Circle 7 Animation
|Predecessor(s)||Walt Disney Feature Animation Florida|
|Defunct||May 26, 2006|
|Headquarters||Glendale, CA, US|
|Key people||Andrew Millstein|
|Parent||Walt Disney Feature Animation
(Walt Disney Studios)
Circle 7 Animation, or Disney Circle 7 Animation, was a short-lived division of Walt Disney Feature Animation specializing in computer generated imagery (CGI) animation and was originally going to work on making sequels to the Disney-owned Pixar properties, leading rivals and animators to derisively nickname the division "Pixaren't". The company released no movies during its existence.
Pixar and Disney originally had a seven film distribution agreement that gave Disney full ownership of Pixar's feature films and characters, as well as sequel rights. With the success of Toy Story 2 in 1999, then-Disney CEO Michael Eisner and then-Pixar owner Steve Jobs began to disagree on how Pixar should be run and the terms of a continued relationship. Eisner claimed that Toy Story 2, as it was a sequel, did not count towards the "original" film count of the agreement, though Jobs disagreed. Jobs announced in January 2004 — after 10 months of negotiations — that Pixar would not renew their agreement with Disney and would seek out other distributors for releases starting in 2006. Jobs wanted Pixar to receive a majority of the profits that their films made (giving Disney the standard 10% distribution fee) as well as full ownership of any future films and characters that the studio would create post-Cars. Eisner found these terms unacceptable.
In 2004, Disney Circle 7 Animation was formed as a CG animation studio to create sequels to the Disney-owned Pixar properties, and the studio began to hire staff shortly after. It was seen as a bargaining chip by people within Pixar and Disney, but also as a back up plan by Eisner in the event that negotiations fell through. The first (and only) projects that the studio worked on were early drafts of Toy Story 3, Monsters, Inc. 2, and Finding Nemo 2.
In late January 2006, new Disney CEO Bob Iger and Jobs agreed to a deal that would see Disney purchase Pixar, with Pixar's leadership taking control of Disney's animation group with Pixar taking over sequel production with the Toy Story creator already having an idea for the third movie and the Pixar crew not looking at the C7 scripts. On May 26, 2006, Disney officially closed this division, transferring about 80% of the studios employees to Walt Disney Feature Animation.
- "Disney Closes Unit Devoted to Pixar Sequels". Los Angeles Times. March 21, 2006. Retrieved October 30, 2011. "Thirty-two employees, or nearly 20% of the 168 artists, production managers and support staff, were told they would lose their jobs effective May 26."
- Eller, Claudia; Richard Verrier (March 16, 2005). "Disney Plans Life After Pixar With Sequel Unit". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
- Daly, Steve (Jun 16, 2006). "Woody: The Untold Story". Entertainment Weekly Magazine. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
- Hill, Jim (August 7, 2005). "The Skinny on Circle Seven". Retrieved March 8, 2011.
- Armstrong, Josh (March 5, 2012). "Bob Hilgenberg and Rob Muir on the Rise and Fall of Disney’s Circle 7 Animation". Retrieved March 27, 2012.
- "Pixar dumps Disney". CNN Money. January 30, 2004. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
- Eller, Claudia (January 26, 2006). "Deal Ends Quarrel Over Pixar Sequels". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 February 2013.