Pixar will premiere its first 3D short film this week, a big step for the studio and one that, amazingly enough, marks the return of John Lasseter to the Pixar director’s chair. Called Tokyo Mater, the short film will hit theaters Dec. 12 before Walt Disney Pictures’ Bolt.
Tokyo Mater will be the fourth in Pixar’s “Cars Toons” series, which is inspired by the 2006 animated film Cars. This 3D version will only be shown in theaters that are equipped to show Bolt in 3D.
In Tokyo Mater, a routine tow lands Mater in Tokyo, where he is challenged to a drift-style race against a gang leader and his ninja posse. With the help of Lightning McQueen (and some special modifications), Mater attempts to drift to victory.
All of the “Cars Toons” are directed by Lasseter, but they were all in 2D only. The previous toons featured Mater as a fire truck (“Rescue Squad Mater”), a daredevil (“Mater the Greater”) and a bulldozer fighter (“El Materdor”).
Traditional 2D versions of Tokyo Mater will also be available in theaters showing Bolt in 2D. No word on whether the short — or which version — will be included on the eventual Bolt Blu-ray Disc release.