Bad news for animation fans.
DreamWorks Animation has had several large successes in recent years, including The Croods, and the Oscar-nominated How to Train Your Dragon 2. They have been holding steady at three animated films a year. This model, however, has proven to be too ambitious for the studio, and they have suffered heavy losses on films like Rise of the Guardians, Turbo, and Mr. Peabody and Sherman. As such, the studio, according to Variety, will be firing 500 people, including several higher-ups in the studio. Studio president Jeffrey Katzenberg announced that three films a year was simply “too ambitious.”
There are currently six films remaining in the company’s pipeline, all to be released within the next six years. They are: Kung Fu Panda 3 (March 8th, 2016), Trolls (November 4th, 2016), Boss Baby (January 13th, 2017), The Croods 2 (December 22nd, 2017), Larrikins (Feburary 16th, 2018), and How to Train Your Dragon 3 (June 29th, 2018) which was pushed back a second time. The feature film version of Captain Underpants will still be released, although it will be made by a different company.
Check Out: William Bibbiani’s Review of ‘Turbo’
Films that have been put back into development have been Madagascar 4, Puss in Boots 2, B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations, and Mumbai Musical. No word yet if any of these films will eventually be made, or canceled outright.
Animated features take a long, long time to make, so perhaps this decision to reduce output will only spell out better quality for the studio. Katzenberg himself, while lamenting the enormous loss the company is taking, feels that a smaller company may be more appropriate: “I think we were top heavy and given that we are right-sizing the entire operation and focusing the company on the businesses we are in today, rather than businesses we imagined we might be in, this is the right-sizing that we need.”