On The Manufactured Rivalry Between Disney And Pixar – Animation Scoop

On The Manufactured Rivalry Between Disney And Pixar

Ever since both animation studios were joined under the same corporate umbrella, there has been a fair degree of rampant speculation over which studio has been the ‘better’ of the two. The existence of a rivalry between the two may be real, but the extent to which it is pedaled borders on the obscene.

In an article for Fast Company entitled Disney And Pixar Fight To Rule The Mouse House, Nicole LaPorte attempts to outline the reasons why the two studios are seemingly in competition with one another for the title of the ‘best’ animation studio. Far from alone in its vaunted quest to analyze the Disney-Pixar relationship, the article nonetheless plays on the notion that both studios are locked in an epic quest to be crowned the king. Disney for it’s part has its heritage and library of films, while Pixar has its technological prowess and string of smash hits.


The success of one relative to the failure of the other has been fodder for discussion ever since Toy Story was first released to cinemas and it became apparent that 3-D CGI was going to become a major force in feature animation. Pixar subsequently soared creatively and financially while Disney’s Renaissance of the 1990s began to cough and splutter. Since the acquisition of Pixar by Disney in 2006, the debate has only grown larger as fans and outsiders kept a close eye on both studios for any signs of favoritism.

There are two major problems with the false belief that Disney and Pixar are ‘competing’ against each other. The first is that they are not, in the strictest sense of the word, in competition against each other. You’ll never see both studios release a film on the same day, and although both are gunning for the same audience, it’s one that is decidedly indiscriminate when it comes to the exact origin of the content it consumes. Secondly, and in a much more stringent sense, both studios are managed financially by the parent corporation. Any perceived competition would be quickly squelched since in the current iteration of the Walt Disney Company, ever division plays nicely in order to support the success of the entire organization.

Such plain and simple facts should put an end to any doubt in the matter, but alas, that is never the case for an entirely separate reason, namely that a rivalry makes for good press. People love to see rivalries and competition between two players, and especially so whenever they themselves have no stake in the eventual outcome. Whether or not Disney and Pixar are actual rivals counts for naught when the illusion of one can be plucked out of thin air and given a degree of validity through the quotation of box office numbers and Rotten Tomato ratings. A rivalry makes for good fodder for many column inches, including LaPorte’s piece and certainly not exempting this one.

Keeping your name in the public’s eye is more important than ever, and given that Pixar’s first flop certainly hasn’t done it any positive favors, a sibling rivalry will have to suffice. It’s just time to admit that it’s a phoney illusion with no real basis in reality.

Charles Kenny

Charles Kenny

Being tall, Irish and a civil engineer by trade, Charles stands out in the animation crowd, hence his position as the Animation Anomaly.
Charles Kenny
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  • An awful lot of this is best ignored. I’m with you 100%: “It’s just time to admit that it’s a phoney illusion with no real basis in reality.”

  • Someone always has to start something.