Jobs Talks Cars, Pixar’s Future

During Thursday’s investor conference call, Pixar CEO Steve Jobs provided some updates on its 2006 release, Cars, and responded to questions regarding future plans for the Emery, Calif.-based computer animation studio.

"We are on track to finish Cars this October and it’s looking terrific," noted Jobs. Over two-thirds of the animation is now finished. It’s turning out to be even more stunning than we imagined."

Commenting on the visual quality of the next film, Jobs boasted, "Cars is going to be the most detailed computer-animated film ever made. It has a stunning level of modeling and shading in it. It’s rendered with Pixar’s state-of the-art ray tracing to give amazing reflections off the cars and there’s a level of subtlety in the lighting and shadowing throughout the film’ that is simply gorgeous. Of course, all this visual richness is matched by a wonderful story and what we hope will be timeless characters."

Jobs said Pixar plans to announce its next three films beyond Cars before the end of this year. "In addition to Cars, we now have several films in various stages of production and development and our post-Disney pipeline is building very nicely," he remarked. He also noted that the studio’s mysterious 2007 film is well into production and on track to be finished on time. That pic will be completely self-financed and a distributor has yet to be chosen. Pixar hopes to have a distribution partner Iined up by the end of the year.

While Disney, DreamWorks and a number of other major studios are dedicated to releasing two computer-animated features a year, Jobs confirmed that Pixar is focused on delivering one each year, starting in 2006.

When asked how Pixar plans to stay competitive in the crowded marketplace that CG feature animation is becoming, Jobs responded, "If there are three bad films, you might see none of them. If there are three good films, you might see all of them. If we have a competitor that comes out with a good film, as an example Shrek 2 comes out and it does very well, does that hurt The Incredibles? I don’t think so. You could argue that it helps The Incredibles by reminding people how much they love to go see animated films. If Shrek 2 had done terribly, would that have helped The incredibles? I don’t see how. It’s not a zero-sum game as long as the films do not overlap in their distribution windows." Jobs went on to say that Pixar’s real competition is itself and its ability to consistently make films that audiences want to go see and buy on DVD.

Pixar will turn 20 years old this February and as part of the celebration, Jobs said New York’s Museum of Modern art will celebrate with a special exhibit titled "Pixar," featuring art from the studio’s films. The exhibit will run December through February of 2006.