Release Date: June 18 (in Disney Digital 3D and IMAX 3D) Studio: Buena Vista Genre: Animation Director: Lee Unkrich Writer: Michael Arndt Cast:Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Michael Keaton, Whoopi Goldberg, Timothy Dalton, Wallace Shawn, Bonnie Hunt, John Ratzenberger, Laurie Metcalf, R. Lee Ermey, Jodi Benson, Jeff Garlin, Ned Beatty, Don Rickles Studio Description: Woody, Buzz, and the rest of their toy-box friends are dumped in a day-care center after their owner, Andy, departs for college. Watch the Trailer View the Photo Gallery
Analysis: In the early 90s, Pixar was a struggling company that was reportedly costing then-owner Steve Jobs so much that he considered selling it at a loss. That was of course before Disney released Pixar's first full-length feature, Toy Story, in November 1995. Toy Story went on to gross $191.8 million, in the process making Pixar a household name (further cemented by A Bug's Life in 1998). The sequel hit theaters four years later, improving on the original with a $245.9 million take.
Toy Story 3 sees the return of the entire original voice cast minus Jim Varney (Slinky Dog), who passed away in 2000. Similar to the first two, the plot of Toy Story 3 covers timeless issues like the importance of friendship and family, and does so with a healthy dose of comedy and action. As a result, Toy Story 3 is likely to have the same demographic-defying appeal that other Pixar movies have had over the last 15 years.
As discussed in the Shrek Forever After preview, computer-animated sequels have progressively improved their international takes, even when domestic dipped. This trend was particularly noticeable in the Ice Age series: the second movie, Ice Age: The Meltdown grossed $460 million internationally, while the third movie, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, made $687 million. Only three years separated the Ice Age pictures, though, while Toy Story 3 comes out more than a decade after Toy Story 2, and that was a decade in which rapid globalization has occurred within the movie industry. As a result, Toy Story 3 is almost guaranteed to make significantly more overseas than its predecessors.
With its broad appeal and the strength of the Toy Story brand, Toy Story 3 should open strongly and should have no problem being the ninth consecutive Pixar pictures to reach $200 million and beyond. Add in the higher 3D ticket prices, and it may even be able challenge Finding Nemo for highest grossing Pixar movie of all time.