./uploads/advanced-cache.php 175 Pixar employees sacked: Animation giant cites recovering from post-pandemic struggles, working on strategic shifts

Logged-out Icon

175 Pixar employees sacked: Animation giant cites recovering from post-pandemic struggles, working on strategic shifts

Disney's Pixar trims 14% of its workforce. President Jim Morris cites COVID-19's impact on viewing habits, with Disney+ releases shifting audience expectations. Despite challenges, upcoming releases like “Inside Out 2” aim to revitalize Pixar's theatrical appeal.

Disney Pixar Layoffs

Pixar has announced significant layoffs, reducing its workforce by approximately 175 employees, or 14%. This decision, communicated by Pixar President Jim Morris, marks a substantial shift for the iconic animation studio. In a note to staff, Morris confirmed that those affected would be informed by the end of the day through scheduled meetings with leadership.

The anticipation of layoffs had been looming since January, though the actual number of cuts fell short of the 20% reduction that had been speculated earlier. Pixar, once celebrated as the pinnacle of family entertainment, has faced considerable challenges since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. During this period, Disney, Pixar’s parent company, utilized Pixar’s new releases to boost its streaming service, Disney+. Films such as “Soul,” “Luca,” and “Turning Red” were released directly to the platform, setting a precedent for families to watch these new movies at home rather than in theaters.

Pixar downsizes animation team amidst streaming shift

Disney Pixar Layoffs

This strategy shift posed problems when Pixar attempted to return to a theatrical-first model. Big-budget films like “Lightyear” and “Onward” struggled to attract moviegoers. Even “Elemental,” which eventually garnered $495 million globally, did not match the high earnings of Pixar’s past hits, despite exceeding initial box office expectations.

Jim Morris has acknowledged these missteps, highlighting the difficulty of transitioning audiences back to theaters. In an interview with Variety last summer, Morris reflected on the impact of the pandemic on viewing habits. “During COVID, we trained audiences to watch our movies on Disney+. I won’t say there was a lot of choice. For periods of time, it was the only thing we could do. We have a little work to unring the bell and motivate families to go to the theater and not wait a few months to see it on Disney+,” he explained.

Despite these challenges, there is cautious optimism within the industry. Exhibitors are hopeful that Pixar’s upcoming releases, including “Inside Out 2” slated for June 14, will reignite the studio’s former charm and appeal. The future slate also features “Elio” in 2025 and “Toy Story 5” in 2026, which are expected to draw significant interest.

These layoffs follow broader cutbacks by Disney in 2023, which affected around 3.6% of its global workforce of approximately 220,000. Last year, Pixar had already reduced its staff by 75 as part of Disney’s company-wide efforts to reduce costs and shift focus from direct-to-consumer series back to feature films.

In his concluding remarks to the staff, Morris expressed gratitude for the dedication and resilience shown by employees during challenging times. “Despite the challenges in our industry over the past few years, you have all consistently shown up to contribute, collaborate, innovate, lead, and do great work at this studio. I give you my deepest thanks, and for those who will be leaving us, I am hopeful that our paths will cross again, both professionally and personally,” he wrote.

As Pixar navigates these turbulent times, the studio remains focused on reclaiming its status as a leader in animated storytelling while adapting to the evolving landscape of the film industry.

Posts you may like

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website