This week, Disney has completed its goal of laying off 7000 employees worldwide as part of its cost-cutting program to save around $5.5 billion. These layoffs represent about 3.2% of Disney’s total employees and have generally been hitting the Entertainment division, rather than front-line workers at theme parks etc.
Disney has done three separate waves of job cuts this year, starting in February, with a second wave in April and now the final wave has been completed. This means that Disney has hit the target CEO Bob Iger set out earlier this year. However, more job cuts are still set to occur internationally over time, mainly because employment rights are generally stricter than in the US.
Unfortunately, according to Reuters, 75 jobs have been eliminated at Pixar Animation Studios. This is the largest set of job cuts at Pixar in over a decade, since the failure of “The Good Dinosaur” resulted in 30 staff being let go.
Two of the executives behind the box office disappointment, “Lightyear”, including the film’s director, Angus MacLane, who has worked at the company for 26 years and was also a co-director on “Finding Dory”, and also worked on “Toy Story 4” and “Coco” was among those let go. Galyn Susman, who was a producer of “Lightyear” and has worked at Pixar since the original “Toy Story” film in 1995. Other cuts at Pixar included the vice president of worldwide publicity, Michael Agulnek. Pixar employs around 1200 people, so the 75 job cuts make up around 6% of the studio’s workforce.
While Pixar has had some huge success with many films, including “Toy Story”, “Up”, “Cars”, “Finding Nemo”, and “The Incredibles”, lately, it hasn’t been able to capture the same box office success. Its next film, “Elemental” is due to arrive in cinemas later this month and has been getting a lukewarm reception from critics and box office analysts are predicting an opening weekend of around $40 million, which would place it in the bottom tier of films alongside “The Good Dinosaur” and “Onward”.
The animation studio has been struggling to get back into the groove since “Onward” was knocked sideways as it was released just a week before the pandemic shut down cinemas worldwide. The pandemic saw “Soul”, “Luca”, and “Turning Red”, all released directly onto Disney+, which has caused a problem for Disney, with families becoming much more likely to wait for a streaming release than going to cinemas, especially during a cost of living crisis. Many of the films have also suffered from a negative backlash to recent films including LGBT+ characters and covering controversial topics such as girls having periods.
While Pixar was once one of the crown jewels in Disney’s empire, and it’s why it’s one of the core brands of Disney+, the last year years have been very bumpy for the studio, and some changes needed to happen to get it back on track.
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Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom.