Someone is going to write a fucking great book about Pixar one day, and 2013’s exploits are going to make for a very interesting chapter. In the past, the studio has swapped directors on a few of their projects, dating back to their third film, Toy Story 2 (which was gutted and rebuilt in the 11th hour, as legend has it). And earlier this year, they closed their Vancouver offices, laying off 100 people in the process. Now, in the face of moving The Good Dinosaur from the Summer of 2014 to November of 2015 and creating a gaping hole in their release schedule, they’ve decided to fire a little less than 5% of their staff (roughly 60 people, based on their 1,200 current employees).
The reason for the delay was explained peripherally in an interview with Ed Catmull, President of Pixar:
“Nobody ever remembers the fact that you slipped a film, but they will remember a bad film. Our conclusion was that we were going to give the [dinosaur] film some more time.”
That quote, from an earlier interview with The Los Angeles Times, must not be talking about the 60 or so people who are now out of work. They’re a little more likely to remember that they “slipped a film”.
More than anything, I’m baffled by the timing of this decision. Less than a week before Thanksgiving? That’s cold, Pixar! The astronomical amount made through Cars merchandise couldn’t keep these people staffed though the rest of the year? We’re not exactly seeing the wheels come off yet, but it’s still surprising to see such an image conscious studio make such a terrible PR move.