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Essay: Explore Pixar's Fascinating History: From Tubby the Tuba to Steve Jobs & Disney

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  • Published: 26 February 2023*
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  • Words: 911 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 4 (approx)
  • Tags: Apple essays Disney essays

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Justin Yongju Kim

Nowadays, many people recognize Pixar as one of the most famous film studio in the world. Pixar has been famous for producing animations with the creative techniques. The related words of Pixar would be large, but majority of people might think of the movie Toy Story, public figure Steve Job, and company Disney. It is not much to say that those three related words play a huge role to narrate the history of Pixar from the begging to the current. Before becoming one of the most leading film studio over the world, several important historic events have occurred in this studio.

The origin of Pixar starts from 1970s, when Alexander Schare, the president of New York Institute of Technology was browsing a person to take in charge of creating an animated film from a sound recording of Tubby the Tuba 1975. Ed Catmull, the computer scientist entered and the team successfully produced video artworks although the original purpose was not made which was making an animated film of Tubby the Tuba. In 1979 the creative mogul George Lucas proposed the team to move to the West Coast as the computer division part of Lucasfilm Ltd, and Catmull and his colleagues agreed. Over the few years, in 1982, the team achieved the innovative work “Genesis Effect” sequence for Star Trek 2. In 1984, the employer of Walt Disney Studios, John Lasseter was invited to do some freelance work with the Graphics Group and after a year, Lasseter was hired full-time as an “interface designer” in the computer division. The computer division completes the Stained Glass Knight sequence that used in the film Young Sherlock Holmes. Along the way, the cofounder and the chairman of Apple Computer Inc has shown the interests towards the group, and in 1986, Steve Jobs paid 10 million dollar to purchases the Computer Division from George Lucas by selling the majority of his Apple stock. and established this group as an independent company with 40 employees. However, there were highs and low from late 1980s to 1991. The cost to keep company working was tremendously high and Jobs even interviewed that “If I knew in 1986 how much it was going to keep Pixar going, I doubt if I would’ve bought the company” from Fortune magazine. Luckily, the crew of Pixar came up with innovative software to create myriad of products. Pixar started to collaborate with Disney on the computer animation production system, CAPS, which paved a way to create revolutionary animated films. In 1986, a short animated film called “Luxo Jr.” was created by the directing of John Lasseter and nominated for an Oscar’s best short film, which might be familiar to the viewers of Pixar movies since it became the mascot of Pixar and appears before the movie starts. In succession to Luxo Jr., Red’s Dream was released in 1987 with RenderMan, the revolutionary graphics program that can create realistic photo images to the animated movies. Based on RederMan, the first computer-generated animation Tin Toy direceted by Lasseter won an Academy Award as Best Animated Short Film in 1988. The CEO of Pixar, Jobs wanted to expand the leading graphics and animation competence with other firms by joining with the San Francisco based Colossal Pictures with the purpose of collaborations and the connection for the television commercials and promotional films. As intended, the ample experience of Colossal in broad cast media and the unique capabilities of Pixar had huge success. Many RederMan products were introduced, and the licensing fees began to pay off and by 1990, Pixar reached revenues around 3.4 million dollars. In 1991, the whole story of Toy Story begins under an agreement with Disney “To make and distribute at least one computer-generated animate movie.” In 1995, with the big name in film entertainment Tom Hanks and Tim Allen for the voice of main characters, Woody and Buzz, Toy Story, the first computer animate film was released and became the highest grossing film of that year, by making 192 million dollars in US and 362 dollars worldwide. Toy Story was rewarded several nominations with Academy Awards and John Lasseter received the academy of motion picture arts and sciences. Literally, Toy Story was a huge success and a turning point to Pixar to announce that it will concentrate on longer format and interactive entertainment rather than producing commercials. Pixar continued to be innovative in computer and graphic technology. In addition, Pixar started the next Disney film, A Bug’s Life. In 1997, Jobs came back to Apple, and not only did jobs bring Apple back to the better condition, but also Pixar went success with A Bug’s Life. When the new film went success again, the Walt Disney Studio and Pixar had a contract to jointly produce five movies over 10 years. By 2000, Pixar moved its new headquarters in Emeryville, California and have produced many famous animate films. In 2006, the Walt Disney Company announced the acquirement of Pixar Animation Studios for 7.4 billion dollars in a stock deal that gives Steve Jobs to become a nondependent director at Disney as well as its largest individual shareholder, who still can play a powerful role in Hollywood. Furthermore, as part of the deal, John Lasseter became Chief Creative Officer of both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, at the same time the Principal Creative Adviser at Walt Disney Imagineering, that designs and builds the theme parks of Disney. Catmull became the president of both Pixar and Walt Disney Studios who reports to the Chairman of Walt Disney Studios, Iger and Dick Cook.  

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