There wasn't a dry eye in the over 4,000-seat Colosseum theater as the credits rolled following the first screening of Pixar's "Inside Out" at CinemaCon on Wednesday morning.
The film, out June 19, personifies the emotions of an 11-year-old girl who has just moved from Minnesota to San Francisco with her family. Inside the bright control center of Riley's mind, there's ringleader, Joy (Amy Poehler), volatile Anger (Lewis Black), snobby Disgust (Mindy Kaling), hysterical Fear (Bill Hader), and, of course, Sadness (Phyllis Smith).
"Inside Out" presents a deeply humane, high-concept look at life, youth, and the complex beauty of nostalgia.
Prior to the screening, Pete Docter told the audience of theater owners at the annual conference that the story was inspired by watching his own daughter grow up. Pixar fans might recall that Docter's daughter voiced young Ellie in the 2009 film "Up."
Docter said that his daughter, named Elie, was very much like the character in the film: "Very spirited and spunky," he said.
Then, she turned 11. Suddenly moody and withdrawn, Docter said it made him wonder what was going on in her head.
In "Inside Out," amid the confusion of adolescence and the stress of the move, Joy and Sadness get sucked out of the control center, leaving only Anger, Fear and Disgust to run the ship. As Joy and Sadness struggle to find a way back to headquarters, Riley's life, personality and childhood innocence melts down as the remaining emotions try to do their best to emulate Joy.
This leads to sassy tones where there weren't meant to be, mood swings, and irrationality -- moments that parents of pre-teens, and former pre-teens, know all too well.
Docter has infused the expansive land of Riley's mind, including explanations for why four years of piano lessons might fade from memory while an annoying gum commercial jingle lingers. The production of Riley's dreams takes place in an actual movie studio and there are a host of areas created to illustrate the subconscious (full of all the memories that cause trouble), abstract thought and the imagination.
"Inside Out" was shown as part of Disney's presentation of their upcoming slate of films. Sony, Universal and 20th Century Fox will be previewing their films later in the week.