The famous animation studio Pixar reportedly conducted a rare round of layoffs on May 23rd but reports about it did not surface until this weekend. A total of 75 positions were let go from the company. Among them were two of the executives behind the film “Lightyear,” a spin-off of Pixar’s popular “Toy Story” franchise. The film’s director Angus MacLane was apparently laid off, along with legendary producer Galyn Susman.
Susman had been with the company since the release of the first “Toy Story” in 1995. She was even the hero in one of Pixar’s most well-known production snafus. During the making of “Toy Story 2,” an employee accidentally wiped the servers, deleting almost the entire film. Luckily, Susman was working from home while taking care of her newborn. Her backup copy is what saved the film!
MacLane had been with Pixar for more than two decades. He worked on animated classics like “Toy Story 2,” “The Incredibles,” and “Finding Nemo.” In 2016 he co-directed the sequel to “Finding Nemo,” “Finding Dory.” “Lightyear,” was his directorial debut but unfortunately it tanked at the box office. It’s estimated the film lost more than $100 million for the studio. Some blame the fact the film could not be shown in 14 Middle Eastern and Asian countries, due to a depiction of a same-gender kiss, as part of its failure.
This has been Pixar’s biggest layoff since 2013 when 60 employees were let go during the release of “The Good Dinosaur.”. This recent batch of layoffs may, unfortunately, be a sign of things to come.The Walt Disney Company, who acquired Pixar in 2006, unexpectedly fired CEO Bob Chapek in November 2022. This led to former CEO Bob Iger returning to the company as Chief Executive.
These layoffs are part of Iger’s larger plan to restructure the company. This included letting go of 7,000 people across the company. He seeks to eliminate $5.5 billion in costs, so this may get a lot worse.