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In 1986, Steve Jobs acquired the Lucasfilm Graphics Group — a ragtag collection of computer scientists and artists — for the tiny sum of $5 million. (The original asking price was $15 million.) Rebranded as Pixar, the company?s purpose was ”to design, manufacture, and market high-performance computers and software specifically tailored for state-of-the-art computer graphics.” At first, Pixar struggled as a computer hardware and software company. Even into the early 1990s, Pixar was losing money for Jobs, who considered selling it to such corporations as Hallmark, Oracle, and even Microsoft.
But Jobs ultimately held on to Pixar and guided its transformation into an animation studio — a decision that paid colossal dividends when Pixar was hired by Disney to produce the first feature-length computer-animated film. The result was 1995’s Toy Story, and Pixar’s subsequent success — the studio has grossed $7.2 billion worldwide and earned 40 Oscar nominations — is the stuff of Hollywood legend. Its unbroken string of hits became so valuable to Disney that the media conglomerate bought Pixar in 2006 for a staggering $7.4 billion.
October 11 2011 — 12:00 AM EDT