According to the documentary The History of Buy n Large, the corporation got its start as a small maker of frozen yogurt called Buy Yogurt. Later on, the business eventually somehow acquired Large Industries, a men's suit company in the Midwest during the 1960’s. The combined entity became known as Buy n' Large (note how there once was an apostrophe after the n). The dates of Buy Yogurt's founding and its acquisition of Large Industries are unknown. However, by the year 2057, as shown on the Buy n Large website, the conglomerate became a worldwide leader in the fields of aerospace, agriculture, construction, consumer goods, corporate grooming, earth transport, electronics, energy, engineering, finance, food services, fusion research, government, hydro-power, infrastructures, media, medical science, mortgage loans, pet care, pharmaceuticals, psychotherapies, ports and harbors, real estate, repairs, retail, robotics, science/health, space, storage, super centers, super grids, travel services, utilities, and watermills. Pretty much everything known to man. The corporation's control affected other companies as well. It seemed as though other businesses wanted BnL to buy them out, such as Headr Inc. which gave BnL control of the world news headlines.
Buy n Large continued to expand its efforts for control so much that by the year 2105, Buy n Large had over two million wholly owned subsidiaries, governmental bodies, and health care centers. It had finally become a world leader in every conceivable field including world leadership. The Buy n Large Corporation's control over world governments was overseen by a global CEO, at the time it was Shelby Forthright. There was also a board of directors that approved Operation Cleanup. By giving the entire population on Earth (it was over 200 billion as seen in a newspaper) "the right to spend", humanity went into a state of mass consumerism which covered the entire planet in un-recycled refuse.
As a solution to their problem, Buy n Large manufactured the Axiom cruise line for the humans to stay on while WALL-E units and Incinerators cleaned up the trash. Originally, the cruise was intended to last five years until the BnL CEO Shelby Forthright proclaimed Earth unable to support life due to extreme toxicity. The Axiom and the rest of the starliners had to remain in space due to Directive A-113. After Buy n Large officially abandoned Earth in 2110, Shelby Forthright and all other humans supervising the cleanup had everything shut down and left.
Andrew Stanton, in a commentary on the WALL-E DVD, stated his inspirations for Buy n Large were large corporations and how some people let consumerism govern how they run their lives. He stated that the people at Pixar had always pictured WALL-E as "a trash compactor" when the idea for the movie was first discussed. He reversed-engineered the idea on why WALL-E was cleaning up the planet and why the Earth was covered in trash and the idea of what if a company was the government. And according to the commentary, one of the artists, Teddy Newton, came up with the term "Buy n Large Corporation". Stanton was intrigued by the term and he was able to truncate it to the acronym of BnL, which "tripped off the tongue real easily".
Role in the film
By the time WALL-E takes place, Buy n Large no longer exists 700 years in the future. Its products are present everywhere on Earth, the Axiom, and presumably all the other starliners, but since the death of Shelby Forthright and his generation, it no longer truly exists in a corporate sense.
On board the Axiom however, all Buy n Large activity on the Axiom is the same as it was 700 years before, although the company's influence has skyrocketed to the point its logo is on almost everything in the Axiom, even the babies onboard are taught to cherish the company. It still has the same advertisements, but the corporation is just run on a defunct, continuing cycle by robots. All the holographic advertisements still tell people to consume and shop, but humans no longer consume as there are no actual products to buy, let alone money to use (the money was left on Earth). By the climax, the Axiom ends its vacancy in space and returns the humans to Earth to heal the tarnished planet, using former Buy n Large products as agrarian tools to restart civilization.
In preparation for marketing the movie, Disney created a domain called Buy n Large in order to create a viral Buy n Large website to promote the film. Now, the domain redirects visitors to the official WALL-Ewebsite. However, all visitors are now redirected to the Disney website's main page as of 2020.
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