One of the most legendary behind the scenes moments in filmmaking history comes courtesy of Pixar, the beloved animation company that has brought us such greats as Toy Story, The Incredibles, Wall-E, Inside Out, amongst many other classics. In 1994, at the Hidden City Cafe, four of Pixar’s key creative heads came together to map out what to do after their first full-length animated film, Toy Story, hit theaters. That lunch meeting included director John Lasseter, and writers Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter, and Joe Ranft. In one sitting, the four Pixar creatives brainstormed ideas and characters that would eventually make it into 1998’s A Bug’s Life, 2001’s Monsters, Inc., 2003’s Finding Nemo, and 2008’s Wall-E. Now that’s talent!
These likely aren’t the original napkin sketches, as this is part of a recreation (though I’d love to be proven wrong), it’s been noted that the four filmmakers created rough outlines of the characters on top of table napkins in the Hidden City Cafe. That lunch break spawned what would become the golden age of Pixar films, and the 4 films alone grossed over $1 billion.
What’s more, the Hidden City Cafe, where this famed lunch took place, features as easter eggs in some of Pixar’s films, including on the license plate of a car in Toy Story 2 that reads “HDNCTY,” as well as a background restaurant in Monsters, Inc.
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