Pixar Lays Off 14% of its Employees

Last year, Pixar Animation Studios, a subsidiary of Walt Disney, had already eliminated 75 positions, including key creatives behind the box office disappointment “Lightyear,” sources told Reuters. Now, The Hollywood Reporter (THR) is reporting that an additional 14% of Pixar’s workforce has been laid off as part of Disney’s cost-cutting efforts. This marks the largest restructuring in Pixar’s history.

These significant job cuts reflect the studio’s recent struggles. The departure of many talented individuals, coupled with underwhelming releases, has left Pixar in a precarious position. The absence of John Lasseter, who was dismissed in 2018 for misconduct that left staff feeling “disrespected and uncomfortable,” is also keenly felt. Lasseter has since moved to Skydance.

Revitalizing Pixar should be a top priority for Disney. The decision to release movies like “Soul,” “Turning Red,” and “Luca” directly to Disney+ during the pandemic devalued the brand and conditioned audiences to skip theatrical releases. Attempts to re-release these films in theaters this year yielded disappointing box office results. Additionally, Pixar’s recent films have struggled to capture the cultural zeitgeist in the same way their earlier masterpieces did, with 2017’s “Coco” being their last major hit.

Pixar needs to recapture the magic of its classics such as “Up,” “Ratatouille,” “Finding Nemo,” “Inside Out,” “Toy Story 3,” “The Incredibles,” and particularly, “WALL-E.” The inventive spirit that defined these films seems to have diminished. Recent releases feel more surface-level and overly stylized, lacking the bold, risk-taking creativity that once set Pixar apart. Instead, the studio’s latest offerings come across as cynical, commercially driven attempts to elicit specific emotional responses.

Looking ahead, Pixar’s upcoming slate includes “Inside Out 2” set for release this summer, followed by “Elio,” “Ducks,” and “Toy Story 5.” The hope is that these films will reignite the innovative spark that has long been Pixar’s hallmark.