Pixar Animation Studios, or simply Pixar (/ˈpɪksɑr/), is an American computer animation film studio based in Emeryville, California. The studio is best known for its CGI-animated feature films created with PhotoRealistic RenderMan, its own implementation of the industry-standard RenderMan image-rendering application programming interface used to generate high-quality images. Pixar began in 1979 as the Graphics Group, part of the computer division of Lucasfilm before its spin-out as a corporation in 1986 with funding by Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs, who became its majority shareholder. The Walt Disney Company bought Pixar in 2006 at a valuation of $7.4 billion, a transaction which made Jobs Disney's largest shareholder.
Luxo Jr., a character from an early Pixar film, is the mascot of the studio.
Pixar has produced fourteen feature films, beginning with Toy Story (1995) and its most recent Monsters University (2013). All of the films have received both critical and financial success, with the notable exception being Cars 2 (2011), which (while commercially successful) received substantially less praise than Pixar's other productions. All fourteen films have debuted with CinemaScore ratings of at least "A-", indicating a positive reception with audiences. The studio has also produced several short films. As of December 2013, its feature films have made over $8.5 billion worldwide, with an average worldwide gross of $607 million/film. Both Finding Nemo (2003) and Toy Story 3 (2010) are among the 50 highest-grossing films of all time and all of Pixar's films are among the 50 highest-grossing animated films, with the latter being the 2nd all-time highest, just behind Disney's Frozen, grossing over $1 billion worldwide.
The studio has earned 27 Academy Awards, seven Golden Globe Awards, and eleven Grammy Awards, among many other awards and acknowledgments. Since the award's inauguration in 2001, most of Pixar's films have been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, with seven winning; this includes both Finding Nemo and Toy Story 3, along with The Incredibles (2004), Ratatouille (2007), WALL-E (2008), Up (2009), and Brave (2012). Monsters, Inc. (2001) and Cars (2006) are the only two that were just nominated for that award. Up and Toy Story 3 were also the second and third animated films to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture (the first being Beauty and the Beast). On September 6, 2009, executives John Lasseter, Brad Bird, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton, and Lee Unkrich were presented with the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement by the Biennale Venice Film Festival. The award was presented by Lucasfilm founder George Lucas.