Warning: Coco spoilers ahead! Read on at your own risk!
Pixar's Coco opens with a narration by Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) as he frontloads the story with an explanation of his family's hatred of music and his burning passion for becoming a singer, but it turns out that the film almost started a couple of other ways. I recently sat down with the team behind Coco to ask them about these alternate openings and to get a sense of why they changed. In response to my question, Lee Unkrich explained that the different intros wasted valuable time getting to Miguel and his arc. Unkrich specifically said:
So, one way to open Coco involved getting audiences up-to-speed on the nature of Dia de Los Muertos, which in turn paved the way for Miguel's journey to the Land of the Dead at the first act break. The other opening for the film involved audiences getting to know Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt) and establishing Miguel's love for the iconic Mexican singer. However, directors Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina wanted to make sure that Coco always felt like Miguel's story -- elsewhere in our conversation they talked about the difficulty of casting him for that reason. In the end, they opted for a narration that laid out all of the story elements within the first few minutes and freed up room later in the film to focus on the story at hand.
Despite the numerous changes and the bumpy road to the silver screen, it seems that all of the alterations the Coco team made to the film have paid off. The pseudo-musical is already off to a solid start at the box office (it could beat DC's Justice League this weekend), and its critical reception has been great thus far. It's early in Coco's run, but we may be looking at yet another winning entry in the canon of Pixar projects.
Coco hits theaters today, so make sure to check it out! If you're looking for more information on the film, then you can also read our in-depth review of the film, as well as our To 3D guide to get a better sense of which ticket you should buy!
Originally from Connecticut, Conner grew up in San Diego and graduated from Chapman University in 2014. He now lives in Los Angeles working in and around the entertainment industry and can mostly be found binging horror movies and chugging coffee.
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