"Toy Story 3" opened the weekend with record success for Pixar: $109 million in box-office sales, the largest opening the studio has seen. They've come a long way, too, since launching in 1995 with the release of, ironically enough, "Toy Story." Now, the studio's very first franchise has come to an end — to widespread audience approval.
"It's amazing," said director Lee Unkrich, who also wrote the third installment. "I've been with Pixar since the beginning and I've been fortunate enough to see big opening after big opening, but we were never able to crack the $100 million opening and I don't think any of us ever thought we would," he told MTV News. "To see that happen this past weekend is just mind-blowing. I was kind of waiting to wake up from the happy dream I was having all weekend."
Unkrich said he usually avoids catching debut-weekend showings of his films, fearing he'll stumble upon an "apathetic audience." But he was emboldened to take his family on a trip to the multiplex after getting an overwhelming response from fans on Twitter.
"I've been getting tweets from my followers all weekend," he revealed. "I feel like I've gotten 1,000 at least. I've read every single one of them, and people have just been gushing, loving the movie."
Unkrich is an early adopter of Twitter, and he's taken to it with gusto. Through the production of "Toy Story 3," he tweeted constant on-set updates, often adding images or even video to satisfy fans.
"The whole Twitter thing is ... really interesting because I feel like I have my finger on the pulse of what people feel about the movie in a way that we've never been able to before, so it's pretty cool," he said. "I've got people, literally, while the end credits are rolling, they're sending me their reactions. It's crazy."
With such a strong opening, it would seem almost certain that Woody, Buzz and their pals will get another feature-length outing. Unkrich revealed last week that a
"Toy Story" short film will open "Cars 2," Pixar's summer 2011 release.
But the studio has a long history of swearing off sequels. After the first "Toy Story," Pixar said there wouldn't be another. After a sequel did, in fact, hit theaters, they made the same promise — only to break it, of course. The key difference here may be that the conclusion of the third movie really does have an air of finality to it. Unkrich agreed, admitting that was his intent from the start.
"I really tried to end the story — I have ended the story of Andy and his toys. We've brought that story to a close," Unkrich said. Though he added anything can happen. "Never say never, I suppose. ... But people can rest assured that we would only ever revisit this world if we really feel like we have a special story that needs to be told. We're not going to crank out a sequel just because ['Toy Story 3'] happens to do well. That's not how we operate."
Did you see "Toy Story 3" this weekend? Should Pixar get to work on "Toy Story 4"? Tell us what you think in the comments!
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