Back in 1995, Pixar revolutionized the film industry by coming up with Toy Story—the first full-length computer animated movie in the history of ever. They followed that creative feat up with a string of hits—A Bug's Life, Monsters Inc., and Toy Story 2.
These guys were on the top of their game and they weren't about to stop (giving you all the feels and making you weep over animation).
Finding Nemo was the fifth film in Pixar's quest towards animated world domination. Unsurprisingly (it's Pixar, after all), it's awesome.
But it might come as a surprise that this film went through some changes during production on its way to cartoon greatness. Coral's death at the beginning of the movie was originally scattered throughout the film in a series of flashbacks. Gill was also a villain in the first draft. And the pelicans, Nigel and Gerald, had a whole lot more screen time.
But, with changes, the film got better and better and Pixar cemented its image as a production company run by filmmakers (i.e. creative folks) rather than executives (those guys in fancy suits).
One person who wasn't a fan of Nemo and his adventures? The then-current CEO of Disney, Michael Eisner. This guy saw some early cuts of the film and thought it was pretty so-so. He believed that Finding Nemo would be a "reality check" for the brain trust at Pixar and a bit of a fishy flop.
This wasn't necessarily a bad thing though. See, the time was coming for Disney to renegotiate its distribution contract with Pixar, and a failed ocean adventure could be just the thing Disney needed to prove that Pixar wasn't all that plus a bag of chips (and by "chips" we mean "Australian for French fries").
Oh, man, but they were wrong. So very wrong.
Finding Nemo premiered to rave reviews (99% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes—not too shabby) and became Pixar's highest grossing movie ever…until it was passed by Toy Story 3 in 2010).
It was nominated for four Academy Awards and actually won one for Best Animated Feature . Oh, and the DVD version? It's only the top selling DVD of all time.
So, yeah: Nemo did okay for itself.
Naturally, when it came time for Pixar to renegotiate their deal with Disney, they made a whole lot of demands for more money and more control. Like a boss.
Negotiations between Steve Jobs (the head of Pixar) and Michael Eisner fell apart and it wasn't until Eisner finally stepped down as Disney CEO that Pixar was able to come to a new agreement to keep making lots and lots of movies together. The lesson: never bet against a fish tale.