February 3rd 2016 marked the 30th anniversary of Pixar. In that time, they have released 16 full-length animated films, been nominated for 55 Academy Awards (two of which were for Best Picture) and they have won 15 Oscars including special one that was given to Pixar co-founder, John Lasseter for Toy Story, which pioneered this new era of film.
Oscars aren’t the only awards that Pixar has earned, they have also earned 7 Golden Globes, 11 Grammys and countless other awards. Pixar’s movies so far have made over $9.5 billion worldwide which works out to be about $593 million per film.
Three of Pixar’s 16 films, Finding Nemo (2003), Toy Story 3 (2010) and Inside Out (2015) are on the list for the 50 highest-grossing films of all time.
When Toy Story 3 released in 2010, it earned $1.063 billion in the worldwide box office. It became the highest grossing animated film of all-time but it was surpassed by Disney’s Frozen in 2014 and Minions in 2015.
Pixar dates back to the late 1970’s with the Lucasfilm Computer Graphics Division. But it wasn’t until February 3rd, 1986 that Pixar actually became a company after Steve Jobs purchased the division from George Lucas.
When they started, they had only about 50 or so employees and there was a lot of changes that happened during the making of Toy Story, the film that started it all and would change film forever.
Pixar began as a computer hardware company, with their graphics computer, the Pixar computer. Then they evolved into the Pixar we know today.
Ed Catmull was known for his technical advancement in computer graphics and John Lasseter has a knack for storytelling and animation, it was the perfect recipe to become a feature-length animated film.
With some time and hiring the right people, the beginnings of Toy Story started to take shape in 1991. The first Toy Story draft was written by John Lasseter (Toy Story 1 & 2 & 4, Cars 1 & 2), Peter Docter (Monster Inc., Up, Inside Out) and Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, WALL-E & Finding Dory).
Toy Story took four years to make, which included the one point where production on the film stopped completely. Toy Story would not only be the first full-length computer generated animated film, it would also become a beloved animated film.
Pixar was acquired by Disney on May 5th, 2006 for $7.4 billion. This deal was made by then-new CEO Bob Iger.
If you want more detail about the history of Pixar, I would recommend watching The Pixar Story (2007), which is an excellent documentary that unfolds the history behind pixar, showing both its long term struggles and major successes and includes interviews with the Pixar co-founders, Alvy Ray Smith, Ed Catmull and John Lasseter.
The documentary was written and directed by Leslie Iwerks, who is the granddaughter of Ub Iwerks, the animator and creator of Mickey Mouse and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.
Also The Walt Disney Company released a video, where John Lasseter talks about 30 years of Pixar.
So here’s to the 30th anniversary of Pixar and to many more years of computer animated films by them.