Toy Story 2 is a 1999 American computer-animated comedy adventure film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Directed by John Lasseter and co-directed by Lee Unkrich and Ash Brannon, it is the sequel to the 1995 film Toy Story.
In the film, Woody is stolen by a toy collector, prompting Buzz Lightyear and his friends to vow to rescue him, but Woody is then tempted by the idea of immortality in a museum. Many of the original characters and voices from Toy Story return for this sequel, and several new characters—including Jessie (voiced by Joan Cusack), Barbie (voiced by Jodi Benson), Stinky Pete (voiced by Kelsey Grammer) and Mrs. Potato Head (voiced by Estelle Harris)—are introduced. It was the last Toy Story film that starred Annie Potts as Bo Peep and Jim Varney as Slinky Dog before his death in 2000.
Disney initially envisioned the film as a direct-to-video sequel. Toy Story 2 began production in a building separated from Pixar, on a small scale, as most of the main Pixar staff were busy working on A Bug’s Life (1998). When story reels proved promising, Disney upgraded the film to theatrical release, but Pixar was unhappy with the film’s quality. Lasseter and the story team redeveloped the entire plot in one weekend. Although most Pixar features take years to develop, the established release date could not be moved and the production schedule for Toy Story 2 was compressed into nine months.
Despite production struggles, Toy Story 2 opened in November 1999 to wildly successful box office numbers, eventually grossing over $497 million, and received universal acclaim from critics. Toy Story 2 has been considered by critics to be one of few sequel films to outshine the original, and it continues to be featured frequently on lists of the greatest animated films ever made. The film has seen multiple home media releases and a theatrical 3-D re-release in 2009, 10 years after its initial release. Toy Story 3 was released in 2010, which was also critically and commercially successful.
A hard thing to top something as great as the first Toy Story and when you take into consideration that Pixar had half of the original version of this movie that was already finished canned and had to restart all over within a year of the film’s release, the fact that they were still able to make one of the best sequels ever is an impressive feat for a studio that was only making computer animated films for four years to that point.
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