Big Shifts at Pixar: Layoffs and New Strategies for Theaters and Theme Parks

This week, Pixar announced a significant cutback, laying off approximately 175 employees. The move, stated in a company-wide memo by Pixar CEO Jim Morris, signifies the studio’s effort to pivot back towards theatrical releases as it attempts to reengage its audience post-pandemic.

Morris addressed the situation candidly, saying, “Despite the challenges in our industry over the past few years, you have all consistently shown up to contribute, collaborate, innovate, lead, and do great work at this studio. I give you my deepest thanks, and for those who will be leaving us, I am hopeful that our paths will cross again, both professionally and personally” (source: Variety).

The pandemic had forced Pixar to release a slew of their films directly to Disney+, a strategy that Morris admits trained audiences to wait for home releases rather than heading to theaters. “During COVID, we trained audiences to watch our movies on Disney+. I won’t say there was a lot of choice,” Morris told Variety last August. Now, the challenge lies in “unringing the bell” and motivating families to experience movies on the big screen again.

To reignite the box office magic, Pixar is betting big on beloved franchises. Look out for “Inside Out 2” which hits theaters in June, and the eagerly anticipated “Toy Story 5” is also on the horizon. This strategy aligns with Disney CEO Bob Iger’s focus on reinforcing established brands, highlighting a return to sequels over original films to draw in audiences.

Meanwhile, Disney’s theme parks are gearing up for a similar boost. Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products, Josh D’Amaro, is spearheading a $60 billion investment to expand and further integrate popular Pixar and Disney IPs into the parks over the next decade. The plan is to develop new stories and attractions centered on franchises like “Frozen,” “Coco,” and “Encanto,” and even explore untapped worlds like Wakanda.

Disney fans, what are your thoughts on this strategic shift? Will you head back to theaters for sequels of your favorite Pixar movies? And which new theme park attractions are you most excited about? Share your thoughts in the comments below and don’t forget to share this story with your fellow Disney aficionados!

1. [Variety](
2. [Deadline](
3. [Hollywood Reporter](