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15 Nifty Facts About Pixar - Including Why 'Incredibles 2' Kept Us Waiting So Long
If childhood memories had a "Made in..." stamp on them, a lot of yours would probably say "Emeryville, California."
That's where Pixar Animation Studios has their (seriously cool) headquarters.
If you were raised on their awesome movies, you'll probably be interested in these facts about the studio.
1. They love Easter eggs
Pixar has so many hidden jokes and eye-catchers they can't fit in one entry, but let's start with that iconic Pizza Planet truck from Toy Story.
It pops up in every Pixar film, but you need sharp eyes to spot it. Or you could watch this video that rounds up all the truck's appearances.
2. Their movies cause pet crazes
Pixar's movies are so popular that they've actually damaged our planet's ecosystem. How? When Finding Nemo was released, the demand for cute, orange clownfish spiked.
The clownfish population in some regions dropped by a staggering 75% as they were harvested to meet demand.
The UK pet store chain Pets at Home also says their sales of pet rats shot up 50% after Ratatouille was released.
3. Steve Jobs was the man behind the company
Pixar started as a wing of Lucasfilm called Computer Graphics Division. They did special effects for movies like Star Trek II and Return of the Jedi.
Jobs bought the company for $5 million in 1986, and it turned out to be a smart investment. When Disney bought Pixar for $7.4 billion in 2006, Jobs became Disney's single largest shareholder.
4. Dory is the company's star
All of Pixar's characters have their own Facebook pages, and the blue tang fish from Finding Nemo and Finding Dory is their most "liked" creation by far.
Dory has 24 million Facebook fans, which dwarfs Nemo's 21 million.
5. Recognize this voice?
John Ratzenberger (best known as Cliff Clavin from Cheers) has voiced a character in every single Pixar movie. You'll recognize him as Hamm the pig in Toy Story, and the Yeti in Monsters Inc.
By appearing in every one of the company's mega-hit films, Ratzenberger is technically one of the most profitable movie stars of all time.
6. 'Toy Story 2' was deleted by accident
90% of the hit sequel was almost wiped out for good when a stray line of computer code started erasing the project by mistake.
Luckily, a worker's backup copy of the movie helped them start over. But Pixar wound up tossing out most of their work and starting over anyway, when they realized the movie wasn't good enough.
7. The computers work the hardest
After the animators, designers, and artists at Pixar do their work, the hard part of actually putting the movie together goes to the company's "rendering farm."
The massive computer system works around-the-clock putting every frame of the movie together. A single frame of a movie like Cars can take a week to process, because of all the lighting and special effects in the shot.
8. Their track record is seriously impressive
Even Pixar movies that "under perform," like The Good Dinosaur, rake in piles of money.
The studio has never released a movie that made less than $150 million in the U.S. Their most successful movie so far, Finding Dory, made $130 million in just its first weekend in theaters.
9. Their office is cooler than yours
Instead of cubicles, Pixar's animators get their own mini-cabins with unique decorating themes, including one filled with fluffy pink unicorns.
The studio's headquarters also features a pool table, ping pong table, swimming pool, a room just for cereal, and a hidden speakeasy.
10. They had one VERY productive meeting
In the summer of 1994, Pixar's creative heads sat down for a lunch meeting at a small restaurant called the Hidden City Cafe.
By the time they stood up, they had fleshed out the basic ideas behind A Bug's Life, Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc., and Wall-E. How's that for productive?
11. Watch out for A113
This hidden message pops up in all of Pixar's films, as well as Disney's animated features and even episodes of The Simpsons.
So what's the deal? It turns out A113 is a room number at the California Institute of Arts where lots of Pixar animators learned their trade.
12. 'The Good Dinosaur' broke their streak
Midway through making the movie, the film's director was replaced and production basically started over.
That ruined an impressive record by Pixar: they had released a film every year between 2006 and 2014, which is seriously tough considering their movies take years to make.
13. That lamp has a name
The springy piece of office furniture from the company's logo is named Luxo Jr. He was the star of an early short film from Pixar with the same name.
It also introduced the plastic ball with the red star that appears in all of their movies.
14. 'Cars' is Pixar's moneymaker
Try and wrap your head around this: Cars made $462 million at the box office, but raked in $10 billion in merchandise. That's before the two sequels and all of their merchandise was released.
15. They don't take shortcuts
Pixar animators love to animate even the teeny-tiniest details in their films. All 10,297 balloons carrying the house in Up were animated individually, while Merida's hair in Brave features 1,500 individual strands.
And don't forget, they have to animate everything you see on screen. For a movie like The Incredibles, that means hundreds of locations and visual effects.
So now I feel bad for nagging Pixar about that sequel...but only a little!
Which Pixar movie is your favorite?