Movies

Pixar Layoffs Are Apparently Happening Right Now, But There’s A Silver Lining

A year ago, the Walt Disney Company went through massive layoffs that chopped out over 7,000 people within the company. Nearly every corner of the entertainment giant was hit by those layoffs, but one exception was Pixar Animation Studios. Unfortunately, earlier this year, it was confirmed that Pixar would see layoffs happen in 2024, and reports are that those layoffs have now begun. The only good news, and it’s barely good news, is that while the layoffs are quite significant, they aren’t quite as bad as feared.

It was back in January that impending layoffs at Pixar were first reported. Surprisingly, while companies rarely talk about such things before they happen, the layoffs at Pixar were confirmed by the studio. THR is now reporting that the layoffs are beginning today and that as much as 14%, or approximately 175 Cast Members, will be let go. It was originally reported that as much as 20% of Pixar would be axed, so the only good news here is it could have been worse. 

Why Pixar Layoffs Are Happening Now

Of course, that will be cold comfort to the nearly 200 people who will be part of the layoffs. The reason for the layoffs, according to a letter sent by Pixar President Jim Morris and reprinted by THR, is that Pixar increased staffing as part of a shift toward making original series for Disney+, but the decision has been made to pivot back to a focus on feature films, and thus the excess staff needs to be let go.

Pixar produced a number of shorts directly for Disney+, as well as the Monsters at Work series based on Monsters Inc. A new Pixar series called Win or Lose is still scheduled to be released later this year, though this certainly indicates any future series should not be expected. While it seems likely that much of the staff that was brought in to work on the new projects will be the bulk of those let go, anything is possible during a layoff period. We could see major names leaving Pixar as a result of this.

Of course, on the feature animation side, Pixar has had a difficult time in its own right. Three of the studio’s efforts, Soul, Luca and Turning Red, were all released directly to Disney+ rather than in theaters during the pandemic. The first theatrically released movie following those, the Toy Story spinoff Lightyear, failed with both audiences and critics. The last Pixar movie, Elemental, struggled at the domestic box office, but found an audience internationally and on Disney+.

Pixar’s Next Movie May Turn Things Around

The good news is that things may already be turning around. The next Pixar film, Inside Out 2, is already projecting stronger box office numbers among upcoming Disney movies. Disney CEO Bob Iger has had strong positive words about the film, which is the sequel to one of the studio’s stronger performing box office successes.

For a long time, Pixar was a sure thing within the Disney machine. The last few years have shown anything is possible, but hopefully those that will be leaving the studio will find success elsewhere, and Pixar will come out of this more stable and focused. 

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