DreamWorks Animation, the studio behind popular franchises such as Shrek, Madagascar, and Kung Fu Panda, has announced that it has laid off about 70 employees across various departments. The move is part of an overall cost-reduction strategy that aims to improve the profitability and efficiency of the company.
A spokesperson confirms the layoffs
A spokesperson for DreamWorks Animation confirmed the news to The Hollywood Reporter, saying, “DreamWorks Animation reduced its workforce by approximately 70 positions. Roles affected were across corporate functions, feature, television and technology departments as part of an overall cost-reduction.”
The spokesperson did not specify which projects or divisions were impacted by the layoffs, but according to Variety, the cuts were not related to any specific film or show in development or production.
The studio faces challenges in the animation market
DreamWorks Animation has been facing challenges in the competitive and costly animation market, as it struggles to produce consistent hits and recoup its investments. The studio’s latest release, Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken, was a box office flop, earning only $44.7 million worldwide on a budget of $120 million.
The studio had more success with its previous film, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, which grossed $481 million worldwide and received an Oscar nomination for best animated feature. However, the studio also had to deal with the pandemic-related delays and disruptions that affected the entire industry.
The studio prepares for upcoming releases and projects
Despite the layoffs, DreamWorks Animation is still working on several upcoming releases and projects. The studio’s next film, Trolls Band Together, is set to hit theaters on Nov. 17, and features a star-studded voice cast including Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick, Camila Cabello, Eric André, Kid Cudi, Troye Sivan, Daveed Diggs, Amy Schumer, RuPaul, Kenan Thompson and more. The film also boasts the first new ‘N Sync song in more than two decades.
On the streaming front, DreamWorks Animation has partnered with Netflix on Orion and the Dark, an animated family comedy written by Charlie Kaufman and based on a 2014 book by Emma Yarlett. The film will be directed by Sean Charmatz and is slated for a 2024 release. The studio also has a new animated series called Curses!, which will debut on Apple TV+ and is executive produced by John Krasinski. The show is about a family that tries to lift a generations-long curse by returning stolen artifacts to their rightful homes.
DreamWorks Animation is owned by NBCUniversal, which acquired the company for nearly $4 billion in 2016. NBCUniversal has also made cuts across its divisions amid the pandemic and the changing media landscape.