Dreamworks Animation Teeters
The studio that brought you Shrek had a day on Wall Street that could be likened to dreck. Stock in DreamWorks Animation tumbled 3.8 percent to $16.75 -- a tad above its 52-week low of $16.04 -- following downgrades by analysts concerned about the studio's announcement earlier in the day that it will be unable to meet its goal of issuing three films per year. Its Mr. Peabody and Sherman, which was to have been released by 20th Century Fox on November 1, was moved off the 2013 calendar to March 7, 2014, the company said. That announcement came on the heels of reports that its last release, Rise of the Guardians, had turned out to be a box-office dud. (DWA's fourth-quarter results, which will disclose the degree of the disappointment, are due to be announced on Feb. 26.) To avoid the possibility of a second such clunker, it had removed Me and My Shadow, whose voice tracks had already been recorded by Kate Hudson, Josh Gad, and Bill Hader, off its 2014 calendar and reverted it to the development stage. Published reports citing unnamed sources, reported that the studio is planning to pink-slip up to 500 employees over the next few months, representing nearly a quarter of its 2,300-member staff of the animation company. A lot of people are anxious, Steve Hulett, a business agent for the Animation Guild, told the Los Angeles Times. Some people have worked there 10 years and they don't have any idea if they're going to be laid off. In a statement, DWA chief Jeffrey Katzenberg said that as a result of the reduced production schedule, the company is adjusting our operating infrastructure costs accordingly. Its next release, The Croods, is slated for release on March 22 (it is being screened out of competition during this week's Berlin Film Festival), to be followed by Turbo on July 19.