In 2010, two aspiring filmmakers wanted to get Pixar's attention. But rather than create their own animated vision to get noticed, they decided to re-make one of the studio's biggest hits: "Toy Story." In live action.
The results, the "Live Action Toy Story" project, went live on Jan. 12 and has since racked up 1.5 million views on YouTube. It's a shot-for-shot remake of the animated classic, made with children's voices and hands and wires manipulating the toys.
As reported in the East Valley Tribune, Jonason Pauley (19) and Jesse Perrotta (21) are huge fans of Disney-Pixar's works, and just wanted a chance to visit the studio where their heroes work.
"(Pixar) doesn't let people in unless you've done anything," said Pauley. "But I'm pretty confident."
According to the article, the pair used two rooms in Pauley's parents' Northern California home as Andy and Sid's rooms, where they did most of the filming, and a local pizzeria and arcade served as Pizza Planet. They roped in about 150 friends and family for the project, spending about $1,000 to get it all done. One of the biggest challenges? Finding a time when the borrowed dog, Spud, and the child actors were all available.
This isn't the team's first stab at a "Toy Story" remake -- their live-action version of the end scene in "Toy Story 3" has already been seen on YouTube more than 2.5 million times.
And while Pixar has confirmed they've received the tribute, they won't comment as of yet on what will happen next. That said, a Pixar filmmaker, Lee Unkrich (who edited the original film, co-directed and edited the sequel and directed the third installment), has been in touch with the filmmakers on Twitter, offering support.
"We have so much respect for Pixar, we don't want to do anything without their consent," Perrotta the Tribune. "All I really wish is that our fans get to see it someday. I just want everybody to see this movie one way or another."
Who says toys can't be tough stuff? Not IGN, which has produced a faux trailer suggesting that if Pixar's "Toy Story" characters were given Sly Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger's voices (along with several others reading lines from the "Expendables" sequel), they'd be able to kick the stuffing out of anyone who got in their way.
By Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, NBC News, and Courtney Garcia, NBC News contributor
"Finding Nemo" may get a sequel.
Fans of Pixar animation had a field day Tuesday when stories about sequels to "Finding Nemo," "Toy Story" and "Monsters Inc." all popped up. But are they all true? Some reports have more basis in fact than others.
A representative of Disney told NBC News that Pixar does not comment on development, but that hasn't stopped the speculation.
Let's look at each film individually.
'Finding Nemo' Though Nemo and Marlin's story seemed to wrap up quite tidily when the lost clownfish was reunited with his dad in 2003, you'll soon be seeing more dimensions of the little orange fish onscreen. A 3-D version of "Nemo" hits theaters on Sept. 14.
But what about "Finding Nemo 2"? On Tuesday, Deadline.com reported that director Andrew Stanton, who wrote and directed the first "Nemo" and also co-wrote "Monsters Inc.," and the "Toy Story" films, will direct a sequel. No confirmation from Pixar, but The Hollywood Reporter says that television writer Victoria Strouse will be writing the script while Lindsey Collins is producing, and that the film likely will be released in 2016.
However, Stanton himself created more fuel for the rumor fire late Tuesday when he tweeted, "Didn't you all learn from Chicken Little? Everyone calm down. Don't believe everything you read. Nothing to see here now. #skyisnotfalling."
'Toy Story 4' Rumors that Woody, Buzz and the gang would reunite drove movie fans into an Internet rumor frenzy. Many were suspicious from the start, since the third film in the trilogy tied things up so neatly, with Andy driving off to college and handing his beloved toys over to young Bonnie to start a whole new life.
It seems that some of the rumors were sparked by a year-old BBC interview with Tom Hanks, voice of "Toy Story's" Woody. Hanks begins by talking about "Larry Crowne," his 2011 film with Julia Roberts, and is then asked about his granddaughter.
"Will there be a 'Toy Story 4' for her to see?" reporter Tim Muffett asks.
"I think there will be, yeah," Hanks says. "I think they're working on it now."
Some people now say that Hanks was referring to "Toy Story" shorts, such as "Toy Story Hawaiian Vacation," which aired before "Cars 2," or "Small Fry," which aired before "The Muppets," but others disagree. The reporter clearly asked about "Toy Story 4," but what that meant to Hanks is open for debate.
It's also possible that the "Toy Story 4" rumors came out of an online Disney book catalog that was spotted by numerous blogs and movie fans. The text in that catalog now reads "Three new Toy Story toons are in development to support franchise publishing in 2012. 'Hawaiian Vacation' released with 'Cars 2' in theaters and on DVD. 'Small Fry' released theatrically with 'The Muppets,' and all will begin airing on the Disney Channel in early 2012."
But according to screengrabs on movie blogs, including The Rotoscopers, that text has been edited. It originally also said, "In addition, two 22-minute TV specials are in the works for October 2013 and Spring 2014."
Whether it was Hanks' 2011 comment or the book catalog that sparked the "Toy Story 4" rumors, fans are having fun suggesting plotlines. If a fourth film is made, some are hoping for a prequel, showing Woody's life with Andy's (late?) father. Others want to see Woody, Jessie, Buzz and the gang having adventures with new owner Bonnie.
'Monsters University' The 2001 Pixar film "Monsters Inc." will be getting a prequel in 2013. No rumors here -- a trailer for the film has already been shown before the movie "Brave" in theaters, and features monstrous pals Mike and Sulley meeting up in college. Apparently Monsters U is an "Animal House" type of school, with lampshade-on-head parties and Sulley pasting squares of mirrored glass on Mike to turn him into a disco ball.
'The Incredibles' It's not getting the attention of "Toy Story," "Nemo" and "Monsters," but director Brad Bird continues to hint at a sequel to his popular animated comedy, "The Incredibles." "I would not say no to ['The Incredibles 2'], because I really love that world and I love those characters," Bird told IFC back in March. "If I can figure out a complete thing -- you know, I have a lot of ideas that I love -- but the whole story, I haven’t got it yet."
Other Pixar films to come reportedly include "The Good Dinosaur," supposedly about a world where dinosaurs never became extinct and scheduled for 2013, and two untitled films -- one about the Mexican Dia de los Muertos holiday and another set inside the human mind.
"Toy Story" and "Tangled" may not be in theaters these days, but their characters are making brief big-screen comebacks.
A new seven-minute "Toy Story" short will run before showings of "The Muppets," which opens Nov. 23, and it sounds awesome. You know those display cases in fast-food joints showing all the toys available in their kids' meals? (Uh, not that I would know since I only feed my kid vegan gluten-free granola that I mine from my backyard quarry by hand and -- oh, never mind.)
This short focuses on those tiny toys, USA Today reports, and a Happy Meal-size version of Buzz Lightyear who kidnaps the real Buzz and tries to take over his life.
Apparently the real Buzz ends up at a support group for fast-food toys, which sounds hilarious. Of course they're going to have issues, what with some characters being more popular than others, and some toy groups having longer runs in the restaurants than others. Naturally, the short features the voices of Tim Allen as Buzz, Tom Hanks as Woody, John Ratzenberger as Hamm the piggy bank, and Joan Cusack as cowgirl Jessie.
Buzz Lightyear is left behind at a fast food restaurant when a kids' meal toy version of Buzz takes his place.
And just today, Disney announced that when "Beauty and the Beast 3D" hits theaters in January, it will come with a short called "Tangled Ever After," featuring preparations for Rapunzel and Flynn's wedding. And it includes one of my favorite characters -- Maximus, the personality-filled horse from the Palace Guard.
The press release says "when Pascal and Maximus, as flower chameleon and ring bearer, respectively, lose the gold bands, a frenzied search and recovery mission gets underway. As the desperate duo tries to find the rings before anyone discovers that they’re missing, they leave behind a trail of comical chaos that includes flying lanterns, a flock of doves, a wine barrel barricade and a very sticky finale. Will Maximus and Pascal save the day and make it to the church in time? And will they ever get Flynn’s nose right?"
Is it wrong that I'm considering going to "Beauty and the Beast 3D" just for the short?
Most of us who are parents today didn't grow up with movies that featured shorts, newsreels and all the other goodies that generations before us often saw along with their films. I can remember a few shorts popping up in the 1970s -- I have a strong recollection of some live-action skiing short before a "Cinderella" re-release -- but they certainly weren't regular happenings. I welcome this trend, and perhaps it's a little bit of a trade-off for all the commercials we now have to sit through at the theaters.
What do you think about some movies running animated shorts with popular characters before new films? Tell us in the comments.