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From Cartoon Brew:
BREAKING! The beleaguered DreamWorks Animation just announced in a written statement that it will eliminate approximately 500 jobs at its company, far exceeding the previously anticipated number of layoffs. Many of those five hundred layoffs will come from the unexpected shutdown of one of its main studios, PDI DreamWorks, in Redwood City, California.
The closing of that studio will begin immediately. The studio is expected to begin holding private one-on-one meetings with PDI artists as early as tomorrow, and offering some of them an opportunity to relocate to the southern DreamWorks campus in Glendale, California.
The layoffs at PDI and Glendale will be structured as “equal force reductions,” according to a report by the Animation Guild. That’s possible because of the PDI artists who are being offered the opportunity to relocate. Any artist who leaves the studio will be paid an additional sixty days of wages after the layoff.
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 also begin outsourcing production for some of its films, like, Captain Underpants, scheduled for 2017. Films such as that will be produced “at a significantly lower cost.”
DreamWorks chief Jeffrey Katzenberg told financial analysts this afternoon that the studio’s attempt to make three films a year was “too ambitious.” He also said that he would become more involved creatively with the studio’s films:
“Much of my time has been focused on expanding the company. It’s now time for me to turn my attention back to the core businesses and support Mireille [Soria] and Bonnie [Arnold, the new DreamWorks feature animation co-presidents]. Much more of my time will be in support to them and less on the road. I remain 100% committed to building DreamWorks Animation. My time and my focus needs to be on making blockbuster hit films. We have the people to do it.”
The new release line-up for DreamWorks-produced films 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). The formerly announced B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations has been taken off the schedule completely and shifted back into development. Another film, Mumbai Musical, has also been put on the backburner.
Among the people who will exit the company: marketing chief Dawn Taubin, vice chairman Lewis Coleman, and COO Mark Zoradi. Zoradi, who joined only last summer, said at the time of his hiring: “I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to join the talented DreamWorks team at a time of remarkable expansion and growth for the company.”
In a written statement, DreamWorks said it expects to incur a pre-tax charge of approximately $290 million in connection with the restructuring. These costs are expected to be incurred primarily in the quarter ended December 31, 2014, with the remainder in 2015 and 2016. The plan will result in total cash payments of approximately $110 million incurred primarily in 2015. The restructuring plan is expected to be substantially complete by the end of 2015 and expected to result in annualized pre-tax cost savings of approximately $30 million in 2015, growing to roughly $60 million by 2017.
Reports out of Hollywood say that DreamWorks Animation, which has been troubled by under-performing releases in recent years, is expected to lay off a good chunk of its staff at the studio’s Glendale and Redwood City campuses. The cull is part of cost-cutting measures, and is anticipated to match 2003′s mass lay offs which saw over 350 people dismissed.
According to The L.A. Times, among the 2,200 employees facing the layoffs are animators, storyboard artists, additional production personnel and support staff.
Even though How to Train Your Dragon 2 was a huge success for the studio, making over $600 million worldwide, DWA’s Mr. Peabody and Sherman and holiday release Penguins of Madagascar failed to meet expectation at the box office last year. Mr. Peabody caused the company to take a $57 million write down last April.
Nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Animated Film, below is a video about how The LEGO Movie was made. Enjoy!
From the Walt Disney Animation Studios:
Connect with us: San Francisco
Gallery 472 – 472 Jackson Street, San Francisco
January 17, 2015
10:00AM – 2:00PM
Join us on January 17th in San Francisco to hear about our upcoming opportunities. We are looking to meet senior level Character Animators with 3 – 5 years feature production experience for short-term gigs in sunny Burbank, California!
Drop by, say hello or just come connect with us for a ba-da-la-la-la of a fist bump!
To meet with us please register and create/update your profile.
With Peanuts coming out at the end of the year, how about a visit to the Charles M. Schulz Museum?
Charles M. Schulz kept more than one copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll in his library. Beginning in January 1958, and for many years thereafter, he featured the story in Peanuts. Charlie Brown, Lucy, and Sally all read the book aloud, and Snoopy liked to show off his disappearing “Cheshire Beagle trick.”
The Charles M. Schulz Museum celebrates the 150th anniversary of the publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in this exhibition, which features 11 original Peanuts strips, Archie and Pogo artwork; and explores Alice in illustration; comic books, and animation.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has inspired hundreds of creative retellings, and an untold number of cartoon derivatives. From Walt Disney to Charles M. Schulz, cartoonists have explored imaginative realms informed by Carroll’s masterwork. With Alice appearing in such popular comics as Archie, Superman, and Raggedy Ann, Schulz joined a long line of cartoonists allured by the whimsy of Wonderland. Artists continue to see Dodgson as their muse, creating cartoons that contribute to the longstanding graphic history of his classic manuscript. As Wonderland turns 150, the story still rouses curious minds, recalling images of a fantasy realm where animals talk and hidden worlds are to be found down rabbit holes.
From Cartoon Brew:
For the first time in its history, Laika will auction puppets, models and props from its stop motion films. Over 250 lots will be offered in “The Art of LAIKA” auction to be held by Heritage Auctions on Thursday, February 12, 2015, in Beverly Hills, California.
All three Laika films—Coraline, ParaNorman, and Boxtrolls—will be represented in the auctions. Highlights include:
- Coraline production puppet in her iconic blue-starred sweateress
- The Cat production puppetess
- Other Mother production puppet in her elaborately realized black dress
- Norman production puppet in his baseball shirt outfit
- Zombie Judge production puppet with fully articulated mouth and face
- Intricate large-scale production props such as Mitch’s Van and “Zombie Attack” vending machine
- Original hand-drawn Annie Award-winning character designs
From The Boxtrolls
- Eggs and Boxtrolls production puppets complete with their “Box” outfits
- Snatcher production puppet in his exquisite hand and laser-etched velvet jacket
- Snatcher’s Mecha-Drill, at over five feet, the largest prop ever created for a stop-motion film
If you can’t afford to buy anything, but still want to drool over the items, a selection of pieces from the auction will be on display in Dallas, Jan. 27-29, at Heritage Auctions (3500 Maple Avenue, Dallas, TX, 75219); Feb. 3-5 at Heritage Auctions Park Avenue (445 Park Avenue at 57th Street); and Feb. 9-12, Heritage Auctions Beverly Hills (9478 West Olympic Avenue).`
A portion of the auction proceeds will be donated to the non-profit arts organization The Art of Elysium.
Join us and the San Francisco Film Society as animation master Glen Keane shares his journey of merging art and technology throughout his career. From his early days of being mentored by several of Disney’s “Nine Old Men” to his amazing work at the studio during the animation renaissance of the late 1980s and 90s, Keane has created some of the most indelible animated characters of modern times. Innovation and experimentation have always played a role in his work which he will discuss as he closes his presentation with a look at his first post-Disney project, “Duet.” Families are encouraged to attend the all-ages-friendly 11am program.
This program is presented in collaboration with the San Francisco Film Society. Pre-sale on-sale date for San Francisco Film Society members and Walt’s Circle donors is Monday, December 22 at 10am. Public on-sale date is Tuesday, December 23 at 10am.
Tickets: $18 members | $20 non-members | $12 student/youth
Sat, Jan 17
11am & 3pm
Location: Walt Disney Family Museum Theater