Pixar Animation Studios, or simply Pixar is an American computer animation film studio based in Emeryville, California. The studio is best known for its CGI-animated feature films created with PhotoRealistic RenderMan, its own implementation of the industry-standard RenderMan image-rendering application programming interface used to generate high-quality images. Pixar began in 1979 as the Graphics Group, part of the computer division of Lucasfilm before it was acquired by Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs in 1986. The Walt Disney Company bought Pixar in 2006 at a valuation of $7.4 billion, which transaction made Jobs Disney’s largest shareholder.
Pixar has produced thirteen feature films, beginning with Toy Story in 1995. It was followed by A Bug’s Life (1998), Toy Story 2 (1999), Monsters, Inc. (2001), Finding Nemo (2003), The Incredibles (2004), Cars (2006), Ratatouille (2007), WALL-E (2008), Up (2009), Toy Story 3 (2010), Cars 2 (2011), and Brave (2012). Twelve of the films have received both critical and financial success, with the notable exception being Cars 2, which, while commercially successful, received substantially less praise than Pixar’s other productions. The studio has also produced several short films. As of February 2012, its feature films have made over $7 billion worldwide, with its $602 million average gross by far the highest of any studio in the industry. Three of Pixar’s films — Finding Nemo, Up, and Toy Story 3 — are among the 50 highest-grossing films of all time, and all of Pixar’s films except Brave are among the 50 highest-grossing animated films with Toy Story 3 being the all-time highest, grossing over $1 billion worldwide.
The studio has earned twenty-six Academy Awards, seven Golden Globe Awards, and three Grammy Awards, among many other awards and acknowledgments. Since the award’s inauguration in 2001, most of Pixar’s films have been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, with six winning: Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, WALL-E, Up and Toy Story 3. Up and Toy Story 3 are two of only three animated films to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. On September 6, 2009, executives John Lasseter, Brad Bird, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton, and Lee Unkrich were presented with the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement by the Biennale Venice Film Festival. The award was presented by Lucasfilm founder George Lucas.