DreamWorks Animation to cut 500 jobs

DreamWorks Animation to cut 500 jobs in the wake of a string of box-office disappointments

DreamWorks Animation announced Thursday that it would cut 500 jobs in the wake of a string of box-office disappointments.

The Glendale studio also said it would take a $290-million charge in connection with the layoffs, which will cut across all locations and divisions of the studio. The company employs about 2,400 people worldwide, with most of the workforce based in Glendale and Redwood City, Calif.

The restructuring plan is expected to be substantially complete by the end of 2015 and expected to result in annualized pretax cost savings of about $30 million in 2015, growing to roughly $60 million by 2017.

The layoffs, the largest in the studio's history, were widely expected and were the subject of a Los Angeles Times story earlier this week.

As part of a full review of its business, DreamWorks also announced a restructuring of its core feature animation business. The company said it will reduce the number of films it releases per year from three to two to "ensure the consistent and profitable deliver of high-quality films."

"The number one priority for DreamWorks Animation's core film business is to deliver consistent creative and financial success," said DreamWorks Animation Chief Executive Jeffrey Katzenberg. "I am confident that this strategic plan will deliver great films, better box-office results and growing profitability across our complementary businesses."

DreamWorks Animation shares jumped 6% in after-hours trading Thursday. The shares, which have tumbled in the last year, closed at $21.31, up 63 cents or 3%.

The studio took a $57-million write-down last year for its animated feature "Mr. Peabody & Sherman" and a $13.5-million charge on its summer movie "Turbo." Those followed an $87-million write-down for the 2012 "Rise of the Guardians" holiday movie.

Twitter: @rverrier

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