Fix it Felix! The Influence of Pixar Animation Studios on Disney’s Animated Feature Films

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


The purpose of this paper is to discuss the influence of Pixar Animation Studios on the work of Disney’s animated films since its acquisition by the Walt Disney Company in 2006, from a film industry studies approach. 
Since the 1980s, a number of global media corporations have assimilated all of the key Hollywood studios (Schatz 45). In fact according to Thomas Schatz, Disney is the ‘only major studio to avoid acquisition by a conglomerate’ (45), by becoming one itself. At present, The Walt Disney Company owns media networks ABC and ESPN, and Marvel Entertainment, Lucas Film and Maker Studios are the latest additions to the Walt Disney Studios banner. In 2006, the studio purchased Pixar Animation Studios for $7.4 billion, a deal that has proven invaluable to the success of Disney’s animated feature films. Prior to the acquisition market research suggested that mothers with children under the age of 12 generally rated Pixar’s brand higher than Disney’s (Price 252). The recent success of Tangled (Greno and Howard, 2010), Wreck-It Ralph (Moore, 2012) and Frozen (Buck and Lee, 2013), measured in terms of box office figures, critical reviews and merchandise sales, demonstrate a renewed trust in the Disney brand. In a recent Variety article Bob Iger partly attributed this success to the purchasing of Pixar (Graser 2014). As chief creative officer for both Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, John Lasseter has been a key figure in the revival of Disney animation. As Chris Pallant suggests, Lasseter wanted to ‘remould Disney into a filmmakers’ studio, with an emphasis on perfection’ (131). My paper will discuss the significance of Disney’s purchase of Pixar as an entertainment franchise, with a focus on merchandise and marketing strategies. 
Graser, Marc. ‘Disney’s Frozen Plans: Theme Parks, Broadway, Videogames and Beyond’. Variety. 5 Feb 2014: <>

Pallant, Chris. Demystifying Disney: A History of Disney Feature Animation. The Continuum International Publishing Group, 2011.

Price, David A. The Pixar Touch: The Making of a Company. Vintage Books, 2009.

Schatz, Thomas. ‘Film Industry Studies and Hollywood History’. Media Industries: History, Theory and Method. Eds. Jennifer Holt and Alisa Perren. Blackwell Publishing Ltd., 2009. 45-56.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventDiscussing Disney - University of Hull, Hull, United Kingdom
Duration: 03 Sept 201404 Sept 2014


ConferenceDiscussing Disney
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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