Burger King agreed to market the film with its kids meals, before it was rated PG-13. The film was released soon after Oregon teen Kip Kinkel killed his parents, then went on a shooting rampage at Thurston High School in Springfield, killing two students and wounding 25. The Kip Killigan action figure was not distributed in Oregon.
WILHELM SCREAM: When Brick Bazooka is firing at Alan's bike to attack Archer, and ends up getting chewed up by the tire spokes and chain, Brick lets out a Wilhelm scream as he flies away. A Commando Elite soldier emits the same scream, as he breaks apart from the EMP on Stuart Abernathy's chest.
The original promotional artwork featured Chip Hazard pointing a gun sideways at the viewer. The artwork was altered, removing the gun, so Chip appears to be reaching out instead. The original, unaltered artwork appears in the movie as a store display. It was later used for the home video cover.
The scene where Chip Hazard addresses his troops and appears in front of the large American flag is a nod to the opening of the film Patton (1970). The music heard is also from that film, written by Jerry Goldsmith (who also wrote the score for this film).
Irwin (David Cross) tells Larry (Jay Mohr) that he was given the computer password "Gizmo", a reference to Gremlins (1984), also directed by Joe Dante. A Gizmo toy is later seen in the dumpster with the Gorgonites.
After Nick Nitro shuts down, Chip Hazard says, "His battery has run out, but his memory will keep going, and going, and going." It's a reference to Energizer battery's marketing slogan, "It keeps, going, and going, and going."
The movie is set in fictional Winslow Corners, Ohio, and the producers tried hard to represent northeast Ohio accurately. Alan rides his bike past a newsstand selling "The Plain Dealer", a Cleveland newspaper. When he leaves his phone number on the Globotech voice mail system, his area code is 330, used in the Akron area. The Heartland delivery truck appears to have 1990s-style Ohio license plates.
A book of the film, "Small Soldiers: Top-Secret Dossier: From The Files of Irwin Wayfair" by Irwin Mayfair and published by Puffin Books, was Wayfair's private journal, which gave an insight into what went wrong at Heartland Play Systems. It exposed company secrets and highly classified interoffice memos and revealed where the Gorgonites actually came from, and blueprints of the Commando Elite's vehicles.
In a previous trivia it is said that the gorgonites was inspired by the Masters of the universe-action dolls. Frank Langella who does the voice of Archer played the role as Skeletor in the movie Masters of the universe.
On making the movie director Joe Dante recalled "originally I was told to make an edgy picture for teenagers, or when the sponsor tie-ins came in the new mandate was to soften it up as a Kiddie movie. Too late as it turned out, and there are elements of both approaches in there just before release it was purged of a lot of action explosions."
When the Commando Elite are trying to get Archer to reveal where the Gorgonites are, Major Chip Hazard says, "We have ways of making you talk". This was also said by Sid in Toy Story (1995), which was also about toys that come to life.
On the film special effects, Director Joe Dante stated "we were planning to use a lot of Stan Winston's puppets he had made some very elaborate puppets that could do a lot of things, but in practice we found it was much simpler and cheaper to let the CGI people do the work after we shot the scenes, so I would say it's one-third puppetry and the rest CGI even though the original idea was to do mostly puppetry".
Brad getting his jeans set on fire by Butch Meathook with a flamethrower, causing him to fall down the stairs, mirrored a similar scene in Bottom: Dough (1995), which in a scene, Richie (Rik Mayall) falls down the stairs when his jeans are set on fire with a blowtorch by Eddie (Adrian Edmondson).