Today is the twentieth anniversary of the premiere of Toy Story 2. The film is the third feature from Pixar Animation Studios, a sequel to the revolutionary 1995 film, the second in the four-film series, and the studio's first sequel. The story follows Andy's gang of toys as their leader Woody is stolen by a toy collector, learns he is a valuable antique, and must decide whether to complete the collection for his new friends or stay with his old pals where may eventually be thrown out.
The film started out as a direct-to-video feature, similar to what Walt Disney Animation Studios was doing with their sequels. However, the Disney sequels were doing poorly and executives realized that the quality of this film was good enough for a theatrical release. The crew at Pixar decided to put more effort into the feature and eventually rewrote the entire story.
The film ended up becoming an enormous success. It received universal praise, the highest the studio has ever gotten. It has a perfect score on both the critical-based Rotten Tomatoes and fan-based CinemaScore. The film far outsold the original and became the third-highest grossing film of the year. It broke the record for the second highest grossing animated feature of all time behind only Disney's The Lion King. It was nominated for numerous awards, including the Academy Award for Best Original Song, and won the Annie Award for Best Animated Theatrical Feature. Legendary animator Chuck Jones spoke highly of the movie. The film led to a video game as well as two additional sequels, and inspired the animated series Buzz Lightyear of Star Command.
The film was written and directed by John Lasseter. It features the talents of Wayne Knight as Al the Toy Collector, Jack Angel as the toy shark, Bob Bergen as green Army men, Mary Kay Bergman doing the yodeling for Jessie, Corey Burton as the Woody's Roundup announcer, Jess Harnell as a man, Philip Proctor as Mr. Konishi, and Frank Welker as Woody's horse Bullseye.