Why is Steve Jobs playing coy with Pixar?

“Coy is rarely a word used to describe Steven Jobs. So it is more than a little surprising that he seems almost uninterested in finding a new partner for his Pixar Animation Studios once its joint venture with Walt Disney ends next year,” Laura M. Holson writes for The New York Times.

“Two months ago, Jobs, who is the chief executive of Pixar, was invited to visit the Culver City, California, headquarters of Sony Pictures Entertainment, but he has yet to make the trip, said a Sony executive apprised of the invitation,” Holson writes. “Jobs regularly swaps telephone calls but little more with Alan Horn, the president of Warner Brothers Entertainment, which has expressed interest in distributing Pixar films. Other studio executives, including those at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, have asked to meet with Jobs recently and been turned down. According to one of those executives who asked not to be named, Jobs told him that ‘he was not ready to talk.'”

Holson writes, “Jobs conceded in an interview two weeks ago that he was moving ahead slowly with potential distributors. ‘We are talking,’ he said, ‘but maybe not as much as they’d like.’ There are two schools of thought among analysts and Hollywood executives as to why Jobs is biding his time.”

Full article here.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Steve Jobs’s Pixar interested in Disney ‘if Michael Eisner is ousted’ – April 09, 2004
Disney CEO Steven P. Jobs? – March 01, 2004
Steve Jobs blasts Disney during Pixar conference call – February 04, 2004
Apple to buy Pixar? – January 30, 2004
Studios suitors ‘falling all over themselves’ to woo Steve Jobs’ Pixar – January 30, 2004
Pixar dumps Disney; Steve Jobs: ‘we’re moving on’ – January 29, 2004
Disney who? Steve Jobs rides a rocket named Pixar – August 08, 2003
Steve Jobs’ Pixar about to put the hurt on Disney – February 04, 2003


  1. Mr Jobs,

    Has a plan; and when he is ready he will tell us what it is.

    So for know, sit back and enjoy the show.

    I think the media is just out of the loop so they print articles that make them sound smart. The fact is very much, very much is going on behind the scene that we the general public will never hear about.


  2. There is still so many months to go. What�s the hurry? Relax! .. you .. you .. analyst!

    It takes roughly three years to create an animated feature film. If Pixar wants to continue to release one film a year (Incredibles 2004, Cars 2005, ? 2006), I would gander that they will need to at least begin pre-production soon. Hence, there is a rush to find a distributing studio unless, as the article hinted, Jobs intends Pixar to fully finance and distribute the 2006 film. In which case, he has plenty of time to find a distributing partner for any post 2006 film.

  3. Or maybe he is just doing what he always does, make everyone else want what he’s got. And make them drool over it and fight each other to get it. He’s probably looking at waiting as a win-win situation. Either he gets a MUCH better deal with Disney (think outing Eisner and Jobs taking over big…it may be a long shot but if anyone can do it, well you know the rest), or wait until the last minute when the other studios are ancy about it so that Pixar can nail them to the wall and get a better deal than anyone currently thinks possible. Look at the deals Jobs has negociated in the past…no one is better under pressure and no one can screw over another company better.

  4. Steve won’t commit with another studio because the best thing for Pixar is to continue the partnership with Disney, but he refuses to deal with Michael Eisner. In terms of popularity in the entertainment industry, Eisner ranks somewhat lower than HIV, and as long as Pixar holds out, shareholder pressure to jettison Eisner will continue to mount.

  5. not everything steve does is automatically gold.

    the truth is, when leaving disney, he automatically said, we know there are lots of distro houses that would love to have pixar.. and now that they’re getting calls, steve’s being dismissive?

    well, not dismissive, just not active.

    oh well..

  6. Pixar doesn’t need a partner. However, if any of their future films fail to generate the kind of box office that has happened up to now (and it’s bound to happen eventually) then they would bare the full cost of such a failure. A partner, such as Disney, helps by sharing in production costs. Distribution of films can cost as much or more then the actual cost of production. Pixar would probably not be as profitable in the long run without a partner. Also, Disney owns all rights to the characters in the Pixar films that have been and will be produced under their partnership.

  7. He is showing the Disney shareholders that he would like to deal with them but can’t while Eisner is there. When/if Eisner is not forced out then he will deal with others. As long as the next feature doesn’t bomb he has plenty of time to play this strategy with little disadvantage.

  8. Micael Eisner screwed the pooch when he blocked Katzenberg, the genius head of animation at Disney, from an eventual path to the throne.

    Thwarted, Katzenberg left to help start Dreamworks. Disney since has been foundering except for a few minor hits ( like Lilo and Stitch), but no blockbusters Except for Pixar..
    Pixar was good.. TOO good. it gave them the power to walk, and the leverage to make Disney have much more to lose if the deal fell apart. So Eisner has lost twice, in his attempt to shore up the animation division.
    And Pixar is VERY good.. I was watching Finding Nemo for the first time the other day, and I was cracking up.. Compare movies like that to junk like The Aristo-Cats. Pixar rules the roost. Even one lukewarm offering can’t tarnish them after so many hits.


  9. ummmm, how about Jobs is busy running Apple and letting Pixar do what it does best? Make films. Like someone asked, why the rush? These Hollywood brokers are so used to people groveling at their feet that I think it’s sort of a shock to them to have someone tell them no.

    Jobs is in the cat bird seat. If the films continue to do well, there will always be a buyer.

  10. Disney is still going to distribute The Incredibles and Cars. Since Pixar does their own everything but distribution and toy making, they dont have to have a partner till late next year. They can continue to make films until the right deal comes along. Plus they probably want to stick with disney (the gold standard in children’s movie distribution) but need to make them sweat a little. How many kids say “lets go to Sonyland, mommy!”

  11. I’d like to see Pixar and DreamWorks SKG work together. Although I doubt that two megalomaniac geniuses like Katzenberg and Jobs would play nice together long enough to get a movie made.

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