdin sequel The Return of Jafar, Disney originally wanted to release Toy Story 2 as a direct-to-video sequel. When it became clear during production that the story was awesome, Disney realized that a full theatrical release was a better choice.
2. Up, Up and Away!
The entire canopy of balloons in Up comprised of 10,297 balloons. The effects animators didn’t cut any corners and filled it up completely, so that the balloons could shift places and show the balloons behind them.
1. Disney’s Toy Story 3
When Pixar got stuck in negotiating a new deal with Disney, Disney started production on Toy Story 3 without the involvement of Pixar.
Due to their previous deal, Disney maintained the rights to Toy Story’s characters and possible sequels. When Disney ultimately bought Pixar, John Lasseter became the head of the movie division and canceled the Disney version of Toy Story 3 and put Pixar’s version of the story into production.