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Can Dreamworks still bang out animated hits?

That would be "no'.


DreamWorks Animation, the studio behind mega hits like Shrek and Madagascar, yesterday confirmed that it had slashed approximately 70 positions, as the movie maker looks to cut costs more widely. The layoffs, equivalent to ~4% of its workforce, come against the backdrop of the ongoing actors’ strike, rising production costs, and record job cuts in the media industry this year.

The green-skinned monster

The studio’s had an animated history, having started life as a division of DreamWorks SKG, a production company set up in 1994 by filmmaker Steven Spielberg, ex-Disney exec Jeffrey Katzenberg, and music mogul David Geffen. In the 29 years since, the company’s been spun out, picked up 3 Oscars, bagged 41 Emmys, been acquired by NBCUniversal for $3.8 billion, and released over 40 animated features.

The latest of those — Trolls Band Together — is set for release next month, but it will have to make a lot of money to emerge from the big, green shadow that’s loomed over the studio for the last 2 decades. Indeed, Shrek titles still occupy the company’s top 4 highest-grossing movie spots, 13 years since the last movie was released. Like Pixar, which is turning to Toy Story 5 to recreate some of its former movie magic, DreamWorks is looking to its previous hits for rejuvenation, with Shrek 5, Kung Fu Panda 4 and an as-yet-untitled Madagascar 4 currently in the pipeline.

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