James Cameron may be the King of the World when it comes to box-office receipts, but I haven’t seen him personally selling Avatar merchandise. On the other hand, Pixar’s John Lasseter is now appearing in a series of videos at the Disney Store online to introduce and promote a new high-end line of Toy Story toys and collectibles. A cynic could write this off as nothing more than a commercial ploy, and it’s certainly meant to sell merchandise, but what makes it work is that Lasseter is in fact a dedicated toy collector. When he says that he buys two of everything—one to keep in its package, in mint condition, and the other to play with—he isn’t kidding. His office at Pixar is crammed with character toys, and not just from Pixar movies. If you’re of the same stripe, you’ll want to check out this new line from Thinkway Toys, featuring Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and other Toy Story characters—in anticipation of Toy Story 3’s release later this year. And if you follow the links you’ll see individual Lasseter videos describing each individual item.
Start here: disneystore.com
Incidentally, one of my favorite Pixar-related pieces of merchandise disappeared almost as soon as it came out: a specially-designed fishbowl-style Viewmaster device for Finding Nemo, complete with three Viewmaster reels of 3-D images from the movie. If you’re lucky you might still find one online; I’ve never taken mine out of the package!