HomeNewsDisney Axes Key Employees Including Lightyear Director and Toy Story 2 Producer

Disney Axes Key Employees Including Lightyear Director and Toy Story 2 Producer

Was it an ogre named Iger who cast a bad spell on the Magic Kingdom? Or is the Disney head prudently trying to cut costs in the interests of the bottom line?

According to news reports from Reuters, The Walt Disney Company under Bob Iger’s leadership has slashed 7,000 staff positions in the past few months, with about 75 of them coming from the 1,200 employed by the Pixar Animation group. It was all part of the company’s plan to save $5.5 billion by combining its film and television groups into a single Disney Entertainment unit.

Among the pink-slipped Pixar employees are Angus MacLane, Michael Agulnek, and Galyn Susman. MacLane, the director and producer of Lightyear, had also been part of the team that produced Coco, Incredibles 2, and Toy Story 4. Agulnek had been Pixar’s vice president of publicity, and Susman was the Toy Story 2 producer who famously rescued the film with her backup copy when the original was thought to have been accidentally deleted.

This was the first time cuts were made to the Pixar staff in ten years or so, when The Good Dinosaur‘s director Bob Peterson was let go, delaying the film’s release. Disney had originally acquired Pixar in 2006 to bolster its Disney Animation group, which was them struggling.

Observers say the recent cuts were motivated by financial woes. Lightyear did not live up to expectations, making only $226.7 million worldwide on a reputed budget of $200 million. By contrast, Pixar’s Incredibles 2, released in 2018, had a global box office receipts of around $1.2 billion on a similar budget. Lightyear’s poor showing has been attributed in part to its depiction of a same-sex relationship, which precluded it from being shown in fourteen countries in Asia and the Middle East.

As of October 2022, Disney was reported to have had 220,000 employees worldwide, so the 7,000 layoffs represent 3.2% of its staff. In announcing the staff cuts, Iger expressed his “enormous respect and appreciation for the dedication of our employees worldwide” while adding “We are going to [take] a really hard look at everything ,,, because things in a more competitive world have simply gotten more expensive.”

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Edward Moran
Edward Moranhttps://www.cinemadailyus.com
Edward Moran began his journalistic career many decades ago as a theater and cinema reviewer for Show Business and the New York Theater Review. More recently he contributed film reviews to hosokinema.com and Movie Sleuth. His writings have appeared in publications as diverse as the Times Literary Supplement, Publishers Weekly, the Paris Review, and the Massachusetts Review. Moran also edited a memoir by Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Christine Choy. He served as literary advisor to her film Hyam Plutzik: American Poet, which was the keynote film in the American Perspectives series at the 2007 Zebra Poetry Film Festival in Berlin.


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