Los Angeles Business Journal

Report Suggests DreamWorks Layoffs Imminent

By Jonathan Polakoff Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Layoffs are expected at Glendale animation studio DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. following disappointing returns from its latest release and an announcement that the studio will decrease its theatrical output this year.

The studio announced yesterday that it will move the release of “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” to March of next year at the request of the movie’s distributor, 20th Century Fox. The film was originally scheduled to debut in November.

The studio is coming off disappointing returns for “Rise of the Guardians,” which has grossed about $300 million at the international box office but was costly to produce. Lazard Capital Markets analyst Barton Crockett predicted last month that the studio will take a write-down of $96 million in its fourth quarter earnings, to be released later this month.

Layoffs have yet to be confirmed and a spokeswoman for DreamWorks declined comment. Trade website Deadline.com reported that as many as 500 employees could be cut in the next few months, citing anonymous sources.

Chief executive Jeffrey Katzenberg hinted at cuts in yesterday’s announcement.

“The move of Mr. Peabody & Sherman means that we will now release two films in 2013, and we are adjusting our operating infrastructure and costs accordingly,” he said in a statement.