Layoffs expected at Disney

first_imgBURBANK – Walt Disney Studios is expected to lay off as many as 10 percent of its employees this summer as part of cost-cutting connected to the recent purchase of Pixar Animated Studios, according to published reports and studio sources. The Pixar deal resulted in the longtime Disney movie supplier merging with Disney’s existing animation division, causing some job replication. The studio’s spokeswoman, Heidi Trada, declined Tuesday to confirm any impending layoffs, saying only, “We are constantly evaluating our business to make it better and more efficient.” The New York Times reported that the layoffs are likely to be 5 percent of the staff but could climb as high as 10 percent once a review of the studio’s operations is complete. Sources said Tuesday the cutbacks are expected to affect all units at the studio. Last year followed a similar pattern after the success of “The Pacifier” with such flops as “Dark Water” before the studio was able to stage a fall comeback with the hits “Flightplan” and “Chicken Little” before ending the year with “Narnia,” one of the highest-grossing releases of 2005. “They did seem to have a lot of disappointments,” said Brandon Gray, president of Box Office Mojo. “But Disney seems to be as consistent as any studio.” [email protected] (818) 713-3758160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2In addition to the Pixar purchase, the constant changes in film distribution technology are also said to be behind the need for some restructuring. The movie division of The Walt Disney Co. is currently in third place so far in 2006 in terms of market share. After a record year in 2003, the studio slipped from first place to No. 3 in 2004 and fell to fourth place last year. In its May 9 quarterly earnings report, Disney reported that revenue had fallen by 22 percent to $1.8 billion compared to the same quarter a year earlier despite the success of the blockbuster “The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” and the hit “Eight Below.” Disney executives and box office observers are bullish on the studio’s next two releases: the Pixar title “Cars,” which bows June 9, and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” a sequel to the summer 2003 smash that, with Pixar’s “Finding Nemo,” led Disney’s movie division to its most successful year in history when they earned a combined $645.1 million domestically. But the next year, the studio endured several expensive flops, including “The Alamo,” “Hidalgo,” “King Arthur” and “Home on the Range” before rebounding with the Pixar title “The Incredibles,” the fall smash “National Treasure” and “The Village.” last_img read more

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