A Wall Street Journal Best Book of the Year
The Pixar Touch is a lively chronicle of Pixar Animation Studios' history and evolution, and the “fraternity of geeks” who shaped it. With the help of animating genius John Lasseter and visionary businessman Steve Jobs, Pixar has become the gold standard of animated filmmaking, beginning with a short special effects shot made at Lucasfilm in 1982 all the way up through the landmark films Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Wall-E, and others. David A. Price goes behind the scenes of the corporate feuds between Lasseter and his former champion, Jeffrey Katzenberg, as well as between Jobs and Michael Eisner. And finally he explores Pixar's complex relationship with the Walt Disney Company as it transformed itself into the $7.4 billion jewel in the Disney crown.
With an Updated Epilogue
For 20 years, Ed Catmull and his crew of computer graphics experts were a money pit, costing the New York Institute of Technology, and later George Lucas, millions of dollars producing cutting edge hardware and short films that impressed the experts, but didn't come close to breaking even. Steve Jobs got it next, and after trying unsuccessfully to sell all or part to Hallmark, Oracle and Microsoft, Jobs was able to take the company public on the strength of its first feature film, 1995's Toy Story. Despite years of negative earnings, Pixar's stock immediately doubled, making Jobs a billion dollars-ten times what he'd then earned from Apple. Over the next 13 years, Pixar went on to create seven more feature films (including Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles and Ratatouille) before Disney-whose own animated movies were becoming something of an embarrassment-bought them at a premium. Most readers won't fully appreciate all the technological talk ("bicubic patches," "bitslice microcode,"), but it's interesting to see all the problems the experts were up against. Unfortunately, the business end-despite the presence of such personalities as Lucas, Roy Disney and Michael Eisner-is presented rather dutifully, but author Price (Love and Hate in Jonestown) shines when recounting the stories behind Pixar's family favorites.