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DreamWorks Animation Cutting 500 Jobs


Oscar-nominated How to Train Your Dragon 2 was the highest-grossing animated movie of 2014.
Oscar-nominated How to Train Your Dragon 2 was the highest-grossing animated movie of 2014.

DreamWorks Animation announced that it will cut 500 jobs across all locations and all divisions of the studio as part of a major restructuring designed to “maximize its creative talent and resources, reduce costs and drive profitability.” As part of the plan, the company will reduce its production slate from three features to two features per year, including one original film and one sequel. In addition, vice chairman Lew Coleman, COO Mark Zoradi and marketing chief Dawn Taubin will leave the company.

The company employs roughly 2,200 people in California. The company’s northern California studio, PDI/DreamWorks, will be shuttered as part of the plan. PDI was behind the Shrek films, as well as Mr. Peabody & Sherman and Penguins of Madagascar.

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

In recent years, a number of the studio’s feature films have struggled at the box office, including Turbo, Rise Of The Guardians, Mr. Peabody & Sherman and Penguins Of Madagascar. On the other hand, the company’s Oscar-nominated How to Train Your Dragon 2 was the highest-grossing animated movie of 2014 bringing in close to $620 million in worldwide box office revenue.

Earlier this month, the company appointed Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria as co-presidents of feature animation. Going forward, they will now focus on six specific movies for the next three years, including Kung Fu Panda 3 (March 18, 2016), Trolls (Nov. 4, 2016), Boss Baby (Jan. 13, 2017), The Croods 2 (Dec. 22, 2017), Larrikins (Feb. 16, 2018) and How to Train Your Dragon 3 (June 29, 2018). Captain Underpants, which will be produced outside of the studio’s pipeline at a significantly lower cost, is scheduled for release in 2017. The company’s 2015 release, Home, will premiere domestically on March 27.

DreamWorks expects to incur a pre-tax charge of approximately $290 million in connection with the restructuring.

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