The Pixar Touch by David A. Price

The Pixar Touch by David A. Price

Author:David A. Price
Language: eng
Format: mobi
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Published: 2008-05-13T04:00:00+00:00

The edited Toy Story was due to Randy Newman and Gary Rydstrom by late September for their final work on the score and sound design, respectively. A test audience at a theater near Anaheim in late July indicated the need for last-minute tweaks, which added further pressure to the already frenetic final weeks. The audience reacted flatly to the film’s opening scenes, leading Lasseter to resolve to punch the scenes up. Also, the film at that time ended with an exterior shot of Andy’s house and the sound of a new puppy. Michael Eisner, who attended the screening, told Lasseter afterward that the film needed to end with a shot of Woody and Buzz together, reacting to the news of the puppy.

Pixar’s future was now tied to a date, November 22, 1995, the day when Toy Story would release. It was two years almost to the day since Lasseter had shown the disastrous story reels at Disney. The story had been polished to a shine in the meanwhile, but it remained an open question how audiences would respond. While the response cards from the test audiences were encouraging, their ratings weren’t at the top of the scale, either.

Disney’s marketing engine was doing its part to get children in the theaters. Buena Vista Home Video put a trailer for the film on seven million copies of the video for Cinderella; the Disney Channel ran a television special on the making of Toy Story; Walt Disney World in Orlando held a daily Toy Story parade at Disney-MGM Studios. Also, while Disney Consumer Products had been slow out of the gate, Disney’s film distribution arm, Buena Vista Pictures, was energetic in lining up comarketing agreements with promotional sponsors. Of the $145 million in promotional money for the film—more than five times the film’s final production cost—only $20 million would come from Disney. The rest would be spent by Burger King, Nestlé, and other consumer products companies in return for the privilege of being associated with a Disney film. Archrivals PepsiCo and the Coca-Cola Co. both climbed aboard—PepsiCo through its Frito-Lay subsidiary and Coca-Cola through its Minute Maid unit. Starting a week before the release, Burger King offered Toy Story figurines and finger puppets for $1.99 with its Kids Meals.


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