Most Influential East Bay Company 

Pixar Animation Studios

While in-house animators at Disney have been doing little more than assembly- lining prosaic sequels (Cinderella 2) and reimagined misfires (Treasure Planet), the ceaselessly, unflaggingly more clever and imaginative computer-'toon platoon at Pixar's Emeryville studios has supplied the Mouse House with its biggest hits of the last ten years -- and become a household name in the process. Through its wildly entertaining and visually astonishing movies, the CGI animation studio cofounded in 1986 by Apple's Steve Jobs has single-handedly changed the face of feature animation -- and by extension, Hollywood's ideas about cartoons -- while raising the bar for "children's" movies. The success of Pixar has influenced the decline of hand-drawn animation, influenced pop culture worldwide (The Incredibles was dubbed into more than fifteen languages), and helped to fuel internal turmoil at Disney (including the departure of longtime chairman Michael Eisner), the most recognizable brand-name company in the entire world after Cola-Cola. Locally, Pixar has influenced zoning laws and become a symbol of Emeryville's makeover from industrial wasteland to home of cutting-edge new-media companies. To infinity and beyond, indeed.

Readers' Pick:
Pixar

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