After Pixar announced that The Good Dinosaur would be delayed, there was a question as to where the studio would move those employees who would have been working on the film. The animation process for a Pixar feature film takes approximately one year, so with the film not arriving in theaters until November 2015, there is almost an entire year before the bulk of the animation portion of production begins. We have our answer now, as the animation studio has stated that an undisclosed number of employees are being laid off.
Pixar announced through the Los Angeles Times that the delay in the production of The Good Dinosaur has led to the layoffs:
“At Pixar, we are constantly re-evaluating the creative and business needs of our studio,” a Pixar representative said. “With the release date change of ‘The Good Dinosaur,’ we have realigned our production and support priorities, which includes a small reduction in our staffing levels.”
According to a source of the LA Times, less than 5% of Pixar’s 1,200 employees are being affected. Crunching the numbers, less than 60 employees are losing their jobs, if the source is accurate. Although Pixar does not explicitly state what departments have been targeted for layoffs, the studio recently released statements that the story for The Good Dinosaur needed more work; it is likely the technical teams that begin work once the animation process is well underway that have been mostly affected by the layoffs. Employees are regularly given downtime between their work on different films, but given the lengthy wait until the film’s release, the studio likely had more employees than it knew what to do with.
This announcement comes after the closure of Pixar Canada last month, where about 80 employees lost their jobs. The total number of Pixar employees that have lost their jobs in the last month and a half amounts to over 100 and could go as high as about 140. For a studio that was only growing in recent years due to the goal of releasing more than one feature film and short per year, this is a strange turn of events. Seeing people lose their jobs is never easy. Hopefully those laid off are quickly able to recover and land a position elsewhere. It remains to be seen whether Pixar will see increases in its numbers as the release date for The Good Dinosaur approaches.