(Source: wired.com)          Don’t look for computer-generated Mickey Mouse dolls to show up in future releases from Pixar, the Northern California-based animation studio responsible for Disney’s Toy Story. A deal announced Monday to add three additional features to Pixar’s previous three-picture deal with Disney, will give Pixar a larger stake in the upcoming movies’ profits, but, says CFO Lawrence Levy, Pixar will retain creative control.

The new deal – which also allows Disney to purchase up to 5 percent of Pixar – will allow Pixar to collect half of each film’s proceeds after Disney recoups the marketing and distribution costs. This is a decided improvement over the “about 10 percent” it had formerly been entitled to. Just as important to Levy is the fact that future products of the two studios will be co-branded. “The Pixar name will be out there on an equal basis,” he told Wired News on Wednesday. “We got everything we felt was missing.”

Part of Disney’s interest in extending the relationship is to keep a second stream of movies coming in to supplement its once-a-year schedule. Despite the fact that Pixar now has the tools developed for Toy Story at its fingertips, films of this length and quality still take four years to make. “Neither one of us can make enough films,” Levy says.

Pixar’s trademark style of quirky, fully digital entertainment should be evidenced in Bugs, the first movie to be made under the new relationship and due out at the end of 1998. The film, which involves a colony of ants that enlists a circus group to help defend it against an invasion of villainous grasshoppers, will be “in terms of sensibility like Toy Story,” says Levy. No Jiminy Cricket here.

The advancement of techniques will allow the new film to “kind of begin where Toy Story ended,” in the more complex world of nature and the outdoors. In contrast to that, the mostly indoor sets of Toy Story were “much easier to model,” says Levy.

The two studios are “exploring the possibility of” a straight-to-video Toy Story sequel, Levy says. Official announcements, however, are yet to be made.

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