Pixar Animation Studios, a subsidiary of Walt Disney (DIS.N), has made significant job cuts, eliminating 75 positions, including those of two executives tied to the underwhelming box office performance of ‘Lightyear’. This marks the studio’s first major downsizing effort in a decade.
Among those affected are Angus MacLane, an esteemed 26-year animator and director known for his work on acclaimed films like ‘Toy Story 4’ and ‘Coco’, and Galyn Susman, the producer of ’Lightyear’, who has been with Pixar since the release of the original ‘Toy Story’ in 1995.
The cuts, which took place on May 23, are part of Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger’s broader plan to slash costs by $5.5 billion and eliminate 7,000 jobs. As part of the restructuring, Disney Entertainment was formed by combining the film and television groups, resulting in the elimination of a distribution division.
While the number of layoffs is relatively small compared to Pixar’s employee base of approximately 1,200, it is noteworthy due to the studio’s integral role in generating revenue for Disney through its creative franchises and beloved characters.
Pixar has gained acclaim for cinematic franchises like ‘Toy Story’, ‘The Incredibles’, and ‘Cars’. However, ‘Lightyear’, released a year ago with a reported $200 million budget, fell short of expectations with only $226.7 million in worldwide ticket sales and mixed critical reception. In contrast, Pixar’s ‘Incredibles 2’ in 2018, with a similar budget, grossed a staggering $1.2 billion at the global box office.
The box office performance of ‘Lightyear’ was impacted by its inability to be shown in 14 Middle Eastern and Asian countries due to its portrayal of a same-sex relationship.
Disney has effected layoffs across all divisions, including film and television, streaming services, and theme parks, as part of its cost-cutting measures.
The last time Pixar faced job cuts was in 2013 when the release of the film ‘”The Good Dinosaur’” was postponed, resulting in the removal of its director and the elimination of around 30 positions.
Despite these challenges, Pixar’s legacy and creative contributions remain significant, shaping Disney’s success in the entertainment industry. The recent job cuts reflect the evolving demands of the market and the need for even renowned industry players to adapt.