Monday, August 30, 2010

Toy Story 3 crew exclusive soundtrack CD

Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich had the world-class Pixar publicity team send me a copy of the special crew-exclusive Toy Story 3 soundtrack on CD; it arrived in my mailbox this afternoon.

Given out as a gift to studio employees, the complete soundtrack by Randy Newman is not sold anywhere and contains all the music from the film —about twice as much music than included on the publicly-available 'TS3' soundtrack album, which can be purchased only as a digital download.

It has a remarkable 73 tracks on two discs, running 1:01 hour, including four bonus ones from short film Day & Night, composed by Michael Giacchino. The track names sometimes differ from those of the regular album. For example, the exhilarating opening track is here called "Blue Sky", while in the released version it takes the name "Cowboy!"

The back of the cardboard packaging (not pictured) features a message from Unkrich and Darla K. Anderson —with an appreciation of composer Newman— and bears small Walt Disney Records and Pixar logos.

The album came accompanied by a letter from Lee, on fine studio letterhead. He thanks me for my "support and fandom" on the blog.

A big thank-you to Lee and the Pixar team for the gift.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Toy Story 3 reaches $1 billion dollars globally

Two weeks after becoming the highest-grossing animated film of all time, Toy Story 3 will cross the $1,000,000,000 mark at the global box office today, The Walt Disney Studios announced in a press release this hour.

'TS3' is the first animated film to reach $1 billion and only the seventh movie in history.

As of yesterday, Toy Story 3 had grossed more than $404.4 million domestically and $592.9 million internationally.

Walt Disney Pictures' Tim Burton-directed Alice in Wonderland also reached $1 billion worldwide a few months ago, making Disney the only studio ever to release two billion dollar blockbusters in one year. Sci-fi thriller Tron: Legacy (opening Dec. 17) should prove to be a third, making Disney's record exceptionally hard to beat.

Congratulations to director Lee Unkrich, producer Darla K. Anderson, and the entire team at Pixar and Disney on reaching this milestone.

Exclusive 'TS3' Blu-ray commentary details

Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich shared with me yesterday evening an exclusive tidbit about the Toy Story 3 Blu-ray: who will be on the commentary tracks.

In addition to the Cine-Explore commentary with him and producer Darla K. Anderson, there will be a second commentary by the following crew members:
  • Bobby Podesta and Mike Venturini (Supervising Animators)
  • Bob Pauley (Production Designer)
  • Jason Katz (Head of Story)
  • Guido Quaroni (Supervising Technical Director)
"It's awesome," says Lee.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Disney and Pixar abandon Annie Awards

Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios officially withdrew their support today from the Annie Awards and ASIFA-Hollywood, the body which oversees them.
"After more than a year of discussions with the ASIFA board, we have regretfully decided to withdraw from the organization and no longer participate in the annual Annie Awards," Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios president Ed Catmull told Variety.
"We believe there is an issue with the way the Annies are judged, and have been seeking a mutually agreeable solution with the board. Although some initial steps have been taken, the board informed us that no further changes would be made to address our concerns."
The issue is that the ASIFA's current membership regulations skew the Annies against Disney and Pixar and for DreamWorks Animation SKG, resulting in Up taking home only two awards last year (albeit the top ones) and WALL-E being completely ignored in the 2008 awards.

If I understand it correctly, Pixar archrival DreamWorks has more animators, and buys each one an ASIFA membership upon joining the studio. There is undoubtedly some 'encouragement' to vote for the company's projects. This effectively 'buys' the awards —not a fair process.

Toy Story 3 will not be submitted for consideration for this year's awards, although ASIFA's chief says it can still compete, because the rules allow the nominating committee to put a film on the ballot "even though it hasn't been formally submitted".

In an e-mail sent to Pixar and Disney Animation employees, Catmull encouraged individual artists and animators to "maintain their memberships and support for the Annies as they deem appropriate." This means that Disney and Pixar producers and artists may still submit their own work for Annie consideration if they choose to do so.

Disney and Pixar withdrawing from the organization is the correct decision. ASIFA should do the right thing and reform its voting standards soon, before it loses its standing in the industry.

Pre-order Toy Story 3 on iTunes Store

In addition to its DVD/Blu-ray release, Toy Story 3 is available for pre-order from Apple's iTunes Store, and will download on November 2.

The film is in its original widescreen aspect ratio and features Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.

As of right now, it appears that only the standard definition version is available to order. An HD version, possibly with iTunes Extras, should become available at some point between now and November.

NYT interviews Toy Story 3 cymbal monkey

In all the excitement surrounding the release of Toy Story 3, this example of journalism at its best was overlooked, until director Lee Unkrich pointed to it in a tweet a few hours ago.

The New York Times
' ArtsBeat blog published an interview with —wait for it— the crazy cymbal-clashing monkey toy who closely watches the security cameras at Sunnyside Daycare in Toy Story 3.

The monkey, who goes unnamed in the film, answers (in his own way) a few questions on the success of Toy Story 3, his 'abilities as a percussionist', and the possibility of a spin-off. Also, would he like a banana?

Read it here.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Teddy Newton talks Day & Night picture book

To promote the Day & Night picture book (review) Chronicle Books has released this short video slide show narrated by the author, Teddy Newton, who directed Pixar's Day & Night short film.

Watch for some original sketches and Newton's thoughts and experiences putting together the illustrated book.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

'TS3' grabs No. 10 spot on domestic grosses list [UPDATE: No. 9]

Yesterday afternoon, Toy Story 3 reached $402.2 million at the North American box office, beating Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen for the No. 10 spot on the list of all-time highest domestic grosses.

Toy Story 3 is one spot higher on the list of all-time worldwide box office grosses, at No. 9, up from No. 14 a week ago. The film has grossed $941,580,518 globally so far.
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Update: Toy Story 3 made an estimated $1.4 million at the domestic box office this weekend, reaching a lifetime total of $403.7 million and the No. 9 position on the domestic all-time list.

Having reached a worldwide total gross of $984.3 million, '3' climbed two spots on the worldwide list, to No. 7.

(Updated Aug. 22)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Toy Story Trilogy box set available for pre-order

Amazon.com just listed for pre-order a 10-disc Toy Story trilogy Blu-ray/DVD set, to be released on November 2, the same day as the Toy Story 3 BD/DVD.

The set is apparently built around the Blu-ray + DVD + digital copy combo packs of Toy Story, Toy Story 2, and Toy Story 3. List price is $100 USD; Amazon is selling for $69.99.

Further details and box artwork as they become available.

(via Stitch Kingdom)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day & Night picture book review

This morning I received a copy of the Day & Night picture book, written by Pixar artist Teddy Newton and published by Chronicle Books.

Sure, mine isn't autographed like the one contest winner Timothy D. got the other day, but who cares?! It's a lot of fun to look through and read.

Based on Pixar's soon-to-be Oscar-nominated short film of the same name, the 40-page hardcover book is intended for children but is sleek enough to serve as a geeky table accessory for animation lovers of all ages.

The lines of text closely follow the short, as does the artwork, but there are still enough small differences to bring something new to the story.

You can check out the picture book in bookstores and at online retailers such as Amazon.com (and .ca).

Friday, August 13, 2010

Toy Story 3 biggest animated film of all time

Just days after becoming the highest-grossing Pixar film ever, Toy Story 3 has become the highest-grossing animated motion picture of all time, taking in more than $940 million at the global box office to date, according to The Walt Disney Studios.

'TS3' is expected to officially crossed the $400 million mark at the domestic box office this weekend, becoming the eleventh movie in history to reach that milestone, and only the second film released by Disney. '3' currently ranks as the fourth highest-grossing film in company history globally.

Yet another box office accomplishment for the film, which has been piling on such accomplishments since its $110.3 million opening weekend in June.

Toy Story 3 is the top grossing Disney release ever in Latin America and the U.K., bringing in $138 million and $90 million in those markets, respectively. The movie has been No. 1 at the U.K. box office for four consecutive weeks. In Japan, it's been at No. 1 for five consecutive, taking in over $84 million there.

Finally, Toy Story 3 currently ranks as the #14 film in worldwide box office history. In Hong Kong it's #3, following only James Cameron's Avatar and Titanic.

Report: Cars Toons BD/DVD on Nov. 2; no 'Nemo' Blu-ray [2 UPDATES]

As if the home video debut of Toy Story 3 were not exciting enough, DVDDizzy.com/UltimateDisney.com reports that Disney will also be releasing on November 2 Cars Toons —Mater's Tall Tales.

The title, a compilation of nine Cars Toons shorts, including two brand new ones (Mater Private Eye and Moon Mater) will be sold in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack as well as on a stand-alone DVD.

According to DVDDizzy, extras will include a featurette entitled "Unmade Tall Tales" and a sneak peek at the Cars Land attraction under construction at Disneyland in California.

Mater's Tall Tales isn't yet confirmed by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment or Amazon pre-order availability, but appears to be solid, with cover art for the 2-disc BD + DVD combo pack already leaked.

DVDDizzy notes that Mater's Tall Tales 'snags the spot once held for Finding Nemo's Blu-ray debut'. The site made waves last month by claiming that WDSHE would finally release 'Nemo' on BD in November.

This not being the case, the next 'launch window' for Finding Nemo's high definition debut is probably next spring, maybe March or April, before the release of Cars 2 in theatres. Or not.
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Update: Mater's Tall Tales is up for pre-order at Amazon.com in the 2-disc Blu-ray + DVD combo pack and 1-disc DVD, with a ship date of November 2.

Considering the difference is literally two bucks at Amazon ($3 in list price), I can't see who would buy the single DVD or why WDSHE bothered to release it in the first place. The combo pack is clearly the better choice.

Amazon and DisneyStore.com have also listed a Mater's Tall Tales video game for Nintendo Wii. Both sites have a short description of the game, which is similar to the Toy Story Mania! game for Wii released last year by Disney Interactive Studios. Amazon says the game will be released on September 14; the Disney Store says October 19.

A 176-page hardcover book based on the nine shorts included on the Blu-ray/DVD, Cars Toons: Maters Treasury of Tall Tales, can also be pre-ordered from Amazon. For kids ages 9-12, the book will "feature full-color images on every page". It will be published by Disney Press in January.

(Updated Aug. 15)
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Update: Stitch Kingdom has obtained the full list of exciting bonus features for the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack. The disc will contain a surprising amount of extras, as follows:
  • Paths To Pixar
  • Studio Stories —"McQueen Has No Hands"
  • Mater Bumper-to-Bumper
  • Making Mater’s Tall Tales
  • "Unmade Tales" —Intro by Rob Gibbs
  • Cars Toons Story Reels
  • Cars Land Sneak Peek
  • Mater Private Eye Trailer
(Updated Aug. 17)

Toy Story 3 coming to DVD & Blu-ray Nov. 2; available for pre-order

Amazon.com has listed for pre-order multiple editions of Toy Story 3 on Blu-ray Disc (BD) and DVD with a release date of November 2, 2010.

Available (shown at top from left) will be a basic 1-disc DVD, a 2-disc Blu-ray set, and a 4-disc combo pack that includes the film on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital copy. There may be other editions that have not yet been listed for pre-order.

Few content details and technical specs for the titles have been made public, but that should change soon. Check back here for the latest.

The product page for the 4-disc combo pack does briefly outline included extras for that set. Happily, there will be more animated Studio Stories ("Where's Gordon", "Cereal Bar", "Clean Start").

As for cover art, my favourite is definitely the one for the 2-disc BD. The dark background gives it a stylish look and makes the characters really pop.

What about you? Which cover do you like best? Which one will you be getting in November, and why?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Toy Story 3 is highest grossing Pixar film ever

Toy Story 3 has brought in over $895 million worldwide, surpassing Finding Nemo's $867.8 million worldwide gross over the weekend to become Pixar's all-time highest grossing film. Total domestic earnings are at $396,387,342; foreign, $498,700,000.

Another box office milestone.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Win autographed copy of Day & Night picture book [WINNER]

Based on Pixar's latest short film, and written by its director, Teddy Newton, the Day & Night picture book is 40-pages long and filled with full-color illustrations aimed at kids ages 4-8. It's already available from booksellers such as Amazon.

How would you like to win an autographed copy? You can, in the first ever Pixar Blog giveaway!

The 50th person to send an email to pixarblogunofficial@yahoo.com correctly answering three easy questions about Day & Night will receive a copy of the book, signed by Newton, courtesy of Chronicle Books. Contest closes when 50 eligible entries are received; the winner will be announced shortly thereafter.

The questions are:
  • Day & Night director Teddy Newton voices which character in Toy Story 3?
  • Who composed the music of Day & Night?
  • Who is the production designer on Day & Night?
Subject line for emails should be "Day & Night picture book giveaway". Please include your full name and mailing address (must be in the U.S. or Canada). Multiple entries will not be considered. This contest is open to everyone, everywhere, including where prohibited by law!

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Thanks to everybody who took the time to enter. But there can only be one winner. And the winner is... Timothy Dyck from Watsonville, CA. Congratulations, Timothy!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Gary Rydstrom working on other projects

Photo: Paul Chinn / The Chronicle
Newt may have been shelved, but the man attached to direct it, sound designer Gary Rydstrom, has been hard at work on other projects.

The San Francisco Chronicle spoke with him at Pixar's studios in Emeryville about his experiences supervising a non-Pixar project, the English dubbing of Studio Ghibli's Tales From Earthsea, being distributed in the U.S. later this month by Walt Disney Pictures.

With his work on that film complete, Rydstrom is already working on another project, which he describes as "really fun". "I wish I could tell you what it was", he tells the Chronicle, "but it hasn't been announced."

It isn't immediately clear whether the project is at Pixar or not, but in all likelihood it is. Regardless, it appears that Rydstrom is very much on-board with the cancellation of what was to have been his feature directorial debut.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Monsters, Inc. 2 moves to Nov. 2, 2012

Briefly: Fearing heavy competition at the box office the week of November 16, 2012, The Walt Disney Studios announced this afternoon that they have moved up the release of Pixar's Monsters, Inc. 2 to Nov. 2, 2012.

At the same time, Newt was officially removed from Disney's release schedule for the year. It was previously set for Summer 2012, but was cancelled.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Pixar news this week

The past ten days have been among the slowest for big Pixar news ever. But if you've been following @The_Pixar_Blog on Twitter (and how could you not!) you'll know there have been a few things going on and they're worth recapping here.

Toy Story 3 continues to do well at the box office, reaching $390.6 million domestically and $436.4 million in foreign markets, bringing the film's total worldwide lifetime gross to $827,006,539.

This past Friday, a new Cars Toon short, Monster Truck Mater, aired on the Disney Channel. I haven't seen it yet, but there's been a lot of positive buzz about it online. It's one of the best Cars Toons to date.

On Saturday, the long-running touring exhibition Pixar: 25 Years of Animation (formerly Pixar: 20 Years of Animation) returned to the United States, arriving at the Oakland Museum of California.

The exhibition, which features over 500 works of art created by Pixar during the past two and a half decades (including never-before-seen pieces from Ratatouille, WALL-E, Up, and Toy Story 3) and the famous Pixar Zoetrope, will run at the OMCA until January 9. More info can be found in this press release.

Finally, I'm a huge fan of NBC's The Office, and the very funny Mindy Kaling, who plays the loquacious Kelly Kapoor on the show, has been expressing her love of Pixar and Toy Story 3 over the past few days on Twitter (@mindykaling) with tweets like "The Toy Story trilogy beats all trilogies" and "Uh, when is Pixar going to do a live-action movie?"