Friday, December 2, 2016

Rough Transitioning: DreamWorks To Lay Off 170 Staff Members, More Delays?

It looks like the moon boy studio is being hit again...

More layoffs.

This was inevitable after strong rumors surfaced, ones that said DreamWorks would significantly downsize following the Comcast acquisition. It is official now, the Glendale studio will lay off roughly 170 people next month. According to the reports, some of this has to do with the recent cancellation of The Croods 2. The TAG Blog reveals more reasons...

Namely the release dates for two particular pictures in the pipeline. Mr. Hulett says that the timetables for these films - I'm guessing 2018's Larrikins and How To Train Your Dragon 3, previously rumored to be on the move - have changed, and that the films have no "hard and fast" release dates. So, to be determined? There was talk of the dragon threequel being moving back a bit, to probably the third or fourth quarter of 2018. Larrikins apparently was being "pulled back into story", indicating that we would have to wait until 2019 for that one. Other rumors suggested that DreamWorks is aiming to do just one picture every calendar year, as opposed to two.

It's a shame, but if it needs to be done, so be it. As long as we get these films, and in the best shape too, the waits will be worth it. I understand the possibility of How To Train Your Dragon 3 being pushed back *yet* again is a sore spot for some, I'm particularly miffed, but the reason I'm not as upset is because I'm more worried about possible cancellation than a delay. I'd rather wait than not have it at all, you know? How To Train Your Dragon 2 did very well at the overseas box office, but it wasn't quite the domestic champion, and DreamWorks let some of their staff go when the movie opened to underwhelming numbers.

As long as these two films still happen, that's all I care about at this point. As long as Universal heads allow DreamWorks to do what they please and take some risks, I'll be fine... But we don't know what Universal wants out of DreamWorks. While Illumination is headed up by a CEO with a clear vision of where to go (whether we like that particular vision or not), DreamWorks is currently headed up by these guys. Will they beg for more mindless, kid-friendly things and franchise stuff? Or will they back off and let them do their thing?

Who knows, but it appears that these heads want DreamWorks to really scale down. It makes sense, because unlike Illumination, DreamWorks mostly operates out of California and overspends on their films. While Trolls is doing quite well here in the states, it seems to be slogging overseas, which isn't good for a film that cost $125 million to make. What they need to do, to me, is find a way to keep those budgets under control because not every PG-rated family-friendly CGI film is going to make serious coin at the box office. You can't just expect things like Trolls and Boss Baby to be locked for $400 million worldwide grosses. You can't just pull $400 million out of a hat, magically.

The plot continues to thicken...


  1. I wonder about Captain Underpants, which is supposed to be released 6 months from now and to be the last DA movie released by Fox. What is up with that because I have not heard much about it.

    1. It's possible it might not come out at all, or it will and DreamWorks has dumped the film, leaving Mikros to make it so it can be picked up by another studio. My best guess in that case would be Paramount.

    2. As far as I know, Capt Underpants is still a thing. Mikros has it listed on their website as a DreamWorks co-production, and the site reveals that David Soren indeed replaced Rob Letterman as director. DreamWorks for some reason didn't mention this, only the press hinted at it.

      If a trailer doesn't show up after, say, January, then we could begin to get concerned. If Capt Underpants is to be dropped, I can see it either getting Netflixed or quietly picked up by another studio.

    3. And if it does get dropped, then perhaps Emojimovie or Blazing Samurai could fill a July 2017 slot. I know it's slated for 6/2/2017, but I'm going by your Suggested Animation Slate which says that the film will move to 7/21/2017.

      Also, the Netflix thing wouldn't surprise me since DreamWorks has a gazillion Netflix shows!