Disney Begins Firing People Responsible For Recent Flops

Disney has fired a number of high level executives from Pixar, including two of the creators behind the flop Lightyear.

By Douglas Helm | Published

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If you work there, Disney might not be the happiest place on Earth after all. The House of Mouse is making cuts from Pixar Animation Studios, eliminating 75 positions, including two executives responsible for the recent flop Lightyear. According to Reuters, this is one of the most significant Pixar job cuts in a decade.

Lightyear director Angus MacLane and producer Galyn Susman are the two executives that were axed by Disney. Along with directing Lightyear, MacLane was an animator who worked on the highly acclaimed films Toy Story 4 and Coco in a senior creative team position. Susman has been with Pixar since 1995’s Toy Story and is also known for being the woman who saved Toy Story 2.

A Pixar staff member accidentally deleted the files for the entirety of Toy Story 2 late into production, and Susman was able to save the day since she had the files stored away on her home computer. While Toy Story 2 was eventually scrapped and entirely remade in the final hours leading up to its release date, it’s still a cool story from Pixar history. Along with Susman and MacLane, Michael Agulnek, Pixar’s vice president of worldwide publicity since 2015, was also amongst the Disney cuts.

While Lightyear was undoubtedly a financial letdown, it is surprising that Disney is cutting these creative forces, especially considering their earlier contributions to the company. At this time, the execs have yet to comment publicly on their firings. While Pixar has a relatively small workforce (compared it its parent company, at least) of 1,200 workers, 75 layoffs is a fairly big chunk.

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The financial letdown of Disney’s Lightyear can’t be entirely placed on MacLane and Susman either, considering the film wasn’t able to be screened in a number of countries. 14 Middle Eastern and Asian companies blocked the film from being screened due to the film depicting a same-sex relationship. Being barred from these markets undoubtedly affected the film’s box office take.

Disney first acquired Pixar in 2006, which would prove to be a financially and commercially smart move. Box office giants and beloved films such as Cars, Ratatouille, Wall-E, Up, and Toy Story 3 would be released in the following years. Pixar wouldn’t do a major job cut until 2013 when the release of the 2015 film The Good Dinosaur was delayed.

Disney would lay off 30 employees in 2013, including The Good Dinosaur‘s director Bob Peterson. Pixar will be looking to bounce back from the failure of Lightyear this summer when the studio releases Elemental on June 16. Elemental follows two anthropomorphic elements made from the fire and water elements who fall in love despite the fact they can’t touch.

Additionally, Disney has the films Elio and Inside Out 2 planned for 2024 and beyond under the Pixar banner. Walt Disney Animation Studios has the film Wish planned for November of this year. Stay tuned for more news about these lay-offs and other projects from the company.