Disney Makes Significant Layoffs at Pixar After Admitting to Mistake


Disney’s flagship animation studio was just hit with another round of layoffs.

According to Variety, around 175 employees were let go from Disney’s Pixar Animation Studios on Tuesday, amounting to 14 percent of Pixar’s workforce.

The layoffs had been expected for the last few months. Variety reported in January that Pixar was set to lay off up to 20 percent of its staff sometime in 2024.

The latest round of layoffs is in addition to the 75 Pixar employees that were let go in 2023, according to Reuters. Disney cut 3.6 percent of its total workforce last year as part of a cost-saving initiative.

The cuts are, in part, due to strategic mishaps on the part of Pixar. In an interview with Variety last year, Pixar President Jim Morris noted that releasing movies directly to Disney+ during COVID was a misstep that Pixar is still trying to recover from.

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“During COVID, we trained audiences to watch our movies on Disney+. I won’t say there was a lot of choice. For periods of time, it was the only thing we could do. We have a little work to unring the bell and motivate families to go to the theater and not wait a few months to see it on Disney+,” Morris said.

But, its not all the fault of Disney+. The movies Pixar has put in the theaters after the pandemic have flopped, too.

“Lightyear,” Pixar’s latest installment in its iconic “Toy Story” franchise, was a box office bomb, grossing around $218 million against a production budget of $200 million, according to The Numbers.

Reuters noted that two of the employees let go in 2023 were the creative minds behind “Lightyear,” including director Angus MacLane.

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“Elemental,” which released in 2023, did slightly better, netting $484 million against a $200 million production budget, The Numbers reported.

Still, these figures pale in comparison to the successes of Pixar’s pre-COVID movies. The Numbers reported that “Incredibles 2″ and “Toy Story 4″ brought in $1.2 billion and $1 billion, respectively.

These failures have also been reflected in Disney’s stock price, which has decreased nearly 50 percent since the beginning of March 2021, according to Yahoo Finance.

It’s very difficult to pinpoint exactly what’s caused both Disney and Pixar’s decline over the last few years. It’s likely that a variety of factors have played a role.

When it comes to Pixar in particular, Morris is likely right that the company’s streaming service, Disney+, has contributed to its box office woes.

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Practically speaking, if families can avoid spending $100 to make a trip the theaters and instead wait for the movie to be released on a streaming platform they pay significantly less for, they’re going to avoid the theaters almost every time.

Given the economic hardships that many families in the U.S. have faced since the onset of the pandemic, it’s no wonder why many families are foregoing the theaters.

But, Disney+ is not the only reason that Pixar has seen its revenue plummet.

“Lightyear” notoriously included a lesbian kiss scene that turned many parents away from the idea of showing the movie to their kids.

Moreover, in 2022, a video from an internal Disney meeting surfaced in which a Disney executive admitted the company was pushing a “not-at-all-secret gay agenda.”

In effect, Disney’s decision to cater to the LGBT community effectively alienated many of its most dedicated customers.

Many parents are simply not comfortable with their young children being exposed to such content, a point that Disney has failed to recognize.

When Disney, and Pixar in particular, was kid-first and focused on telling engaging and uplifting content, business was booming.

Now that the company is more focused on making content that is inappropriate for, and not aimed at, its primary audience, Disney has suffered.

Granted, Disney did generate nearly $90 billion in revenue and $12.86 billion in operating income in 2023, according to Statista. So, it’s not as if the company is going under anytime soon.

However, what’s significant is that Pixar, Disney’s leading animation studio, has rapidly declined in just the last four years and is apparently committed to furthering its “not-at-all-secret gay agenda.”

If Pixar can’t get families excited to go to the theaters again and continues to forego producing kid-first content, it could be all downhill from here.

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Anthony Altomari is a commentary writer for the Western Journal. He focuses his writing on culture and politics.
Anthony Altomari is a commentary writer for the Western Journal. He focuses his writing on culture and politics.