NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -
Take a space age stud, a maverick clown fish, and a one-eyed monster named Mike and what do you get? For Pixar, the aura of invincibility.
For nearly a decade the Emeryville, Calif. animation powerhouse has churned out a steady stream of blockbusters, with each one performing better than the last at the box office. In all, Pixar has produced 5 full-length animated features, starting with "Toy Story" in 1995 and culminating with "Finding Nemo" in 2003.
Yet, even though its winning formula of heartwarming characters who tackle adversity with spunk and humor has led to numerous hits, Pixar has yet to face any major challenges of its own.
That could soon change. Pixar's runaway success has lured competitors, most notably the soon-to- be-public DreamWorks Animation, which produced both Shrek films, into the field.
And unless Pixar strikes a new deal with Walt Disney Co., CEO Steve Jobs will have to find a new distributor and promoter by 2006. Investors are hoping to hear more about the company's search for a new partner in Pixar's latest earnings call Thursday.
What's more, Pixar's next release, "The Incredibles," due out in November, is arguably its riskiest proposition yet. The main characters are adult humans, not toys, monsters or lovable animals. So can Pixar, with its stock trading near all-time highs, keep soaring or is calamity lurking around the corner? Find out what we think in this week's Hot or Not? »»