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Thursday
Dec042008

Pixar's Toy Story Deal, 1991

One of the challenges I had in writing the book was getting my hands on a copy of Pixar's 1991 three-film contract with Disney, the one that would launch Pixar into feature animation with Toy Story.

The company, understandably, doesn't make its contracts available to reporters. I knew Pixar had to file the contract with the Securities and Exchange Commission when filing for its IPO in '95 -- but the copy available to the public had all the interesting parts whited out.

After a long dialogue with the staff of the SEC, I was able to obtain the original, uncensored agreement, along with several later agreements that Pixar and Disney signed to handle the cost overruns on Toy Story

The deal was reputed to be pretty one-sided, as one would expect in any deal between Michael Eisner's Disney and a small, cash-strapped company. I didn't appreciate just how one-sided, however, until I read it. (I discuss it on pp. 122-23 of the book.)

The text might be more interesting to an entertainment lawyer than anyone else, but here it is. Material within the handwritten brackets was censored from the public version by Pixar's IPO team -- sometimes to hide real secrets, other times for no apparent reason.

Walt Disney Pictures - Pixar development and production contract (PDF, 1.1 mb)