The many failures of Pixar

written by  Ryan Seamons

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Normally Pixar is thought of as a darling of success. Some of the highlights include:

  • The first computer-animated feature film (Toy Story, 1995) and 22 total feature films

  • $14B in box office receipts including 4 of the top 50 highest-grossing films of all time (Toy Story 3, Finding Dory, Incredibles 2, Toy Story 4)

  • 20 Academy Awards, 8 Golden Globes, and 11 Grammys

The company ended up being bought by Disney in 2006 for $7.4B making Steve Jobs the largest shareholder in Disney at the time.


But rewind a bit and Pixar wasn’t doing so well.

When Ed Catmull first looked for investors he was turned down 45 times.

Before Toy Story and the successful IPO, Jobs had invested $50M of his own money into a company that had no growth and a few interesting but unprofitable short films in nearly 10 years of operations.

Just before Toy Story, Jobs owned the entire company, because he kept needing to put more money in to keep it alive.

It’s a stark reminder that even (or maybe especially) the most successful are often well-acquainted with failure.

Those who succeed are often the ones who simply never give up.

Here’s to the crazy ones.


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About the Author

Ryan Seamons
writes about more human approaches to modern management.

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