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Last Updated: Friday, 30 January, 2004, 05:42 GMT
Disney loses top cartoon deal
Finding Nemo
Finding Nemo is nominated for 4 Oscars
Hollywood animator Pixar, the company behind blockbusters such as Finding Nemo and Monsters Inc, is ending its distribution deal with Walt Disney.

Pixar said it had cut off talks to renew its contract with Disney.

Since making Toy Story in 1995, Pixar Animation Studios has created a further four movies for Disney, generating more than $2.5bn at the box office.

Finding Nemo has already made more than $500m in global ticket sales, making it the most successful animated film ever.

Slicing the pie

Profits have so far been divided between the two companies, with Pixar paying Disney a distribution fee.

With the films proving so successful, Pixar argued that it should keep a greater share of the profits and pay a lower distribution fee.

But Disney said that would cost it hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenues.

"After 10 months of trying to strike a deal with Disney, we're moving on," said Pixar chief executive Steve Jobs.

"We've had a great run together - one of the most successful in Hollywood history - and it's a shame that Disney won't be participating in Pixar's future successes," he said.

Pixar said it would complete the two films it is already committed to making with Disney - The Incredibles in 2004 and Cars in 2005.

After that, Pixar said, it "intends to retain full ownership of its future productions".

Disney will retain the rights to distribute Pixar's first seven films, with Pixar continuing to receive its current share of the profits.

Wrangles at Disney

"Although we would have enjoyed continuing our successful collaboration under mutually acceptable terms, Pixar understandably has chosen to go its own way to grow as an independent company," Disney's chief executive, Michael Eisner said in a statement.

Analysts say the announcement comes at a bad time for Mr Eisner.

His long-term strategy for Disney has been heavily criticised by some shareholders, while Roy Disney, the nephew of the company's founder Walt, has been leading a vigorous campaign to have him sacked.

Finding Nemo, the cartoon about a clownfish searching for his missing son, has been nominated for four awards at this year's Oscars, including best animated feature film.

The BBC's Kate Noble
"The existing deal includes two more films which are in production"

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