Pixar Animation Studios, a subsidiary of Walt Disney, has made a substantial workforce reduction, resulting in the layoff of 75 employees. This marks the studio’s first significant round of layoffs in over a decade, raising eyebrows in the entertainment industry.
Among those affected by the layoffs are director Angus MacLane and producer Galyn Susman, both of whom had been with Pixar for many years, contributing to the success of several beloved animated films.
This decision comes as part of a broader cost-cutting initiative proposed by Walt Disney’s CEO, Bob Iger, which aims to eliminate a total of 7,000 positions across various divisions, with the goal of reducing expenses by a staggering $5.5 billion.
The recent downturn for Pixar began with the release of “Lightyear” last year. Despite having a reported budget of $200 million, the film fell short of expectations at the box office, grossing only $226.7 million worldwide. Additionally, it received mixed reviews, failing to captivate audiences in the way Pixar’s previous successes, such as “Toy Story,” “The Incredibles,” and “Cars,” had done.
One significant factor contributing to “Lightyear’s” underperformance in certain regions was its portrayal of a same-sex relationship. As a result, the film faced outright prohibition in 14 Middle Eastern and Asian countries, which undoubtedly had a detrimental impact on its box office revenue.
Given Pixar’s critical role as a creative powerhouse for Disney, responsible for generating substantial revenue through its successful films and beloved characters, these layoffs are noteworthy. The studio has been instrumental in revitalizing Disney’s struggling animation division since its acquisition by the entertainment giant in 2006.
This isn’t the first time Pixar has faced layoffs, though. Back in 2013, the studio experienced a similar situation when the release delay of “The Good Dinosaur” led to the elimination of around 30 positions. However, this recent round of layoffs is far more substantial, indicating the magnitude of challenges “Lightyear” brought to the studio.
In response to the current industry challenges, Disney has introduced cost-cutting measures across multiple divisions, including film and television, streaming services, and theme parks. The goal is to navigate the turbulent waters of the post-pandemic entertainment landscape successfully.