At the close of this weekend, Pixar Animation's 11th feature-length film (and the future 2010 Academy Award Winner for Best Animated Film), Toy Story 3, will be become not just Pixar's highest grossing film (that record fell earlier last week), but the top grossing animated film of all time (as in since the "dawn of..."), beating DreamWorks Animation's Shrek 2, which held the record for six years. That number includes domestic box-office grosses (Toy Story 3 will pass $400 million this weekend) and international numbers rolled up into a $920 million total. Toy Story 3 is only the second Disney film to cross the $400 million barrier domestically (Pirates of the Caribbean:Dead Man's Chest crossed that mark four years ago).

It's certainly an accomplishment worth noting, even lauding, especially as one of the most lackluster summers in recent memory comes to a merciful close, but it's also worth mentioning that the $920 million (and counting) number includes premium pricing for 3D and, in general, higher ticket prices. Finding Nemo, Pixar's 2003 animation entry and an Academy Award winner, finished its impressive run with $868 million without the benefit of higher prices or the 3D premium. Finding Nemo's numbers, like 2004's Shrek 2, are unadjusted for inflation, making Toy Story 3's record-breaking achievement slightly less impressive.

Inflation and ticket pricing aside, Toy Story 3 will handily win the summer and quite possibly the year, box office wise. Toy Story 3 has obviously benefited from repeat business, business motivated not just by Pixar's computer animation, but also the emotional core, one steeped in double-nostalgia, both for our childhoods (and their toys), and given the fifteen year lag between Toy Story and Toy Story 3 (Toy Story 2 hit theaters in 1999), nostalgia for Toy Story and its multi-layered, multi-dimensional characters (pun definitely intended).

And in case you're wondering, Toy Story 3 will hit DVD/Blu-Ray on November 2nd. You can re-order your copy from Amazon.com or other online and offline stores.

So what do you think of Toy Story 3 becoming the all-time animated box-office champion? Impressive, unimpressive, or overstated (given those higher, and/or premium ticket prices)? And since we're talking about arguably the best film of the summer and a surefire contender for year-end honors, including awards and critics' lists, did Toy Story 3 resonate emotionally for you? Why?

[Source: Disney-Pixar Press Release]