First, there was the speculation. Then, there was the deal. After that, there was the bad news. And now, even more bad news -- as reported in The Hollywood Reporter. The Walt Disney Company is continuing what it started five months ago when it reduced its live-action studio workforce by 20% and reduced film production by 30%, by announcing layoffs (aka people getting fired) at Walt Disney Feature Animation as well -- a division that during the merger talks with Pixar was supposedly going to be left alone with all its staff retained. So much for that.

The announcement of staff reductions made Friday, which covers all the divisions of Disney Animation including Feature Animation, Television Animation and Disney Toons, means that the workforce of 800 at the Burbank facility will be reduced by at least 160 people. According to sources in the article, one of the reason for the cuts is Disney's is shift to a different production cycle for its animated feature films. In the past, production usually took 12-14 months but now the studio plans on increasing that to 18 months. In addition, Disney will only be releasing two animated films a year, one produced in Burbank and the other at Pixar's Emeryville, CA facility.

In the article, a spokeswoman for Disney said the layoffs will not have an affect on any of their movies currently in production, such as Meet the Robinsons and Pixar/Disney's Ratatouille. However, the fate of films currently in development, such as The Frog Princess, American Dog and Rapunzel is not yet known. About the layoffs themselves, the spokeswoman said: "After a careful review process, the management team at Walt Disney Animation has determined that each film will dictate its own appropriate production schedule. The result of this necessitated a reduction in staff. As a result, it will be necessary to eliminate a number of current positions. We are committed to do everything we can in order to assist everyone during this transition period." That's a nice thing to say and it really sounds sincere. However, if you happen to be a feature animation employee who was told their job was safe a few months ago and is now being shown the door, it might be kinda hard to believe Disney is committed to anything but Disney.
categories Movies, Cinematical