Credit: DreamWorks Animation
Trouble seems to be brewing in DreamWorks Animations’ paradise. DreamWorks Animations is in a financial rut therefore planning a major layoff. A series of box office duds and unsuccessful sales have landed the production giants in hot water and caused a major financial situation for the production house forcing them to let go of employees for budget cuts.
Based in Glendale, California, DreamWorks Animations is an animation studio that produces animation movies and television programs. They have produced major box office spinners like Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar, Antz, Chicken Run and How to Train Your Dragon.
The company currently has around 1950 employees out of which the rumored number of layoffs is touted to increase the 2013’s 350 layoffs when DreamWorks had to shelve “Me and My Shadow” and pushed the release date of “Mr. Peabody and Sherman”.
This time round the company might be laying off 400 employees following the abysmal performance of Penguins of Madagascar, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, Rise of the Guardian and Turbo. With their previous productions the company majorly failed to recreate the magic of its previous glories like Shrek and Kung Fu Panda.
The company took $87 million hit on “Rise of the Guardians”, $13.5 million on “Turbo” and $57 million on “Mr.Peabody and Sherman”. “Penguins of Madagascar” managed to rake in only in $78 million from domestic theatres and $271 million worldwide.
The company faced a 10% decrease in its revenue $450.4 million with a net loss of $46.4 million. Shares have fallen 36% in the past 12 years. The Wall Street has estimated the company to be worth $1.9 billion.
The studio not only faced financial losses but also a shake up in the management. The Chief Creative Officer Bill Damaschke left this year. The company now also has two new faces as co-presidents of feature animation Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria. They are taking close look at the future productions and are inclined upon cutting down production budgets and other overheads to save the company stuck in financial difficulties.
The layoffs are expected to affect the production staff the most. The company will be letting go of many of its Story board writers and animators. LATimes first reported about the layoffs and this news have been confirmed by many others including WSJ and Variety.
When the DWA had to layoff 350 employees in 2013 (the first layoff the company ever faced) the chief executive officer Jeffrey Katzenberg called it the hardest thing he’d had to do since founding the company. However, this time round, the officials have made no announcement or comment regarding the layoffs. When asked they refused to even acknowledge and brushed it off as plain rumor.
After all the disappointments and failures the animated movie “How to Train Your Dragon 2” proved to be a ray of sunshine in these dark times for the production house and was nominated for an Oscar in the best animation picture and also managed to bring home a Golden Globe in the same category.
Hopefully the production house will have a better performance sheet in 2015 and again produce the kind of entertaining movies and money spinners like they did before.