• Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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DreamWorks Animation facing jobs cuts after Rise of the Guardians tanks


 DreamWorks Animation, the studio behind blockbusters such as Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon, is to lay off around 350 employees following the box office failure of its latest film Rise of the Guardians.

The Burbank, California company suffered a disappointment when its $145m (£96m) movie about a team of childhood fantasy figures who team up to fight evil took just $300m worldwide. Chief executive Jeffrey Katzenberg said this week that it meant a loss of $83m on the project, and inevitable job losses.

“Rahm Emanuel had that really great expression: ‘You need to take full advantage of every crisis that you face,’” Katzenberg told analysts during a discussion of the company’s fourth-quarter performance yesterday. “Guardians was the first movie of ours, after 17 in a row, that didn’t work. When

that happens, it really makes you rethink everything.”

Katzenberg, who founded DreamWorks with Steven Spielberg and music mogul David Geffen in 1994 before spinning the animations department off into a separate company a decade later, said the organisation would now need excellent results from its next two films, The Croods and Turbo, to return to profitability. “You need the best margins when output fluctuates,” he said.

“These things are very, very difficult to do,” Katzenberg later told the Hollywood Reporter. “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.”

The layoffs indicate the vulnerability of the independent DreamWorks Animation compared with its Disney-owned rival Pixar. The latter’s most recent film, fantasy Brave, took more than $500m worldwide in 2012 and picked up the Oscar for best animated feature at the weekend despite lukewarm reviews in comparison with previous releases such as Toy Story 3 and Up.

Culled from guardian.co.uk

 Ben Child