I can’t remember a time when I’ve heard DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeff Katzenberg sound so down on an earnings call — and it’s mostly due to the red ink for Rise Of The Guardians. Even when an analyst congratulated him for the Oscar he just picked up for his charitable work he said that “we have good days and bad days.” This apparently was one of the latter ones. Guardians “was the first movie of ours in 17 in a row that didn’t work,” he told analysts. “And when that happens it makes you rethink everything.….We’ve done a reset and we’ve done it across the board.” It led to the decision to make substantial layoffs — 350 during the year, Deputy CFO Richard Sullivan said — in which “many valuable members of the DreamWorks family will be leaving”, Katzenberg said. But using the trendy corporatespeak, he says this will “right-size the whole enterprise.” DreamWorks Animation will look to new technology to help make movies “faster and cheaper” putting the company on a long-term “successful path going forward….Would these things have happened without the failure of Guardians? I don’t know.”
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President Lou Coleman says that the costs for the movie won’t be recouped until the second half of this year and it’s “not expected to have a material impact on earnings going forward.”
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