Published by Aditya Agarwal on and last updated on

Steve Jobs Getting Pixar Acquired By Disney

The environment at Pixar and Apple, were quite different. Even though Steve Jobs was founder of both companies. Pixar was doing good with finance while Apple was not in that good situation.

Apple was a company where the environment was always demanding and very competitive, there was a constant pressure on people. Whereas in Pixar there was a creative and Serene envrionment.

Pixar was getting ready for its 2nd movie, which was A Bugs Life. Steve Jobs accused that Deam Works, there competitors had copied there idea, because in whole history of animation, no one had though of animating insects but all of a sudden when Pixar gets the idea, coincidentally Dream Works also got the idea. Though they were not true.

A Bug’s Life had sales of $163 Million Domestically, and $363 Million international. This was a proof to the skeptics of Pixar, and whole idea of animated movies who believed that they were one hit wonders.

They proved that there success twas not shortlived, and there position in market was further strengthened by Toy Story 2, which had amazing $485 Million in sales.

To utilize there money, they wanted there office, and Steve Jobs had a major role in it. He never actively took part in movie making, becuse in his heart he was never a animator, but he wanted the office to be great.

He wanted a huge office, which promoted unplanned meetings, and lot of interactions, and everyone was easy to approach.



Pixar has always had a close relationship with Disney. As such, if anyone was going to acquire them, Disney was the obvious first choice. Disney would benefit by owning the world’s most innovative computer animation studio, and Pixar would benefit from Disney’s cushy financial safety net and first-class distribution network.

John Lasseter, Brad Bird, Pete Docter, and many more Pixar folks are alumni of the animation program at CalArts, which was founded by Walt Disney himself. Disney films were also incredibly influential to co-founder Ed Catmull in his childhood. Additionally, back in the 1980s, Pixar and Disney collaborated on software for computer-assisted 2D animation production. This software replaced the old cel painting technique used at Disney and was run on Pixar Image Computers.

Pixar’s first feature film #ToyStory was co-produced with Disney as part of a deal in 1991. The deal said Pixar would produce three films and Disney would fund, market, and distribute them. Under this deal, Disney owned all story and sequel rights which was seriously disagreeable for Pixar. At one point, Disney executives said they would eventually make sequels to all of Pixar’s films with or without Pixar’s involvement.

“These characters are like our children, and it just killed me to think of the people who forced Cinderella II into existence making sequels to our films, running our characters into the ground.”

– John Lasseter

In 2004, #Disney and Pixar tried to reach a new agreement. Pixar was adamant that they would have control over their stories, characters, and other film properties. #SteveJobs, in his role as chairman and majority shareholder of Pixar, was the point man for this deal. Ultimately, the two companies weren’t able to agree. Reportedly, Jobs and the then-CEO of Disney, Michael Eisner, were not on good terms.

Pixar was supposed to go off and find other distributors to partner up with, but there were rumblings that Eisner might be getting the boot soon. In 2004, discontented Disney shareholders refused to reelect Eisner, and the search for a new #CEO began. In 2005, Eisner stepped down and was replaced by Bob Iger.

In comparison to Eisner, Iger was much more on the same page with those at Pixar. He wanted to bring back animation at Disney– a few years earlier the company had shockingly closed down their hand-drawn animation department.

From Pixar’s end, there were a few reasons to join Disney. Iger promised Catmull and Lasseter authority over Pixar and Disney animation. They would have the business and marketing side of Disney as a resource and wouldn’t have to face the difficult task of needing to quickly develop an entire marketing/consumer product department, bringing in 200+ business employees which would alter Pixar’s culture. They would also have less financial risk with a parent company providing financial backing.

The deal went through in 2006. Disney bought Pixar for ~$7.4 billion. The end result was Jobs became the majority shareholder of Disney and a board member. Catmull became the president of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios. Lasseter became the Chief Creative Officer of both studios. Films by Pixar are branded as “Disney • Pixar” and #Pixar Studios maintains a mostly independent identity from #Disney.

“Our partnership with Disney has probably been the most successful partnership in Hollywood history, and it’s been the best thing that ever happened for Pixar. We wouldn’t be here today without it”

– Steve Jobs

Source: To Infinity and Beyond: The Story of Pixar Animation Studios


Aditya Agarwal
"The People Who Love The Journey, Are The Ones That Reach The Most Beautiful Destinations"

Aditya Agarwal

Aditya Agarwal

"The People Who Love The Journey, Are The Ones That Reach The Most Beautiful Destinations"

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