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'Nemo' Orphaned Again: Studios Split

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In one of the biggest Hollywood divorces ever, computer-animator Pixar — the company behind blockbusters such as “Finding Nemo,” “Monsters Inc.” and the “Toy Story” movies — is calling it quits on its partnership deal with the Walt Disney Company, after months of talks failed to yield a contract.

“After 10 months of trying to strike a deal with Disney, we’re moving on,” Pixar chief executive Steve Jobs said in a statement.

The four movies Pixar and Disney have made in tandem since 1995 have generated more than $2.5 billion at the box office, reports Reuters. “Nemo” was last year’s top-grossing movie and the most successful animated picture of all time, having so far earned more than $500 million worldwide.

While profits have been divided 50-50 between the two companies, with Pixar paying Disney a distribution fee, it was said that Pixar was seeking a greater share of the profits and a lower distribution fee.

“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,” added Jobs, 48.

In his own statement, Disney CEO Michael Eisner, who recently took a lot of heat from Walt Disney’s nephew Roy Disney (who resigned from the Disney board after complaining that, among other things, Eisner had not finalized a new deal with Pixar), said: “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.”

Eisner, 61, added that Pixar and Disney would complete two projects already in production: “The Incredibles,” due this year, and “Cars,” due for 2005.

And in other screening news Disney rival DreamWorks has announced that “Shrek 2” has been selected for the main competition at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and will premiere at a prime time: Saturday night, May 15.

Cast members who lent their voices to the toon — including Eddie Murphy, Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Julie Andrews, Antonio Banderas and Rupert Everett — will reportedly be there for the premiere.