Update on Dreamworks Layoffs. It is Much, Much, Much Worse.

The western animation industry has taken one of the biggest blows in its history. And the VFX market is heading towards dislocation.

PDI/Dreamworks Redwood, was one of  the biggest CGI production companies in history. They produced some of the most high end CGI this side of ILM, and they were the best in the business from 1983 to 1992. Some of those fantastic works pre Dreamworks will be shown to show what used to be the epic feel, and wonderful production – the hype before the event.

But here is the bad news:

DreamWorks just announced to it staff that it will shut down one of its main studios, PDI DreamWorks, in Redwood City, California. The closing of that studio will begin immediately. The beleaguered animation studio also announced that 500 jobs will be eliminated, far more than the previously expected number of layoffs. The studio is cutting back its slate to two DreamWorks-produced films per year: one original film and one sequel.

To save money, the studio will begin outsourcing production for some of its films, like, Captain Underpants, schedule for 2017. Flms such as that will be produced “at a significantly lower cost.” The new release line-up for the studio is as follows: Kung Fu Panda (March 18, 2016), Trolls (November 4, 2016), Boss Baby (January 13, 2017), The Croods 2 (December 22, 2017), The Larrikins (February 16, 2018), and How to Train Your Dragon 3 (June 29, 2018).


DreamWorks Animation’s marketing head Dawn Taubin and chief operating officer Mark Zoradi are departing. And Vice Chairman Luke Coleman is retiring from his post.

The job loss figure is significantly higher than the estimate of a workforce reduction in the 150 to 400 range that emerged Monday. The layoffs began last week.

The studio said Thursday it expects to incur a pre-tax charge against earnings of approximately $290 million in connection with the restructuring and related items.


The company also told analysts in a conference call that it will take a $80 million write-down for the underperformance of Penguins of Madagascar as well as Peabody and Sherman.

“The number one priority for DreamWorks Animation’s core film business is to deliver consistent creative and financial success,” CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg says. “I am confident that this strategic plan will deliver great films, better box office results, and growing profitability across our complementary businesses.”

This is one of the biggest news stories since the collusion news between this same company, Disney, and others. Its has become apparent that the merger talks were to save the company – it couldn’t survive as it was, and now you see the result.

PDI was the thing that brought the Hype Machine to TV. CGI that was 10 years ahead of everything. It is sad to see it go. But let remember what it did, before it helped in Shrek…


And this is the intro that made them great. One of the greatest intros of all time.

It is sad to see them go. What a sad day in North American Animation…

…yet again.

More as it arrives.

From Cartoon Brew, Variety, Deadline 

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