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Toy Story is a 1995 American computer-animated family buddy comedy film produced by Pixar and directed by John Lasseter. Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures, Toy Story was the first feature-length computer-animated film and the first film produced by Pixar. Toy Story follows a group of anthropomorphic toys who pretend to be lifeless whenever humans are present, and focuses on the relationship between Woody, a pullstring cowboy doll (Tom Hanks), and Buzz Lightyear, an astronaut action figure (Tim Allen). The film was written by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Joel Cohen, Alec Sokolow, and Joss Whedon, and featured music by Randy Newman. Its executive producer was Steve Jobs with Edwin Catmull.
Pixar, who had been producing short animated films to promote their computers, was approached by Disney to produce a computer-animated feature after the success of the short Tin Toy (1988), which is told from the perspective of a toy. Lasseter, Stanton, and Pete Docter wrote early story treatments which were thrown out by Disney, who pushed for a more edgy film. After disastrous story reels, production was halted and the script was re-written, better reflecting the tone and theme Pixar desired: that “toys deeply want children to play with them, and that this desire drives their hopes, fears, and actions.” The studio, then consisting of a relatively small number of employees, produced the film under minor financial constraints.
The top-grossing film on its opening weekend, Toy Story went on to earn over $361 million worldwide. Reviews were highly positive, praising both the animation’s technical innovation and the screenplay’s wit and sophistication, and it is now widely considered by many critics to be one of the best animated films ever made. In addition to home media releases and theatrical re-releases, Toy Story-inspired material has run the gamut from toys, video games, theme park attractions, spin-offs, merchandise, and two sequels—Toy Story 2 (1999) and Toy Story 3 (2010)—both of which received massive commercial success and critical acclaim. Toy Story was inducted into the National Film Registry as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” in 2005; its first year of eligibility.