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Pixar Ends Disney Talks

29 Jan, 2004 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Pixar Animation Studios says it has halted re-negotiations with The Walt Disney Co. of their feature film agreement.

The 13-year-old pact between the two companies has seen the release of five wildly successful animated feature films and subsequent record setting home video releases, including Toy Story, Toy Story 2, A Bug's Life, Monster's Inc., and Finding Nemo.

“After ten months of trying to strike a deal with Disney, we're moving on,” said Pixar CEO Steve Jobs. “We've had a great run together - one of the most successful in Hollywood history - and it's a shame that Disney won't be participating in Pixar's future successes.”

Disney chairman and CEO Michael Eisner, who called the relationship “a fantastic partnership,” said Pixar had “understandably … chosen to go its own way to grow as an independent company.”

Burbank, Calif.-based Disney, which had been in talks with Pixar for some time, rejected the Emeryville, Calif.-based company's final offer because it would have eliminated “hundreds of millions of dollars” it is already entitled to in the current agreement, according to Tom Staggs, Disney senior executive VP and CFO.

That deal calls for the delivery of two additional animated features, The Incrediblesthis year and Cars in 2005.

In a related matter, former Disney board members Roy Disney and Stanley Gold, who have publicly questioned Eisner's leadership, issued a statement decrying the loss of Pixar.

“Pixar has hit five grand slam home runs in five times at bat for Disney,” said the statement. “…The loss of this relationship … will result in the loss of long-term value for the company and its shareholders.”

A Buena Vista Home Entertainment spokesman had no comment for this story.

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