Sad news coming from Dreamworks:
BREAKING! The beleaguered DreamWorks Animation just announced in a written statement that it will eliminate approximately 500 jobs at its company, far exceeding the previously anticipated number of layoffs. Many of those five hundred layoffs will come from the unexpected shutdown of one of its main studios, PDI DreamWorks, in Redwood City, California. The closing of that studio will begin immediately. The studio is expected to begin holding private one-on-one meetings with PDI artists as early as tomorrow, and offering some of them an opportunity to relocate to the southern DreamWorks campus in Glendale, California.
The studio is cutting back its slate to two DreamWorks-produced films per year: one original film and one sequel. To save money, the studio will also begin outsourcing production for some of its films, like, Captain Underpants, scheduled for 2017. Films such as that will be produced “at a significantly lower cost.”
DreamWorks chief Jeffrey Katzenberg told financial analysts this afternoon that the studio’s attempt to make three films a year was “too ambitious.” He also said that he would become more involved creatively with the studio’s films:
“Much of my time has been focused on expanding the company. It’s now time for me to turn my attention back to the core businesses and support Mireille [Soria] and Bonnie [Arnold, the new DreamWorks feature animation co-presidents]. Much more of my time will be in support to them and less on the road. I remain 100% committed to building DreamWorks Animation. My time and my focus needs to be on making blockbuster hit films. We have the people to do it.”