Disney’s Pixar Will Undergo Major Layoffs in 2024

A new report indicates that Pixar will see major layoffs impacting the company in 2024. The news comes on the heels of a couple of bad years for tentpole blockbusters, during which time Pixar movies like Lightyear and Elemental underperformed relative to studio expectations. Pixar is set to reduce its overall output in the near future, and as a result will apparently have less need for a larger staff. According to TechCrunch, the company’s current staff of 1,300 could be cut by as much as 20% (although even within that article, they say a representative from Pixar suggests that number is too high).

Pixar, which has been one of the most reliable hitmakers in Hollywood since 1995, seems to be splitting the focus fairly evenly between franchise sequels and originals in the near future. While they are currently finishing up Elio, a totally new property, their next release will be Inside Out 2, and there are sequels to Toy Story and Cars in development already.

The TechCrunch story suggests that this is mostly a return to pre-Disney+ levels for Pixar. Per the report, most of the layoffs will be staff brought on board so they could increase output, with the goal of generating exciting projects for Disney+. The streaming service is one of the biggest in the industry but, like most streaming platforms, it isn’t profitable.

Elemental, which hit the screens back in June, had a soft opening weekend that scared Disney. The movie ultimately proved to have legs, generating a little under $500 million at the global box office in spite of having no major celebrities in the cast and no ties to previous Pixar franchises. With a reported $200 million budget, $500 million at the box office isn’t the kind of massive return Disney expects — but it’s a profit, and the movie has reportedly performed well on Disney+ as well as in disc and digital sales.

Like every major studio in Hollywood, expectations have been going up for Pixar over the last decade or so. The end of the video rental store and studios’ embrace of streaming means movies have to generate a ton of revenue at the box office in order to have a prayer of breaking even. Most of Pixar’s biggest hits, though, have been sequels. the only movies ever to cross the $1 billion mark for the studio were The Incredibles 2, Toy Story 3 and 4, and Finding Dory. The last original (non-sequel) film to cross the $500 million mark was 2017’s Coco — although, again, Elemental was pretty close with $486 million.

Inside Out 2 may be a big boost for the brand — at least that’s Disney’s hope. The original movie not only grossed $850 million worldwide, but did so in 2015. That means there has been quite a bit of time between installments, giving fans a chance to miss the characters and get excited for a sequel. The last time a Pixar movie waited that long for a follow-up was The Incredibles 2 — which turned out to be the studio’s highest-grossing movie ever.

Meanwhile, Pixar is hoping to generate some buzz (and a few extra dollars) by releasing Soul, Turning Red, and Luca — all movies that went straight to Disney+ during the early days of the pandemic — to theaters in the coming weeks.