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January 30, 2004
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Pixar finally splits with Disney

— Posted by Rodney

Good bye and good riddance! Well, I don’t think Steve Jobs of Pixar put it quite like that, but the general gist of it is just that. Pixar in finally going to be done with Disney. Hollywood.Com gives us this:

After failing to reach an agreement to renew their lucrative movie distribution deal, which has churned out hits such as Toy Story and Finding Nemo, Pixar Animation Studios Inc., the pioneering computer animation house founded by Apple Computer Inc.’s Steve Jobs, ended negotiations Thursday with the Walt Disney Co.

Reuters reports Pixar may now be looking for another studio partner to distribute its films starting in 2006, when its current deal with Disney expires. There are many studios who are very interested in jumping on Pixar’s bandwagon, including Warner Bros., Sony Corp., 20th Century Fox and Metro-Goldwyn Mayer.

“After 10 months of trying to strike a deal with Disney, we’re moving on,” Jobs said in a statement. “We’ve had a great run together–one of the most successful in Hollywood history–and it’s a shame that Disney won’t be participating in Pixar’s future successes.” Shares of both companies fell 6 percent hours after the announcement.

Observers had expected Pixar and Disney to renew their partnership, which has generated five megahits since 1995 and collected $2.5 billion at the box office, Reuter reports. The blow to Disney is severe, since Pixar product represented a large chunk of the Mouse House’s operating budget, but Disney ultimately rejected Pixar’s final offer on a renewed contract, saying it would have cost them too much money to maintain.

Disney Chief Executive Michael Eisner issued a statement wishing Pixar success. “Disney management could not accept Pixar’s final offer because it would have cost Disney hundreds of millions of dollars… under the existing agreement” without giving Disney enough return on new collaborations, the company said.

According to Reuters, a source close to Disney’s side of negotiations said that Pixar had also wanted copyright to the valuable library of previous films by the partnership. Disney now owns the copyright and can make sequels and other works based on the films in the current deal, which includes two upcoming titles–The Incredibles, set for a November release and Cars, due in 2005.

Eisner has been under fire of late, especially from Roy Disney, the former chairman of Disney’s animation department, who stepped down from the Disney board late last year and claims Eisner has mismanaged the company and sapped its creative energy. Roy Disney said that the breakup would be bad for the studio’s shareholders long-term and accused Eisner of failing to nurture the relationship with Pixar.

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  • http://www.tupilar.com S’alright

    No worries, mate.

  • http://www.lookatmybigwilly.com Bubba

    The obvious answer would be that you’ve just answered your own question: check out the trailers for Innocence and Appleseed in the big list ‘o trailers. Anime (at least the high end stuff) is becoming heavily dependant on CGI work and to stunning effect. Answer #2: Final Fantasy. They tried it, sunk a lot of money into it but somewhere along the way forgot to write a decent script so it tanked and the studio lost a fortune. Adult oriented animation is a hard enough sell in North America and when the first serious attempts bomb at the box office it becomes very unlikely that any other studios are going to risk the big dollars needed to make a decent animated film.

  • Herby

    Don’t get me wrong, I love all of the Pixar films, espiecially Nemo. But I would love to see Computer animation evolve beyond just Family films. There are Anime films that do cater to both adults and a younger audience. Why can’t the same be done for Computer Animation?

  • Day-vuhl

    I’d have to agree with John on that one. Pixar was free to make their movies on their own. And when Disney would even come close to requesting or demanding editing rights, Pixar, as far as I know, would give them the ol’ “How ’bout you shove it up your hoop?”.

    – I suspect Pixar will keep making “family” movies, even if it’s just for the enjoyment of keeping Disney out of the “top animators” list. – Which, over the next year, Disney may not even be lucky enough to grace the “last place” position on that list.

  • http://www.themovieblog.com John Campea

    The restraints of kiddie fare?

    What do you mean? The technology of computer animation is totally independent of its subject matter. If you want to look at it within the context of subject matter, then you have to say that “kiddie fare” is responsible for pushing computer animation to where it is today.

    All that being said… I suspect Pixar will stay with family films for quite some time. Why walk away from what you do best?

  • Herby

    Alright!!! Perhaps Steve Jobs and Pixar could move computer animation even further, without the restraints of the kiddie fare.

  • http://www.lookatmybigwilly.com Bubba

    Nobody in their right mind believed Pixar was going to renew this … Disney screwed them on Toy Story 2 (said it didn’t count towards their contract because it was a sequel) and it’s been all down hill ever since. Pixar absolutely does not need Disney in their corner.

  • Day-vuhl

    YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA–AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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