Disney / Pixar: According to The Hollywood Reporter, Pixar Animation Studios said Thursday that it has broken off its talks with the Walt Disney Co. and will not extend its distribution agreement with the studio once it expires in 2005 after the completion of two more films.
The move could have a dramatic impact on Disney's standing as the industry's leading distributor of animated films. It is sure to set off a fierce competition among its rival studios, all eager to distribute Pixar's lucrative product. And it provides Roy E. Disney, who recently resigned as vice chairman of the Disney board of directors, with further ammunition in his campaign against Disney chairman and CEO Michael Eisner. In announcing an end to the negotiations, Pixar chairman Steve Jobs said:
"After 10 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." In a statement, Eisner wished Jobs and John Lassiter, Pixar's creative head, "much success in the future," adding, "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."