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DreamWorks Animation Planning Layoffs?

19 Jan, 2015 By: Erik Gruenwedel

DreamWorks Animation reportedly is planning significant employee cuts as it restructures internally to cut costs. The layoffs would likely exceed the 350 personnel let go in 2003, according to The Los Angeles Times, which cited sources familiar with the situation.

Los Angeles-based DWA, which was closed Jan. 19 in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, employs about 2,200 people in California.

Earlier this month, DWA appointed veteran producers Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria as co-presidents of feature animation. In their new roles, Arnold and Soria, respectively the lead producers behind the "How to Train Your Dragon" and "Madagascar" franchises, oversee creative development and production for studio's theatrical releases.

A studio spokesperson, in an email, said, “We don't comment on rumor and speculation.”

Indeed, the studio saw a rebound of sorts in its most recent fiscal quarter — largely on the back of sequel, How to Train Your Dragon 2.

DWA said Dragon 2 contributed to the studio posting Q3 net income of $11.9 million, up nearly 18% from net income of $10.1 million during the prior-year period. Revenue increased 17% to $180.9 million, from $154.5 million a year ago.

The sequel, which generated $615 million at the global box office to become the highest-grossing animated movie of 2014, was DWA’s first early digital release (Oct. 21) and spiked EST sales by double digits.

The Nov. 11 retail release of How to Train Your Dragon 2 sold 2 million combined DVD, Blu-ray Disc and Digital HD copies — the latter a record for distributor 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

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