After Lightyear proved to be a massive flop for Pixar, Disney is officially firing much of Pixar’s office, including Lightyear’s director. Lightyear is a spin-off of the Toy Story franchise and follows the adventures of the cosmic adventurer Buzz Lightyear. On a budget of $200 million, Lightyear brought in just over $225 million, proving to be a serious flop for Disney, given the high hopes for the project. With such high expectations for success, Lightyear failing to meet expectations has convinced Disney to let go of some longtime employees.
Lightyear director Angus MacLane has officially been fired, along with Michael Agulnek, the Vice President of Worldwide Publicity at Pixar. Disney also fired producer Galyn Susman, who famously saved Toy Story 2 from destruction when the entire film was mistakenly deleted. MacLane is the most shocking exit, as the director is only 24 years old and has already worked his way from animator to blockbuster director.
Lightyear wasn’t the start of Disney’s problems. Disney CEO Bob Iger has been open about the fact that Disney has been suffering from financial problems since Bob Chapek took over as CEO. With Disney+ not serving as the financial boon that Disney hoped it would be, the company has been in a bad spot. After all, it invested some considerable resources into the success of Disney+. Disney even went so far as to direct Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm to put together shows to run throughout the year on Disney+.
With the future of streaming in serious danger, Disney turned to its theatrical side in the hopes of producing greater revenue. Unfortunately, the twin flops of Strange World and Lightyear only escalated Disney’s struggles. The issue is hardly because of any loss in audience interest, as fellow animated feature The Super Mario Bros. Movie stunned Disney by putting together over $1 billion at the box office. Strange World at least could blame its failure on poor marketing and its status as a new IP, but Lightyear is a Pixar-led project with an established IP and no such excuses.
In that light, it’s not a surprise that Disney is starting to cut anyone even partly responsible for Lightyear’s end result. With Toy Story 5 on the horizon, the company needs to ensure that it can get Pixar back on track before its financial woes worsen. If that means clearing house, Disney is more than willing to do it. Unfortunately for MacLane and the other Pixar employees, that means Lightyear and Disney+ caused some pink slips.