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Luxo Jr

Luxo Jr., Pixar's mascot, appeared in four short films created for Sesame Street.

Disney2004report

Pixar's Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and Mr. Incredible share Disney's Annual Report cover space with Kermit and Miss Piggy

Pixar-petedocter-muppetlabs

Pete Docter (seen above the vehicle's headlights) enjoys the Muppet Mobile Lab's visit to Pixar Animation Studios on March 12, 2007.

PixarOffices-CindyLouWhoMeetsKermitTheFrog-(2007-03-12)

Steve Whitmire & Kermit at Pixar on March 12, 2007.

Presto-statler-waldorf

Statler and Waldorf in Presto.

Frogslife
Pixar-Halloween-2009-Martians

Pixar staff in Martian costumes at their 2009 "Halloween Celebration".

Pixar-toys

Animator's office with Muppet action figures.

Pixar is a computer-animation studio, founded in 1986, known for its feature films such as Toy Story, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Cars, and Up, and many Oscar-winning or nominated shorts. In 1990, the studio, through John Lasseter, produced a series of shorts for Sesame Street featuring Luxo Jr..

Pixar began as The Graphics Group, a division of George Lucas' production company Lucasfilm. It was spun off in 1986 and sold to Steve Jobs, a co-founder of Apple Computer.

Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy appeared with Pixar characters on the cover of The Walt Disney Company's 2004 annual report.

In 2006, The Walt Disney Company, distributor of Pixar's feature films, acquired Pixar, making it a wholly-owned subsidiary of Disney, and placing it under the same ownership as the Muppets and Bear in the Big Blue House characters.

In April 2010, Pixar opened a new studio in Vancouver, Canada. The Canadian studio produces shorts and television specials based on Pixar's feature film characters.

On July 21, 2010, the team involved with producing The Muppets met with creative heads at Pixar to fine-tune the script.[1]

It was announced at The Walt Disney Company's 2011 investor conference that The Muppets would be packaged with a brand-new Toy Story short to be shown in theaters before the film.[2] The short, entitled "Small Fry," [3] marked the second time that a non-Pixar film has showcased a Pixar short before it (the first being Disney's Bolt), and the first live-action film to do so.

Another Pixar short, titled "Party Central" and starring characters from Monsters University, was released theatrically at the front of the next Muppet movie, Muppets Most Wanted.[4]

Muppet Mentions

  • The Muppets have frequently been cited on different occasions by Pixar artists as an influence, perhaps most apparent in Monsters Inc. The film's co-director, Pete Docter, has often stated that The Muppet Show influenced his work in terms of both humor and character.[5]
    He expounded on it in greater detail in 2009: "The Muppet Show was a big influence on me and just because of the sense of quirkiness, the fun and especially the sense of very specific characters that they created. It really transcended puppets. I think, these guys became, for me, very deep characters. They have a lot of sides to them, and they’re really amazingly well-defined characters."[6]
  • Speaking specifically on character development, Docter used the example of Fozzie Bear's facial expressions to explain a bird character from Up, in an NPR interview:
Terry Gross: You gave Kevin emotion, the kind of emotion you couldn't read in the real bird that you based him on, so what kind of methods did you find for giving your bird emotion.
Pete Docter: Well, the cool thing was, we did the same thing that I described where there is no facial expressions. And, the Muppets do this wonderfully. Where you'll have Fozzie, who has no facial -- other than he can open and close his mouth -- the rest of it's just movement. So, the bird has a great deal of expression and range of attitudes, but it's all through movement.[7]
  • A San Francisco Chronicle reporter noticed Docter's Muppet influence:
Peter Hartlaub: Some of the characters in "Up" have a Muppet vibe.
Pete Docter: "The Muppet Show" was definitely something I watched when I was growing up. They're such great characters. I think in a lot of ways that was an influence on Pixar in general.
Peter Hartlaub: In what way?
Pete Docter: They just had this great specificity in their character. I don't even think they thought of them as puppets. They were caricatures of people, but they had real underlying foibles. Fozzie has some sadness to him. He's a failed comic, and that's what makes him funny, of course. ... There's a sense of funny, quirky, goofball stuff, but it always comes down to character, and the whole show is running off these personalities. That's what we're trying to do. However the plot works out, it's always a character study that gets you through the movie.[8]
  • In Finding Nemo, Dory briefly refers to Nemo as Elmo, and in the audio commentary on the DVD release, Andrew Stanton explains that Austin Pendleton was cast as one of the fish on the basis of the crew's fond memories of Max from The Muppet Movie.
  • On The Incredibles DVD, a feature devoted to Bud Luckey discusses his work on Sesame Street and shows a clip of "Ladybug Picnic".
  • Also on The Incredibles DVD, Brad Bird speaks with an animator whose office is decorated with Palisades Toys Muppet action figures.
  • On the production commentary of the Blu-ray release of Cars, story artist Steve Purcell talks about how at one point Lightning McQueen would watch different things on TV, including, "a car puppet show. Car Sesame Street or whatever that might look like."
  • In a brief shot from the short Presto, the main character runs across the stage with a group of balconies behind him. In one of those balconies, Statler and Waldorf can be seen (at the 2:37 mark).
  • The end credits to Up include a dedication "to the real life Carl and Ellie Fredricksens who inspired us to create our own Adventure Books"; the list includes Mike Oznowicz, father of Frank Oz.
  • According to Frank Oz in a recent interview, the character of Mike Wazowski from Monsters, Inc. is named after Mike Oznowicz: "Well, [Monsters, Inc. director] Pete Docter was a dear, dear friend of my father’s and that’s how I knew Pete before my father passed away and before Pete was known at all years ago. He was just an animator. So I got to be very friendly with Pete after my father passed away and so, in honor of my dad, he named Mike Wazowski after my dad, which was nice."[9]
  • The book The Art of Up discusses the influence of Jim Henson and the Muppets on the character designs in the film Up.
  • Two Pixar staff members dress up as The Martians at their 2009 "Halloween Celebration".[10]

References

  • The title of Pixar's second animated feature was referenced in the title of the first season Farscape episode "A Bug's Life".
  • The title card for the Kermit segment of Pepe's Profiles ("A Frog's Life") is similar to the title design of the Pixar feature film A Bug's Life.
  • In Tales of a Sixth-Grade Muppet, Danvers says that Monsters Inc. gave fellow sixth-grader Cody Carter nightmares for weeks. And when Statler and Waldorf are making fun of Danvers' astronaut costume, Statler calls out; "Buzz Lightyear called. He wants his outfit back!"
  • In The Muppets, during some of the exterior shots of The Muppet Theater, a banner ad for Cars 2 can be seen on top of a nearby building.
  • An interviewer for Fandango asks Elmo if he likes Up and WALL•E. Elmo says he likes all of them, especially Toy Story 3.
  • At a London press conference promoting The Muppets, Kermit says, "If you were talking to me, and I was Woody from Toy Story, this would be your interview." He then goes down to show nothing in the chair.

Connections

  • Edward Asner voiced Carl Fredricksen in Up
  • Ned Beatty voiced Lots-O'-Huggin' Bear (Lotso) in Toy Story 3
  • Bob Bergen provided additional voices in A Bug's Life, Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, Cars, WALL•E, Up, and the short Small Fry
  • Albert Brooks voiced Marlin in Finding Nemo
  • Ben Burtt designed the robot voices and voiced WALL•E and M-O in WALL•E
  • Michael Caine voiced Finn McMissile in Cars 2
  • James Coburn voiced Henry J. Waternoose in Monsters Inc.
  • Billy Connolly voiced King Fergus in Brave
  • Sheryl Crow performed "Real Gone" in Cars
  • Billy Crystal voiced Mike Wazowski in Monsters Inc.,Monsters University and Party Central, and a Mike Car caricature in Cars
  • Joan Cusack voiced Jessie in Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3, and the shorts Hawaiian Vacation and Small Fry
  • Ellen DeGeneres voiced Dory in Finding Nemo
  • Phyllis Diller voiced the Queen in A Bug's Life
  • Paul Dooley voiced Sarge in Cars and Cars 2
  • Craig Ferguson voiced Lord Macintosh in Brave
  • Brad Garrett voiced Dim in A Bug's Life, Bloat in Finding Nemo and Auguste Gusteau in Ratatouille
  • Michael Giacchino scored The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Up, and Cars 2
  • Whoopi Goldberg voiced Stretch in Toy Story 3
  • John Goodman voiced James P. Sullivan (Sulley) in Monsters Inc., Monsters University, and Party Central, and a Sulley truck caricature in Cars
  • Bill Hader voiced a referee and a slug in Monsters University
  • Tom Hanks voiced Woody in all three Toy Story movies, the theatrical shorts, and the Woody Wagon in Cars
  • Sean Hayes voiced Terri in Monsters University and Party Central
  • Ian Holm voiced Skinner in Ratatouille
  • Bonnie Hunt voiced Rosie in A Bug's Life, Flint in Monsters, Inc., Sally in Cars and Cars 2, Dolly in Toy Story 3 and the short Hawaiian Vacation, and Karen Graves in Monsters University
  • Eddie Izzard voiced Sir Miles Axlerod in Cars 2
  • Samuel L. Jackson voiced Frozone in The Incredibles
  • Allison Janney voiced Peach in Finding Nemo
  • Madeline Kahn voiced Gypsy in A Bug's Life
  • Michael Keaton voiced Chick Hicks in Cars and Ken in Toy Story 3, and Hawaiian Vacation
  • Richard Kind voiced Molt in A Bug's Life, Van in Cars and Cars 2, and Bookworm in Toy Story 3
  • John Krasinski voiced Frank McCay in Monsters University
  • Denis Leary voiced Francis in A Bug's Life
  • Jay Leno voiced Jay Limo in Cars
  • Mark Lesser provided Parisian loop group voices in Ratatouille
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus voiced Princess Atta in A Bug's Life
  • Bud Luckey worked as a story artist and/or character designer on several Pixar features, developed Woody in Toy Story, voiced Rick Dicker in The Incredibles, directed and provided the vocals for the short Boundin', and voiced Chuckles in Toy Story 3 and Hawaiian Vacation
  • Jane Lynch voiced Neptuna in the short Small Fry
  • Cheech Marin voiced Ramone in Cars and Cars 2
  • Mona Marshall provided additional voices in Monsters Inc.
  • Edie McClurg voiced Dr. Flora in A Bug's Life and Minny in Cars and Cars 2
  • Bobby McFerrin sang the music for the 1989 short film Knick Knack
  • Rove McManus voiced a crab in Finding Nemo
  • Helen Mirren voiced Dean Hardscrabble in Monsters University
  • Bobby Moynihan voiced Chet Alexander in Monsters University and Party Central
  • Kathy Najimy voiced Mary in WALL•E.
  • Paul Newman voiced Doc Hudson in Cars
  • Randy Newman scored and performed songs for Toy Story, A Bug's Life, Toy Story 3, and scored Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc., Monsters University, and Cars
  • Peter O'Toole voiced Anton Ego in Ratatouille
  • Frank Oz voiced Fungus in Monsters Inc.
  • Jonathan Paine was a character modeler for The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, Boundin’, and One Man Band
  • Hayden Panettiere voiced Dot in A Bug's Life
  • Austin Pendleton voiced Gurgle in Finding Nemo
  • David Hyde Pierce voiced Slim in A Bug's Life
  • Karen Prell was an animator for A Bug's Life, Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc. (uncredited), and the short films Geri's Game and For the Birds
  • Mike Quinn animated crowds in A Bug's Life and the marionette scenes in Toy Story 2
  • Vanessa Redgrave voiced Mama Topolino and the Queen of England in Cars 2
  • Don Rickles voiced Mr. Potato Head in the Toy Story movies and theatrical shorts
  • Stephen Root voiced Bubbles in Finding Nemo
  • Geoffrey Rush voiced Nigel in Finding Nemo
  • Kristen Schaal voiced Trixie in Toy Story 3 and Hawaiian Vacation
  • Tony Shalhoub voiced Luigi in Cars and Cars 2
  • Bruce Spence voiced Chum in Finding Nemo
  • Russi Taylor provided additional voices in A Bug's Life
  • Julie Walters voiced the witch in Brave
  • Weezer performed "You Might Think" in Cars 2
  • Fred Willard played BnL CEO Shelby Forthright in WALL•E

Sources

  1. ABC News "Disney Picks Pixar's Brains for Muppets Movie" by Borys Kit
  2. The Muppets Movie To Get Its Own Toy Story Short Film
  3. @DisneyPixar's Twitter feed
  4. Entertainment Weekly. Disney to showcase new Pixar short 'Party Central' in front of 'Muppets Most Wanted' - EXCLUSIVE. January 7, 2014
  5. Apatoons #138. Amateur Press Association. 2005
  6. ScreenCrave "Interview with Up Director Pete Docter" by Mali Elfman
  7. NPR "'Up' And Away With Pixar's Pete Docter" by Terry Gross, May 26, 2009
  8. SFGate "How director helped 'Up' take flight" by Peter Hartlaub, May 24, 2009
  9. Fearnet.com. Interview with Frank Oz by Scott Neumeyer. October 12, 2012
  10. Pixar Halloween Celebration 2009

See also

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