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May 26, 2024

Pixar Braces for Significant Layoffs in 2024 Amid Disney Cost-Cutting

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Jan 13, 2024

Pixar Animation Studios is preparing for a round of major job cuts this year, according to multiple reports. The iconic movie studio behind hits like Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and Inside Out has begun alerting employees that layoffs are expected in the second half of 2024.

While the exact number of planned job reductions is still undetermined, estimates range from 200 up to 20% of Pixar’s current workforce. The studio employed approximately 1200 people as of 2021, indicating potential cuts impacting 240 or more employees across divisions.

Background – Streaming Wars and Disappointing Films Prompt Budget Tightening

The move comes amid parent company Disney’s struggles on multiple fronts. Disney’s flagship streaming service Disney+ has yet to achieve profitability despite surpassing 160 million subscribers globally. The economic downturn has also led CEO Bob Chapek to institute wide-ranging cost reductions across Disney’s media empire.

Pixar itself has weathered two box office disappointments recently with Lightyear in 2022 and next summer’s Elemental. The poor performance of these films has put additional pressure on Pixar leadership to rein in expenses.

Which Pixar Employees May Be Impacted?

The job cuts are expected to impact all corners of Pixar, both in its headquarters near San Francisco as well as at satellite offices in Vancouver and Montreal. Areas potentially facing reductions include:

  • Animation staff: With no major feature films slated for release in 2025 or 2026, Pixar anticipates needing fewer animators, layout artists, modelers and riggers over the next couple years. Contract employees in production roles are especially at risk.

  • Marketing and distribution: Recent box office struggles mean Pixar likely requires less staffing for promotional campaigns and film rollout coordination in the near term.

  • General administration: Support functions like Finance, HR, IT and Facilities Management could also see trimmed headcounts.

Department Potential Layoffs % of Total Staff
Animation 100-150 25-38%
Marketing/Distribution 50-75 50-75%
Administration 50-100 10-20%

Some visual effects and technical artists are hopeful their specialized skills may help them weather the cuts, while younger employees on temporary contracts fear they’ll be first to lose their jobs.

What’s Next For Impacted Workers?

Laid off animation professionals will face a job market with fierce competition for openings at rival studios. California’s Skydance Animation and Netflix’s growing animation arm may offer potential landing spots for some.

But many veterans have spent their entire careers within Pixar’s storied halls, leaving them anxious at the prospect of forced change. “This place is all I’ve known for over 20 years,” said one 52-year-old Pixar animator on the condition of anonymity. “I hope we can work something out, as starting fresh feels daunting at this stage of my life.”

Pixar HR has assured staff they will provide transition assistance programs with career guidance, resume help and job placement aid. But that provides little comfort to younger workers carrying hefty student loan debt. “If I lose this job I’ll have to move back in with my parents,” worried a 27-year-old lighting apprentice. “The cost of living is so high here, I won’t be able to afford rent without steady income.”

California’s expensive Bay Area housing further complicates matters – even employees who land new animation jobs may struggle to make ends meet. And uniquely generous perks at Pixar like free cereal dispensers, massage therapists and onsite childcare are unlikely to be matched at most other studios.

For a company that has nurtured such an iconic brand around technical and creative innovation, the looming cuts mark the end of an era. Pixar built its reputation on original stories, beloved characters and a family atmosphere fostered by visionaries like Steve Jobs, John Lasseter and Ed Catmull. Many question whether its culture and success can weather such deep reductions amid Disney’s shift to streaming and cost control. Longtime Pixar employees anxiously await details of severance packages and answers on their own fate later this year.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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