Thursday, November 10, 2016

Next Phase, Indeed: Status on DreamWorks' Indian Unit, Donwsizing Rumors


I guess the previous post might be moot in many ways... DreamWorks apparently made, or are going to make, some very big decisions...

Big... And not at all good...

Cartoon Brew has broken the news: DreamWorks is apparently pulling out of India. The company has a unit down there that was meant to evolve into a full-blown studio, much like their Shanghai unit. While this building isn't shutting down, it seems like DreamWorks will no longer outsource work to them. Adi Shayan, a studio manager, said that the issue isn't simply black-and-white, and that there is "more to it".

More troubling are other rumors flying around, and posts made by a former DreamWorks Animation employee Daniel Lay, better known as VFX Soldier. One says over 250 people will be cut from the Shanghai studio, and that nothing will be outsourced to that location either... The most shocking, though... Is this...


Wow...

DreamWorks stopping their decade-long tradition of readying more than one feature every calendar year. If true, this is a big and startling development. Maybe it isn't shocking for some, considering that a few predicted that these things could happen after the Comcast acquisition.

More layoffs to ensue at home? Apparently so. More animators out of a job, and of course I wish them the best of luck if this is all to happen. I thought Comcast wanted more out of DreamWorks, considering that their Illumination Entertainment is slowly but surely easing into doing two films every calendar year. More and more downsizing, perhaps an attempt to get budgets under control? The one-a-year plan is particularly curious...

Larrikins and How To Train Your Dragon 3 were still set to open on their dates (2/16/2018 and 5/18/2018, respectively), as confirmed not too long ago after Universal had scooped up those projects. Larrikins going back to the drawing board is quite something, considering that it has a full cast locked, a director, and whatnot. How To Train Your Dragon 3 has been pushed back two times already, on top of moving up once.


DreamWorks originally intended to open that picture this past summer, on the same day as Finding Dory. The studio then moved it to summer 2017, but then it got pushed back after the company's fallout in January 2015 following a very bad 2014. A fallout which lead to the studio opting to do just 2 pictures a year, not 3 as previously planned. So that meant that some 2017 films had to move, or disappear. 2017 originally housed this film, along with Bollywood Superstar Monkey and the currently-still-standing Captain Underpants.

Pushing it again, I think, is pretty bad. Why would it be pushed anyways? Does DreamWorks intend to release something else in 2018 instead? Remember how The Croods 2 was given a "TBD 2018" stamp after Universal picked it up? That might very well be a reason, among other things. The Croods 2 was for a long while meant to be released before How To Train Your Dragon 3. If it is true that the powers-that-be really want to scale it all down after 2017 and do just a single feature every year, that means we'll have to wait longer for certain projects.

But for now, these are rumors. Given how DreamWorks' tides have flown, they could very well be real, but let's wait and see...

Update...

Steve Hulett himself spoke...

"Today there was a townhall for staff at DreamWorks Animation's Glendale campus. Managers outlined upcoming changes in productions and production schedules. They also talked about other restructuring DWA will be undergoing."

It's looking to be true, I'm afraid...

To be updated...

4 comments:

  1. I think they no longer have faith in the How to Train your Dragon franchise.

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  2. I know how they can work around this! They can still make 2 films every year, but do one of them in Glendale and the other one in Shanghai.

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  3. Oops. Just re-read the article and realized that Oriental DreamWorks won't be outsourced to. In that case, there's always Mikros Image, should Captain Underpants do well, or other studios that are in need of a good comeback *cough* Klasky Csupo *cough*

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  4. I can't believe I'm saying this, but it's a good thing Comcast owns them now. If they were to stay independent there's no way they would survive this.

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