While the last year has been great for Pixar Animation Studios on the theatrical side of things, as Cars 3, Coco and Incredibles 2 have all been successful at the box office, behind the scenes, the company has been going through some shakeups. Back in November, John Lasseter, the chief creative officer at both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, announced that he would be taking a six month-long leave of absence after acknowledging "missteps" with his employees. Then a little under two weeks ago, it was announced that Lasseter will leave Disney at the end of the year. Now his positions have been filled, only rather than have one person filling both roles again, two different people will be leading the charge at Pixar and Disney animation divisions, respectively.
Pete Docter will oversee things over at Pixar Animation Studios, while Jennifer Lee will take over as the head of Walt Disney Animation Studios. Docter's been part of Pixar since 1990, and his notable credits for the company include Monsters Inc., Up and Inside Out. As for Lee, her first project at Disney was writing Wreck-It Ralph, but she made an even bigger splash as the co-director of Frozen, working alongside Chris Buck. She also drafted the story for Zootopia and wrote A Wrinkle in Time, taking over from Jeff Stockwell. According to Variety, both Lee and Docter had been rumored to be in the running for their respective roles, and now it's official.
As far as Pixar goes, it sounds like there wasn't a better candidate to take over John Lasseter's job than Pete Docter. Having spent nearly 30 years at the studio and been around for the entirely of its feature filmmaking endeavors, Docter's played a key role in in the Pixar's success, so who better to lead it into a new era. From writing and directing to animating and even lending his voice to a few characters, the man is clearly talented across the board. Then looking at Jennifer Lee, with all she's accomplished at Walt Disney Animation Studios so far, as well as returning to direct Frozen 2 with Chris Buck, it sounds like she's also quite suited to take on Lasseter's former duties in that area of the Disney empire.
While John Lasseter was an important figure at Pixar for many years, it came to light last year that his professional behavior left a lot to be desired, namely as he'd been accused of behaving inappropriately towards female employees. Following his sabbatical, Lasseter will have a consulting role at Pixar and Disney until 2018 wraps up, but when it comes to the future of these studios, Pete Docter and Jennifer Lee will be guiding them forward.
The latest Pixar release, Incredibles 2, is off to a great start, having made nearly $260 million worldwide so far. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend on all the latest surrounding Pixar and Disney's animated projects.