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'Rise of the Guardians' flop cost DreamWorks $87 million

DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg had a rough 2012. The company has confirmed that 350 employees will be laid off.
DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg had a rough 2012. The company has confirmed that 350 employees will be laid off. Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

DreamWorks Animation reported fourth quarter earnings on Tuesday. There was a loss of 98 cents per share for the quarter and 43 cent per share for all of 2012.

Total revenue for last year was $750 million, with a loss of $36 million.

DreamWorks also said that it was laying off 350 employees, confirming what the Animation Guild, the animators' union, anticipated and informed KPCC of earlier this month (although at the time the official number wasn't final). With a staff of 2,200, that's almost 16 percent of studio's workforce.

CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg told the Hollywood Reporter that the layoffs, the first in the company's history, were "very, very difficult."

The culprit for the disappointing financials is "Rise of the Guardians," DreamWorks big 2012 release, which did not perform well at the box office and set off a ripple effect for future productions. This is from the company's statement:

Impacting DreamWorks Animation's fourth quarter and full-year 2012 results is a charge of approximately $165 million, which includes a write-down of film costs for Rise of the Guardians in the amount of $87 million, charges totaling $54 million related to the Company's decision to return Me & My Shadow back to development, a write-off of a number of other development projects in the amount of $20 million and a charge of $4.6 million related to restructuring activities.

"While Rise of the Guardians did not achieve the level of box office success that we have come to expect from a DreamWorks Animation film, we have made several changes to our future slate that we believe will position us well for the next two years," [Katzenberg] said.

DreamWorks stock was trading down after hours on the Nasdaq exchange.

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