What happened to Pixar?

Through the ’90s, Disney reigned supreme as animation king. Then Pixar came along to give the behemoth a run for its money. The company’s dominating presence began with the 1995 release of “Toy Story,” the world’s first computer-animated film; Pixar continued its ascent with scores of critically acclaimed now-classics, among them “Monsters, Inc.” (2001) and “Finding Nemo” (2003). The animations — full of humor, heart and storylines clever enough to make children giggle and grown-ups weep on airplanes — struck an obvious chord with audiences. The films were also beautiful to look at, employing various “software breakthroughs that made animation feel more lifelike,” said Thomas Buckley for Bloomberg.  

But Pixar has not had a hit since 2019’s “Toy Story 4.” Recent releases, like the “Toy Story” spinoff “Lightyear,” “Turning Red” and “Luca,” have flopped at the box office. And a few weeks ago, the Walt Disney Co.-owned animation studio announced layoffs of 14% of its staff. This decision was made with a purpose: Pixar intends to cut back on the number of streaming series they are producing and focus on big-screen films again. With the release of “Inside Out 2” this month — “Inside Out” was a crowd-puller in 2015 — the studio hopes to recapture some of its former glory.

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