Pixar Confirms Layoffs
Disney’s once legendary animation studio, Pixar, is set to experience significant layoffs in 2024 as part of a larger strategy by Disney to enhance streaming profitability.
According to sources within the company, the layoffs could result in a reduction of up to 20 percent of Pixar’s team, down from 1,300 to under 1,000 employees. However, Pixar has indicated that these numbers may be overstated and the exact number of impacted employees has yet to be announced.
This news comes as Disney aggressively looks to increase profitability for its streaming service, Disney+. Despite a major increase in subscriber count, which reached 150.2 million in Q4, the streaming division has yet to turn a profit. In an earnings call, Disney’s CEO, Bob Iger, emphasized the company’s goal of turning streaming into a profitable growth business by implementing “tremendous efficiencies.”
As part of this strategy, Disney plans to integrate Hulu content into Disney+ in the U.S. This move could help to attract more viewers and drive up profitability for the streaming service. However, it may also result in some overlap and redundancies within Disney’s subsidiaries, leading to layoffs at Pixar.
Pixar has a long history of success, with iconic films such as Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles. However, in recent years, the studio has faced criticism for its lack of originality and failure to produce blockbuster hits. The latest disappointment came with the release of Soul, a highly-anticipated film that grossed only $557,000 at the box office due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite these challenges, Pixar is not slowing down its production slate. The studio has plans to release an Inside Out sequel and a new film, Elio, about an intergalactic adventure, in 2024 and 2025, respectively. This shows that the company is still committed to creating original content and attracting audiences to theaters.
The pandemic has significantly impacted the film industry, with theaters closing and major releases being pushed back. This has forced studios like Disney to reevaluate their strategies and shift focus to streaming. However, the widespread availability of streaming services has also led to a shift in audience preferences, with people looking for new, original content instead of pre-established IPs.
This shift has been challenging for all studios, including Pixar, to adapt to. Industry strategist Brandon Katz notes that Pixar’s last box office success with an original IP was the 2017 film Coco, and retraining audiences to prioritize the theatrical experience over streaming will take time.
The layoffs at Pixar signal a broader restructuring within Disney, as the company looks to streamline operations and cut costs. However, this could also result in job opportunities for those with skills that can translate to both the film and streaming industries.
Many are concerned about the future of Pixar and the impact these layoffs will have on the company’s culture and ability to produce quality films. The studio has long been known for its innovative and creative storytelling, and some fear that these changes could result in a decline in the quality of its future releases.