Walt Disney’s Pixar Animation Eliminates 75 Positions

(L-R) Actors Mamoudou Athie, Leah Lewis, Pixar CCO Pete Docter, producer Denise Ream, director Peter Sohn, actors Vincent Lacoste, Adele Exarchopoulos, and a guest attend the photocall for Pixar's “Elemental” during the 76th annual Cannes Film Festival, in Cannes, France, 26 May 2023. (EPA)
(L-R) Actors Mamoudou Athie, Leah Lewis, Pixar CCO Pete Docter, producer Denise Ream, director Peter Sohn, actors Vincent Lacoste, Adele Exarchopoulos, and a guest attend the photocall for Pixar's “Elemental” during the 76th annual Cannes Film Festival, in Cannes, France, 26 May 2023. (EPA)
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Walt Disney’s Pixar Animation Eliminates 75 Positions

(L-R) Actors Mamoudou Athie, Leah Lewis, Pixar CCO Pete Docter, producer Denise Ream, director Peter Sohn, actors Vincent Lacoste, Adele Exarchopoulos, and a guest attend the photocall for Pixar's “Elemental” during the 76th annual Cannes Film Festival, in Cannes, France, 26 May 2023. (EPA)
(L-R) Actors Mamoudou Athie, Leah Lewis, Pixar CCO Pete Docter, producer Denise Ream, director Peter Sohn, actors Vincent Lacoste, Adele Exarchopoulos, and a guest attend the photocall for Pixar's “Elemental” during the 76th annual Cannes Film Festival, in Cannes, France, 26 May 2023. (EPA)

Walt Disney's Pixar Animation Studios has eliminated 75 positions including those of two executives behind box office disappointment “Lightyear,” sources said on Saturday, the first significant job cuts at the studio in a decade.

The cuts included "Lightyear" director Angus MacLane, a 26-year animator who was part of the senior creative team on such acclaimed films as “Toy Story 4” and “Coco.” Galyn Susman, producer of "Lightyear," also departed. Susman had been at Pixar since the release of the original “Toy Story” movie in 1995.

MacLane and Susman could not be reached for comment.

The cuts, which took place May 23, are part of Walt Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger’s previously announced plan to eliminate 7,000 jobs and slash $5.5 billion in costs. That restructuring combined the film and television groups into a single Disney Entertainment unit and eliminated a division charged with distribution.

The layoffs at Pixar are significant because the studio is a creative force generating franchises and characters that drive revenue across Disney.

Pixar is famous for cinematic franchises including “Toy Story,” “The Incredibles” and “Cars.” But “Lightyear,” released a year ago with a reported budget of $200 million, brought in a modest $226.7 million in worldwide ticket sales and received a mixed critical reception.



R.E.M. Delivers Surprise Performance at Songwriting Gala 

Rock band R.E.M Peter Buck, Mike Mills, Michael Stipe and Bill Berry attend the 2024 Songwriters Hall of Fame Inductions and gala in New York City, US, June 13, 2024. (Reuters)
Rock band R.E.M Peter Buck, Mike Mills, Michael Stipe and Bill Berry attend the 2024 Songwriters Hall of Fame Inductions and gala in New York City, US, June 13, 2024. (Reuters)
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R.E.M. Delivers Surprise Performance at Songwriting Gala 

Rock band R.E.M Peter Buck, Mike Mills, Michael Stipe and Bill Berry attend the 2024 Songwriters Hall of Fame Inductions and gala in New York City, US, June 13, 2024. (Reuters)
Rock band R.E.M Peter Buck, Mike Mills, Michael Stipe and Bill Berry attend the 2024 Songwriters Hall of Fame Inductions and gala in New York City, US, June 13, 2024. (Reuters)

R.E.M. performed onstage together for the first time in well over a decade Thursday, reuniting to play their classic "Losing My Religion" as they were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Michael Stipe, Peter Buck and Mike Mills broke up in 2011, and the last time all four members played onstage together -- Bill Berry left in 1997 -- was in 2007.

But entrance into the who's who of music that is the prestigious songwriting pantheon got the band back together.

"Songwriting is the very foundation of why we came together in the first place," lead vocalist Michael Stipe told AFP. "We're really proud."

The band was inducted by Jason Isbell, who performed a cover of R.E.M's "It's The End of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" at the event.

"R.E.M. was greater than the sum of its parts. R.E.M. moved like a single instrument," Isbell said.

The Songwriters Hall of Fame celebrates its inductees with a festive dinner and intimate concert instead of a televised event.

Kevin Bacon and his brother Michael -- the duo known as The Bacon Brothers -- opened the show with a foot-stomping rendition of "Footloose," the Oscar-nominated title track of the hit 1984 film of the same name.

Bacon starred in the movie -- but Dean Pitchford wrote it and much of its music, and was among the elite group inducted Thursday.

The writer of many hit films and musical tracks, Pitchford thanked the adoring audience "for hearing all these years, and above all, thank you for listening to me."

Trey Anastasio of Phish inducted Steely Dan, while chairman of the Songwriters Hall of Fame Nile Rodgers -- the beloved co-founder of Chic -- bestowed SZA with a special award for songwriters "at an apex in their careers."

It's "just beyond all of my wildest dreams," SZA said, before performing an acoustic rendition of "Snooze."

Rodgers took his moment onstage to emphasize that "there would be no music industry if there were no songs," specifically calling out streaming platform Spotify to "acknowledge and make a point of songwriters being your priority."

- Hip hop, country, and Oscar royalty -

None other than Missy Elliott had the crowd on its feet as she inducted Timbaland into the coveted class.

"In hip hop, there was certain ways that hip hop music sounds -- Timbaland... literally changed the cadence," she said, adding that the producer, rapper and singer whose hits include "Give It To Me" was a master at marrying sensibilities of rap and R&B.

"Thank you for giving me a seat at the table," Timbaland said in a lengthy acceptance speech, before conducting a house band through a medley of his hits and those he produced for the likes of Elliott, Justin Timberlake and Beyonce.

Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban performed in honor of Hillary Lindsey, a Nashville songwriting star who's written for artists including Lady Gaga, Bon Jovi, Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill and Shakira.

And Diane Warren -- the songwriter who's earned 15 Oscar nominations, including for "Because You Loved Me" performed by Celine Dion and Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" -- received the night's highest honor, the Johnny Mercer award.

She, like all of the inductees, said being honored by her peers was particularly special.

"It's songwriters -- what's cooler than that?" she said.