Big job cuts coming at DreamWorks Animation

penguins of madagascar

The beleaguered movie studio DreamWorks Animation is embarking on a round of sizable layoffs, potentially involving more than 15% of its employee base.

A person with knowledge of the plan confirmed a Los Angeles Times report that the cuts "are expected to include animators, story-board artists and other production personnel and support staff."

DreamWorks employs about 2,200 people - the Times said more than 350 are likely to be laid off.

The company last suffered layoffs in early 2013.

A spokesman for the studio declined to comment on Monday, possibly because the cutbacks have begun but are not yet complete.

Steve Hulett, a representative of The Animators Guild, said "we've received calls from DreamWorks Animation employees who are getting laid off, and have told us that others are getting laid off as well."

He said DreamWorks executives have not been in touch with the guild about the layoffs yet.

The studio -- known for past hits like "Shrek" and "How to Drain Your Dragon" -- has racked up a series of disappointments recently, including a relatively weak showing by last November's "Penguins of Madagascar."

"It has been unable to build new franchises and its new releases have not been profitable," BTIG Research analyst Rich Greenfield said in an email.

Talks to sell the company have led nowhere.

"Unfortunately, everyone in the industry sees the predicament DreamWorks is in, making it impossible to sell the company anywhere near current levels," Greenfield said. "Cutting costs is the only near-term option."

DreamWorks is led by CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Two weeks ago the company's chief creative officer, Bill Damaschke, was replaced by two producers, Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria. They are now the co-presidents of feature animation.

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