Pixar pinched in 4th quarter

Ani studio ups 5 exex

Waiting to collect the profits from “A Bug’s Life,” Pixar Animation Studios reported Thursday that fourth-quarter earnings dropped 25% to $1.1 million, with year-end earnings taking an even bigger hit.

The Point Richmond, Calif.-based company additionally announced that it has upped five key executives, including “Toy Story” and “Bug’s” director John Lasseter to executive veep of creative. He was veep of creative for the studio.

Pixar reported fourth-quarter profits of $1.1 million, for the period ended Jan. 2, compared with $4.4 million for the same period in 1997.

Revenues fell to $3.1 million from $7.1 million, reflecting sales from services and tools it provides to makers of television commercials and others in Hollywood. Period also includes a small amount of proceeds from “Toy Story,” its first collaboration with Disney.

Box office earnings from “A Bug’s Life,” Pixar’s co-production with Disney, is not expected to fully impact the company until later this year. Pic has earned $154 million domestically since its Thanksgiving release.

Pixar’s third film, “Toy Story 2,” is skedded for a Thanksgiving release, with its fourth pic planned for summer 2001.

The company also reported year-end profits in 1998 dropped to $7.8 million, compared with $22.2 million for ’97. Revs for 1998, were $14.3 million, down from $34.7 million.

Shares of Pixar lost $1.75 to close at $43.25 before the report’s release.

In addition to Lasseter, Sarah McArthur has been upped to executive veep of production. Prior to joining Pixar in 1997, McArthur was veep of production for Disney Feature Animation.

Darwyn Peachey also has been tapped as an executive veep of production; Greg Brandeau will serve as veep of computer operations; and Sarah Flatley has been upped to veep of finance.

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