Twenty-five years ago today, Pixar ceased being part of the Lucasfilm empire and became an independent company. The new enterprise, owned mostly by Steve Jobs, was supposed to be in the advanced computer hardware business.
George Lucas knew better. At the beginning of negotiations to sell what was to become Pixar, he warned Jobs: ‘You know, these guys [Ed Catmull and John Lasseter] are hell-bent on animation. If you think you’re going to make products, I don’t think that’s what their idea is.’
It would be nearly a decade until Pixar Inc. became Pixar Animation Studios, known for producing some of the greatest animated films the world has ever seen. And it would take another eleven years after that for the studio to join its longtime partner, The Walt Disney Company.
Pixar publicity told me they won't be releasing an official statement about today's anniversary, but I'm sure everyone at the studio is happy about the occasion, especially those who were that at the beginning.
I recently spoke via email with co-founder Alvy Ray Smith, who left the company in 1991, and he told me that he's "extremely proud" of Pixar and is "astonished to now be saying 'Happy 25th'" to the studio.
Later today, you'll be able to read an exclusive piece written by David A. Price, author of The Pixar Touch, which was named as one of The Wall Street Journal's Best Books of 2008.
In the meantime, enjoy the classic Pixar logo. And, from me, Happy 25th anniversary, Pixar!