As parent company Disney pushes for budget cuts, Pixar Animation Studios is going forward with some previously announced layoffs, primarily impacting staff working on series production for Disney+.

In January we heard that the once untouchable Pixar might be laying off as much as 20% of its workforce of 1,300, following a couple of lackluster movie releases and following wider layoffs at Disney.

Pixar already had a rare round of layoffs last June, with 75 employees let go, and those included two executives responsible for the Toy Story spinoff Lightyear, which failed to garner the usual enthusiasm Pixar releases tend to receive. A month later, the SF Business Times had reported that the company listed a 16,800-square-foot office space, across the street from its main campus in Emeryville, for sublease — it had been up for sublease since last July when the the Business Times reported on it in December.

Today we learn via the Hollywood Reporter that 14%, or around 175 employees, are being let go from the company. "The layoffs are part of Disney chief Bob Iger’s overarching mandate to return to a focus on quality, versus churning out content for streaming which was a priority for his sort-lived successor, Bob Chapek," THR reports.

Pixar will be refocusing on feature films, after several years in which the company was lending its talents to producing streaming series for Disney+ — and apparently all those projects are being canceled with the exception of Win or Lose. The latter is Pixar's first original streaming production, which "follows the intertwined stories of eight different characters as they each prepare for their big championship softball game." SNL alum Will Forte voices the softball coach, and that series is set to premiere later this year on Disney+.

A still from Pixar's 'Win or Lose'

Pixar President Jim Morris sent an email to the entire staff Tuesday morning that was obtained by THR saying, in part, "I have spoken to you many times over the last year about our pending move away from series production for Disney+, the return to our focus on feature films, and the reduction in our team that would accompany that. That day is here, and while it is not coming as a surprise to anyone, it is one of the hardest changes we’ve had to make, as it means we will be parting with a number of talented and dedicated colleagues and friends."

Morris cites "challenges in our industry over the past few years" without explicitly mentioning the pandemic, and he adds, "I give you my deepest thanks, and for those who will be leaving us, I am hopeful that our paths will cross again, both professionally and personally."

The layoffs were all planned to be conducted by 5 pm Tuesday, and Morris said he would have an all-hands meeting at 5 pm via Zoom for all those who remain "to talk more about today’s announcement."

The company that produced massive hits in the last three decades like Toy Story and The Incredibles was adversely impacted both by pandemic shutdowns of movie theaters and by Disney's aggressive move into the streaming wars. The March 6, 2020 release of Onward led to that being one of Pixar's first box office disappointments in many years, with that film quickly released to Disney+, and subsequently three of the studio's big feature projects were released directly to the platform: Soul, Luca, and Turning Red.

The decision not to give those films a theatrical release was reportedly criticized internally at Pixar, and Soul, which won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature, received a belated theatrical release this past January.

Subsequently, Lightyear became a major box office bomb after its theatrical release in 2022 — with Deadline reporting that it had lost $106 million after factoring in the expenses to get it made.

Recently things have looked like they were turning around for Pixar, with Elemental off to an initial slow start last year but ultimately the film earned nearly $500 million globally — which made it Pixar's biggest box office hit since 2017's Coco, per THR. And the studio is expecting this summer's release of Inside Out 2 to boost the company's bottom line as well.

Pixar only existed as an independent studio from its beginnings in 1986 to 1999, when its partnership with Walt Disney Animation began. The company, which was then still being led by Apple CEO Steve Jobs, ultimately was sold to Disney in 2006 for $7.4 billion, in an all-stock transaction.

Disney CEO Bob Iger oversaw that acquisition after becoming CEO in 2005. Iger remains the CEO of the company, though he briefly tried to retire in 2022, only to return after the ouster of his successor Chapek.

Top image: A man rides his bicycle and walks his dog past the entry gates at the headquarters of Pixar Animation Studios in downtown Emeryville, California, with logo visible, June 12, 2018. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)