Toy Story 4 is nearing the end of its box office run, but nine years ago its predecessor was released. After an 11 year gap, Disney Pixar came out with Toy Story 3. The sequel takes into account the time jump, with Andy now an adult and preparing to go to college.
After they are accidentally donated, Toy Story 3 sees the gang go to Sunny Side Day-Care, where things are not quite what they seem. The film is known for its incredibly emotional ending, but there are other facts about the movie that are less known. Here are 10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Toy Story 3.
10 They Studied Prison Movies
Toy Story 3 is about Andy growing up, but a huge part of the film has to do with the toys escaping Sunny Side. To capture the essence of a prison escape, the animators and director studied several different prison movies like The Great Escape, The Shawshank Redemption, and Cool Hand Luke.
The scene where Buzz puts all of the toys in crates and Mr. Potato head gets put in the sandbox is very reminiscent of a scene in Cool Hand Luke. There are also references to The Great Escape and The Shawshank Redemption throughout the movie.
9 The Film’s Trash Was the Hardest To Animate
Computer animation has come a long way since the first Toy Story movie was released in 1995. Animators didn’t know how to animate fur in the ‘90s, which is why a character like Lotso wasn't featured prominently until Toy Story 3. 15 years later, they seem to have mastered pretty much everything, but the trash in the film was the hardest thing to animate.
The producer, Darla Anderson, said that garbage bags were really difficult to animate because of the way they folded and stretched. The end sequence where there are thousands of pieces of garbage going towards the furnace also proved to be a challenge because of the way the light glittered off everything.
8 Buzz Almost Got Recalled To Taiwan
While the story for Toy Story 3 was incredibly emotional, it was almost completely different. Originally, Pixar wasn’t going to be involved, but another branch of Disney called Circle 7 Animation was going to make the movie. Their film would have seen a recall go out for Buzz Lightyear toys, making Mrs. Davis send Buzz back to a factory in Taiwan.
The film would have revolved around the toys traveling to the foreign country to save their friend before he is destroyed with other recalled toys. Storyboards for the film involve this including one that shows Buzz on an operating table with the toys gathered around him.
7 Disney Got Sued Because Of Lotso
While Lotso was a noteworthy villain in the Toy Story universe, he caused Disney a lot of grief in real life. Disney actually got sued for the use of Lotso by a company called Diece-Lisa Industries who owns the “Lots of Hugs” trademark. Since Disney’s character was a Lots-o’-Huggin’ bear, the similarities were too close for the company to let it slide.
Diece-Lisa decided to focus on stuffed bears that Disney was releasing as merchandise for the films, claiming they took sales away from their bear of a similar name. In the end, a judge sided with Diece-Lisa. In storyboards for Toy Story 3, Lotso looked much more like a Care Bear, which likely would have been a better idea than trying to get away with a not-so-original character named Lotso.
6 Lee Unkrich Got To Meet His Hero Thanks To Toy Story 3
Disney and Pixar often like to hide reference to other films in their movies, and Toy Story 3 is no exception. While there are several references to other Pixar films, the director got to sneak in an Easter egg from his favorite childhood show: The Six Million Dollar Man.
Lee Unkrich was able to sneak into the movie a lunch box of the show based on one he had as a child, which led to him meeting Lee Majors. Majors was the star of The Six Million Dollar Man as well as The Fall Guy. He also appeared in Ash vs Evil Dead as Ash Williams' father last year.
5 It Was Important To Lee Unkrich To Bring Back John Morris
Andy has been in every Toy Story movie to date, starting with John Morris voicing him back in 1995. Toy Story 3 is the first time fans got to see an adult Andy, but Lee Unkrich believed it was incredibly important they brought back the original voice actor.
Unkrich explained that this was to maintain continuity between the films and he revealed that Morris was incredibly thankful that Pixar asked him to return. Unkrich explained that it took them some time to actually find John Morris though since the voice actor had stopped working after 2001.
4 Steve Jobs Called To Check On Production
As one of the founders of Pixar, Steve Jobs had a big hand in Pixar's early life and was even a producer on the first Toy Story. Pixar had a history with things going wrong during production, including the time when Toy Story 2 was almost completely deleted.
When Pixar co-founder Edwin Catmull wrote his book Creativity, Inc, he mentioned that Steve Jobs called during the production of Toy Story 3 to see how the film was coming along. Catmull said that everything was going well without any “major meltdowns.” Jobs then said, “Be careful. That is a dangerous place to be,” likely referencing the Toy Story 2 incident.
3 There’s A Reason Why Totoro Has A Cameo
Toy Story 3 included multiple cameos and Easter eggs from other Pixar films, but the character Totoro from the 1988 film My Neighbor Totoro is one of Bonnie’s many toys. The character wasn’t just included on a whim, as John Lasseter and Hayao Miyazaki have been friends for decades.
2 Lee Unkrich & His Daughter Both Have Lines
While Lee Unkrich directed and wrote Toy Story 3, he also voices one of the characters in the film. When the gang first arrive at Sunny Side Day-Care and they spill out of the moving box, a Jack-in-the-Box exclaims “New Toys!” The voice moviegoers heard was none other than Lee Unkrich.
His daughter Hannah’s voice was also used but was archived sound from when she voiced the baby Molly in Toy Story 2. All three of Unkrich’s kids' names actually appear in the film, when Woody runs across the top of a cubby shelf at Sunnyside.
1 It Was The Highest Grossing Animated Film Ever
Saying that Toy Story 3 was a big film is a bit of an understatement. Movie theaters were swarmed with people wanting to see the newest Toy Story, which made Disney a ton of money. Toy Story 3 soon became Disney’s most profitable film and by the end of its box office run had become the highest-grossing animated film ever.