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Friday, August 26, 2005

Take-a-Journo-to-Work Day

Pixar held a media open house on Monday -- it was the 10th anniversary of the release of their first feature, "Toy Story" -- and the San Francisco Chronicle's C.W. Nevius has a great report.

Nevius writes, "Pixar, as you have probably heard, has had a stormy relationship with Disney -- and Disney, at this point, looks like the loser. In the 10 years since we met Woody the cowboy, Buzz Lightyear and the rest of the `Toy Story' gang, Pixar has won 16 Academy Awards and grossed over $3 billion."

And his piece has a great anecdote on how artistic differences nearly torpedoed "Toy Story":

    Disney, which was bankrolling the project, peppered the young animators with notes and suggestions. The story was too juvenile, the higher-ups said, and the characters had to be edgier. Afraid to trust themselves, Lasseter and his crew tried to follow all the directions.

    It was, nearly everyone agrees, a train wreck. Disney hated the movie and the idea -- and shut it down.

    "Yeah that was fun,'' jokes Pete Docter, who was nominated for Oscars for "Toy Story'' and "Monsters, Inc.'' "And it happened right around Christmas, too.''

    Lasseter recalls that he "begged'' for two weeks to fix things. The animators went back, took out all of Disney's suggestions and made the movie they wanted to make in the first place.

    And, naturally, when they screened the new version, Disney execs loved it.

Everyone's going to be closely watching this fall's "Chicken Little" -- the first digitally animated feature that Disney has created on its own, in-house.