We got word of this from the company yesterday. (And we knew something was up early in the week.)
DreamWorks Animation said Tuesday night that it is pushing back the release date for its animated movie "Mr. Peabody & Sherman" by four months.
The Glendale studio said it was changing the release date for the film from Nov. 1 to March 7, 2014, at the recommendation of its distributor, Twentieth Century Fox. As a result of the decision, "Me & My Shadow," which had previously been scheduled for release in March 2014, will go back into development. ...
There have been meetings with employees at the Glendale campus and staffers we talk to expect layoffs.
Disconcerting, but cash flows haven't quite been what the company would like. So it goes.
ADD ON: I was over at DWA morning and afternoon, answering questions of the crew.
I gave out information about how long Motion Picture Industry health coverage will last if a person is laid off (usually twelve to fifteen months), how to calculate pension, what contractual separation money will be coming employees' way.
A few people I talked to had already been in meetings and found out they're being retained. Many others are waiting to hear. I'm informed the company will meet with all crews by Tuesday of next week. In the meantime, there are pictures to work on.
... "We believe the best strategy for DreamWorks Animation in the long run is to ensure that every one of our films has an optimal release date with the biggest opportunity to succeed at the box office," Katzenberg said in a statement. "The move of 'Mr. Peabody & Sherman' means that we will now release two films in 2013, and we are adjusting our operating infrastructure costs accordingly."
Katzenberg did not specify what the cost-cutting would entail, and DreamWorks would not disclose how many positions would be cut. ...
As we've noted before, animation has always been driven by market results. When Snow White hit big in 1938, Walt Disney Productions expanded. And when Disney's Sleeping Beauty didn't pull in the dollars the company wanted during the late fifties, a large number of animation employees were laid off.
DreamWorks Animation expanded after Shrek. A decade later Rise of the Guardians has underperformed, and staff is being shed.