Steve Jobs’ other company —
Pixar Animation Studios
— announced today that it has ended its efforts to extend its distribution deal with The Walt Disney Co. and that it will seek other opportunities.
“After ten months of trying to strike a deal with Disney, we’re moving on. We’ve had a great run together — one of the most successful in Hollywood history — and it’s a shame that Disney won’t be participating in Pixar’s future successes,” said CEO Steve Jobs in a prepared statement.
Disney chairman and CEO Michael Eisner threw in his own two cents’ worth in a separate statement in which he wished Pixar success, including Jobs and John Lasseter, director of both Toy Story movies, A Bug’s Life and Cars, and executive producer of Monsters Inc. and Finding Nemo.
“Although we would have enjoyed continuing our successful collaboration under mutually acceptable terms, Pixar understandably has chosen to go its own way to grow as an independent company,” Eisner said.
Pixar and Disney’s collaboration doesn’t end quite yet — Disney retains the rights to distribute Pixar’s first seven films, including two that are still in production: The Incredibles and Cars. What’s more, Disney can make sequels to the seven films if Pixar declines, which Disney is already doing with “Toy Story 3.”
Disney and Pixar will wrap things up by 2006, but with both those projects in various states of production, Pixar’s looking for a new distribution partner now to strike while the iron is hot, especially coming off its huge success with Finding Nemo, which became the number one selling DVD of all time last November following the movie’s record-shattering box office release last summer.
The announcement was made after the stock markets closed on Wall Street; Disney shares dropped in after-hours trading from 24.45 to 23.00 (5.93 percent). Pixar stock dropped in after-hours trading as well, down from 64.20 to 60.55 (5.69 percent).