5:54 am EDT, January 23, 2015

DreamWorks Animation in crisis, delays ‘How to Train Your Dragon 3’ again

DreamWorks Animation is in financial trouble, and is laying off 500 employees. This means its schedule has changed dramatically, and several features have been cancelled or delayed.

After a couple of spectacular flops in recent years, DreamWorks is having serious money problems.

According to CinemaBlend, the crisis is largely due to the under-performing Rise of the Guardians, Turbo and Mr Peabody & Sherman, which lost a combined total of $153 million.

A devastating 500 employees have been let go from DreamWorks Animation as a result, and the studio has had to cut its output down from three to two movies a year.

For those of us lucky enough to not just have lost our jobs, the only consequence is that we’ll have to wait a bit longer for anticipated sequels like How to Train Your Dragon 3. It’s a very non-problem in comparison.

Over the next three years, DreamWorks will be producing one film and one sequel per year. In 2016 we’ll have Trolls and Kung Fu Panda 3, in 2017 it’ll be Boss Baby and The Croods 2, and 2018 will see the release of Larrikins and HTTYD 3.

Dragon 3 has already been delayed once; after the second movie failed to make up for DreamWorks’ losses at the box office (despite receiving overwhelmingly positive reviews), DreamWorks pushed How to Train Your Dragon 3 back from 2016 to 2017. Now, we won’t find out what happens to Hiccup and Toothless before the next scheduled apocalypse.

This also leaves a number of previously announced projects in jeopardy: Mumbai Musical, Madagascar 4 and Puss in Boots 2: Nine Lives & 40 Thieves have not been penciled into DreamWorks’ updated schedule (they were originally slated for 2017 and 2018), and there’s no word yet about whether DreamWorks will be moving ahead with them.

Speaking about the studio’s future, DreamWorks Animation Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Katzenberg says in a press release, “The number one priority for DreamWorks Animation’s core film business is to deliver consistent creative and financial success.”

“I am confident that this strategic plan will deliver great films, better box office results, and growing profitability across our complementary businesses.”

DreamWorks’ next feature is Home, which premieres March 27. Let’s hope that makes a splash!

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