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Creator: PIXAR

"Story is king."
Pixar company motto

Once upon a time, George Lucas used some of his money to form a new division at Lucasarts known as "Graphics Group". The company originally did this and that for a while, most notably the Genesis planet simulation from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and the stained-glass knight from Young Sherlock Holmes. Working there was one John Lasseter, who created a CGI short entitled The Adventures of Andre and Wally B in his downtime, with the assistance of computer genius Ed Catmull.

Seeking money for his divorce costs (and also because of the failure known as Howard the Duck), Lucas eventually sold it to Steve Jobs for ten million dollars. The company was named Pixar after their first product, a video rendering computer for medical use. Though it didn't sell very well, Steve Jobs continued to pour money into it, and Pixar repurposed itself as a firm creating computer-animated commercials for companies such as Listerine Mouthwash and Lifesavers candies.

At the same time, John Lasseter continued to use CGI to make short films and showed them around at conventions, specifically the computer-graphics convention SIGGRAPH. While other people were showing landscapes and technical demos, Lasseter's short Luxo Jr. was a masterpiece in storytelling that established several new CGI tricks and demonstrated the narrative ability of the art. Pixar's subsequent shorts secured their status as the leader in computer animation.

In short order, Pixar moved away from medical imaging, instead continuing to refine their RenderMan digital rendering software while making commercials even as they set out to accomplish a very lofty goal — to make the first ever feature-length all-CGI film. The rest is history: Pixar signs a distribution deal with Disney, Pixar makes a lot of hits, Pixar and Disney boss Michael Eisner have issues, Disney gets a new boss (whose wife was also Steve Jobs' wife's roommate in college) , Pixar and Disney kiss and make up, Disney buys Pixar for more than seven billion dollars (for scale, when they bought the entire Marvel empire it cost four billion), making Jobs' ten-million-dollar purchase a real steal considering the purchase made him a major shareholder in Disney, and all is well.

In mid-July 2014, technology news website Pando Tech revealed that PIXAR, as well as Disney Animation Studios, LucasFilm, Ltd. and even rival studios DreamWorks Animation were involved in a pact in which they fixed the salaries of their employees.

When Pixar makes a movie, more often than not, it will be well done at worst. 12 out of the 14 films released so far (Cars 2 and Monsters University being the exceptions) have been nominated for at least one Oscar; in 2010, Up became the second animated film (and first CGI film) to be nominated for Best Picture, and the next year, Toy Story 3 became the third animated (and second CGI film) to get that nomination. Only one of the studio's films (Cars 2) has really failed critically; on Rotten Tomatoes, the first two Toy Story films have perfect scores (the third has a 99% rating, tying it with Finding Nemo for second place) and their fifth-lowest rated movie (A Bug's Life) has a 92% rating. Many of their films sit on the Internet Movie Database's "top 250 films" list, and Pixar is usually topping that site's "50 best animated films" list (WALL•E, their highest-rated film on the site, currently has a score of 8.5/10). Nearly all of their films take their subjects and turn them on their heads (friendly monsters who only scare for their day jobs, race cars who learn to take it slow and that there's more to life than winning, robots who teach humans how to feel emotions again, etc.) and in doing so pack them full of humor (including jokes that go way over the heads of kids) and drama.

Of course, if you think they're not business-minded, keep in mind that their films have never failed financially, either. Out of their films, only three (Toy Story, A Bug's Life and Cars 2) have failed to break the $200 million dollar mark in the US, and none of them failed to break the $200 million mark in foreign box office take; the studio's highest-grossing film, Toy Story 3 made over a billion dollars worldwide (becoming the highest-grossing animated film of all time and the first animated film to earn a billion). The average domestic box office take of a Pixar film is around $250 million, and all of their films have made over six billion dollars in combined domestic and foreign box office take. Also worth noting: every single Pixar film has opened at the #1 spot in the weekend box office. Sans Brave (while still a respectable #13), all of Pixar's films are among the top ten highest-grossing films of the year they've been released.

Lest you think that they're just a bunch of artists, though, you should know that their first Academy Award wasn't for a movie — it was for PhotoRealistic RenderMan, the software that they make and license to other filmmakers that fuels an innumerable amount of CG in films. It was the first Academy Award given out for a piece of software.

They also seem to be a very personal and humble company:

Pixar itself is located in Emeryville, California on a huge campus of the type more commonly associated with tech companies in nearby Silicon Valley— complete with a high-quality cafeteria (with dedicated chef), an exercise facility, a soccer field, and hallways lined with concept art, employee projects, and life-size statues of Pixar characters (including a 2-story-tall Luxo lamp). The best part: it is possible (though difficult) to get tours.

Pixar's filmography

For a list of the studio's shorts, go here.

There is an Xbox 360 Kinect video game featuring characters from The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, Up, and the Toy Story franchise called Kinect Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure.

To get a little information about the people behind the 'toons, go here.

There's also this, if you want to know everything about Pixar's early history.

Tropes associated with Pixar include:


AvatarAcademy Award for Best Animated FeatureSpirited Away
Disney Animated CanonFilmAustralian Movies
Snow White and the Seven DwarfsCreator/ABC FamilyPixar Shorts
Hollywood PicturesProducersIndustrial Light and Magic

alternative title(s): Pixar
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