Pixar has been growing over the years, with one of its biggest increases represented by the opening of a branch in Vancouver, Canada in 2010. Pixar Canada was created to work on shorts and television specials utilizing established franchises such as Toy Story and Cars. The studio worked on the animation and technical aspects of several shorts such as PartySaurus Rex and Small Fry. Shockingly, though, news has emerged that the branch was officially closed down today. Read on for more details after the break.
“A decision was made to refocus operations and resources under the one roof…Staff were just told today. Not great news, obviously. It was just a refocussing of efforts and resources to the one facility.”
The one facility that Matheson is referring to is the studio’s main campus in Emeryville, California. Pixar provided a few more details in an official statement:
The team at Pixar Canada has produced a wonderful slate of short films since opening in 2010, including Air Mater, Small Fry and Partysaurus Rex. As the dynamics of the animation industry continue to change rapidly, we continue to fine-tune our studio and its production processes. We have made the determination to refocus our creative and business efforts and resources under one roof. Pixar Canada will cease operations immediately.
A more thorough explanation eludes us, but one has to wonder if recent events may have played a role in the closing down of Pixar Canada. Pixar recently announced that The Good Dinosaur, which was scheduled to arrive in theaters next year, would be pushed back to 2015, leaving next year as the first year without a Pixar feature film in almost a decade. The studio made the difficult decision to delay the film, which leaves a significant gap in the studio’s schedule. Additionally, we now live in a time where even Pixar, which was once universally beloved by critics and audiences, has some critics questioning the quality of its recent films. Monsters University was a wonderful film, but there remains doubt in the minds of some.
Delaying The Good Dinosaur is a major move to polish the film to ensure that a great film hits the big screen, a clear demonstration of how devoted Pixar is to its upcoming slate. Although Pixar Canada worked solely on shorts and TV specials, the studio may be moving towards focusing more on original shorts, such as Presto and For The Birds. The large decrease in its workforce means there will be fewer projects being worked on at Pixar and I doubt the studio will want to abruptly shift employees from the films they are currently working on to the shorts and TV specials that Pixar Canada had been working on. However, with the studio’s next feature film, Inside Out, not arriving in theaters until 2015, there will be a number of people who usually work on animation and technical aspects of films, who will now have an opening in their workload. In any case, after next year that group will be working on Inside Out and unless the studio adds to its numbers next year, there will be fewer employees focused on shorts.
Pixar Canada’s domain, pixarcanada.com, now points to Pixar’s official website. It does not get any more official than that. The Canada branch was packed with incredibly talented individuals – I dare you to watch PartySaurus Rex and not be impressed by the visuals, which are arguably better than much of what we saw in the any of the Toy Story feature films. I hope those who lost their jobs will land on their feet at another studio, or even at Pixar in Emeryville. It is never easy to lose a job and I wish all those who have been affected the very best.