Layoffs are coming to DreamWorks Animation — again — on the heels of the studio’s leadership shakeup this month and recent write-downs, including one analyst’s projected $49 million loss on spinoff film Penguins Of Madagascar. Roughly 250-300 DWA employees will be getting pink-slipped in the coming months, sources say.
The “compartmentalized” layoff notices started about a week ago, another source added. The plan is to let DWA people go in small waves with 60-day payouts.
Earlier this month, Chief Creative Officer Bill Damaschke stepped down as veteran producers Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria were named Co-Presidents of Feature Animation of the struggling animation studio.
Despite hits from the How To Train Your Dragon and Madagascar animated franchises, the Glendale-based studio has struggled to consistently create winners at the box office during the past three years. Turbo, Rise Of The Guardians and Mr. Peabody & Sherman underperformed, and the publicly traded company’s stock has been punished on Wall Street as a result.
Mass layoffs similarly hit DWA in 2013 after distributor Fox delayed Mr. Peabody & Sherman to spring 2014 and Me & My Shadow, an animation planned for 2014 featuring the voices of Kate Hudson, Josh Gad and Bill Hader, was taken off the schedule altogether and reverted into development.