Pixar Cuts 14% of Workforce as Disney Shifts Overall Content Strategy

Photo from Max Cortez via Unsplash

Pixar Cuts 14% of Workforce as Disney Shifts Overall Content Strategy

By Movieguide® Contributor

Pixar laid off roughly 175 people earlier this week as the company looks to refocus on theatrical releases to recapture its lost audience.

Pixar CEO Jim Morris announced the cutback in a companywide memo that notified employees of the layoffs.

“Calendar invites to speak with a leader have already gone out to those individuals, and we anticipate we will have connected with everyone impacted by the end of the day,” he wrote on Tuesday.

“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,” he added. “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.”

These layoffs come as Pixar struggles to reestablish the market dominance it enjoyed before the pandemic. With multiple movies releasing straight to Disney+ during the lockdown, many families now opt to wait the extra months to enjoy the movies from the comfort of their homes at no extra cost to a subscription they would have anyway.

“During COVID, we trained audiences to watch our movies on Disney+. I won’t say there was a lot of choice,” Morris told Variety last August. “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+.”

One of the strategies to bring families back to theaters is to focus on established IP. INSIDE OUT 2, for example, is coming to theaters at the beginning of June, and TOY STORY 5 is currently in the works.

This shift toward existing brands is a directive straight from the top. Earlier this month, Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed his long-term plans for the company include investing more heavily in the brands that have already proven successful.

“We had gone through a period where our original films in animation were dominating. We are now swinging back to lean on sequels,” he said.

At the same time, these established IPs will find further promotion in physical spaces as Disney’s parks look to better incorporate them into their different worlds.

Movieguide® previously reported:

Disney’s Chairman of Experiences, Josh D’Amaro, will head the company’s $60 billion theme park and cruise investment scheme over the next ten years.

His next moves must be carefully planned if Disney is going to make a return on its gigantic investment.

“At his disposal is a wealth of unexploited IP (at least in parks and cruise lines) and more than 1,000 acres of land available for development across the company’s six resorts,” The Hollywood Reporter said.

“We will have enough room to build the equivalent of another Disneyland Park. And so then you start to think about, ‘Well what can we do here?’” D’Amaro said. “We haven’t told anything, any stories on Wakanda. We haven’t told any stories on FROZEN, although it’s a 10-year old franchise. You think about franchises like COCO and ENCANTO. We almost have an endless stream of stories that we can tell.”

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