Toy Story is released as the full length film created completely using computer generated imagery.
On this day in tech history, “Toy Story” was released in theaters, becoming the first entirely computer-animated feature-length film. It was the first film produced by Pixar with Steve Jobs serving as an executive producer.
Jobs bought the Computer Graphics Division of Lucasfilms in 1986 and made it an independent company called Pixar. That year it released “Luxo Jr.”, the first 3D computer-animated film to be nominated for the Best Animated Short Film Oscar. It featured the desk lamp often seen in the Pixar logo.
Pixar produced short animated films to promote their computers and software. In 1989 it released the first commercial version of RenderMan, a software for rendering computer graphics in film.
Pixar began working with Disney in 1991 to create a “computer-generated animated movie.” That movie was “Toy Story” and it became the highest grossing film of 1995, making $192 million in the US, and $362 million worldwide. The sequel was released four years later and was the first film to be entirely created, mastered, and exhibited digitally. “Toy Story 2” made more money than the original, and 2010’s “Toy Story 3” was the first animated film to make over $1 billion worldwide.
In 1996 Pixar director John Lasseter received a Special Achievement Oscar from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his “inspired leadership of the Pixar Toy Story Team resulting in the first feature-length computer animated film.” Pixar’s Ed Catmull, Alvy Ray Smith, Thomas Porter, and Tom Duff also received the Sciences Scientific and Engineering Academy Award for their pioneering inventions in digital image compositioning.
Pixar was bought by The Walt Disney Company in 2006, and it has now released 19 feature films, many nominated for Academy Awards.
In 2005 “Toy Story” was inducted into the National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”