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Pixar Layoffs 2024 Is Largest In Studio’s History; 14% Of Staff Affected


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Pixar Animation Studios announced a significant restructuring that resulted in the layoffs of approximately 175 employees, representing about 14% of its workforce – the company’s biggest so far. This decision, confirmed by Pixar’s president Jim Morris, is part of an ongoing effort to streamline operations at the studio, with no plans to rehire the affected workers. This move has been long speculated, with initial estimates suggesting a more severe reduction of around 20%, or roughly 260 employees. However, the actual impact was less than anticipated, and notably, upper management within Pixar was spared from the layoffs.

Pixar, which originated as a graphics division of Lucasfilm in 1979, became an independent entity in 1986 with significant backing from Steve Jobs, who acquired a majority stake. In 2006, Disney purchased Pixar, and the studio has since been integral to Disney’s content creation strategy, particularly for the Disney+ streaming platform.

The recent Disney Pixar layoffs are part of broader challenges faced by the studio. Under Bob Chapek’s brief tenure as Disney CEO in late 2022, Pixar’s return to theatrical releases was rocky. High-profile releases like “Lightyear,” which had a production budget of $200 million, and “Onward” in 2020, underperformed at the box office, the latter significantly affected by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bob Iger, who returned as Disney’s CEO in November 2022, has emphasized the importance of high-quality theatrical releases in an increasingly competitive streaming market. Despite the recent setbacks, Pixar achieved success with “Elemental,” which grossed approximately $500 million at the box office and gained popularity on Disney+.

Looking to the future, Pixar remains committed to delivering compelling content. The upcoming release schedule includes “Inside Out 2” set for June 14, 2024, followed by “Elio” in 2025, and “Toy Story 5” in 2026. These projects signal Pixar’s ongoing efforts to recover from recent challenges and reaffirm its position as a leader in animation.

The 2024 Pixar layoffs underscore the studio’s need to adapt in a rapidly evolving entertainment landscape. As Pixar navigates these changes, the focus remains on delivering high-quality content that resonates with audiences both in theaters and on streaming platforms.

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