Pixar Animation Studios, or simply Pixar (/ˈpɪksɑr/, stylized PIXAR), is an American computer animation film studio based in Emeryville, California.
The studio is best known for its CGI-animated feature films created with PhotoRealistic RenderMan, its own implementation of the industry-standard RenderMan image-rendering application programming interface used to generate high-quality images.
Pixar began in 1979 as the Graphics Group, part of the computer division of Lucasfilm before its spin-out as a corporation in 1986 with funding by Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs, who became its majority shareholder. The Walt Disney Company bought Pixar in 2006 at a valuation of $7.4 billion, a transaction which made Jobs Disney’s largest shareholder.
“Pixar is seen by a lot of folks as an overnight success, but if you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.”
Pixar has produced fourteen feature films, beginning with Toy Story in 1995. Thirteen of the films have received both critical and financial success, with the notable exception being Cars 2, which, while commercially successful, received substantially less praise than Pixar’s other productions. All fourteen films have debuted with CinemaScore ratings of at least “A-“, indicating a very positive reception with audiences.
As of July 2013, its feature films have made over $8.2 billion worldwide, with an average worldwide gross of $596 million per film. Both Finding Nemo and Toy Story 3 are among the 50 highest-grossing films of all time, and all of Pixar’s films are among the 50 highest-grossing animated films, with Toy Story 3 being the all-time highest, grossing over $1 billion worldwide.
The studio has earned 27 Academy Awards, seven Golden Globe Awards, and eleven Grammy Awards, among many other awards and acknowledgments. Since the award’s inauguration in 2001, most of Pixar’s films have been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, with seven winning: Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, WALL-E, Up, Toy Story 3, and Brave. Up and Toy Story 3 are two of only three animated films to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. On September 6, 2009, executives John Lasseter, Brad Bird, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton, and Lee Unkrich were presented with the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement by the Biennale Venice Film Festival. The award was presented by Lucasfilm founder George Lucas.