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The Age of Pixar

Disney had been riding high on their animated films for a decade.  Some of the greatest and most profitable IPs in Disney’s history up to that point were in the Renaissance.  But as they approached the new millennium there was a bit of a change. 


Disney had grown to accommodate the parents more and more.  Their films were moving away from the childish comedy and trying to be more sophisticated.  They were making movies that they hoped would appeal to children, but entertain the adults, get the awards, sell soundtracks.  They inadvertently opened up a huge piece of the market to other studios by abandoning the cute, quirky comedies of Cinderella, Winnie the Pooh, and Beauty and the Beast.


This gap in the market was filled by a couple of studios, Pixar and Dreamworks.  Pixar by 1999 had a huge hit in Toy Story, a decent follow up with Bug’s Life, and were about to release the mega hit Toy Story 2.  Dreamworks on the other hand was struggling to land a huge hit, but were just a couple of years away from Shrek, Madagascar, and Kung Fu Panda.  Once these two studios got a foot hold in the first decade of the new millennium they would remain as powerhouses. 


Disney would buy Pixar in 2006, but it would still take them a few more years before their own Disney Animated Studios could really compete again.  The Pixar films are not included in Disney Canon even though they are owned by the company.


Dreamworks remains a competitor today which was joined by Illuminations in the year 2010.  Both of these studios, like Pixar, would learn to pump out sequel after sequel creating large cash cow IPs.


The end of the era comes with Tangled where Disney re-integrates IPs into the parks and the box offices start to grow again.  It is a bit fuzzy as always since Bolt and Princess and the Frog are both well loved and made some decent money, but Tangled was the first one to grow the box office over into the 500 million plus.


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