Sunday, April 29, 2012

This Day in Pixar History: Pixar Earnings Report

This is the time of year when most public companies release their first quarter earnings reports. As Pixar is owned by The Walt Disney Company the studio no longer has to release these reports. But I thought it would be fun to go back in time to when Pixar was a public company and see how their earnings and stock price did over time. Since Disney will be reporting their earnings within a week or so, I thought now would be a good time for the first of these posts. Then about every 3 months I will have a similar post to correspond to each quarter.

For this first post let's go back 16 years to the spring of 1996. The January through March period was Pixar's first full quarter as a public company. The company had their IPO on November 29, 1995, exactly one week after the theatrical release of Toy Story. The IPO price was $22/share and over the next few months the price went to almost $50 but spent most of the time close to the IPO price.

Revenue for the first quarter of 1996 totaled $8.3 million, an increase of 447% from the first quarter in 1995. The majority of the revenue, $6.5 million, was due to a licensing fee from Silicon Graphics (SGI) for the use of certain Pixar patents covering computer-generated photorealistic images.

Pixar made $911,000 from software licenses, primarily for RenderMan. They made another $785,000 from their animated television commercials. While this was a 49% increase from the previous year, they noted in their earnings report that commercial revenue would likely decrease or be completely eliminated as the studio focused more on animated feature films.

Now, one might think that since Toy Story had been released just a few weeks prior to the beginning of the quarter, and the fact that it was the highest grossing film of 1995 and made over $191 million domestically, that Pixar would show a significant amount of revenue from the film. In fact, total film revenues for the quarter was less than $100,000! According to the original agreement between Pixar and The Walt Disney Company, Disney was able to recoup all marketing and distribution costs before Pixar received any film revenue. According to the earnings report, Pixar expected film revenue to have a significant impact during the remainder of the year.

As for expenses, Pixar spent $1.1 million on R&D, primarily for RenderMan, Marionette and Ringmaster software, and for their interactive CD-ROM products. They also spent $447,000 on sales and marketing, and another $1.2 million on general and administrative (GA) expenses, which is basically salaries and other costs necessary to run the studio like rent, utilities and insurance. But it should be pointed out that GA expenses do NOT include salaries for the employees working on the films. As part of their agreement with Disney, expenses for developing and producing films were all reimbursed by Disney. So the GA expenses here were primarily for management and employees not directly involved in film production, plus the other items listed above.

Even without film revenue, Pixar had net income of $6.3 million or $0.13/share, compared to a loss in the previous year. All in all, not too bad for their first full quarter as a public company, although it should be noted the majority of income for this quarter came from the one-time patent licensing agreement with SGI. Any future film revenue would be dependent on Toy Story international releases and the home video release, which wouldn't occur until the end of 1996. We'll get all the details in about 3 months when I report on their second quarter of 1996 earnings.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Colin Levy Film Screenings in Upcoming Film Festivals (UPDATE)

Colin Levy, a visual effects artist and filmmaker at Pixar, tweeted a couple weeks ago that he had 3 films screening in 2 separate festivals almost simultaneously! The first festival is the National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY). This festival showcases films from directors 22 and younger (Levy is 22). The festival is running from April 26 through the 29 at a number of venues throughout Seattle, Washington.

Levy has 2 films showing at NFFTY. The first film, En Route, was shown last night during the opening night gala. As described on the NFFTY website,
“En Route” traces the life story of a professional pilot, backtracking from the moment of his death through the events and influences that led him there. A slight deviation in course– a fortuitous decision in child’s play– spawns a ripple effect that alters his identity and, ultimately, his fate.
I saw En Route previously and it definitely makes you think about how the smallest decisions can have a dramatic effect on your life.

Levy's second film is an animated short film called Sintel, which is being screened with 7 other shorts on Sunday, April 29, starting at 12pm. The film is described on the website as:
In a medieval fantasy world, a plucky orphan girl finds a companion in an injured baby dragon.  When her new friend is ruthlessly taken away, she embarks on an arduous quest to confront its abductor.  But not everything goes according to plan.
While the multi-day and single-day passes are sold out, it looks like there are still tickets available for individual sessions. Tickets are only $11 so if you are in the Seattle area I highly recommend checking out these works from up and coming filmmakers. More ticket information can be found on the NFFTY website.

Levy will need to immediately leave NFFTY and head to the Newport Beach Film Festival, which is showing a third film by him! The Newport Beach Film Festival also began on the 26 and runs through May 3. The Secret Number is a live-action short film that will be screened with 5 other films in the Short Mind Games session at 8pm on Wednesday, May 2. The website describes The Secret Number as:
A psychiatrist is compelled by his patient, an obsessive mathematician, to consider the existence of a secret integer between three and four.
The festival will be showing films at a number of venues, and is having quite a few special events, parties and seminars with opportunities to meet the directors, writers and producers. Tickets can be purchased for specific events or sessions and, similar to NFFTY, look reasonable - a ticket to the Short Mind Games session is $12. Check out the festival's schedule page for information on sessions and tickets.

UPDATE (4/30/2012)
Colin tweeted this afternoon that Sintel won the Audience Award in the animation category at the NFFTY. Congratulations Colin!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

WALL•E and Brave screening at Hero Complex Film Festival

As reported by fellow Pixar blogger Pixar Post, the Hero Complex Film Festival will be screening WALL•E with special guest Andrew Stanton! As an extra special bonus (if that wasn't enough), it also includes a special preview of Brave!

The Hero Complex Film Festival takes place May 18-21 at the Regal Cinemas at L.A. Live. The screening of WALL•E and Brave will take place on Sunday the 20th at 2pm. I am not familiar with this film festival but it sounds awesome - other films includes Dawn of the Dead (with director Zack Snyder and comic book writer Robert Kirkman), Shaun of the Dead (with director and writer Edgar Wright), A Clockwork Orange (with actor Malcolm McDowell) and Serenity (with actor Nathan Fillion). Plus, on Monday there is a special event with comic writer and producer Stan Lee!

NOTE! The tickets for the festival go on sale TODAY (Thursday, April 26) at 10am PDT!! So if you're in the Los Angeles area and are thinking of attending, I recommend you grab them the second they go on sale - I doubt they will last too long!

For more information on the festival and to get tickets, visit the Hero Complex website.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The History and Future of Hollywood Film Music with Michael Giacchino and Randy Newman

A couple well-known composers to the Pixar world, Michael Giacchino and Randy Newman, will be participating in an event tonight to discuss the future of film music. AirTalk is hosting the event at the Crawford Family Forum in Pasadena, CA, from 7pm to 9pm (PDT). Other guests include David Newman (scores include War of the Roses and Matilda) and Trevor Rabin (The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Armageddon).

The event is sold out, but fortunately AirTalk is providing a live video stream of the event! The video will begin at 6:30 PDT.

Check out the AirTalk website for more information and to view the live video stream.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pixarian Book and Gallery Show: Round Robin 3

Pixarians Daniela Stijleva, Jennifer C. Chang and Katy Wu will be releasing their latest book, Round Robin 3, on May 5. This is the third (and last) book in the series. Each book is filled with 15 illustrations. But the cool thing is each illustration is connected to the illustrations immediately before and after it by a word game. Each artist comes up with a word inspired by the previous word. The last word is associated with the first word to make a chain of 15 2-word combinations (which I'm guessing leads to the name "Round Robin"). The artists create the illustrations based on these word combinations.

They will be celebrating the release of their new book Round Robin 3 with a book signing and gallery show at Rare Device on Saturday, May 5, from 3pm - 6pm. In addition to the book signing, the artists will have an exhibit containing a number of bookplate paintings and gilée prints. The exhibit will run through the month of May, but looking at their previous book releases it sounds like the artwork goes quickly! So if you have a chance, I'd recommend heading over to Rare Device on the 5th, get a copy of the book and meet these awesome artists! Since I'm in Minnesota I unfortunately won't be able to make it. But I did order a copy of their first Round Robin book last night and am really looking forward to receiving it!

Rare Device is located at 600 Divisadero Street in San Francisco. You can get more information (or order your own copy of one of their books, which will be signed by the artists) from the Round Robin website, or from the artists individual websites (I've provided the links above with their names).

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Lee Unkrich Appearing on Pop-Up Magazine Issue #6

Lee Unkrich, the director of Toy Story 3, will be participating in Pop-Up Magazine's Issue #6 on Wednesday, April 25, at the Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco. Now, you may be thinking to yourself, "Wait, participating? I'm confused!" But Pop-Up Magazine is not a written type of production. As described on their website, it is "the world's first live magazine, created for the stage, a screen and a live audience." The show brings together the country's top writers, filmmakers and other artists to discuss a wide range of topics - science, art, nature and literature just to name a few. It is presented in the format of a magazine: short topics first and longer features/stories for the rest of the 90 minute show. After the show, there is time for audience members to mingle with the guests and ask questions.

Unfortunately, the show is sold out. But if you are one of the lucky ones with a ticket, I'd love to hear about the experience!

Friday, April 20, 2012

This Day in Pixar History: Pixar Canada

Two years ago today, Pixar Canada first opened their doors! Announced in 2009, Pixar Canada was formed to create short films and television shows from Pixar's existing library of characters, initially from the Toy Story and Cars universes. The studio is located in Vancouver and it's envisioned it will grow to approximately 100 artists.

Dylan Brown is the creative director for the studio. He is well qualified to lead the studio, having been with Pixar for over 16 years and has worked on A Bug's Life, Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles and Ratatouille. The rest of the executive team consists of Chief Technical Officer Darwyn Peachey and General Manager Amir Nasrabadi.

The first films done by the studio were Air Mater, which was released with the Cars 2 Blu-ray and DVD home videos, and Small Fry, which had its theatrical debut with The Muppets in November, 2011. They have at least 2 other films currently in production.

The studio has an interesting relationship with the main Pixar studio in Emeryville, CA, in terms of film development. If I understand correctly, the film director is always located in Emeryville. Story art and editorial tasks are also performed in Emeryville. Pixar Canada is responsible from layout through animation and final rendering. Post-production is then performed back in Emeryville. I'm guessing there must be a number of video and conference calls between the two studios!

To see an introductory video of the studio, check out the Pixar Canada website! Also, the awesome Pixar Podcast did an episode with Dylan Brown last fall. You can listen to the podcast from either The Pixar Podcast website or subscribe to it in iTunes. The podcast show notes also have a number of images from the studio so take a look!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

35th Worldwide SketchCrawl

The 35th Worldwide SketchCrawl will be happening all across the world this Saturday, April 21. SketchCrawl was started a number of years ago by Enrico Casarosa, Pixar story artist and director of the short film La Luna (which will be making its theatrical debut in front of Brave on June 22 but there are opportunities to see it before then).

I'd love to receive reports from anyone participating in the event! And living in Minnesota, I'd really love to hear of anyone in the Twin Cities taking part. I can't draw to save my life (unless stick figures count, and even those give me problems) but I do like photography and have thought it would be fun to do a "photo crawl", or combine a photo crawl with SketchCrawl.

If you want to plan ahead, the 36th Worldwide SketchCrawl will take place on July 14, 2012!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Chance to See La Luna!

Are you dying to see La Luna? Do you live in or near San Francisco? If so, you have a chance to see it a couple of months before its theatrical release with Brave! It will be showing during the 55th annual San Francisco International Film Festival (SFIFF) that runs from April 19 through May 3. La Luna will be part of their Shanimation (Shorts Animation) category with 8 other short films. The shorts will be screened on Sunday, April 22, Friday, April 27, and Saturday, April 28. In addition, La Luna is up for a Golden Gate Award, which will be announced during the festival.

The festival takes place at a number of venues throughout San Francisco and across the bay in Berkeley. There are a number of special events, such as the opening night and closing night celebrations and parties. Check out the SFIFF website for venues, ticketing info and events. Note, it looks like you must be 21 or older to attend the parties associated with the festival.

Monday, April 16, 2012

This Day in Pixar History: Pete Docter and the Tex Avery Award

2 years ago today, my favorite Pixar director Pete Docter was honored with the Tex Avery Animation Award at the Dallas International Film Festival. This annual award is given to an individual in honor of their lifetime achievement in animation filmmaking. The award is named after the legendary animator, writer and director Fred Avery, better known as Tex Avery. Avery's credits include Warner Brother's Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes series. He created characters such as Daffy Duck, Porky the Pig and Elmer Fudd.

Previous recipients of the Tex Avery award include Brad Bird, Chris Wedge and Henry Selick. This years recipient is the amazing Disney animator Glen Keane (who recently announced his resignation).

I am really looking forward to Pete's next project, the Inside the Human Mind Project. How about you, which upcoming Pixar film are you most excited for?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

This Day in Pixar History: Ollie Johnston (1912 - 2008)

This will be remembered as a sad day across the animation world. Ollie Johnston, the last of Walt Disney's Nine Old Men, passed away on this day in 2008 at the age of 95. Johnston started at The Walt Disney Company in 1935 and worked on such classics as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Bambi, The Jungle Book and The Fox and the Hound. He brought life to such memorable characters as Thumper, Pinocchio, Baloo and Mr. Smee. He was an inspiration and mentor to many animators, not just within Disney but artists at Pixar and throughout the industry. With his long time friend and fellow Disney animator Frank Thomas, they wrote what is considered the bible for animation, Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life. One of Johnston's favorite sayings (as told by Andreas Deja, a leading animator at Disney) was "Don't animate drawings, animate feelings."

Like Walt Disney, Johnston loved steam trains and owned many throughout his life. One of these, a steam locomotive he named "Marie E.", was later sold to John Lasseter, who continues to maintain and operate it. Brad Bird also worked with and admired both Johnston and Thomas, so much so that he gave them both cameo parts in The Iron Giant and The Incredibles.

Related posts:

Friday, April 13, 2012

Why Pixar is the Greatest Place to Work: Reason #1: Annual Chocolate Fest

Today is Pixar's annual chocolate festival! They have chocolate vendors bring in all sorts of chocolate for the employees to try out. How awesome would that be?!

Hopefully some Pixarians will post pictures from the event later today; if so I will post or link to them here.

Update: Pixarian Edwin Fabian has posted a number of pictures from the chocolate fest on Twitter.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

This Day in Pixar History: Double Home Video Release!

A year ago, Disney/Pixar gave us a double bonus! First, they released The Incredibles in a 4 disc, DVD/Blu-ray/Digital Copy combo pack. This was the first time The Incredibles was available on Blu-ray.

Disney/Pixar also re-released Cars in a DVD/Blu-ray combo pack. Of course, one could have waited a few months longer and bought the Cars/Cars 2 super-duper, 11 disc combo pack, but who knew?!

What will be the next Pixar film to be released on Blu-ray? Will it finally be Finding Nemo (which is being re-released to theaters in 3D this September)?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Michael Comet and The Magic of Pixar

If you live near North Central State College in Mansfield, OH, you have the chance to hear from a Pixar animator! Michael Comet will be giving a talk tomorrow, April 12, on what it's like to work at Pixar. Comet has worked on Up and Brave, and prior to coming to Pixar worked at Blue Sky Studios on films such as Robots and Ice Age 2. The talk is at the Kehoe Center from 7:00pm - 8:30pm. For more information, visit the NCSC website.

I'd love to hear from anyone able to attend this event!

Friday, April 6, 2012

National Tartan Day

April 6 is National Tartan Day. First celebrated in 1997, it is a day to honor all things Scottish. With Brave set in Scotland, it's only natural that Pixar would be leading the celebration of this day! To find out more about National Tartan Day (and to find out what exactly a Tartan is), head over to the Disney/Pixar Facebook page created for this day!

Brave opens in theaters on June 22.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Bill Cone exhibit opens at STUDIO Gallery

Long time Pixar character and production designer Bill Cone has a recently opened exhibit showing at the STUDIO Gallery in San Francisco. Titled Recent Landscapes, the exhibit displays artwork inspired by his backpack trips to the Sierra Mountains, plus other locations such as Pt. Reyes and the Grand Canyon. The exhibit opened on April 4th and goes through the 29th. Cone will be present for the opening reception on Saturday, April 7th from 2pm - 6pm. He will also give a talk on Thursday, April 12th from 7pm - 8pm. Check out the STUDIO Gallery website for more information on the exhibit, or visit Cone's blog to view some of the artwork that will be on display.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Brave Blogger Press Event

This is the type of event most bloggers dream about! About two dozen bloggers are now in San Francisco for the next 3 days for a Brave Press Event. The event includes a screening of portions of Brave, a screening of the short film La Luna (which will play before Brave in theaters), meeting with the film makers and a tour of the Pixar Studios. It also includes a screening of the new Disneynature film Chimpanzee and a visit to the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco. To keep up with the event follow your favorite Pixar bloggers on Twitter and their respective websites!

Brave opens in the U.S. on June 22!

UPDATE: Trip reports are starting to show up on Twitter and across blogs. Use the #DisneyPixarEvent hashtag to search for these reports.