Disney’s Pixar Animation Studios has recently undertaken a significant round of job cuts, resulting in the elimination of approximately 75 positions, including key figures behind the box office disappointment “Lightyear.” This development marks the first substantial job reductions at Pixar in a decade. The layoffs are part of Disney CEO Bob Iger’s previously announced plan to cut 7,000 jobs and reduce costs by $5.5 billion.
Among the casualties of these layoffs are Angus MacLane, director of “Lightyear” and a Pixar veteran of 26 years, who had been part of the senior creative team behind acclaimed films such as “Toy Story 4” and “Coco.” Another notable departure is Galyn Susman, the producer of “Lightyear,” who had been with Pixar since the release of the original “Toy Story” movie in 1995.
While these layoffs might appear relatively small compared to Pixar’s total employee base of approximately 1,200, they hold significance due to Pixar’s role as a creative powerhouse responsible for generating lucrative franchises and characters that drive revenue throughout Disney. Pixar is renowned for its cinematic franchises, including “Toy Story,” “The Incredibles,” and “Cars.”
“Lightyear,” which was released approximately a year ago with a reported budget of $200 million, disappointed at the box office by generating a modest $226.7 million in worldwide ticket sales and receiving mixed critical reviews. In contrast, Pixar’s “Incredibles 2” in 2018, which reportedly had a similar production budget, achieved worldwide box office sales of $1.2 billion.
It’s worth noting that “Lightyear” faced challenges in several Middle Eastern and Asian countries where it couldn’t be shown due to its depiction of a same-sex relationship, impacting its box office performance.
Disney has undertaken layoffs across various divisions, including film and television, streaming services, and theme parks, as part of its broader restructuring efforts. The last significant round of job cuts at Pixar occurred in 2013 when the studio postponed the release of the 2015 film “The Good Dinosaur” and removed its director, Bob Peterson, resulting in the elimination of about 30 positions.
Disney’s acquisition of Pixar dates back to 2006, and this recent wave of layoffs marks a notable development in Pixar’s history as it navigates the changing landscape of the entertainment industry.
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