Those readers who regularly accuse us of being a bunch of grumpy bastards, take note: this article will have all the cynicism of a sleepy kitten snuggling up to a puppy in a cushiony basket warmed by the glowing embers of a well-guarded hearthfire. The reason for the daffodils and daisies in our hearts? Well, turns out that sometimes the good guys win, as evidenced by the news that the conclusion to the beloved Pixar “Toy Story” series will be, by the end of the weekend if it isn’t already, the highest-grossing animated film of all time.
We loved “Toy Story 3,” possibly not quite as much as previous installments, but it’s still a fitting, moving finale (and Spanish Buzz was one of the best jokes of the whole franchise). And of course the fact that it is the second sequel to the film that started it all for Pixar, features-wise, means that the accolade really showers glory on the whole series. It’s pretty rare that a film that holds a top place in our hearts also occupies that all-important industry top spot. In this is it appropriate that “Toy Story 3” claims the title from previous holder, the perfectly-adequate-but-not-nearly-as-inspired “Shrek 2.”
Rich Ross, Disney chairman, says “In ‘Toy Story 3,’ director Lee Unkrich, producer Darla Anderson and the incredible team at Pixar have given audiences a film that continued the rich storytelling and character building that have become synonymous with every Pixar release,” and that audiences have rewarded that storytelling/character drawing by filling the filmmakers’ pockets with dosh and giving them even more industry clout, is the kind of good news story we can hardly remember how to cover.
Numbers-wise “Toy Story 3” is expected to cross the $400m domestic mark by Sunday (only the second Disney film to do so after “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”) and to eclipse the $919.8m worldwide gross of “Shrek 2.” This will make it Disney’s fourth highest grossing film ever, trailing only the two ‘Pirates’ sequels and Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland,” all of which crossed the billion-dollar worldwide gross mark. And in that company, in terms of quality, it certainly stands head and shoulders above its stablemates, and restores a little bit of faith to our jaded hearts that sometimes, just sometimes, creativity, respect for your audience and dedication to your craft can work just as well monetarily as the cash-in-quick ethos that seems the much more prevalent Hollywood attitude.
So congratulations to Pixar on ’Toy Story 3’ becoming that rarest of Hollywood beasts: a deserving winner. And to temper all the adulation, we’ll introduce a slightly worried note (hey, we’re still us): this milestone achievement will of course mean Pixar are further pressured to make “Toy Story 4“, which would be a shame when Woody, Buzz et al have taken such a sweet and definitive bow, and when we can practically hear the murmuring of a host of new Pixar characters as they line up in the wings, waiting for their moment. Heck, a “Toy Story” short film is already planned to debut next year in front of the somewhat unnecessary “Cars 2.”
But for now: Daisies, people, daisies and motherfucking daffodils.