It's impossible to avoid Disney's (NYSE: DIS ) Pixar--whether you're seeing their products on store shelves, going to the movies or listening to their gorgeous scores. Most of us probably have our favorite Pixar movies, but just like the Easter Eggs that tie their movies together they hide throughout their movies (such as Monster's Boo having a Finding Nemo fish toy and Toy Story 2's Jessie doll), is there more to the company than meets the eye?
Nemo is a big fish in a big ocean
Finding Nemo, Pixar's 5th movie, tells the story of a clown fish named Marlin who's raising his son Nemo alone in an ocean he lives in fear of. The focus of the story is Marlin trying to find his son Nemo, but he also finds something else: a lot of cash. This 2003 masterpiece broke the record of most DVD's sold, selling more than 40 million copies!
Finding Nemo drowned the previous record holder, DreamWorks Animation's Shrek, which sold 5.5 million.To put this in perspective, for every 1 DVD that Shrek sold after its release in 2001, Finding Nemo sold more than 7. This isn't the only way in which Pixar waterlogged DreamWorks Animation--at the box office, Finding Nemo grossed nearly $937 million. This is almost twice as much as the $484 million grossed by Shrek.
Pixar has a good luck charm
Disney's Pixar, being an animation studio, relies heavily on talented voices to help bring their characters to life. Pixar films have stared many big name actors, such as Tom Hanks, Billy Crystal and Aubrey Plaza. However, for all of these actor's clout, none of them mean as much to Pixar as John Ratzenburger.
Ratzenburger is considered by Pixar to be the studio's good luck charm. He has used his talent to give at least one Pixar character in each of the 14 movies they have produced thus far a voice. Some of his characters include Hamm the piggy bank in each Toy Story movie, P.T. Flea in A Bug's Life, The Abdominal Snowman in Monsters Inc/Monsters University, and John from Wall-E. Among all the characters he has voiced, his favorite is P.T. Flea because, "in real life I always get a kick out of those kinds of characters, people who just go into a rage for no explicable reason. He was always on edge. His blood pressure was always way over the top, and everything that he did was done in a panicked state. So it was a lot of fun to play him".
Pixar took the bite out of Apple
When you think of Apple and Steve Jobs together, it's not hard to imagine the immense fortune that Jobs made from his company. At the time of his death in 2011, Jobs' personal net worth was estimated by Bloomberg News to be around $6.7 billion. Contrary to what you may think, the bulk of his wealth did not come from Apple, but rather from Disney's Pixar Animation Studios.
According to one source, his 5.5 million shares of Apple stock was worth approximately $2.1 billion at the time of his death. This paled in compression to the $4.4 billion that Jobs' 7.4% stake in Disney, obtained as a result of the company's stock-based acquisition of Pixar in 2006, netted him. On top of this, the Jobs family earned over $240 million through Disney dividends from 2006 to the time of his death.
As Disney's Pixar has hidden many Easter Eggs in their films over the years, it shouldn't be surprising to find some real world Easter Eggs about the company. Irrespective of Pixar's future and its relevance to Disney, it is undeniable that the company has an interesting past. As time presses forward, it's also likely that more fun and interesting things will emerge about this entertainment giant, but no matter what happens and no matter how Disney continues to leverage its market presence, the Foolish investor can take comfort in the amazing past that has made both companies what they are today.
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