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Disney-Pixar analysis - The Hollywood Reporter 6/9/06


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  • Disney-Pixar analysis - The Hollywood Reporter 6/9/06

    Disney-Pixar merger
    Suits are out. Hawaiian shirts are in with John Lasseter and Ed Catmull in charge at Disney. Can David reprogram the soul of Goliath?

    By Robert La Franco
    The Hollywood Reporter
    June 9, 2006
    Connect the dots
    A pixel-by-pixel look at Pixar1986 For $10 million, Steve Jobs purchases the computer graphics division of Lucasfilm Ltd., gaining rights to experimental short films and a staff of 44 that includes Ed Catmull and John Lasseter. He christens the company Pixar.
    1987 Pixar's short "Luxo Jr.," directed by Lasseter, receives an Academy Award nomination.
    1989 Debuts of Pixar's now-widely used RenderMan digital software and its first commercial, for juicemaker Tropicana
    1990 The company moves into a one-story office building in Point Richmond, Calif.
    1991 Pixar strikes a deal with the Walt Disney Studios to develop, produce and distribute as many as three feature-length animated films.
    1992 Pixar's development team receives a Scientific and Engineering Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for its Computer Assisted Production System.
    1993 The Pixar development team receives an AMPAS Scientific and Engineering Achievement Award for RenderMan.
    1995 Pixar goes public with an initial public offering of 6.9 million shares at $22 apiece, raising $140 million to top Netscape as the year's biggest IPO. "Toy Story," directed by Lasseter, is the first computer-generated theatrical release and becomes the year's highest-grossing film, bringing in $362 million in worldwide boxoffice receipts.
    1996 Lasseter receives a Special Achievement Award during the Oscar ceremony for his "inspired application" of techniques that allowed the Pixar team to produce the first computer-animated feature film. Catmull, Tom Duff, Thomas Porter and Alvy Ray Smith receive Scientific and Engineering Academy Awards.
    1997 Pixar and Disney enter a new agreement to produce five films, superseding their earlier deal. Pixar's staff grows to 375.
    1998 The company's second feature, "A Bug's Life," directed by Lasseter and Andrew Stanton, becomes the year's highest-grossing animated release, earning $362 million worldwide. Jan Pinkava's "Geri's Game" wins an Academy Award for best animated short film.
    1999 "Toy Story 2," directed by Lasseter, Ash Brannon and Lee Unkrich, is released and goes on to earn more than $485 million worldwide. It is the first animated movie sequel to gross more than its original.
    2000 Pixar relocates to Emeryville, Calif.
    2001 Chief technical officer Ed Catmull named president of Pixar. Lasseter signs a 10-year deal with the company. "Monsters, Inc.," directed by Pete Docter, David Silverman and Unkrich, is released. The Pixar staff tops 600.
    2002 "Monsters" is Oscar-nominated in the inaugural best animated feature category, and its composer, Randy Newman, wins a best song statuette for "If I Didn't Have You." Pixar receives the Producers Guild of America's first Vanguard Award for new media and technology.
    2003 "Finding Nemo," directed by Stanton and Unkrich, becomes the highest-grossing animated film worldwide with $865 million in receipts. Animosity between Jobs and then-Disney chairman and CEO Michael Eisner begins to surface then escalates to the point that it threatens to scuttle the firms' partnership, set to expire in 2004.
    2004 "The Incredibles," directed by Brad Bird, is released and goes on to earn $620 million worldwide, winning a best animated feature Oscar along the way.
    2005 In October, Robert Iger replaces Eisner at Disney and immediately sets to work patching things up with Jobs and Pixar.
    2006 On Jan. 24, Pixar enters an agreement to merge into the Walt Disney Co. in a $7.4 billion stock swap. On May 5, Pixar becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of Disney. Lasseter returns to the director's chair with "Cars," set to debut today in U.S. theaters.
    On his first visit to the Walt Disney Co.'s Burbank headquarters as its chief creative officer, John Lasseter marched straight to the animation building bearing an uncompromising message. "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building," he said, leveling his comments at the handful of creative executives who had been running Disney's animation division.

    Within seconds, the "Happiest Place on Earth" began to live up to its name again. Disney had acquired Pixar Animation Studios for $7.4 billion less than a week earlier, and the tiny digital animation house was wasting no time in taking over. Lasseter was given control of creative output, and Pixar president Ed Catmull took the same position at Disney. The message was clear: There were new sheriffs in town, and they were looking to play.
    full article at
    "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006

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