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Massive Layoffs Hit Pixar as Disney Cuts Spending

An image featuring various Pixar characters including Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Wall-E, Joy, Mike Wazowski, and others, standing on either side of a torn Pixar Animation Studios logo. The background is a light blue gradient.
Credit: Disney Dining

When Bob Iger returned as Disney CEO in November 2022, a slew of problems were immediately heaped onto his plate. One of the biggest issues was the company’s streaming service, Disney+. Disney+ launched in November 2019 and saw initial success, especially when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and millions were forced to stay indoors. That success quickly faded, and in just three years, Disney+ caused Disney to lose nearly $11 billion.

Bob Iger called Extremist

Credit: Disney

Related: Price Hike Costs Disney+ More Than 1 Million Subscribers

In an effort to stem the bleeding, Mr. Iger announced that Disney+ would undergo major budget cuts and would focus on quality over quantity. Multiple Disney+ original series were canceled, including The Mysterious Benedict Society, Big Shot, Willow, The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, and Doogie Kamealoha MD. Most of the shows that were not canceled had their budgets slashed.

In January 2024, rumors began swirling that Disney’s budget cuts would impact Pixar Animation Studios and cause dozens of people to be laid off. Now, those rumors have come to fruition, and 175 Pixar employees will soon find themselves without a job.

toys in toy story

Credit: Pixar Animation Studios

According to an exclusive report from The Hollywood Reporter, this will be the largest “restructuring” in Pixar’s history. The layoffs will also not impact the studio’s top executives.

Approximately 14 percent of Pixar’s workforce, or around 175 employees, will be let go. Before the reductions, approximately 1,300 people worked at the animation studio.

Pixar employees have known since January that layoffs were coming. If there’s some solace to be had, it’s that reductions are less than the 20 percent reported in January by some news outlets. Nor is Pixar being singled out.

There were layoffs across all of Disney last year but cuts at Pixar were delayed because of production schedules, sources say. Pixar — led by Pete Docter — will no longer be focusing on direct-to-streaming series, but on its feature films. That excludes Win or Lose, which is set to debut later this year.

the incredibles 2

Credit: Pixar Animation Studios

Like Disney, Pixar has had many struggles with its recent releases. Onward (2020) was only in theaters for a couple of weeks before movie theaters were forced to close. Soul (2020), Luca (2021), and Turning Red (2022) were all released straight to Disney+. However, those three films were released in theaters earlier this year.

Then, there was Lightyear, which hit theaters in June 2022 and was a massive flop. The film struggled even before it was released, as many fans did not like that Disney and Pixar had replaced Tim Allen with Chris Evans as the voice of the Space Ranger. The film ended up losing more than $100 million.

Lightyear movie shot

Credit: Disney/Pixar

Related: Pixar “On Life Support” After String of Failures

The studio’s most recent film, Elemental, was released in June 2023 and also failed to perform at the domestic box office. However, the movie did do well overseas, and also shot to the top of the streaming charts when it hit Disney+.

Disney and Pixar are placing a lot of hope on Inside Out 2, which will premiere in theaters nationwide on June 14.

Do you think that the top brass at Pixar should be excluded from the layoffs? Let us know in the comments!

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

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