Disney is expected to give up its special unit that has been working on 'Toy Story 3.'
Walt Disney Co. may soon own Pixar Animation Studios, but in at least one key area — sequels — the media giant has already ceded control to the company it is buying.
Last year, when Bob Iger took the reins at Disney, he inherited a small animation unit that his studio had created expressly to produce sequels to Pixar hits.
Staffed with artists who had no connection to the original films, the operation — nicknamed Pixaren't — was seen by many in the animation community as Disney overstepping its bounds. As Pixar and Disney weighed whether to extend their long-term distribution deal, some believed Disney was saying, in effect: We can do this without you.
Apparently, Disney can't.
The announcement this week that Disney would buy Pixar for $7.4 billion promised sweeping changes at the Burbank entertainment company, whose entire animation group would soon be handed over to Pixar's creative director, John Lasseter, and Pixar President Ed Catmull.
In remarks made during a Tuesday conference call with analysts, Iger and Pixar Chief Executive Steve Jobs implied what other sources confirmed Wednesday: that Disney's 150-plus-person Pixar sequels unit — which is housed in a Glendale warehouse and is already at work on "Toy Story 3" — will soon be no more.
"We feel very strongly that if the sequels are going to be made, we want the people who were involved in the original films involved in the sequels," Jobs said.
Iger sounded the same note.