DreamWorks Animation is restructuring itself and adapting to the changing market in order to make two blockbuster films each year, with its CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg taking a more hands-on approach in the development and production of features, a report said.
“Making three films a year was too ambitious, ” Katzenberg told analysts after announcing a major reorganization of the Glendale, Calif., studio that is resulting in layoffs of around 500 people, Variety said.
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, including the appointment of Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria as co-presidents of DWA’s feature division this month, the report said.
“I don’t think we ever attained the creative capacity to maintain the highest level of quality while we went for the quantity, ” Katzenberg said, according to Variety. “We achieved the production capacity but not the creative capacity to do it. We have fallen short on the creative side of it. That’s why we made the change in the creative leadership.”
At the same time, Katzenberg said the movie marketplace is very different today than it was three or four years ago, when DWA announced plans to increase its output. “It’s much more competitive, ” he said, in terms of playability, marketability and the availability of release dates, the report said.
According to Variety, Katzenberg said the company is now “in a position to steer the ship to make blockbuster hits, which we did for 15 years. I want us to get back to making two great blockbuster films a year. We want to get back to basics here.”
The CEO said he will now take a more hands-on role in how DWA’s films are developed and produced, according to Variety.
“Much of my time has been focused on expanding the company. It’s now time for me to turn my attention back to the core businesses and support Mireille and Bonnie. Much more of my time will be in support to them and less on the road. I remain 100% committed to building DreamWorks Animation. My time and my focus needs to be on making blockbuster hit films. We have the people to do it.”
“Getting our feature film business back on track is our number one priority, ” Katzenberg said, according to the report.