In his management book "Creativity, Inc.," Catmull revealed that back in 1985, the animation start-up was almost purchased by General Motors, which wanted to buy the company to help develop and design new automobiles. At the time, Pixar wasn't known for its animation -- "Toy Story," the world's first feature-length animated movie, was still 10 years off -- but more for its technology as the computer division of Lucasfilm.
GM had planned to partner with electronics giant Philips to co-purchase Pixar for $15 million, plus an additional $15 million in seed money. Per AutoBlog.com:
Catmull wrote in his book that Pixar, which was in danger of shuttering altogether at the time, was eager for the deal to go through, but for whatever reason, it didn't happen. Luckily for the future animation powerhouse, Apple founder Steve Jobs ended up "swooping in" to save the company, and the rest is cinematic history.
"General Motors was intrigued because we were leading the way in the modeling of objects, which they felt could be used in car design," says Catmull. Philips was interested in the technology behind the Pixar Image Computer, which could read huge amounts of data from imaging machines like CT scanners or MRIs. Those two pieces of technology made Pixar a sweet acquisition target...
Sounds like fodder for a movie. Luckily, Pixar is still with us to make that happen someday.
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