IGN has an interview with director Andrew Stanton about Pixar’s next feature Wall-E. The following comment from Stanton perfectly encapsulates what sets Pixar apart from almost every other major feature animation studio:
One of the keys to us is we’ve never thought about our audience, or never thought about who our audience might be. We honestly are just making the movies that we want to make, that if we didn’t show it to anybody else but ourselves we’d be fine…[I]t’s all artistic; there’s not a single sort of corporate kind of audience point of view looking at any of the stuff we do — at least within the walls of Pixar.
Incidentally, one can find similar sounding quotes from any number of Golden Age animation directors like Chuck Jones and Tex Avery. Allowing a filmmaker to make the film that they want seems like the most obvious concept, the only requirement being that the filmmaker’s vision has to be trusted. Sadly, with the exception of Pixar, most contemporary animation studios don’t extend that type of trust to their directors.