DreamWorks Animation to Cut 500 Jobs
How to Train Your Dragon 2 recently won a Golden Globe for Best Animation. And now is a frontrunner in the 2015 Oscar race for Best Animation. But despite the accolades the studio behind the production is receiving, there’s not a lot of celebration at Dream Works Animation.
The company announced it is cutting nearly 500 jobs, about 18% of its workforce, as CEO Jeffery Katzenberg looks for a way to dig the studio out of debt after several disappointments at the box office.
DWA is also shuttering its Redwood City, California animation studio by the end of the year. Pacific Data Images was acquired by DWA in 2000 and had credits for films like Terminator 2, Angels in the Outfield and Batman Forever before combining forces with DWA. Ants was the first collaborative project between the two California-based companies.
In the early years of the merger, the company earned an Oscar for Shrek and box office success with Madagascar 3. But recent movies including Rise of the Guardians, Turbo, Mr. Peabody & Sherman and The Penguins of Madagascar have misfired with audiences.
Katzenberg also announced that DWA will cut back on the number of feature films it plans to release each year from three to two.
However layoffs are not the only concerns facing the studio. A significant drop in the company’s stock has also left investors worried about the firm’s ability to turn itself around. In a business report, B. Riley analyst Eric Wold calls any investment in the studio “dead money” at least for the next 12 to 18 months.