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Is Pixar Poised To End Disney Partnership?

"It doesn't look good," remarked a Disney insider when asked about the prospects of renewing its partnership with Pixar Animation Studios. "It's not a slam dunk, but that doesn't mean it won't work out either," remarked another studio insider. Now THE LOS ANGLES TIMES reports that Disney and Pixar are far apart in their contract negotiations, which Disney co-chairman Michael Eisner would like to conclude by the studio's next board meeting on Sept. 23, 2003.

Feeling confident about its own independent branding potential after the record-breaking summer release of FINDING NEMO (currently at $333.9 million), Pixar chairman Steve Jobs, according to the TIMES, not only wants to relegate Disney to a distribution role for a fee of 10% or less, but also wants Pixar's upcoming THE INCREDIBLES and CARS to be part of this new alliance.

Right now Disney enjoys slightly more than half of the profits as a result of its 50% stake and 12.5% distribution fee.

If Pixar breaks free, likely distribution partners would be Warner Bros., Columbia Pictures or Twentieth Century Fox. The TIMES reports that Pixar is also embarking on its first independent project for 2006 concerning a rat named Ratatouille that inhabits an upscale Paris restaurant, with Oscar winner Jan Pinkava (GERI'S GAME) at the helm.