You know and love your favorite Pixar movies like Toy Story, Finding Nemo and Monsters Inc., but it's totally possible for kids across the world to know and love a different version of that classic movie you're so familiar with. That's because Pixar will change its movies in little ways to appeal to an international audience.
Since Esperanto never caught on as the universal language, Pixar will redesign a film's titles in order for different regions to understand the opening sequence. So the title sequence will look the same — just different.
Sometimes the change Pixar makes to a movie is as simple as translating a written word from English to another language. For example, in the movie Up!, the title of "Ellie's Adventure Book" was translated into the native language of each foreign audience.
But, sometimes, the animators will "translate" English words into pictures to cover all international audiences. The Paradise Falls jar in Up! is labeled with the English words "Paradise Falls", but in all of the different international versions of the film, the words "Paradise Falls" are replaced with a picture of Paradise Falls. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words...
Up! isn't the only movie to translate words into pictures for a worldwide crowd. In Monsters Inc., Randall offers cupcakes that read "Be my pal", but in all of the international version the letters on the cupcakes are changed to smiley faces. Because anyone can understand a smile.
Sometimes the translations involve more than just words. Certain cultural attributes make sense for the American audience but won't make sense for an international audience, so those are swapped out as well. For the American version of Inside Out, a hockey sequence plays out in Riley's dad's mind. However, some audiences saw a soccer game instead.
Since soccer is massively more popular than hockey across the world (especially since hockey is barely popular in America), it makes sense that the sport was swapped. “We offered a version with soccer instead of hockey since soccer is huge in so many parts of the world,” explains Inside Out director Pete Docter. “But some countries that are into soccer actually decided to stick with hockey since the characters in the movie are from Minnesota and it makes sense that they’d be hockey fans.”
In the American version of Inside Out, Riley's dad struggles to get her to eat her broccoli, a common trope that many American children and parents can relate to. However, for the Japanese version, the broccoli was swapped out for green peppers, because in Japan green peppers (and not broccoli) are universally disliked by children!
“We learned that some of our content wouldn’t make sense in other countries," said Docter. "For example, in Japan, broccoli is not considered gross. Kids love it. So we asked them, ‘What’s gross to you?’ They said green bell peppers, so we remodeled and reanimated three separate scenes replacing our broccoli with green peppers.”
It's astonishing that Pixar will go the extra mile to make sure that their films have as wide appeal as possible, especially when factoring in the time it takes to make a CGI film. Pixar movies can take a long time to make. It can take anywhere from four to seven years to get your favorite Pixar movie up on the screen. However, most of the production (which includes animation and lighting) will take less than a year, usually about six to eight months.
But a lot of that time is spent making sure the films are as painstakingly accurate as possible. Pixar once famously made the entire staff study fish biology during the production of Finding Nemo to ensure that the film was as accurate as possible.