rumours are circulating that there’s about to be layoffs at DreamWorks Animation. Cuts are expected to come to the studio’s production, technology, and overhead departments, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Deadline is now reporting that the company may cut up to 500 employees in the coming months.
Word of a potential staff reduction comes after the announcement this morning that the studio plans to cut its 2013 film lineup down from three to two films.
“Mr. Peabody & Sherman” which was originally scheduled for release November 1 of this year has been pushed back until next March leaving films “The Croods” with a March release and “Turbo” to debut in July.
In addition, the Kate Hudson and Bill Hader 2014 animated flick “Me & My Shadow” has been shelved indefinitely.
The move of “Peabody” from November to March leaves a clear pathway for Disney’s November release, “Frozen.”
CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg released a brief statement on the move:
“We believe the best strategy for DreamWorks Animation in the long run is to ensure that every one of our films has an optimal release date with the biggest opportunity to succeed at the box office,” said Katzenberg, “The move of Mr. Peabody & Sherman means that we will now release two films in 2013, and we are adjusting our operating infrastructure costs accordingly.”
The changed film schedule follows the underwhelming performance of “Rise of the Guardians” last fall. Though the film eventually earned $300 million worldwide (thanks to a $200 million cushion from the foreign box office), its opening weekend was $23.8 million. For comparison, a DreamWorks film hasn’t had that low of an opening since its 2006 film “Flushed Away” which earned $18.8 million in 2006.
The film’s weak opening caused DreamWork’s stock to sink nearly five per cent following final weekend box-office estimates.
A DreamWorks spokesperson declined further comment.
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