Jonathan Melville: Toy Story kept alive in seasonal special

Buzz Lightyear
Buzz Lightyear
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IF you’re having withdrawal symptoms from a semi-regular fix of the Toy Story cast, never fear: they’re back this Hallowe’en with Toy Story of Terror. Only this time it’s a TV special.

Following the likes of Shrek, the Dreamworks film which spawned direct to DVD seasonal specials, the team behind Woody and Buzz have produced a 30-minute Sky Movies outing for the characters which sees them try to survive the scariest night of the year.

It’s no surprise that Pixar should want to make more Toy Story adventures when the films have made them countless millions of dollars since the first film debuted in 1995.

The studio still makes a tidy profit from DVDs and merchandise, and this is another way to extend the franchise, reminding parents that a talking Buzz Lightyear would be perfect for the Christmas stocking.

Finding new ways to exploit a popular film is big business. A few years ago the makers of Toy Story moved into the cruise liner business, adding How to Train Your Dragon ice skating shows and the cast of Madagascar in a water show aboard a number of their vessels, a kind of Disneyland on the sea.

This week sees Edinburgh’s Playhouse host Disney’s The Lion King stage show, a spectacular event based on the 1994 movie. That film spawned some smaller scale sequels and this new incarnation will inevitably attract those already familiar with the brand.

The numerous posters around town might also encourage people to check out The Lion King on DVD, ensuring it lives on for another few years and gains some new fans.

At least we should be grateful that these spin-offs are of a generally high quality. To see how not to do it, Google “Star Wars Holiday Special” and be prepared for a shock.

@jon_melville

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