There comes a moment in childhood when we begin to lose our innocence. We learn grisly truths about the world that our parents tried carefully to shield us from. I remember the moment when I found out that the tooth fairy wasn’t real. I woke up one morning, excited to see what the tooth fairy had left under my pillow in exchange for the baby teeth I had lost. But when I flipped the pillow over, to my horror, I found my teeth still there. This had never happened before; usually, loonies and toonies were left in the tooth’s place. My world came crashing down around me. I realized that my parents were the tooth fairy, and that they had forgotten to swap my teeth out for money.
Behind every great movie, there’s a dark truth. At least, that’s how I see it. Children’s movies aren’t exempt from this rule. If anything, they confirm the rule’s existence. Think of the sexual innuendos hidden in Disney movies. Pixar movies have their own dark secrets. Did you know that Steve Jobs was almost responsible for Pixar’s ruin? Toy Story might never have been made if Pixar had gone under. Prepare to be shocked and horrified by the following dark truths about Pixar movies.
15. Monsters University has a fake admissions website
To promote Monsters University, Pixar came up with the idea of creating a fake admissions website for M.U. Creative marketing strategy, or false advertisement endorsement? You decide. The website looks pretty authentic, complete with fake student testimonials, an application page, and a list of schools within the university. There’s even a reminder to students to get their I.D. cards. Pixar’s thorough, I have to give them that. The most unsettling part of the website is the campus portal, M.U.Net; without an I.D. and password, who knows what lies beyond the portal’s login page.
14. There’s a fake commercial associated with Toy Story 3
Remember Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear from Toy Story 3? Well, if you search him up on YouTube, you’ll find that he has his own commercial. Yes, Pixar created a fake commercial reminiscent of the early 80s to promote Toy Story 3. If you’re a young child, however, you might not realize that the commercial is fake. You might want to buy the creepy-as-hell-looking stuffed bear, only to discover that he isn’t real. Tsk tsk Pixar; to stoop so low as to deceive a child for the purpose of selling movie tickets. We all know that Lots-o’-Huggin Bear is a product of the new millennium.
13. Cars 2 is the lowest rated Pixar film
Clocking in at a measly 39% on Rotten Tomatoes, Cars 2 has the honour of being the lowest rated Pixar movie. This doesn’t surprise me. I’m not a fan of any of the Cars movies. There’s nothing appealing to me about anthropomorphic vehicles, and it seems that critics agree. They blame the rusty storytelling and the general uninterestingness of talking cars for the movie’s low rating. Many critics even go so far as to say that the film is not even worth seeing. What is surprising is that a Pixar movie could earn a rating below 50%. Not even Owen Wilson’s voice could improve the rating of Cars 2.
12. The Incredibles and Up are rated PG
It’s hard to imagine a Pixar film receiving anything other than a G rating, but the unthinkable has happened – twice. The Incredibles was the first Pixar movie to be slapped with a PG rating. It tells the story of a family of secret superheroes. Sounds innocent enough. The movie was given a PG rating for “action violence,” as opposed to traditional violence I suppose. The second PG Pixar movie was – wait for it – Up. Up is about an elderly man fulfilling his dream of visiting South America by turning his home into an aircraft using balloons. Balloons. Either balloons harbour a secret sexual meaning that I don’t know about, or someone inhaled a little too much helium.
11. Newt may have plagiarized Rio
You may be wondering what Pixar movie Newt is, and whether it actually exists. Don’t be alarmed; Newt, which was scheduled for release in 2012, never saw the light of day. Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter explained that the movie was too similar to Rio, a Blue Sky Studios’ film. Both Newt and Rio are about the last remaining male and female of an animal species coming together to save their species. In Newt’s case, it’s two blue-footed newts, and in Rio’s case, two macaws. Newt was cancelled due to its resemblance to Rio. A case of accidental similarity, or a nefarious plagiarism attempt?
10. Toy Story 3 sparked a feud between Pixar and Disney
Feuds are commonplace in the entertainment industry. The feud between Pixar and Disney is no exception. Like all business feuds, this one came down to money. When Disney first asked Pixar to make Toy Story 3, they told Pixar that the movie wouldn’t count towards their multi-film contract. Pixar wasn’t happy, so Disney threatened to make Toy Story 3 without them. Disney’s version of Toy Story 3 involved the toys rescuing Buzz Lightyear from a Taiwanese factory, traveling via FedEx. But after Disney bought Pixar, Pixar’s team threw out Disney’s script and started from scratch. We’re all thankful that they did.
9. Toy Story 3 reveals that Pixar has a secret room
If you watch the bonus features for Toy Story 3, you’ll discover something strange. It’s called the Lucky 7 Lounge, and it’s a secret room at Pixar accessed by a sliding bookshelf triggered by a hidden button. Animators at Pixar decorated the room, donning it with Christmas lights, lava lamps, animal print benches, tasseled pillows, a cocktail table, liquor bottles, bar equipment, and napkins with “The Love Lounge” printed on them. Important visitors are brought into the secret room and encouraged to sign the wall, like Tim Allen. What really goes on in “The Love Lounge,” and what makes visitors “important,” is anyone’s guess.
8. The voice actor for The Incredibles’ Dash was asked to run laps
If you’ve watched The Incredibles, then you know that the character Dash is a superhero with the power of speed. Pixar wanted Dash to have a realistic-sounding out-of-breath voice. So they made Spencer Fox, the voice actor for Dash, run laps around the studio before reading his lines. Seems like a pretty reasonable request for an adult actor. But Spencer Fox was eleven years old when The Incredibles came out. I don’t know much about child labour laws in the entertainment industry, but making a child run laps before reciting his dialogue seems like it might cross some lines.
7. Toy Story 2 was nearly deleted
Toy Story 2‘s fate was nearly sealed when someone accidentally ran the command RM* on the drive where all of the Toy Story 2 files were kept. You might be wondering what RM* does. Simply put, it removes everything from the computer as fast as it can. Yikes. The creative animators watched in horror as Woody’s hat and boots disappeared, followed by Woody himself. Other characters had soon been deleted as well. The animators tried unplugging the machines, but most of the movie was already gone. Worse, backups had failed for the last month, so there were no additional copies of the film. Or so they thought. It turns out that one person had copied the whole film to her home computer. She brought the computer in to Pixar so that the files could be downloaded. And Toy Story 2 was saved.
6. A Bug’s Life created a rivalry between Pixar and DreamWorks
It all started when DreamWorks asked Pixar to change A Bug’s Life’s release date. DreamWorks was worried that A Bug’s Life would compete with their movie The Prince of Egypt, which was scheduled to be released a few weeks after A Bug’s Life. They gave Pixar a proposition: if Pixar agreed to delay the release of A Bug’s Life, then DreamWorks would stop production of the movie Antz. Pixar didn’t agree to the proposition, and so DreamWorks released Antz around the same time as A Bug’s Life. I always knew that those two movies were eerily similar.
5. Pixar’s Ratatouille wine was shelved for encouraging minors to drink
As a way to market their movie Ratatouille, Pixar came up with a juicy idea. They thought that it would be smart to sell a tie-in wine at Costco, complete with a Ratatouille label. Unfortunately for Pixar, the wine label was in violation of one of the California Wine Institute’s codes of advertising standards; namely, no cartoon characters allowed. According to the Wine Institute, any image that might appeal to minors is prohibited on wine labels. Costco pulled the wine from its shelves before it was even sold, not wanting to encourage minors to drink. Smart choice, Costco; smart choice.
4. Toy Story was almost shut down
It’s a day that’s referred to as Black Friday, the day that the production of Toy Story was almost shut down. The creative animators behind Toy Story brought some story reels to their bosses at Disney for approval. Disney didn’t like what they saw. Woody and Buzz were too sarcastic, too unlikeable, and generally awkward together. Joss Whedon called the original Woody “a thundering asshole.” It’s hard for me to picture Woody as such a jaded character, but it seems that’s how he started out. Luckily, the creative animators were given a second chance to recreate Woody and Buzz. We all know how the story ends.
3. Thanks to Steve Jobs, there might have been no Pixar movies
When Steve Jobs bought the rights to the technology behind the Pixar Image Computer, his intention was to sell that computer system, not to make animated movies. The Pixar Image Computer was expensive, and the market for it was limited, so sales dropped. Jobs considered shutting the company down to avoid financial ruin, jeopardizing Pixar’s goal to create the first full-length computer animated movie. He ended up firing half the staff and threatening to shut down the company if he didn’t receive all employee stock shares. Jobs did shut Pixar down, only to start it up again with the remaining staff, without employees getting shares this time. It’s downright dastardly.
2. All Pixar movies are connected
What started out as a simple blog post in 2013 has become a major pop culture theory. The Pixar Theory is a thought experiment that argues that every single Pixar movie exists, intentionally or not, in the same universe. The theory places all of the Pixar movies on a timeline, beginning with The Good Dinosaur and ending with Brave and Monsters Inc. It posits that the overarching theme of the Pixar movies is the progression of animal and artificial intelligence, pitting humans, animals and machines against each other. It’s fascinatingly eerie to think that Pixar is using its movies to create a cohesive narrative warning us against destroying the planet.
1. Toy Story could have been called Toyz in the Hood
Most people are familiar with the Pixar movie Toy Story. The title is self-explanatory: the movie tells the story of a group of toys that come to life. It’s a fitting title, isn’t it? The creators didn’t always think so. Apparently, Toy Story was never meant to be the actual title of the movie. It was only supposed to be a working title until a more suitable one could be found. More than 200 titles were proposed, including Made in Taiwan, Bring Me the Arm of Buzz Lightyear and Each Sold Separately. But the most shocking alternate title of all is Toyz in the Hood. What a different movie Toy Story would have been with that title. I’m imagining Buzz and Woody engaged in a rap battle this very moment.
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