DreamWorks to Lay Off Hundreds of Workers; Will Only Release Two Films Per Year


by Justin Cook

DreamWorks Animation has confirmed that they will be making only two films per year from now on, instead of their usual three, which means that nearly 500 workers will be laid off.

In an official statement, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Chief Executive Officer of DreamWorks Animation said, “The number one priority for DreamWorks Animation’s core film business is to deliver consistent creative and financial success. I am confident that this strategic plan will deliver great films, better box office results, and growing profitability across our complementary businesses.”

For the next three years, the studio will devote their efforts to one sequel and one original film each year, under the leadership of Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria. Take a look at the studio’s slate through 2018:

Home – March 27, 2015

Kung Fu Panda 3 – March 18, 2016

Trolls – November 4, 2016

Boss Baby – January 13, 2017

The Croods 2 – December 22, 2017

Larrikins – February 16, 2018

How to Train Your Dragon 3 – June 29, 2018

On top of those films, the studio’s previously announced Captain Underpants film will be produced at a significantly lower cost, and not directly from DreamWorks Animation. That film will be released in 2017.

While DreamWorks Animation as a whole has been very successful, making such films as Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and more, recently the studio has had a string of films that have underperformed at the box office.

In 2013, the studio came out with The Croods, which turned out to be their last real hit, grossing more than four times it’s budget. Months after The Croods, the Ryan Reynolds animated film Turbo hit theaters, which was a major disappointment. Turbo made only a little over $280 million on a $127 million budget. While the studio hoped the film’s underperformance was merely a fluke, Mr. Peabody & Sherman was released in 2014 and came back with similar results. Although it was far from a flop, Peabody didn’t make nearly enough money for the studio to be interested in making a sequel.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 was released months later, which admittedly did well in foreign markets and overall made close to $620 million on a $145 million budget, but it too failed to live up to DreamWorks’ expectations domestically. In the US, the film ended up making less than it’s predecessor, 2010’s How to Train Your Dragon.

Finally, Penguins of Madagascar, the studio’s most recent film, failed to reach even $100 million at the domestic box office, a number that before it’s release seemed like a lock for the film.

DreamWorks Animation is obviously making major changes to try and fix their films’ weak performances,  and hopefully their next couple of films can breathe some life back into the studio.

Source: Cartoon Brew, Dreamworks (Jeffrey Katzenberg)

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