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DreamWorks Animation Cutting 500 Jobs

22 Jan, 2015 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Studio reducing film slate to two films a year, which includes a sequel

DreamWorks Animation Jan. 22 announced it is eliminating 500 positions as it restructures internally — reducing its film slate to one original feature and one sequel annually over the next three years. DWA reportedly 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.

Specifically, DWA’s film slate includes Kung Fu Panda 3 (March 18, 2016), Trolls (Nov. 4, 2016), Boss Baby (Jan. 13, 2017), The Croods 2 (Dec. 22, 2017), Larrikins (Feb. 16, 2018), and How to Train Your Dragon 3 (June 29, 2018). Captain Underpants, which was produced outside the studio system, is slated for release in 2017. DWA’s 2015 release, Home, debuts March 27.

“I am confident that this strategic plan will deliver great films, better box office results, growing profitability across our complementary businesses [including home entertainment],” CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg said in a statement.

Indeed, the studio saw a rebound 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 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, 2014 retail release of 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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