DreamWorks Animation begins layoffs, number unknown

20 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

DreamWorks Animation Is Said to Plan Several Hundred Job Cuts.

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. (DWA) plans to cut several hundred jobs, according to a person familiar with the situation, as the “How to Train Your Dragon” studio seeks to rekindle its slumping movie-making operation.

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Executives at DreamWorks Animation are soon expected to announce layoffs, although the timing and exact number of cuts was unclear, according to reports Monday.The troubled entertainment studio, which has been hit with a string of box-office disappointments, began letting go workers last week, said Steve Hulett, a business representative at the local Animation Guild who was contacted by laid-off animators and development artists.

Plans to “significantly reduce” staffing at the Glendale-based company will likely top the 350 layoffs that the company made in 2003, the Los Angeles Times reported. DreamWorks Animation has struggled in recent years to produce a hit, and had to take write-downs following the release of several recent features, including “ Mr. As many as 400 employees at the company’s facilities in Glendale and Redwood City could be affected by the cuts, which are already underway, according to Variety. Peabody & Sherman” and “Turbo.” Its November release, “Penguins of Madagascar,” has also missed expectations and led analysts to predict another write-down.

The top-performing films of the past three years were spin-offs or sequels to previous films (Madgascar, Shrek and Kung Fu Panda), with new works Turbo, Rise of the Guardians and Mr Peabody and Sherman underperforming and leading to nearly $160m of writedowns (a reduction in the company’s book value). The company’s most recent film Penguins of Madagascar, released in November, made $287m at the box office over the past two months – down on the previous film in the series Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, which posted $747m.

And not one film of the last decade has topped the company’s best-performing film, Shrek 2 ($920m), with the 2007 instalment of the film franchise Shrek the Third ($799m) and 2010’s Shrek Forever After ($753m) coming in at second and third position. Recent attempts by DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg to sell the company to Japanese telecommunications giant Softbank and American toy company Hasbro failed, and stock prices are down nearly 50% compared to five years ago.

Katzenberg replaced the studio’s creative leadership this month, appointing veteran producers Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria as co-presidents of feature animation. It will be around for a long time.” Founded in 1994, the animation studio was formerly a joint venture by DreamWorks and Pacific Data Images, but has been a separate public company since 2004.

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