Everything in Pixar headquarters is designed to promote creativity. But when Disney bought Pixar in 2006, and put Catmull and Lasseter in charge of both companies, Catmull noticed the offices at Disney Animation were starkly different. The Walt Disney Company is also the parent company of ABC News.
“They had cleaned everything out because they wanted to make a good first impression on the new boss that walked in,” he said. “You don't want cleaned-out cubicles and clean things, you want them to be personalized.”
Around the same time, Disney Animation had hit a bit of a slump. Catmull and Lasseter kept the two companies separate, but introduced Disney to a more collaborative, less top-down working process.
The first big hit for the Disney Animation Studios was a hugely popular reworking the story of Rapunzel in 2010’s “Tangled.”
“It was the biggest thing since ‘Lion King,’ so now they had the confidence, and they had also earned the confidence of the marketing people,” Catmull said. “Then we did ‘Wreck-It Ralph,’ which was a big success, and now ‘Frozen,’ which has now become the biggest animated film of all time.”
It’s a new Golden Age of animation in an era that Catmull helped to create, and the results speak for themselves.