DreamWorks Animation to Lay Off 33 Employees as NBCUniversal Cuts Costs

DreamWorks Animation has laid off 33 employees, or about 2% of its workforce, after parent company NBCUniversal cut jobs in several departments.

The layoffs took place in late April despite the commercial success of the studio's last two films, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish and Bad Guys. DreamWorks will release "Ruby Gilman: Teenage Kraken" next month and "Trolls Band Together" later this year. There are also numerous rumors of a new "Shrek" film.

According to a DreamWorks statement, the layoffs are part of a larger cost-cutting plan, and most of those affected will be in support positions; sources cited by Business Insider said that 25 of the 33 employees laid off are production technical positions such as production artists, technical directors, and writers/compositors.

According to the anonymous source, the affected employees were notified of the layoffs several weeks ago and assured that the layoffs were not related to their job performance.

The report also revealed that DreamWorks TV had made two unannounced cuts of five to ten positions late last fall.

NBCUniversal's job cuts over the past six months have been widespread, affecting E! Entertainment, NBC Sports, and the advertising sales team.

The layoffs come as many major media companies seek to streamline expenses. Warner Bros. Discovery has made major cuts to reduce its debt of about $50 billion.

Cartoon Brew's take: NBCUniversal may need to cut costs, but when it comes to animation, the company is not throwing good money after bad. Universal Pictures has made the top three animated box office hits of 2022 ("Bad Guys," "Puss in Boots: The Last Wish," and "Minions: Grue Strikes Back") and is currently making its biggest movie of 2023 with "Super Mario Brothers Movie. DreamWorks also has a strong relationship with Netflix, with numerous original series produced by the company airing on Netflix. From our perspective, the company would likely benefit from expanding its investment in animation, which has proven to be very stable for several years in a row.