Pixar layoffs are underway. About 175 jobs are being cut

An animated person made of water and a person made of flames walk through an imaginary city in the Pixar film 'Elemental.'
A still from the Pixar film “Elemental.”

Walt Disney Co.-owned computer animation studio Pixar is laying off 14% of its staff, as it cuts back on the number of streaming series it produces.

The layoffs, which will affect about 175 employees, were signaled as far back as January. Reports then suggested that the studio could cut up to 20% of its staff. However, a person familiar with the matter, who was not authorized to comment, said at the time that those estimates were too high.

The cutbacks at Pixar come as Disney has embarked on a major, companywide cost-cutting effort stemming from the Burbank media and entertainment giant’s plan to save money and stem losses from its streaming business.


A number of entertainment companies, including Pixar, Amazon Prime Video, Universal Music Group and Twitch, are facing layoffs in the new year.

Jan. 12, 2024

Disney is starting to make good on that goal. Earlier this month, the company reported overall streaming business revenue of $6.19 billion for its fiscal second quarter of 2024, up 12% compared with a year earlier. Notably, its operating losses shrank to $18 million for that quarter, compared to a $659-million operating loss in the same period last year.

The company’s “entertainment streaming” business, which consists only of Disney+ and Hulu and not ESPN+, was also profitable that quarter.

But Emeryville, Calif.-based Pixar, in particular, has also struggled to break out of a pandemic-induced slump at the box office. While the storied studio known for “Toy Story,” “Finding Nemo” and “Up” once churned out hit after hit, its recent performance has been mediocre.

Animated films such as “Toy Story” spinoff “Lightyear,” released in 2022, was a disappointment at the box office, as was 2020’s “Onward.” Last year’s “Elemental” opened with weak ticket sales but managed to recover thanks to strong word-of-mouth reviews.

Disney’s across-the-board strategy of ordering up more series and films to feed its streaming business cut into the quality of its titles at Pixar and other studios, including Lucasfilm and Marvel, said Stephen Galloway, dean of Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts.

But the animation studio has also started to drift from the daring and cutting-edge reputation it developed when it first burst on the scene decades ago, he said.


“Their argument is ‘We’ve been doing too much, we should focus on less,’” Galloway said. “I don’t disagree with that, but my question is how do you actually completely re-imagine this so this company spearheads new thought?”

The studio has high hopes for “Inside Out 2,” a sequel to the 2015 hit that will come out this summer.