6 things you need to know about Big Hero 6

Big Hero 6 has become the big hero of the US box office, taking in more than US$56 million (S$72.5 million) and beating the much hyped sci-fi flick Interstellar.

Looking at the amount of work directors Don Hall and Chris Williams and their creative team put in, they deserve all the laurels heaped upon their movie, which is about a cuddly inflatable robot and a bunch of nerds-turned-superheroes.

Based on an obscure Marvel comic-book property introduced in the late 1990s and which had a six-issue miniseries published in 2008, the movie version has been given a total makeover in terms of characters and plot.

It also marks the first feature collaboration between House of Mouse-owned entities Disney Animation and Marvel Entertainment.

So what else should you know about this big-screen cartoon hit?

This is Disney's first film that offers ethnic diversity. Robotics prodigy Hiro Hamada is Japanese-American, like actor Ryan Potter who voices him, while Hiro's brother Tadashi is played by Korean-American actor Daniel Henney.

Completing the squad are Honey Lemon (voiced by American-Venezuelan-Cuban actress Genesis Rodriguez), Wasabi (African-American Damon Wayans Jr.), GoGo Tomago (Korean-American actress Jamie Chung) and Fred (US actor T.J. Miller).

DIRECTORS: Don Hall (right) and Chris William. PHOTO: REUTERS

The directors (above) checked out robotics labs at Carnegie Mellon, MIT and Harvard universities before designing Baymax, and chanced upon Professor Chris Atkeson at Carnegie Mellon University, who is researching practical applications for "soft robotics". This new field uses inflatable vinyl around a mechanical robot arm, which allows the robot to interact with humans without inflicting harm.

3 Director Hall found Baymax's unique face during a research field trip to Japan. The design of the huge bells in Japanese shrines caught his eye, especially the opening at the bottom of the bells which consists of two dots with a line connecting them.

Like Hello Kitty, Baymax has limited facial features and expressions too.

5 Clint Eastwood's tough, emotionally-reserved characters in his Westerns - and his famous "thousand yard stare" - inspired GoGo's "too cool for you" trait.

Rodriguez said at a movie press event that besides sharing the same fashion sense as her Honey Lemon character, she also used to build battle bots while in a robotics team in high school.