No company is immune to financial difficulties. But if you asked me to rattle off a short list of Hollywood companies that were stable enough to weather a storm, I’d probably name Marvel Studios, LucasFilm and Pixar.
And yet, Pixar Animation Studios has been forced to layoff "an undisclosed number" of employees, according to The L.A. Times. And the reason given for the purge is the delay of the studio’s next planned animation feature, The Good Dinosaur.
"At Pixar, we are constantly re-evaluating the creative and business needs of our studio. With the release date change of The Good Dinosaur, we have realigned our production and support priorities, which includes a small reduction in our staffing levels."
How small? The Times says that Pixar reduced less than 5% of its 1,200-person staff. The jobs will be removed from Pixar’s legendary Emeryville, California studio, which looks like this:
What happened to The Good Dinosaur? Well, back in August, the studio pulled director Bob Peterson (co-director of Up) but failed to name a replacement. Then, a month later, the studio pushed Good Dinosaur out of 2014 and all the way back to November 2015 … making 2014 the first year in a very long time to not have a Pixar film ready for release.
The studio has been mum as to why Good Dinosaur had to shift direction (and directors). All Pixar president Ed Catmull was willing to say at the time was, "Nobody ever remembers the fact that you slipped a film, but they will remember a bad film. Our conclusion was that we were going to give the [dinosaur] film some more time."
On the surface, it feels like a good decision. Some have been arguing that Pixar’s quality has decreased with films like Brave and Cars 2 (though I’ll defend Monsters University to the death). The next film on Pixar’s calendar now becomes Pete Docter’s Inside Out, due in theaters on June 19, 2015. In the meantime, I wonder if all of this Dinosaur production art, introduced at D23 and other events, is outdated, or if it still will be used in some capacity?