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20 Things You Didn't Know About Pixar

22 March 2013 by Richard Phippen

Pixar has become a name synonymous with quality animation after a winning series of hit movies including Toy Story, A Bug’s Life and The Incredibles. Its latest offering – Wall.E is being hailed as its best yet.  We’ve found twenty things you probably didn’t know about the company that prides itself on working outside the Hollywood solar system. 

  • The name Pixar is derived from a fictitious Spanish word meaning “to make pictures” or “to make pixels.”
  • Toy Story, the 1995 animated cartoon following the exploits  of Woody the Cowboy and Buzz Lightyear, was Pixar’s first full-length animation.
  • There is a reference to the fictional Pizza Planet – first seen in Toy Story – in every one of Pixar’s animated features.
  • One of the earliest teams of pre-Pixar computer animators worked on action titles including Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Young Sherlock Holmes.
  • Pixar's first five feature films have collectively grossed more than $2.5 billion, equivalent to the highest per-film average gross in the industry.
  • The company was once a purely hardware firm catering for American government agencies and the medical profession.
  • In order to give Dash a realistic out-of-breath voice in The Incredibles, director Brad Bird made actor Spencer Fox run laps around the studio.
  • Bill Murray was actively considered for the role of Toy Story’s Buzz Lightyear…but lost the producer’s phone numbers leaving the coast clear for Tim Allen.
  • Pixar has stubbornly opted to stay in the San Francisco Bay area – 300 miles away from where the animation industry is located in Los Angeles.
  • All the studio’s movies include a character who is voiced by John Ratzenburger as he is regarded as “Pixar’s good luck charm.”
  • In Cars, the character of The King is voiced by retired NASCAR driver Richard Petty.
  • Finding Nemo, which followed the misfortunes of Marvin the Clownfish voiced by Albert Brooks, is the bestselling DVD of all time, shifting more than forty million copies.
  • In 2004 Belgium the car manufacturer Opel sold special The Incredibles editions of their cars.
  • Ratatouille director Brad Bird took a motorcycle tour  of Paris and ate at five top-rated restaurants to get a feel of the city for the movie.
  • In the hit movie Monsters’ Inc Sulley's fur has over 2,320,413 hairs.
  • Wall.E’s name is an acronym standing for Waste Allocation Load Lifter - Earth-Class.
  • John Barry was originally hired to score The Incredibles in the style of James Bond…but left the project after scoring only a few demos.
  • Computers used in the development of the 2006 Pixar movie Cars were 1,000 times faster than those used for Toy Story eleven years before.
  • The story for A Bug’s Life is a parody of Aesop’s moral fable of hard work and preparation The Ant and the Grasshopper.
  • The hand moves made by Hopper in A Bug’s Life were modelled after gestures made by Apple boss (and Pixar executive) Steve Jobs.