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Shares in the company are up more than 8% as markets open, kicking off the day trading at $24.30. That’s the highest level they have reached since last November. It’s a welcome change for DreamWorks Animation, which has seen its stock slide precipitously since spring of 2014, weighed down by a series of film flops, write downs, failed sales to Hasbro and Softbank, and layoffs.
But “Home” briefly swept those troubles aside when it debuted to $54 million, roughly $20 million more than most analysts had predicted it would generate.
“It’s a huge morale boost both for investors and employees at the company,” said Tony Wible, an analyst with Janney Capital Markets. “The film business is what’s been languishing there and these results mean they avoid another impairment and have found a possible other franchise.”
Indeed, “Home »
- Brent Lang
Heading into the weekend, “Home” looked like yet another box office disappointment for DreamWorks Animation.
The studio has suffered through a grueling period of film flops like “Mr. Peabody and Sherman,” “Penguins of Madagascar” and “Turbo.” “Home,” with a projected opening of $30 million to $35 million, seemed unlikely to break the cold streak.
For one thing, reviews of the story about a cute alien who befriends a young girl after earth is invaded were mediocre at best. Plus, the film is of the most dangerous of gambles — it doesn’t have a numeral affixed to its title.
Instead, “Home” put box office prognosticators to shame when it kicked off to $54 million stateside, the company’s third-biggest non-sequel opening ever, behind only “Kung Fu Panda” ($60.2 million) and “Monsters vs. Aliens” ($59.3 million). Overseas the film pulled in $24 million, pushing its global total to $102 million after two weeks in foreign theaters.
“It shows there »
- Brent Lang
Jake Coyle, AP Film Writer
New York (AP) - Business was brisk at the weekend box-office, where the DreamWorks animated alien adventure "Home" beat out the Will Ferrell-Kevin Hart comedy "Get Hard" with a resounding debut of $54 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.
While the two films had been expected to vie for the top spot at North American theaters, "Home" came in well above expectations, handing DreamWorks Animation a much-needed hit. Though a distant second, "Get Hard" also opened strongly with an estimated $34.6 million, rewarding the Warner Bros. pairing of two of the most bankable stars in comedy.
With a $100 million-plus debut expected next weekend for "Furious 7" - a franchise built on street-racing adrenaline and a diverse cast - Hollywood scored with two films that sought a variety of audiences. »
- The Associated Press
Massive writedowns. Failed sales. Deep staffing cuts.
It’s a trifecta of troubles that has left DreamWorks Animation struggling to find its footing and move forward after the worst year and a half in its often rocky history.
The company’s suffering won’t be alleviated when “Home,” its upcoming alien invasion film, lands on Friday. The picture is on track to open to between $30 million and $35 million, a respectable result but for the fact that it also carries a $130 million pricetag.
“Home” opened to strong numbers overseas last week, leading some analysts to predict that the film should end up with more than $100 million domestically and roughly $380 million globally.
“They would skirt the writedown and be out of a deficit situation with those numbers,” said David Miller, an analyst with Topeka Capital Markets.
Others are less optimistic.
“We have become a little bit more concerned that ‘Home’ could underperform expectations, »
- Brent Lang
Jeffrey Katzenberg diverted his attention from his core business of making family films, and it contributed to DreamWorks Animation racking up a whopping $300 million in losses last year — nearly half of what it generated in overall sales.
“The last eight months have been the worst in the company’s 20-year history,” Katzenberg told Wall Street analysts on Feb. 24, as he licked his wounds and reflected on a period of painful cost-cutting that resulted in layoffs, the closure of Dwa’s Northern California studio, and a serious re-examination of its creative choices. Analysts and stockholders don’t care about the past, however. They want to know whether Katzenberg has a plan for the future.
That future is dependent on hit movies, something Dwa has been sorely lacking. The Glendale, Calif.-based animation company’s recent success largely has ridden on the back of its “How to Train Your Dragon” franchise, and its 2013 hit “The Croods. »
- Marc Graser
By Michelle McCue and Melissa Thompson
This year there are 30 nominees in the animated category, between the Short and Features. “Don’t we love these people who bring us the magic?,” said Academy Governor Bill Kroyer as The Academy celebrated the Feature Animated films on Thursday.
The Academy presented their seventh annual event celebrating the nominees for Best Animated Feature Film.
Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, who won last year’s Animated Feature Film Oscar for Frozen, moderated the discussion with all the nominated filmmakers from Big Hero 6, The Boxtrolls, How To Train Your Dragon 2, Song Of The Sea and The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya. This year’s nominated films come from around the world and encompass traditional animation, computer animation and stop-motion, and the evening also featured clips from each film.
Prior to the panel discussion, a few of the nominees spoke with Wamg.
- Movie Geeks
Though DreamWorks Animation just landed an Oscar nomination for How to Train Your Dragon 2 in the Best Animated Film category, the studio still isn't doing so hot. Even though The Croods was a success, other recent releases like Rise of the Guardians, Turbo and Mr. Peabody & Sherman haven't done as well at the box office as anticipated, resulting in their stock prices dropping and more layoffs happening as the company begins a massive restructuring of their feature animation business. And part of that restructuring includes a plan to only release two films each year now, one original project and one sequel. More below! Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria were recently appointed new co-presidents of feature animation, and it's all part of the restructuring happening at the studio. Chief executive Jeffrey Katzenberg told Variety: “I don’t think we ever attained the creative capacity to maintain the highest level of »
- Ethan Anderton
DreamWorks Animation has some pretty huge issues to deal with, as the studio has been hemorrhaging money over the last few years thanks to numerous notable flops. These problems have led the company to announce a huge reconstruction of their feature film productions, which includes reducing their output from three films a year to just two. According to Coming Soon, Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria have both been appointed as the new Co-Presidents of Feature Animation at Dreamworks, and they have been forced to completely alter the studios near future thanks to underwhelming titles released in the recent past. But what has led to DreamWorks Animations reaching such a crisis? Well, we.re not one to point fingers, but a great deal of the blame has been hoist upon Rise of the Guardians, Turbo, and Mr Peabody & Sherman. Why? Because they lost a combined total of $153 million for the studio. »
In the wake of recent low-performing movies such as Rise of the Guardians, Turbo and Mr. Peabody and Sherman, DreamWorks Animation has announced a restructuring of the company. The studio will now only release two movies a year instead of three, cutting over 500 jobs. DreamWorks Animation also announced its new slate over the next three years, with the studio releasing one original movie and one sequel each year.
However, the studio did not mention projects such as B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations, which was recently pulled from its 2015 release, and other previously-scheduled releases such as Mumbai Musical (March 10, 2017), Madagascar 4 (May 18, 2018) and Puss in Boots 2: Nine Lives and 40 Thieves (November 2, 2018). It isn't known if these projects are being delayed indefinitely or not. Take a look at the full press release from DreamWorks Animation below.
DreamWorks Animation is implementing a new strategic plan to restructure its core feature »
The embattled studio is letting go of marketing chief Dawn Taubin, vice-chair Lew Coleman and COO Mark Zoradi as it plans to lay off approximately 500 people and cut the feature slate to two films a year.
In a call with analysts on Thursday (January 22) announcing the restructure, DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg said that he was returning his focus to the core business of making “outstanding” features.
Katzenberg said the company, which in recent years has turned its sights to digital and short-form entertainment alongside the film roster, expected to take another write-down of approximately $55m pursuant to the poor performance of Penguins Of Madagascar and Mr. Peabody & Sherman.
The studio has already put into effect write-downs on Mr. Peabody & Sherman, Rise Of The Guardians and Turbo.
The first three quarters of 2014 resulted in a 10% revenue drop and a $46.4m net loss. The corresponding period in 2013 generated a $37.9m profit.
How To Train Your Dragon 2 has offered »
- email@example.com (Jeremy Kay)
“Making three films a year was too ambitious,” Katzenberg told analysts after announcing a major reorganization of the Glendale, Calif., toon studio that is resulting in layoffs of around 500 people, including its chief marketing officer, Dawn Taubin, and chief operating officer, Mark Zoradi. Chief creative officer Bill Damaschke already had stepped down, while vice chairman and former chief financial officer Lew Coleman is retiring.
After a string of box office misfires that have included “Rise of the Guardians,” “Turbo,” “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” and, more recently, “The Penguins of Madagascar” — forcing the company to write off more than $290 million in losses — Dwa was forced to make changes.
- Marc Graser
“I am confident that this strategic plan will deliver great films, better box office results, and growing profitability across our complementary businesses,” says CEO Jeffrey...
DreamWorks Animation will release two films per year, down from three, and cut approximately 500 jobs across the board in a restructuring of its core feature animation business, the company announced Thursday.
As part of the restructuring, top brass including Dawn Taubin, the studio’s marketing chief, Vice Chairman Lou Coleman and COO Mark Zoradi are leaving the company. The studio currently employs around 2,200 staff members and the cuts would make up about 18% of its workforce. »
- Linda Ge
The studio is considering letting go of up to 400 employees according to reports.
The studio was linked late last year to potential takeovers by Japan’s Softbank and Hasbro, although neither amounted to anything.
A spokesperson for DreamWorks Animation declined to comment.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Jeremy Kay)
Layoffs are coming to DreamWorks Animation — again — on the heels of the studio’s leadership shakeup this month and recent write-downs, including one analyst’s projected $49 million loss on spinoff film Penguins Of Madagascar. Roughly 250-300 Dwa employees will be getting pink-slipped in the coming months, sources say.
The “compartmentalized” layoff notices started about a week ago, another source added. The plan is to let Dwa people go in small waves with 60-day payouts.
Earlier this month, Chief Creative Officer Bill Damaschke stepped down as veteran producers Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria were named Co-Presidents of Feature Animation of the struggling animation studio.
Despite hits from the How To Train Your Dragon and Madagascar animated franchises, the Glendale-based studio has struggled to consistently create winners at the box office during the past three years. Turbo, Rise Of The Guardians and Mr. Peabody & Sherman underperformed, and the publicly traded company’s »
- Dominic Patten and Jen Yamato
Around 150 to 400 employees are expected to be affected at the company’s Glendale and Redwood City, Calif., outposts, Variety has learned. Bill Damaschke, Dwa’s chief creative officer, had already stepped down.
Those most likely impacted will be animators, storyboard artists and other production personnel, according to sources.
Steve Hulett, business representative for the Animation Guild, told Variety that members began reporting layoffs last week. “We began hearing from members that they were getting laid off, but the company hasn’t responded to our inquiries,” Hulett said.
The Animation Guild operates as Local 839 of the Intl. Alliance of the Theatrical Stage Employees.
Dwa has yet to acknowledge the layoffs, saying, “We can’t comment on rumor and speculation.”
Any staff reduction »
- Marc Graser and Dave McNary
The layoffs are part of a studio-wide initiative to cut operating costs
DreamWorks Animation is expected to lay off a significant number of staff from its Glendale and Redwood City, California campuses, according to media reports.
The move comes amid an attempt to cut operating costs, and is expected to be north of 350 employees, which is how many were cut the last time the company went through a major round of layoffs, in 2003.
Also Read: 19 Biggest Snubs and Surprises: Oscars 2015 (Photos)
The company currently employs around 2,200 people. Among those who will receive layoff notices are animators, storyboard artists and other production personnel and support staff, »
- Linda Ge
“How to Train Your Dragon 2″ is providing DreamWorks Animation with a much-needed morale boost after a tough 2014 filled with disappointing films at the box office, a significant drop in its stock price and drama surrounding a potential sale.
With the company’s first-ever win in the animation category at the Golden Globes and now an Academy Award nomination, the “Dragon” sequel looks to be the frontrunner when the Oscars are handed out Feb. 22. Disney had won seven of the past eight years at the Globes.
Awards recognition is great, but with no sequels on the horizon for 2015, it could be another tough year at the box office for DreamWorks Animation.
The awards recognition comes shortly after Dwa chief Jeffrey Katzenberg named Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria as co-presidents of the studio. Both have extensive knowledge in launching and running successful franchises, with Arnold having overseen “How to Train Your Dragon, »
- Marc Graser
DreamWorks Animation has announced that it has appointed two veteran producers, Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria, as co-presidents of feature animation. In their new roles, Arnold and Soria, respectively the lead producers behind the studio’s How to Train Your Dragon and Madagascar franchises, will oversee creative development and production for DreamWorks Animation’s theatrical releases. Between them, they have produced eight films at DreamWorks that have grossed more than $3.5 billion globally. As part of this transition, chief creative officer Bill Damaschke will step down from his position.
“Mireille and Bonnie are two of the most accomplished and prolific filmmakers working in feature animation today,” said DreamWorks Animation Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Katzenberg. “I am confident in their ability to marshal the extensive creative resources available at our studio and lead DreamWorks’s vast ranks of artists and filmmakers as they produce the highest quality entertainment.”
“As two of our most successful producers, »
- Michelle McCue
Bill Damaschke will step down as chief creative officer, as part of the move.
At the moment, those are two of Dwa’s most reliable moneymakers, after being forced to take writedowns on the poor performance of its films. It took an $87 million loss on “Rise of the Guardians,” a $13.5 million hit on “Turbo” and $57 million writedown on “Mr. Peabody & Sherman.”
“Three of our last four films have not delivered in terms of audience turnout or financial performance,” Katzenberg told analysts in April 2014, before “The Penguins of Madagascar” also underperformed in the latter part of the year, with nearly $271 million worldwide, $78 million coming from domestic theaters. »
- Marc Graser
Arnold and Soria, the lead producers behind the studio’s “How to Train Your Dragon” and “Madagascar” franchises respectively, will oversee creative development and production for Dwa’s theatrical releases.
“Mireille and Bonnie are two of the most accomplished and prolific filmmakers working in feature animation today,” said DreamWorks Animation Chief Executive Jeffrey Katzenberg. “I am confident in their ability to marshal the extensive creative resources available at our studio and lead DreamWorks’s vast ranks of artists and filmmakers as they produce the highest quality entertainment. »
- Todd Cunningham
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