DreamWorks Animation Planning Layoffs

Jeffery Katzenberg
Courtesy of Dreamworks Animation

More than 350 jobs could be cut.

DreamWorks Animation is planning layoffs again, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. 

The number of workers who will be let go this time has not been finalized, but it could be more than the 350 jobs that were cut in 2014 after the studio shelved the film Me and My ShadowThe Los Angeles Times first reported.

The company has approximately 1,950 employees, and the cuts are expected to hit production staff, including storyboard artists and animators.

In the past two years, the company reported write-downs on underperformers Mr. Peabody & Sherman, Rise of the Guardians and Turbo, while November's Penguins of Madagascar will likely result in a loss for the studio.

Layoffs come amid poor financial performance and a restructuring. In the first three quarters of 2014, the company posted a 10 percent decline in revenue to $450.4 million and a net loss of $46.4 million compared with a profit of $37.9 million a year prior.

The studio recently saw a shakeup in its leadership, with Bill Damaschke leaving his post as chief creative officer and Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria installed as co-presidents of feature animation.

When the studio behind the lucrative Shrek and Kung Fu Panda franchises let go about 350 employees last year (the first time in its history it suffered layoffs), CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg told The Hollywood Reporter at the time that laying off staffers is "the hardest thing I've had to do since we started DreamWorks." 

This time around, though, DreamWorks Animation had no comment on the layoffs.

The layoffs come after negotiations to sell the studio did not yield results. Katzenberg had merger discussions with Japanese telecommunications firm SoftBank, toymaker Hasbro and conglomerate 21st Century Fox.

The studio's hard times of late have also affected its stock price, with shares of DreamWorks Animation falling 36 percent in the past 12 months. As of Monday, Wall Street deems the company worth about $1.9 billion. 

While a source said 350 or more are set to be laid off, Steve Hulett of the Animation Guild said he expects 150-400. "We do know that layoffs are ongoing. We don't know how many," he said.

Email: Paul.Bond@THR.com

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