DreamWorks Animation, like many employers across America in this struggling economy, is downsizing its workforce.
CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg is calling his company’s layoffs “rightsizing.” A total of 350 employees will be let go by the end of the year, and some have already left.
DreamWorks studio’s financial problems have been brought on in part by the box-office failure of Rise ofthe Guardians, which Katzenberg claimed was the animation studio’s first dud after 17 hit films. Rise of the Guardians was a 3D computer-animated fantasy-adventure film based on William Joyce’s The Guardians of Childhood book series and The Man in the Moon short film by Joyce and Reel FX. Another factor in the red ink (if that term is appropriate for an animation studio) is that Me and My Shadow, scheduled for a March release, was sent back to development.
DreamWorks employs about 2,000 workers.
Katzenberg address the DreamWorks layoffs with The Hollywood Reporter using a lot of corporate-speak. He suggested that technology is allowing the studio to do more while reducing headcount:
“These things are very, very difficult to do. I would say it’s the hardest thing I’ve had to do since we started DreamWorks. We’ve never had to lay anybody off. It was against our culture. But it’s the right thing for us today, and it makes DWA strong going forward … This is really about right-sizing the enterprise here for the productions that we’re doing, so a combination of resetting the scale of what we’re doing coupled with our next-generation animation tools … is allowing us to scale down the enterprise and maintain the quality.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, DreamWorks will likely release two movies in 2013 rather than three as a result of the studio’s financial woes.
Do you think DreamWorks will limit its layoffs to the 350 announced or will there be more “rightsizing” than is currently being publicly revealed? Are you a fan of DreamWorks animated films?